Mobilicity reportedly can’t find a buyer

Ian Hardy

May 9, 2013 7:11 am

mobilicityplanswall
Mobilicity is currently in the process of restructuring their business, plus desperately seeking a buyer to keep them alive. It was revealed a few weeks ago that rival carrier TELUS may be interested in snatching up their subscriber base and valuable spectrum, but nothing to-date has been finalized.

According to the Globe and Mail, new court documents about Mobilicity have them heavily bleeding money and scurrying to close a deal. Mobilicity has apparently embarked on “extensive marketing efforts” that has seen them reach out to “more than 30” potential buyers that range from competing carriers (Big 3 and other new entrant WIND Mobile) to international carriers, and U.S. private-equity firms, but nobody is biting.

William Aziz, President of Blue Tree Advisors II Inc., has been appointed as Mobilicity’s chief restructuring officer, and he states that “given its current financial circumstances, the Mobilicity Group needs to either reach agreement with a willing buyer for its business who can finance the operations going forward, or it needs to restructure its capital and secure additional funding in order to advance its business.” This is not too shocking and there’s a scheduled meeting with the debt holders May 21st that will decide its restructuring plan and direction.

Probably the most revealing is a peek into their financials. Apparently “for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the cost of maintaining the Mobilicity Group’s network, paying distributors and other service partners exceeded revenue and financing proceeds by approximately $12-million prior to financing costs, or $30-million in total.”

Mobilicity has been offering their low-cost wireless service to Canadians in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary since 2010. The company is currently valued between $350 – $400 million.

Source: Globe

  • hoo dat

    They’ve been dangling the carrot for the last 18 months to 2 years according to Bay Street. Something must be very, very wrong at an organisational level for them not to have been sold by now. Even by their own admission Mobilicity as it stands today will not survive and at best will emerge from this a different company. Telus doesn’t give a damn about Mobi’s subs or retail network, they’re only interested in the spectrum and they seem to be the only potential suitor to emerge for the 30 approached so it doesn’t take a genius to put 2+2 together and see this is the end. Being stuck at only 250K subs doesn’t help, either, especially when they keep giving plans away.

    *EDIT*

    I just watched a video dated June 8, 2012 (BNN) where Bitove boasts about having 250K subs and having raised $250M for the spectrum auction. So they’ve been at least stagnant in subs for a full year, their churn must be as awful as predicted, and where did this $250M go?

    • Sam

      I will buy it

    • hoo dat

      From the Globe and Mail:

      Mobilicity by the numbers

      250,000 – number of subscribers.

      $6-million – minimum monthly revenue.

      $70.19-million – 2012 revenues, up from $51.66-million in 2011.

      $387.46-million – total assets as of end of 2012.

      $418.01-million – liabilities.

      $74.3-million – annual operating loss.

      $105.1-million – “Total comprehensive loss for the year,” compared to $133.4-million for 2011.

  • Mobile Nerdy

    bhahahahahaah/….. good!!! They fired the only dude that had balls in that company, now you will burn and fail…enjoy

    • Arm

      How’s your boyfriend Steve doing?

    • Mobile Nerdy

      Don’t know who Steve is, but I am referring to Dobbin…you tard

  • eszklar

    Being a Mobilicity customer since 2010, I’m just waiting for the hammer to fall. All my phones are pentaband unlocked anyways so I’ll move on if/when the hammer does come down.

    • Arm

      I am in the same boat, but with Wind. I am keeping my eye on what’s happening, but am ready to jump, if needed. My phone is penta, and unlocked as well.

  • graze81

    No one wants to buy them eh. I wonder if that says 1)How badly they were managed 2) How awful is the wireless industry in Canada, that NO ONE wants to do business.

    • Arm

      Every new entrant to the Canadian market ends up being bought by Robelus. This has been happening since the days of Clearnet over a decade ago (2000).

      Yes, that’s how impossible it is to break up the protected oligopoly here in Canada. Robelus is very cozy, and their lobbyists are working overtime.

