Business – Carsberg holds CWC key

Accounting Standards Board director-general Sir Bryan Carsberg could play a key role in deciding who controls the UK’s cable telecommunications and entertainment market.

Sir Bryan is a non-executive director of Cable & Wireless’ communications subsidiary, CWC. Earlier this week, the CWC board – minus a finance director – met to consider an £8bn bid from cable giant NTL.

As a former director-general of the telecommunications regulator, Oftel, Sir Bryan is expected to wield considerable influence.

Warren Tucker, who recently left British Airways’ commercial division, is due to take over as FD at CWC on 30 July. But by the time he joins, his role could be limited to parcelling up the company’s assets for disposal.

CWC has around 1.2 million residential customers, 130,000 small and medium-sized business customers and 1,200 corporate clients. Cable & Wireless is keen to hive off its consumer customers to concentrate on the corporate telecommunications market.

When a three-way deal between NTL, Telewest and CWC fell apart last week, Cable ?amp Wireless gave NTL a 21-month exclusivity period in which to negotiate the purchase of CWC. The arrangement froze out rival bidder Telewest, which is 30% owned by US software giant Microsoft, and analysts predict NTL could gain control of the consumer cable market in the UK if it can conclude the acquisition of CWC.

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