UPDATE 2-Shaw Comms to pay $830 mln for data center company ViaWest

Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:36am EDT
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(Adds credit rating agency comment, conference call details, share price reaction)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc will pay $830 million to buy U.S. data center services provider ViaWest Inc, the Canadian media and cable company said on Thursday, in a deal aimed at bolstering its cloud computing credentials.

Shaw said the acquisition from ViaWest majority owner Oak Hill Capital Partners and others would help accelerate the development of its Canadian data center platform. The deal is worth $1.2 billion, including the assumption of $370 million of net debt.

Shares in Shaw slipped 2 percent to C$24.75 in morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Shaw said that ViaWest has 27 data centers, mostly in the U.S. Southwest, and that Shaw would keep the company in its Denver headquarters as a stand-alone subsidiary whose expertise can be made available to Shaw's own data management and cloud services customers.

"With the acquisition of ViaWest, Shaw gains significant capabilities, scale and immediate expertise in the growing marketplace" for data services for business, Chief Executive Officer Brad Shaw said in a news release.

Earlier this year, Shaw started building its first Shaw Business data center, due to open in the first half of 2015.

The deal likely scuttles any talk of Shaw selling itself to Rogers Communications or taking part in a wireless joint venture with Quebecor's Videotron, Canaccord Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose said in a note.   Continued...