UPDATE 1-Verizon makes bid for Wind to get Canada market foothold

Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:10pm EDT
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* Initial offer for Wind in $600 mln-$800 mln range -source

* Startups have struggled to compete with dominant players

* Upcoming 700 MHz auction key to market as data booms

By Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha

TORONTO, June 26 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has offered to buy Canadian telecommunications startup Wind Mobile and is also in talks with rival startup Mobilicity as it makes proposals that could create a viable competitor to the three wireless operators that now dominate the Canadian market.

One source familiar with the matter said Verizon presented a tentative offer of $600 million to $800 million for Wind Mobile last week, with final pricing depending on its due diligence.

The U.S. telecom giant has also approached rival startup Mobilicity and may be interested in acquiring that struggling wireless player as well, a second source said.

Stocks of Canada's three big telecoms players tumbled on the Toronto Stock Exchange as the market digested what could be a game-changing development in what has been a cozy domestic market.

Telus Corp fell 7.8 percent to C$30.75, Rogers Communications lost 9 percent to C$41.77, and BCE Inc was down 4.1 percent at C$41.54.   Continued...