Wind Mobile buyout deal gets Ottawa's OK
Wind chair Tony Lacavera put together consortium to buy out Vimpelcom
Wind Mobile founder Tony Lacavera’s plan to buy out Wind’s majority shareholder VimpelCom Ltd. has been approved by the federal government.
Lacavera’s Globalive partnered with Canadian private equity firm West Face Capital and others to pay $135 million for the Russian-Dutch company’s stake. The partners also assumed $150 million in debt for the struggling wireless company.
On Tuesday, Industry Minister James Moore announced the deal had been approved under the Investment Canada Act.
Wind’s spectrum holdings pass to control of AAL Acquisitions Corp., the name of the consortium that jointly bought the mobile carrier, with the approval of Industry Canada.
Among Wind’s commitments:
- To maintain Wind Mobile’s head office in Canada.
- To ensure that a majority of Wind Mobile’s head office employees are Canadian.
- To invest capital with the aim of purchasing spectrum and growing Wind Mobile’s business across Canada.
The federal government had hoped Wind would bid for more spectrum this January and become Canada’s fourth mobile carrier, but the company was unable to convince Vimpelcom to invest in the Canadian market.
Wind Mobile has about 750,000 wireless customers concentrated in populated areas of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.