The proposed share transfer that will effectively change majority ownership of WestStar TV in the Cayman Islands to a foreign firm was explained in more detail last week.
According to documents made public by the Information and Communications Technology Authority, WestStar Holdings Ltd. will transfer 100 per cent of its shares in WestStar TV Ltd. to a company called BOTCAT Holdings Ltd.
However, this does not mean that the local company proposes to sell all its interests in the television operation.
“The existing owners of WestStar will be acquiring an ownership interest in BOTCAT as part of the transaction,” according to a statement put out by WestStar last week.
Also, WestStar Holdings will maintain possession of the Cayman Islands broadcasting licence. The share transfer will affect only the interest in the television company itself, ICTA officials confirmed last week.
The ICTA board has not yet approved the share transfer and last week it sent out a notice asking for anyone wishing to comment upon the proposed sale to do so within 14 days of the 22 August notice.
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 such as 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.
Both WestStar managers and staff at the Information and Communications Technology Authority have 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 television 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.”