Malone's Liberty Global in talks to buy Cable & Wireless Communications

Caribbean and Latin American operator Cable & Wireless Communications is in acquisition talks with John Malone's Liberty Global, the company confirmed.

In a statement released to media shortly after the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal worth more than $5 billion was being discussed, the company said there is no certainty that an offer will be made.

Earlier, the WSJ said Liberty and Cable & Wireless Communications were discussing a cash and stock transaction that could close before both companies report their third-quarter earnings in November. 

Cable & Wireless Communications has a market capitalization of about $4 billion on the London Stock Exchange, where it trades. Less than a year ago, the company paid $1.9 billion to acquire Columbus International, in which Malone is also a stakeholder. That deal gave Malone a 13 percent voting stake in Cable & Wireless Communications.

According to WSJ, Malone -- who owns 25 percent of Liberty -- has recused himself of the talks between Liberty and Cable & Wireless. 

Cable & Wireless offers video, Internet, landline and wireless services to more than 6 million subscribers spread across the Caribbean, Panama, Monaco and the Seychelles. 

Liberty Global, which has focused on offering "quad-play" services, doesn't have a wireless presence in the Caribbean. 

"That region as a whole requires massive consolidation," Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said at a September investor conference. "It is fragmented. It is under-penetrated. It is inefficient. If there was ever a part of the world that would benefit from the kind of things we do in terms of bringing rational consolidation to these broadband connectivity platforms, we think this is."

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this Bloomberg story

Related articles:
Starz back in merger talks with Lionsgate, reportedly the 'advanced' kind
What next for Vodafone after Liberty talks end?
Pay-TV titans Ergen, Malone, Dolan rank high on Forbes list of 400 wealthiest Americans

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