Telus snaps up Black's Photo for $28M

Black's Photo Corp. and its 113 Canadian stores are now the property of Telus Corp., as the telecom company moves to expand its distribution channels.

Purchase echoes Bell strategy with The Source

Black's Photo Corp. and its 113 Canadian stores are now owned by Telus Corp., as the telecom company moves to expand its distribution channels.

Telus announced Tuesday it has bought the Black's chain from privately owned ReichmannHauer Capital Partners. It valued the deal at "about $28 million."

Telus sees a 'natural link' between it and Black's Photo.

Telus said Black's would add Telus wireless products and services to its locations across the country. 

"Black's premium locations provide an established network across Canada for the distribution of Telus' wireless products, which nicely complements our extensive network of dealers and stores," said Telus consumer solutions president Joe Natale in a release.

"In anticipation of our clients' evolving needs and as more wireless devices have embedded high-quality photo and video capability, there is a natural link between Telus and Black's," he said.

Black's president and general manager Ethel Taylor will stay in the position. Black's was founded in 1930. More than 80 of its 113 locations are in Ontario — a key battleground province where Telus is currently the No. 3 wireless carrier.

Retail distribution key

The Telus strategy is a familiar one for Canadian telecoms fighting for market share.

Earlier this summer, Bell Canada paid $135 million for The Source — a chain of 750 stores that used to be known as Radio Shack in Canada before Circuit City bought them in 2004.

Bell's purchase was designed to boost sales of Bell and Virgin Mobile wireless products. Bell owns Virgin Mobile Canada.

Distribution is key as new entrants in the wireless arena will be appearing on the national stage in the next few months, challenging the three dominant players — Telus, Bell and Rogers.

"New players are coming in, so the strategy seems to be saturate the market with physical presence and don't give the newcomers an opportunity to get a physical visibility in the eyes of Canadians," telecom analyst Carmi Levy of AR Communications said.

With files from The Canadian Press