Bell to acquire phone distributor and retail giant Glentel for $670 million

Bell has closed the loop in the phone retailer market with an announcement it has purchased Glentel, owner of popular stores Wireless Wave and T-Booth, for $670 million.

Glentel is the largest remaining independent phone retailer in Canada, selling devices from Rogers and Bell and its sub-brands as well as accessories and device insurance. It also operates a series of successful Verizon reseller stores in the U.S. under the names Wireless Zone, Diamond Wireless and BJ’s Clubs.

Bell’s plan to purchase Glentel reportedly fits in with its plan to “accelerate wireless and improve customer service in a competitive wireless marketplace,” a similar strategy it took when it purchased TheSource back in 2009. Unlike that acquisition, it doesn’t appear that Glentel will cease offering Rogers products in its Canadian retail stores. Glentel also operates Target’s in-store mobile kiosks, as well as Costco Mobile and Samsung in-store experiences.

The acquisition also gives Bell its first retail presence in the United States, and has the potential to expand its potential revenue pool into new areas. One of Glentel’s largest but least talked-about divisions is its Business Services division, which operates two-way radio and satellite sales and service for mining, oil & gas, firefighters, ambulances and more. It is also the largest Motorola Solutions partner in Canada.

The deal, which is worth 50% cash and 50% BCE shares, is expected to close by the end of Q1 next year. Glentel has the option of negotiating a better deal, but Bell has the first right of refusal to match it. Should the deal not go through “for competition approval reasons,” Bell will be required to pay a reverse break fee of $33.6 million.