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2004-01-30 17:08:26

Cable Bahamas Sold

The Canadian company, Persona Inc., yesterday announced that it had sold its foreign interests, including ownership of Cable Bahamas.

The sale, made to a U.S. firm, will allow Persona to focus exclusively on the considerable long-term growth prospects in its Canadian markets.

Under the terms of the deal, the buyers will acquire the company for $406 million, the Canadian Press reported Thursday.

Persona, Canada's sixth-biggest cable company, announced that it had signed the agreement with Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc, of Dallas to sell the company to an investor group assembled by the U.S. firm. The group also includes TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners and CIBC Capital Partners.

Thursday's sale stems from a review of strategic alternatives started by Persona's board in April 2003.

When the sale is completed, Persona will become a private company and focus exclusively on its core Canadian operations. As part of the transaction, Philip Keeping, a 14 per cent shareholder and director of Persona, will acquire all of the stock of Persona Communications (Barbados) Inc., the company's wholly owned subsidiary, for $25.8 million and other benefits.

"Today's announcement marks the successful conclusion of the shareholder value maximization process initiated by Persona in April 2003," president and CEO Brendan Paddick said in a release before stock markets opened. "After an exhaustive and open process, we are extremely pleased to reward our shareholders with the significant increase in value that management and the board were always confident remained unlocked.

"This transaction is also a win-win for our employees and our thousands of customers. The purchasers' industry-specific experience and their future plans for the business will ensure that both of these groups will benefit in the years to come."

Peter Brodsky, a partner at Hicks, Muse, said the company "has a long and successful history of investing in the cable industry, and the acquisition of Persona is a great opportunity for us to create value in the sector once again."

Persona owns "well-managed" systems in all of Canada's most populous provinces and has made considerable progress in implementing digital technology throughout its service area, the Canadian Press said.

The sale of Persona's operations in the Bahamas will enable the company to continue conversion of its customer base to digital cable service and further penetration of its Internet services offering, he said.

"We are very pleased to partner in this transaction with TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners and CIBC Capital Partners, two of Canada's leading private equity investors, who will

The Bahama Journal 

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