The majority ownership of WestStar TV will transfer to a US company, according to a press release issued by the new owners Thursday afternoon.
The proposed sale was reported several months ago by the Caymanian Compass, but required final regulatory approval from the Information and Communication Technology Authority which has now been received.
The new US-based owners, backed by Bison Capital, said they are looking forward to “building on WestStar’s strong foundation as a cable television and now internet service provider”.
Bison Capital is the US investment firm that provides both financial and strategic assistance to companies in which it has interests.
It was not immediately clear what percentage of local ownership would be retained. However, the company did announce that long-time station owner Rod Hansen would be retiring.
Bob Taylor will oversee the operation as CEO of WestStar.
“I have spent my entire career in telecommunications and look forward to sharing my experiences with the WestStar team,” says Mr. Taylor. “This is a great organization with strong leaders in place; we want to build on the company’s successes to bring the islands world-class telecommunications services rivaling any other major jurisdiction.”
Whether that last remark indicated WestStar’s intention to compete with current local telecom providers LIME and Digicel in other areas of the communications industry was not explained by company officials. The company already provides internet service to the Islands.
“I am proud of what we have been able to build over the last 19 years, particularly the start of our fibre-to-the-home deployment, which will have a lasting positive impact on the community.” Mr. Hansen said. “This is a bittersweet time for me as I prepare for retirement, but I feel confident in the leadership with April Cummings, Traci Bradley, and Jeremy Elmas in key positions.”
The stations’s news director, Mrs Cummings, will be promoted to broadcasting general manager. Traci Bradley will continue as director of operations. Mr. Elmas, the station vice president, will become the station’s chief operating officer.
WestStar launched Cayman’s first cable television service in Grand Cayman almost 20 years ago.
*Editor’s note: Story changed in penultimate paragraph to reflect that Bradley will remain director of operations and Elmas, who is now the station vp, will become the chief operating officer.