* Canada’s Bragg Group to fund deal with cash
* Deal expected to close by end-March
* C&W announces share buyback of up to $100 mln
LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Cable & Wireless Communications CWC.L said it would sell its operating business in Bermuda to Canada’s Bragg Group for $70 million, as it remodels its Caribbean operations to battle a weak economy and strong competition.
The deal comes just three months after CWC said it would buy a majority stake in Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), the state-owned mobile operator, for $210 million to boost its Caribbean operations. [ID:nLDE6B10B8] [ID:nLDE71721Y]
“Bermuda does not fit our business model as it is not a full-service operation while BTC provides excellent opportunities and a strong strategic fit with our Caribbean business,” Chief Executive Tony Rice said in a statement.
Bragg Group, a Canadian cable and telecommunications provider, will fund the deal — expected to close by the end of next month — with cash.
CWC, which also announced a share buyback of up to $100 million on Wednesday, owns stakes in two international cable systems which land in Bermuda that are operated separately and not part of the transaction.
Shares in the company closed at 46.47 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the business at about 1.24 billion pounds ($2.01 billion).
Reporting by Adveith Nair; editing by Paul Hoskins