Canadian quadruple-play operator Shaw Communications has entered into a definitive agreement with Videotron’s parent Quebecor Media to acquire 700MHz and 2500MHz wireless spectrum licences in seven regional markets in Canada for CAD430 million (USD324 million). The Quebec-based multi-service cable/mobile operator is selling 2×5MHz blocks of 700MHz band spectrum in each of British Columbia, Alberta and Southern Ontario, alongside 2500MHz band licences (2×10MHz) in each of Vancouver (British Columbia), Calgary (Alberta), Edmonton (Alberta) and Toronto (Southern Ontario), to Calgary-based cable group Shaw (which includes cellular network operator Freedom Mobile [formerly Wind Mobile]).
Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications, said: ‘We believe this incremental investment in our wireless business, particularly with the addition of the 700MHz spectrum, will materially improve our long-term wireless customer experience, and will further enable our ability to offer converged network solutions.’ The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and all necessary regulatory approvals from the Ministry of Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISED), and under the Competition Act. The transaction has received all required internal approvals at Shaw and Quebecor, and does not require further shareholder approval, with a closing date expected this summer.
Shaw simultaneously announced an agreement to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary ViaWest to GI Partners portfolio company Peak 10 Holding Corporation for approximately CAD2.3 billion. ViaWest provides hybrid ICT solutions including colocation, hosting, cloud computing and security/compliance for North American enterprises. Shaw noted that the price represents a significant return on its original investment in ViaWest of approximately CAD1.3 billion, and the group expects to realise net cash proceeds from the deal of approximately CAD900 million after the repayment of debts. The ViaWest sale is subject to customary conditions including US regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of August 2017.