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Brookfield Infrastructure aims to bolster data portfolio with $2.6-billion Cincinnati Bell deal – Financial Post

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Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP is aiming to add another piece to its growing data-infrastructure portfolio with the proposed acquisition of Ohio-based telco Cincinnati Bell Inc.

It was announced Monday that Brookfield Infrastructure and its institutional partners are buying Cincinnati Bell in a transaction valued at around US$2.6 billion, including debt.

Cincinnati Bell uses its fibre-optic and copper networks to provide high-speed internet, video, voice and data services to customers in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Hawaii.

The company is currently upgrading its network to “next generation” fibre, a press release said, which is needed to support “the growing demand for data” and the emergence of fifth-generation cellular technology known as 5G. To date, half of Cincinnati Bell’s network has been “future-proofed,” the release said.

Acquiring Cincinnati Bell would fit into Brookfield Infrastructure’s existing interests. Chief executive Sam Pollock said in the release that the deal will add “utility-like cash flows,” as well as yet another major investment for the company’s data-infrastructure portfolio.

That portfolio has been particularly active lately, with the play for Cincinnati Bell following a couple of other deals.

Brookfield Infrastructure on Dec. 16 announced it was buying a telecom tower company in India for US$3.7 billion, with the company paying US$375 million of that and the rest coming from its investing partners.

And on Dec. 19, 3i Infrastructure PLC announced it had agreed to sell its 93-per-cent stake in the United Kingdom’s Wireless Infrastructure Group Ltd. to Brookfield Infrastructure, in a sale that valued the stake in WIG at around £387 million ($658 million). WIG builds and operates telecom towers in rural and suburban areas.

CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Catellier said in a note on the Indian telecom tower investment that Brookfield Infrastructure also had experience in the telecom infrastructure business in France and New Zealand.

“It is on strategy in regard to both jurisdiction and asset class, as BIP has been targeting additional data infrastructure investments,” he said. “Data infrastructure and transmission is expected to grow with the roll out of 5G service; the technology requires a significantly higher number of points-of-presence over 4G.”

Brookfield Infrastructure’s data infrastructure segment serves customers in the telecom and media broadcasting sectors, and its aims “are to invest capital to enhance and expand our service offerings while providing safe, reliable and secure access to our properties,” the company said in a third-quarter report.

“If we are able to achieve these objectives,” Brookfield added, “we will be able to attract new customers and maintain low levels of churn on existing customers.”

Approximately 30 per cent of Brookfield Infrastructure is owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which has more than $500 billion in assets under management. Brookfield Infrastructure first went public in 2008, and calls itself “the flagship listed infrastructure company of Brookfield Asset Management.”

Shares of Brookfield Infrastructure rose Monday morning following the Cincinnati Bell announcement, and were up around 1.8 per cent as of 10:30 a.m., trading at $64.82 in Toronto.

Under the terms of the deal announced Monday, each issued and outstanding share of Cincinnati Bell common stock will be converted into the right to receive US$10.50 in cash upon the transaction closing, which is expected to happen by the end of 2020, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

The US$10.50 cash offer is a 36-per-cent premium to Cincinnati Bell’s closing share price on Dec. 20.

“After thoroughly reviewing a range of strategic alternatives and possible business opportunities for maximizing value, the Board determined this transaction was in the best interest of the company, its shareholders, and its customers,” Cincinnati Bell chair Lynn Wentworth said in the release.

Chief executive Leigh Fox added that “the transaction strengthens our financial position, enabling accelerated investment in our strategic products that is not presently available to Cincinnati Bell as a standalone company.”

Financial Post

• Email: gzochodne@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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Iconic Ranchman's Cookhouse & Dancehall building up for lease – Calgary Herald

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A legendary Calgary restaurant and club may be hanging up the saddle.

An MLS listing for the Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall building, located at 9615 Macleod Trail S.E., was posted Saturday by Calgary realtor Rob Campbell, advertising the property as available for lease “for the first time in its history.”

Two for-lease signs also appear on the outside of the 17,000-square-foot Calgary watering hole. One sign reads “temporarily closed,” and the business’s phone line is not active.

Ranchman’s has been synonymous with Calgary western culture since it first opened its doors on April 27, 1972, nearly 50 years ago.

A “For Lease” sign is seen on the iconic Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall along Macleod Trail south. Saturday, September 19, 2020. Brendan Miller/Postmedia Brendan Miller/Postmedia

The popular country nightclub draws large crowds during the Calgary Stampede and throughout the rest of the year. It has been named the Canadian Country Music Association’s “Country Club of the Year” 11 times.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Ranchman’s to temporarily shut its doors on March 17, and it has remained closed since. Ranchman’s and other nightclubs are not permitted to reopen until Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch.

Ownership of the venue most recently traded hands in 2017, when Calgary bar scene mainstay Doug Rasberry purchased the property alongside a group of local business owners.

Ranchman’s representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Canadian Police Arrested a Man for Sleeping While His ‘Self-Driving’ Tesla Sped Down the Highway – Robb Report

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We’ve all felt the need to catch 40 winks at inconvenient times, but one Candian man took his need for shut-eye to a whole new level.

Alberta police have formally charged a 20-year-old man who was caught asleep behind the wheel of his Tesla while the electric vehicle was speeding on autopilot. Authorities were alerted to the scene on the afternoon of July 9th by a caller who noted that both of the front seats were fully reclined with no visible operator. Sgt. Darrin Turnbull told CBC News on Thursday that the car was traveling 87mph in a zone with a speed limit of 68mph. Both the driver and the passenger appeared to be fully asleep, according to police.

“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” Turnbull told CBC. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before, but of course, the technology wasn’t there.”

The model in question was a 2019 Tesla Model S, which has an array of autopilot features from auto-steer to “traffic-aware” cruise control, both of which were engaged when the car was stopped. But despite its name, the autopilot function still requires an active driver to monitor the road, making a lack of one remarkably dangerous all on its own. It turned out to be even more detrimental than the concerned police originally thought because once the officers activated their car’s emergency lights, the Tesla began accelerating and eventually reached a speed of 93mph, which was confirmed by a radar scan.

Officers eventually caught up with the vehicle and issued the sleeping driver a 24-hour license suspension for fatigue before an investigation resulted in a charge of dangerous driving. The driver received a court summons scheduled for this December. Fortunately, no one was injured as the incident ensued, but it acts as a serious cautionary tale as Tesla’s autopilot functions have come under sharp scrutiny for their potential links to more than one crash and related death.

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No winning ticket sold in Saturday's $5M Lotto 649 draw – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $5 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.

However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in Quebec.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Sept. 23 will be approximately $6 million.

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