The Egyptian-controlled company that has funded one of Canada’s wireless startups is now in the hands of VimpelCom. It’s still unknown, however, if it means more financing for the Canadian company
It took 10 months, but international wireless carrier VimpelCom Ltd. has finally sewn up a deal to buy the parent company that has financed almost all of Toronto-based Wind Mobile’s operations
VimpelCom said Friday it has closed a US$6 billion deal to buy Wind Telecom, which controls Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. The deal creates the sixth largest mobile telecom provider by subscribers with operations in 20 countries.
One of them is Canada, where Orascom holds 65 per cent of the equity of Wind Mobile and is the source of almost all of the $700 million the Canadian carrier has needed to buy spectrum and build its network. Wind operates in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton and has an estimated 250,000 subscribers.
It isn’t clear, however, whether a new partner with deeper pockets than Orascom will help Wind Mobile with the hundreds of millions of dollars it needs to expand its network and bid on spectrum in upcoming auctions.
Anthony Lacavera, chairman of Wind Mobile’s parent, Globalive Wireless, said in an email Friday that “we see this (deal) as positive, as our major investor, Orascom Telecom, is now part of a larger, stronger organization. As Wind Mobile continues to deliver on its business plans, ad we continue to demonstrate the greater opportunity there is in the Canadian market, we have a stronger investor group with global supplier relationships that will help us get wireless costs down further for Canadians.
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