Shaw Buying WIND Mobile in $1.6 Billion Deal

Some big news coming your way from Shaw, as the latter is set to acquire wireless startup WIND Mobile for $1.6 billion, reports The Globe and Mail:

Shaw Communications Inc. is finally poised to get into the wireless business, with a $1.6-billion deal to buy Toronto startup carrier Wind Mobile Corp.

Calgary-based cable operator Shaw announced the transaction on Wednesday evening, noting that while the deal still requires approval from the federal government and the Competition Bureau, it expects it to close during the third quarter of fiscal 2016.

VimpelCom, the last owner of WIND Mobile, sold the company to a group of investors last September, in which sources tell the Globe was around $300 million. Shareholders of WIND include Toronto’s West Face Capital and California-based hedge fund Tennenbaum Capital Partners.

CEO Brad Shaw said in a press release, “This transaction represents a transformational step in the history of Shaw and we are excited about our future growth prospects in mobile,” along with “This growth will be accelerated by combining Shaw’s existing customer relationships, trusted brand and wireline and WiFi infrastructure with Wind’s impressive asset base, including its existing spectrum position and mobile network.”

WIND Mobile with roughly 940,000 subscribers in Ontario, BC and Alberta, is the country’s fourth largest wireless provider, behind incumbents Rogers, TELUS and Bell.

Wind CEO Alek Krstajic said in a statement his team will remain in place, along with “We believe the combination of Shaw and Wind creates a wireless leader with immediate benefits for our customers and employees, giving them more choice, capabilities and opportunities to stay connected,” adding the combination of Shaw will enable the company “to enter into a new phase of growth.”

This July, as part of Rogers’ acquisition of Mobilicity, the former also acquired Shaw’s unused AWS spectrum, which the latter had held onto as it pondered wireless ambitions years ago.

Last week, WIND Mobile announced it had inked a five-year deal with Nokia, to have the latter build the wireless startup’s highly anticipated LTE network.

…more to follow