Thomson Family Takes Over Public Mobile

Public Mobile, one of Canada’s startup discount wireless carriers, has been sold to new investors.

The Thomson family, which operates Toronto-based venture capital firm Thomvest and holding company Woodbridge, is now the controlling shareholder of Public Mobile.

“Despite the current uncertainty in the Canadian wireless industry, Public Mobile’s strong performance and rapid growth continue to attract financial backing from blue chip investors. This financing is an enormous vote of confidence in Public Mobile’s business and a significant milestone in our company’s history,” says Alek Krstajic, Public Mobile’s founder and CEO. “The support of Thomvest and Cartesian enables Public Mobile to continue the rapid expansion of our subscriber base from a strong and well-funded position.”

The wireless carrier did not disclose financial details of the sale.

“Thomvest’s strategy is to partner with entrepreneurs to build companies that transform their industries,” says Stefan Clulow, Managing Director at Thomvest. “Circumstances in the Canadian wireless industry have created a window for Canada’s fourth wireless player to emerge. We are pleased to partner with Cartesian and the Public Mobile team to pursue this opportunity.”

“In the coming months, the Canadian wireless industry will see consolidation, and an important spectrum auction,” added Paul Pizzani, Partner at Cartesian. “Public Mobile is well-positioned to grow in scale by pursuing these consolidation opportunities and by bidding for national spectrum in the 700 MHz auction.”

Public Mobile has new owners, but the financially struggling Mobilicity doesn’t. The company tried and failed to be acquired by Telus recently.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis noted this week that the next spectrum will be postponed by two months. It was originally scheduled for November. Now the auction will take place January 14, giving telcos until mid-September to apply.