Wind Mobile’s foreign owners are being bought out by the company’s Canadian founder for upward of $300 million thanks to an injection of new capital, mostly from Canadian investors.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which cites “people familiar with the matter,” Toronto-based Globalive Capital will finance the transaction with funding from an investor group led by Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital. Globalive is controlled by Anthony Lacavera, who is also Wind’s chairman and chief executive officer.
The long-awaited deal could give Wind Mobile, which has steadied its operations after struggling to compete with Canada’s big-three wireless providers, a new lease on life by enabling Globalive Capital to consolidate its control of Wind with the financial backing of new investors. Wind is Canada’s fourth-largest wireless service provider by subscribers.
The news is expected to be announced today. The transaction will require regulatory approvals.
Vancouver-based OpenMedia, a pro-Internet organization, says the establishment of a viable fourth national carrier is good news for wireless customers. The Wind news follows a series of recent actions by the government and the CRTC that were called for by Canadians, including: new customer protection rules, a set-aside of scarce wireless resources for new entrants, a cap on domestic roaming rates, and a landmark ruling from the CRTC that Big Telecom had engaged in “unjust discrimination” against smaller operators who rely on their infrastructure to provide services.
“[This] is great news for Canadians who are looking for an alternative to the Big Three,” says OpenMedia Executive Director Steve Anderson. “For too long, Canadians have faced a double-whammy of some of the highest prices and some of the worst service in the industrialized world.”
“These telecom giants are holding our country and economy back, and have largely gotten away with it because they knew Canadians were trapped,” he added. “Now it looks like Canadians will finally have an affordable option outside the Big Three.”
Wind has 741,000 subscribers. It launched in 2009.