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WIND Mobile Price Tag Pegged at $300 Million, Quebecor in Talks for Acquisition

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The Canadian wireless landscape is about to see major changes: the biggest of the wireless startups, Wind Mobile, is encircled by potential buyers, and Quebecor is apparently one of them.

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According to sources speaking to the Globe and Mail, New York-based equity giant Blackstone Group LP is one of the potential buyers interested in Wind Mobile. The company joins a list of interested buyers that includes smaller financial players such as distressed debt firms and, as Bloomberg reported earlier this week, a US private equity firm, Providence.

However, there is another potential buyer who may be ready to shell out the $300 million price for Wind Mobile: Quebecor. The Montreal-based company is in talks about financial and strategic arrangements while it awaits a federal decision that could foster its wireless expansion plans.

“Everything is on the table. … We continue to meet with several potential partners to assess their interest in partnering with us should we decide to consolidate the industry following positive regulatory developments,” Quebecor CEO Pierre Dion said on a conference call after the company reported quarterly results.

Such arrangements may even include a strategic partnership with high-profile US carrier Verizon, which had been rumoured to be entering the Canadian wireless landscape last year.

It is worth mentioning that Verizon’s network is compatible with Videotron’s, and that the partnership could boost retail brand recognition in English-speaking Canada.

Since it couldn’t acquire full control over Wind Mobile, its backer, VimpelCom has recently written off $1.5 billion of investments and said that it won’t devote any further funding to the Canadian arm of the business. From this perspective, a $300 million bid would be welcomed by both VimpelCom and current Wind CEO Anthony Lacavera, who controls two-thirds of the voting shares.

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