Rogers wants full control of wireless division

12 Nov 2004

The Canadian telco Rogers Communications is hoping to take full control of its cellular division Rogers Wireless by buying out the remaining public shareholders. The parent company plans to use CAD774 million of its own shares to fund the deal which, if successful, would bring Canada’s largest wireless and cable operators together under one ownership. Rogers Wireless has taken the number one spot in Canada’s mobile market thanks to its recent acquisition of Microcell. The combined Rogers/Microcell had 5.12 million customers at the end of June, while the two other main operators, Bell Mobility and TELUS Mobility, claimed 4.6 million and 3.61 million subscribers respectively.

Rogers Communications, which already owns 89% of the cellular subsidiary, is offering 1.75 of its own class B non-voting shares for each Rogers Wireless share held by the public. It says this equates to just over CAD50 per share and represents a premium of around 16% based on Wednesday’s closing prices. The offer will be mailed to shareholders within ten days and will be open for 35 days. A similar buy-back attempt failed three years ago when shareholders voted to reject the parent company’s offer. The new deal does is structured so that it does not involve a shareholder vote.

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