An exciting new phase

I couldn’t let the WIND Mobile news pass without making a few observations.

It appears that this initial phase of the financial restructuring does not result in a change of control, so regulatory approvals would not be required. The company press release notes “The next stage of the transaction requires regulatory approval, which the parties are seeking forthwith.” Company Cair and CEO Tony Lacavera said:

With stable, long-term ownership and secure financing, WIND Mobile is moving into an exciting new phase. WIND Mobile is now poised to continue to bring True Mobile Freedom to Canadians for many years to come.

That raises the question of what will be involved in the next stage.

As noted by Bloomberg’s report on the transaction, WIND Mobile’s chief executive officer told The Canadian Telecom Summit in June the company needs to acquire more mobile-phone spectrum to take on Canada’s major wireless carriers. “He has also said the company needs $400 million to $500 million to upgrade its network to LTE.”

So it appears that we are only at the first stage of a financial restructuring and refinancing.

It is interesting to see Novus Wireless Communications as a participant in the funding consortium. Novus had acquired G-band spectrum in BC and Alberta in the 2008 AWS spectrum auction, but did not launch service. It later sold those spectrum holdings to TELUS.

The official media release attributes the following quote to Greg Boland, President and Chief Executive Officer of West Face Capital, the lead in the investment group funding this current transaction:

The federal government’s delivery on its promise to create the conditions for viable long-term wireless competition has not gone unnoticed by the investment community.

I agree.

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