WIND MOBILE DEAL WOULD CREATE 4TH WIRELESS CARRIER

Sep 16, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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A tentative Canadian wireless deal is in-the-wind.

Wind Mobile’s founder wants to buy out the company’s majority shareholder – a Dutch-Russian company called VimpelCom Ltd.

There’s word that Wind’s chairman and CEO, Tony Lacavera, has arranged to buy out VimpelCom’s majority stake – with financing from Toronto private equity firm West Face Capital and others.

Lacavera owns about 35 per cent of Wind Mobile.

The company’s wireless network serves about 750,000 customers – mostly in heavily populated areas of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

The deal is reportedly expected to be worth close to $300 million – and about half of that would involve debt assumed by the new investment consortium.

It also includes Tannenbaum Capital Partners, LG Capital Investors, Serruya Private Equity and Novus Wireless Communications.

A VimpelCom subsidiary helped fund Wind Mobile’s entry into Canada’s wireless industry about five years ago – but the Harper government blocked the European company from acquiring full control last year.

Any agreement reached by the companies would require regulatory approvals, including from Canada’s Competition Bureau.

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