VimpelCom Close to Selling WIND Mobile Stake for $300 Million

The Wall Street Journal reports VimpelCom, which holds a major stake in Canadian wireless startup WIND Mobile, is close to selling its investment for $300 million ($270 million USD):

Global telecom giant VimpelCom Ltd. is close to selling its stake in Canadian wireless carrier Wind Mobile Canada to a Toronto-based investment firm for around 300 million Canadian dollars ($270 million), according to people familiar with the matter.

Toronto-based Globalive Capital, which is controlled by Wind Chairman and Chief Executive Anthony Lacavera, would partly finance the transaction with funding from an investor group led by Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital Inc.

The sale would be to WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera’s Globalive Capital, which is said to fund the transaction backed by an investor group. This would result in WIND Mobile being able to fully control the wireless start up and try to make bigger moves to take on wireless incumbents in Canada.

According to The Globe and Mail, the new investors backing Lacavera are said to include Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital and California-based private equity firm Tennenbaum Capital Partners. WIND Mobile’s CEO still controls two-thirds of voting shares and holds roughly 35 percent of the company. The majority stake would allow WIND more freedom to make its own strategic decisions, as during the recent 700MHz wireless spectrum auction, it was VimpelCom that pulled the plug on the startup’s ability to bid.

Last month, rumours swirled saying WIND Mobile’s price tag was at $300 million, with interested buyers possibly coming from Quebecor, along with New York-based equity giant Blackstone Group LP and Providence Equity Partners Inc.

…more to follow

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