July 31, 2014 6:57 pm

Shaw to acquire ViaWest in billion dollar deal

A 2011 logo for ViaWest is shown.

PRNewsFoto, The Canadian Press/Handout

Cable and media giant Shaw Communications announced Thursday it’s getting even bigger with the purchase of ViaWest Inc.

The U.S.-based company is a provider of cloud and data storage for a variety of businesses.

Shaw, the largest cable and Internet provider in Western Canada, is paying $1.2 billion (U.S.) for the acquisition, which will bolster the company’s growing data services business.

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The move will help Shaw further expand into data management services as more businesses look to securely upload and store huge amounts of information on secure external servers or in the cloud to allow their employees or customers to safely access information from anywhere.

“We identified the data centre sector as an attractive opportunity adjacent to our core business,” said Brad Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Shaw. “With the acquisition of ViaWest, Shaw gains significant capabilities, scale and immediate expertise in the growing marketplace for enterprise data services.”

ViaWest is headquartered in Denver, Col., and owns 27 data centres in seven U.S. states. The company currently employs more than 350 people and serves about 1,300 customers.

The current management team will remain in place and the company will be operated as a subsidiary of Shaw.

The deal is expected to close in September once U.S. regulatory approval is obtained.

Experts say the move should help Calgary-based Shaw, the parent company of Global News, continue to deliver increases to its quarterly pay out to shareholders.

“We believe Shaw is looking for growth to support its growing dividend,” said Moody’s analyst Bill Wolfe, calling the acquisition a “natural extension” for broadband companies such as Shaw.

Moody’s said like the company’s move into WiFi, it could take some time until the benefits of the transaction are fully realized but Wolfe called the investment “potentially powerful”.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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