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Cable & Wireless Considers Break-up and Sale

Posted: 29th Apr, 2007 By: MarkJ
The Guardian has reported that Cable & Wireless (C&W) is once again being forced to consider the break-up and sale of its British and international businesses.

Readers may recall that C&W use to own the UK ISP Bulldog Broadband, which was later part-sold (customers) onto Pipex while C&W retained the wholesale (LLU) broadband infrastructure:

Any purchase of C&W's assets would have to give a value of 228p a share to the company - if not, executives would not be entitled to the rich rewards that would see the firm's 60 top managers pocket £200m between them. The plan is being pushed by chairman Richard Lapthorne and senior managers John Pluthero and Harris Jones. A split would allow Pluthero and Jones to collect up to £20m apiece under the terms of a controversial remuneration package which allows them and other executives to cash in lucrative bonus shares once the C&W stock price hits 228p.

On Friday, the shares closed at 180p, but management reckons the value of the company will rise steadily as it turns around the UK operation, which includes Energis, the business telecoms provider, acquired two years ago. The British side of C&W has never made a pre-tax profit, despite rigorous cost-cutting, including the loss of thousands of jobs. A City source said: 'C&W is looking at a number of options, but dismemberment looks the most likely outcome.'

Telecom Italia, Private equity firm Carlyle or an Indian group such as Reliance Industries are all being touted as potential suitors.
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