Exclusive: Batelco eyes CWC assets in $1 billion telco deal - sources

Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:41am EDT
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By Dinesh Nair and Amran Abocar

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain Telecommunications Co BTEL.BH is in talks with Cable & Wireless Communications CWC.L to buy its assets in Monaco and a host of island nations, a deal potentially worth around $1 billion, three banking and industry sources said.

Batelco, whose move to buy a stake in Zain Saudi 7030.SE collapsed last year, is circling the Monaco & Islands portfolio of CWC, the British telecoms group operating in the Caribbean and formed through a demerger of Cable & Wireless in 2010.

Talks between both the parties are ongoing and a deal is not imminent, the sources said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote) and Citigroup (C.N: Quote) are advising Batelco on the transaction, while J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM.N: Quote) is advising the seller, two of the banking sources said.

Citi is leading financing efforts for the transaction, according to one banker.

"Batelco has been keen to do a deal for a while now to address falling home revenue. A potential deal to buy CWC assets should give them presence in markets they are not in currently," one the sources said.

Batelco and CWC both declined to comment.

Monaco & Islands operates in 12 markets, including the Maldives, Seychelles and Falkland Islands, and offers fixed-line, mobile, broadband and television services. Its brands include Monaco Telecom, Dhiraagu in the Maldives, and Sure in Britain's Channel Islands and Isle of Man.   Continued...