Cook Islands takeover approved; only American Samoa pending in ATH-Amper group deal

10 Nov 2017

Fijian telecoms group Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) has received formal regulatory approval for the takeover of full-service operator Bluesky Cook Islands (formerly Telecom Cook Islands), the Fiji Times reports. In a group deal originally agreed in August 2016 Spain-based holding company Amper accepted an offer from ATH worth USD79.2 million for all of Amper’s South Pacific telecoms interests; having now gained regulatory permission to take control of BlueSky Samoa and Bluesky Cook Islands, ATH is waiting only for necessary consent for the acquisition of American Samoa Telecom (BlueSky Communications).

An announcement by ATH via the South Pacific Stock Exchange confirmed that the Business Trade Investment Board in the Cook Islands has given formal consent to the local transfer of control to ATH and permission to operate as a foreign investor, but added that, as per the ATH-Amper sale and purchase agreement, completion of the sale was subject to obtaining all appropriate local consents, licences and permits from respective governments and regulatory authorities.

Telecom Cook Islands Ltd (trading as Bluesky Cook Islands since July 2015) is currently 60%-owned by Teleraro, a consortium led by Amper’s BlueSky Group, while the Cook Islands’ government holds 40%. BlueSky Samoa owns a 75% stake in Teleraro, with the other 25% allocated to local investors and the telco’s management, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

ATH operates via subsidiaries including Telecom Fiji, Vodafone Fiji, Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), ATH Kiribati and Telecom Vanuatu.