Last week we noted that Canada’s largest startup discount wireless carrier, Wind Mobile, was being put up for sale.
At the time, it was suggested by sources that the company’s founder, Anthony Lacavera, would bid to take his company back. And this may still be true. But the first company to make a public bid for Wind is Fongo, a Waterloo-based telecommunications firm backed by venture capital investment and funding from the Government of Canada.
Fongo’s offer is less than impressive though: it’s offering $1 plus a 49% equity ownership stake. The acquisition would also result in certain layoffs, with Fongo stating that it would “plan to retain the majority of Wind Mobile’s employees.”
“Wind Mobile has done a fantastic job of signing up some of the most forward thinking mobile consumers in the country and has taught Canadians that there can be alternatives to traditional wireless service,” says Jody Schnarr, CEO of Fongo. “By combining Wind’s wireless assets with Fongo’s proven ability to deliver innovative mobile solutions, Canadians will have true choice and a service that is radically different from anything else out there.”
“This story should not end with Wind Mobile being absorbed by one of the incumbent telecommunications companies in Canada,” says Dave Bullock, president of Fongo. “And it certainly shouldn’t end with Wind Mobile being sold to yet another foreign owned telecom conglomerate. Canadians deserve a Canadian owned carrier that provides a true alternative solution.”
VimpelCom last week started the process to sell all of its interest in Wind Mobile, which launched in 2009 following a government-issued spectrum auction in 2008.
Lacavera is interested in bidding. He founded the carrier, but left earlier this year and transferred ownership to VimpelCom. In order to afford the company, Lacavera would partner with Accelero Capital, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris, who in 2011 famously said that Canada has “the most inefficient operators in the world” and completely regretted his decision to do business in Canada’s wireless market.