If the local regulator approves, the Cayman Islands’ only cable television service provider will see its majority ownership change hands.
WestStar TV officials confirmed last week in a statement that the company entered into an agreement with an outside company to sell a majority of its stock. Both WestStar managers and staff at the Information and Communications Technology Authority declined to state the identity of the proposed buyer, but the Caymanian Compass understands it is a US-based firm.
WestStar staffers were informed of the pending agreement during a meeting in early July. “The company we have reached an agreement with is known for investing in solid organisations to which they can provide strategic and financial assistance,” said WestStar TV Vice President Jeremy Elmas. “Their network of partners also gives us access to resources that may not have been readily available to us in the past.”
In addition to operating Cayman’s only cable TV service, WestStar operates the Islands’ only television news and local programming stations – Cayman 27 and Island 24. According to the company’s statement: “We can say there will not be any staffing changes or operational changes as a result of the sale. The company investing in WestStar will be injecting resources to encourage growth and boost projects already under way, such as the fibre to the home network build out.”
The share sale proposal is now under staff review at the Information and Communication Technology Authority, according to the authority’s managing director David Archbold. Once the review is complete, the proposal goes to the authority board for final approval. Mr. Archbold said the review would encompass issues like majority ownership and how much local interest would remain in the television and cable operation. Companies licensed under the ICTA Law are not necessarily bound by Cayman’s Local Companies (Control) Law, which provides that at least 60 per cent of ownership must be and remain Caymanian.
The authority in 2010 approved the sale of the remaining shares in WestStar’s telecommunications operation and sister company, WestTel, to a Bermudian company.
According to the agreement, WestStar TV Limited agreed to transfer 33 per cent shareholding to Bermuda-based KeyTech Limited. At the time, KeyTech already owned 67 per cent of the shares in WestTel. Following the completion of the transaction, KeyTech – operating as Logic in the Cayman Islands – held all of WestTel’s shares.