Rogers adds subscribers, airwaves with Mobilicity, Shaw deals
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) scooped up a small rival and secured key airwaves through a series of deals on Wednesday that reinforced its position as Canada's largest wireless company, while also helping No. 4 operator Wind Mobile.
Rogers shares rose 2 percent after a court approved its C$465 million ($355 million) bid to buy struggling wireless operator Mobilicity.
Rogers also said it would pay C$100 million to execute an option to buy airwaves from cable and media company Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO: Quote). It had already paid C$250 million to secure the option.
Of the Shaw airwaves, Rogers will keep those in key markets but sell the rest to Wind. It will also sell all the Mobilicity airwaves to Wind.
Wind will pay C$1 each for the two sets, CEO Alek Krstajic said in an interview.
The move supports the Canadian government's goal of assisting smaller players to spur competition, and leaves Wind as the most viable new competitor to Canada's three big players: Rogers, BCE Inc's (BCE.TO: Quote) Bell, and Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote).
Canada had blocked previous Telus takeover offers for Mobilicity on concerns about spectrum transfers. Telus, which was involved in the latest bidding for Mobilicity, declined comment.
Ottawa's concerns over "undue spectrum concentration" eased after recent spectrum auctions, Industry Minister James Moore said, hailing the deals as a win for consumers. Continued...