Shaw Trying to Sell Corus to Fund Freedom Mobile Expansion: Report
Shaw is reportedly looking to sell its stake in Corus Entertainment, in what appears to be its plan to focus on expanding its wireless subsidiary, Freedom Mobile, reports The Globe and Mail.
According to the report, the 38 per cent stake Shaw has in broadcaster and radio station company Corus is up for grabs, as TD Securities was recently hired by the former to find a buyer, unnamed sources inform the Globe. Potential buyers include private equity funds and other rich investors who don’t currently have a media business in Canada. Shaw’s stake in Corus is worth roughly $540 million.
Corus, which is based in Toronto, includes 44 speciality TV channels, 15 TV stations and 39 radio stations, which consists of well-known properties such as The Food Network, HGTV and Global TV. The Globe reports sources indicate individual businesses would be considered for sale.
With broadcast revenues declining, sources say the Shaw family—which owns both Shaw and Corus—are looking to put both voting and non-voting Corus stock for sale, which means the entire company could be up for grabs.
With just four companies controlling TV and radio stations in Canada—Rogers, Bell, Quebecor, Shaw—the Globe reports any complete sale to incumbents would face scrutiny from regulators and the Competition Bureau. Back in May, the sale of two Corus-owned French speciality channels to Bell Media was blocked by the Commissioner of Competition.
Analysts believe Shaw could more than double its existing customer base of 1.3 million wireless subscribers over the next decade, if an aggressive expansion strategy is implemented. But with wireless expansion being capital intensive and faster 5G networks on the horizon, hoards of cash is required for any rollout.
“Wireless and telecom is a game of giants, so the last thing you want is a balance sheet that
gives any doubt about your ability to finance what needs to be built,” said an unnamed executive
familiar with Shaw, speaking with the Globe.