ONE of the major uncertainties in the local telecommunications space is the fate of the 49 per cent stake in TSTT held by Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC).
As readers may recall, CWC announced on November 6, 2014 that it was acquiring the entire issued share capital of Columbus International Inc, the holding company for the broadband internet, television and telephone provider known in the region as Flow. That transaction was concluded on March 31, 2015.
T&T’s Telecommunications Act requires the local regulator of the industry, the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT), to approve all transfers of control of its concessionaires.
In deliberating on whether to grant the transfer of control to the transaction, TATT sought the views of the public and relevant stakeholders and conducted in-depth economic and legal analysis. The TATT board, at its meeting on February 9, 2015, decided not to approve the application for the change of control.
The reasons included: “Given the existing shareholding of 49 per cent in TSTT by Cable and Wireless (West Indies), a subsidiary company of CWC plc, the Authority found that substantial lessening of competition or adverse effects may reasonably be expected to result from the proposed acquisition of Columbus by CWC and as such, pursuant to section 22(1) (c) of the Telecommunications Act, the application for change of control was not approved.”