UPDATE 1-Vimpelcom sells Wind Canada stake to investment firm

Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:07am EDT
 
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(Adds history of deal, background on Canadian market)

By Shadi Bushra

CAIRO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Global mobile operator Vimpelcom and Egypt's Global Telecom have agreed to sell their stake in Wind Canada for 135 million Canadian dollars ($122.05 million) to a Canadian investment firm, the two companies said on Tuesday.

Vimpelcom, Russia's third-largest mobile operator, and Global Telecom will sell their full debt and interest in Wind to investment group Globalive Capital.

The proceeds of the sale will go to Vimpelcom, in repayment of part of the debt owed to the company, according to a brief statement.

Vimpelcom and Global Telecom, formerly Orascom Telecom, could not be immediately reached for further details.

The deal is at a steep discount to the price Wind paid for airwaves in 2008, suggesting that rival bidders were difficult to come by.

Sources said on Monday Vimpelcom would sell its majority stake the Canadian wireless carrier for around $272 million.

Globalive, a Canadian telecom provider led by entrepreneur Anthony Lacavera, was the face of the business and paid more than C$442 million in 2008 for the airwaves that allowed Wind to launch in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Vimpelcom wrote off the value of its Canadian investment in March. Globalive was initially backed by Egypt's Orascom Telecom before it was sold to Vimpelcom.

Wind Mobile lags far behind the three biggest players - Telus Corp, BCE Inc's Bell, and Rogers Communications Inc - which each have at least 10 times more subscribers. (1 US dollar = 1.1065 Canadian dollar) (Reporting By Shadi Bushra, editing by Louise Heavens)