Wind Mobile CEO to step down; Orascom to gain control

Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:04pm EST
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Anthony Lacavera, founder of Canada's upstart Wind Mobile, plans to step down as chief executive as part of a deal that will give Egypt's Orascom Telecom control of the carrier, a newcomer to a market long dominated by three companies.

Lacavera, who plans to focus on a new investment initiative called Globalive Capital, will serve in a non-operational capacity as Wind's honorary chair after the deal closes later this year, the companies said on Friday.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Following the close of the deal later this year, Orascom will own a majority voting and economic interest in Wind, the companies said. The deal is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including regulatory approval for the conversion of Orascom's non-voting shares into voting shares.

Wind, with a subscriber base that has grown by almost 50 percent over the last 12 months, just completed its strongest quarter ever, said Lacavera in an interview.

Lacavera, 38, founded Wind in 2008, and with financing from Orascom, built it into Canada's fourth-largest wireless carrier with some 600,000 subscribers. Russia's VimpelCom Ltd now owns a majority interest in Orascom.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished with Wind bringing real competition to the Canadian wireless space," said Lacavera in an interview, adding that he will still maintain an economic stake in Wind.

Despite the growth of Wind and other newcomers, the Canadian market is still dominated by the big three players: Rogers Communications, BCE's Bell Canada and Telus. Each of them has more than 7 million wireless customers.   Continued...