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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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US Telecoms magnate becomes new equity partner in Columbus International
Barbados—Dr John Malone, chairman of Liberty Global, the world’s second largest cable multiple system operator, who has become new equity shareholder in regional telecommunications company Columbus International, has an estimated net worth of around US$5.6 billion which ranks him among Forbes’ top 200 billionaires in the world.
The former chief executive officer of Tele-Communications Inc from 1973 to 1999, when it was sold to AT&T for approximately US$48 billion, Malone also serves on the boards of CATO Institute, Discovery Communications, Expedia, and Sirius XM, and is the former chairman of DirecTV.
His investment in Columbus was facilitated through acquisition of secondary shares from existing shareholders in addition to the purchase of primary shares that will be issued from the Barbados-based company’s treasury. As a result of this transaction, Malone now becomes the largest single minority investor in Columbus and he will also have representation on the company’s board of directors.
According to a release issued by Columbus, it intends to use the net proceeds from the issuance of primary shares to accelerate the completion of its current capital plans, fund potential future acquisitions, enhance balance sheet liquidity and flexibility and for general corporate purposes.
“The net proceeds of this transaction will help the Company capitalise on near-term opportunities and provide additional flexibility to prudently manage its financial position,” said the release. Columbus provides digital cable television, broadband Internet, digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, and Curacao under the brand name, Flow and corporate data and cloud based services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data centre hosting throughout 25 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region to a customer base of close to 500,000.
According to Columbus, the investment was made in Malone’s personal capacity and is in no way connected to his other business interests in the Liberty Group of Companies. The company said the addition of Malone will further strengthen its position as the premier telecommunications company in the markets in which it operates.
“Having a high-calibre investor in Dr Malone join the Columbus family is an achievement for which we are both extremely proud and excited,” said Brendan Paddick, chairman and chief executive officer of Columbus. “Dr Malone’s reputation as a world class telecommunications operator and investor is second to none.
“We look forward to working with Dr Malone and his team of advisors, leveraging their skills, industry experience, insights and business acumen as we continue to build upon the successes we’ve achieved to date at Columbus,” he added.