      It all started with a free spectrum.

  • sicsicpuppy

    Can’t find a buyer ………at the right price

  • Alex

    I think there are people interested in Mobilicity but the reality is that a company in dire financial straits has no leverage to negotiate. The serious buyers would likely wait for a desperate fire sale or the bankruptcy proceedings when they can swoop in and pick the carcass of the more valuable parts. If Mobi’s situation is as bad as it seems from this article, it may be just a matter of time before we see Public Mobile and then Wind heading down the same path.

  • Lukeiphone

    You have a buyer mobi. I won’t offer you $350 Million, but $350 bucks. Let me know, thanks!

    • Arm

      You’re going to run a company from your momma’s basement?

      Interesting.

  • Croc Ography

    If they go under it will be great for Wind!

    • Arm

      Well, Wind will most likely be going under as well, just a little bit later.

      Expect Wind’s prices to rise slightly, once Mobilicity disappears.

    • hyperhyper

      It will be telling to see how Wind would respond to a mobi blowout. If they raise their prices substantially, they will be labelled greedy like Robelus but if they only raise them slightly (or not at all), it can be disguised as something they have to do in order for them to be financially stable. I don’t know if it would be true or not since I don’t have access to all their financials but they could definitely spin it that way.

      My biggest fear is that we are back to having the Big 3 as our only choices. That was a f*cking nightmare era for me and I really hope we are not forced to go back there. I think EA Games would be in for some tough competition for Worst Company of the year if Americans had to deal with Rogers.

  • Mitchell Curtis

    Wonder if a merger between them and Wind Mobile would be a good fit. Help create a 4th big player in Canada to give the big 3 a bit of a kick in the pants.

    • JK

      I wish for the day where actual competition exists in the wireless industry in Canada. That’s what I hope but oh well, been hoping for competition for a while now. One day!

  • Sweet

    It’s best to wait. If Mobi goes under, then other carriers will offer deals to lure ex-mobi customers.

  • Louis

    The Federal Government should do something to help the new entrants to survive. In order to keep the Canadian wireless industry competitive, they have to stay. Otherwise we’ll be back to the old days that paying huge amount of cellular phone bills again. If the present Federal Government not doing anything ASAP, we should elect another party that could save Canadians from paying ridiculously high phoe bills!

    • CADDMan71

      What we don’t need is a government subsidizing private corporations that clearly couldn’t compete from the very beginning. Anyone, such as myself, who looked at both Mobilicity AND Wind’s massive national plans from the very beginning knew that both were a losing proposition. Public Mobile appears to me to be the most healthy right now having used older equipment to provide reliable voice and text service (and albeit limited 3G data) in a smaller area that could be properly managed at a much lower cost compared to the other 2 new carriers (Videotron can be lumped in with Public as well, but they were a more established company before going cellular whereas the others were started from scratch).

      I’ve said since 2009 when Wind and Mobilicity first started that the business case they should study is that of WestJet. In 1996 they entered an industry dominated by Air Canada, so why initially compete head-to-head nationally? They first started small in just BC and Alberta and slowly expanded to eastern Canada when economics dictated, not emotion. Because they started small they were able to control spending and concentrate on building customer reputation. Now, 17 years later, they’re a major player in the airline industry. To bad for Mobilicity and Wind that they were too arrogant to see this as the way to go.

  • skullan

    This will probably go down like:

    1. We can’t compete.

    2. Time to sell.

    3. One of the big three wants to buy

    4. Government won’t step in, “to save Canadian jobs.”

    5. People will be migrated either to a child brand.

    6. Spectrum will be horded, the jobs in step 4 will be lost.

  • Apollo

    I have been saying this would happen for a few years now. They have had a flawed business plan from day one. You can’t sell phones out of ethnic food stores and laundrymats. If they had actually established a proper distribution network rather then the variable cost nonsense they came up with they wouldn’t be in this mess today.

    • Ty

      What the hell are you talking about? :-/