Anthony Lacavera asks regulators to block Québecor’s Freedom Mobile acquisition

Lacavera's Globalive offered to buy Freedom Mobile for $3.75 billion

Anthony Lacavera has written to regulatory bodies to reject the sale of Freedom Mobile to Québecor in his latest act of protest.

The chairman of Globalive said Rogers “consistently refused to engage” with the company and their $3.75 billion offer to buy Freedom Mobile, The Globe and Mail reports. Globalive’s offer is worth $900 million more than Québecor’s $2.85 billion purchase.

Rogers announced its decision to sell Freedom Mobile earlier this month in a bid to please regulatory bodies who said Rogers shouldn’t be allowed to take over Freedom Mobile as part of its $26 billion merger with Shaw.

Rogers will retain 450,000 customers whose wireless services come bundled with cable and internet.

“We are (and have always been) prepared to acquire Shaw Mobile and to continue to offer bundled services to its 450,000 customers,” Lacavera wrote in the letter addressed to Matthew Boswell, the Commissioner of Competition, and Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development François-Philippe Champagne.

Lacavera told The Globe and Mail that government intervention is needed to ensure the sale benefits Canadians and not the company’s shareholders.

Rogers “will always choose a weaker competitor over a stronger one as this is obviously the best business decision for Rogers,” he wrote.

Lacavera’s investment firm founded Freedom Mobile in 2008. Formerly known as Wind Mobile, Shaw bought the company in 2016 for $1.6 billion and rebranded it. The former founder expressed his interest in buying back the company before it was even on the market. 

The purchase is still a possibility, given the proposal to sell Freedom Mobile to Québecor needs regulatory approval. Minister Champagne said his office would focus on affordability when examining the transaction.

“What is going to be framing our decision is going to make sure that rates are more affordable [and] that we have more competition in Canada that can foster innovation for decades to come,” he said at the Collision conference in Toronto last week.

Rogers needs similar regulatory approval for its takeover of Shaw. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is the only body to approve the merger. The Competition Bureau has sought to block it. The bureau and the two companies have agreed to a meditation process set to take place on July 4th and 5th. The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development also needs to provide approval.

Source: The Globe and Mail