Nova Scotia’s Bragg Group, parent of Canadian cable company EastLink, announced today [Feb.23] its expansion into the global telecommunications market with the purchase of Cable and Wireless (Bermuda) Holdings Ltd. for $70 million.
CWBH, a 121-year old Bermuda telecommunications operation with both residential and business customers, was owned by the UK-based international telecom firm Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC).
The Bermuda sale is in line with C&W Communication’s strategy to focus on full-service telecommunications operations in regional hubs, the company said in a statement today. The company announced two weeks ago it had agreed to acquire 51 percent of Bahamas Telecommunications Company for $210 million. BTC is the leading mobile-phone, fixed-line and broadband operator in the Bahamas
“Bermuda does not fit our business model as it is not a full-service operation while BTC provides excellent opportunities and a strong strategic fit with our Caribbean business,” C&W CEO Tony Rice said in the statement.
The purchase gives the Bragg Group its first presence in the communications industry outside the country, following its growth across Canada. Binding agreements were signed yesterday by the Bragg Group and CWC, with closing to take place within a few weeks.
“This investment is a logical step for our company,” said Lee Bragg, CEO of EastLink and an Executive of the Bragg Group. “Apart from being an excellent investment that we expect will provide growth opportunities for many years, there are natural synergies between Nova Scotia and Bermuda,” he noted, pointing to the substantial financial services industry that has developed between the province and Bermuda in recent years.
“This is just one commercial sector that relies heavily on up-to-date telecommunications infrastructure to transfer large quantities of data quickly and securely. I expect our new relationship with Bermuda will lead to many other business opportunities for our Company both in Bermuda and in Canada”.
Mr. Bragg added, “Ann Petley-Jones will be the CEO of the Bermuda businesses. During the transition period, the Bermuda companies will operate as they do today, with the same employees, local management, processes and contact points. Management support and certain support services from Guernsey and London, will now be repatriated to Bermuda.
“Following the transition, we will build on CWC’s long history in Bermuda, as well as the Bragg Group’s reputation for reliability, innovation and high-quality products, supported by superior customer service, to provide additional telecom and e-Commerce services to Bermuda businesses and consumers.”
Mr. Bragg said his company has been impressed by the Cable and Wireless operations. “CWBH, with its subsidiary companies and Quantum investment, have been great businesses for CWC. We look forward to using our experience and expertise to further develop a full range of communications services for our new customers in Bermuda.”
“I am confident that we are passing the business on to an owner that has the expertise and entrepreneurial drive to further enhance the delivery of telecom and e-Commerce services in Bermuda,” said Eddie Saints, CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications for the Channel Islands and Isle of Man business unit, which owns the Bermuda operations.
EastLink is the largest, privately held cable company in Canada. With more than 1,500 employees, EastLink provides a range of communications, entertainment, television and advertising services to residential, business and public sector customers in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia.
EastLink has the distinction of being the first cable company in Canada to enter the telephone market, and the first communications and entertainment company in North America to combine cable, Internet and telephone service in a communications and entertainment bundle. EastLink is one of the fastest internet providers in North America. EastLink has been recognised as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for the past five years, and its parent company, the Bragg Group, was named Canada’s Family Enterprise of the Year for 2009