Columnist image
Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

|Archive

Anthony Lacavera hasn’t given up on his attempt to buy Freedom Mobile, saying mere hours after Quebecor Inc. firmed up its plan to acquire the wireless operator that he’d try to take Freedom off the Montreal-based telco’s hands.

“Yes, we are prepared to buy Freedom from Quebecor if necessary,” Lacavera, the founder and chairman of Globalive Capital Inc., told BNN Bloomberg via email Friday, while questioning whether Quebecor will eventually “flip the assets.”

An independent spokesperson for Globalive earlier told BNN Bloomberg the company’s $3.75-billion offer to buy Freedom Mobile is still on the table, but declined to comment on the status of any discussions with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

A spokesperson for Quebecor didn’t immediately respond to questions relating to Lacavera’s comments.

A representative for Champagne’s office said via email “it would be inappropriate to comment at this time” since the minister is responsible for approving the transfer of spectrum licences.

“Quebecor has shown that it is the best player to create real competition and disrupt the market. Our strong track record combined with Freedom’s solid Canadian footprint will allow us to offer consumers in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario more choice, value, and affordability through discounted multiservice bundles and innovative products,” said Quebecor president and chief executive officer Pierre Karl Péladeau earlier Friday in the press release confirming the definitive agreement for his company to buy Freedom.

That deal is conditional on Rogers Communications Inc. successfully closing its takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.

Lacavera rose to prominence in Canada’s telecom industry by founding and launching Wind Mobile, which was later sold to Shaw in 2016 and rebranded as Freedom. Now, he has been angling to scoop up Freedom as Shaw and Rogers look for a path to secure the outstanding regulatory approvals that are necessary to close their $20-billion deal. Currently, Rogers and Shaw are awaiting the go-ahead from Champagne’s office, as well as the Competition Bureau, which is opposing the takeover. A hearing on the matter before the Competition Tribunal is scheduled to begin in September.

Before Rogers and Shaw agreed to sell Freedom to Quebecor, Lacavera said he had high-level talks with Rogers about buying Freedom, and that he had some U.S. private equity firms and other investors backing his plan. He also announced in May that Globalive had reached a network and spectrum sharing agreement with Telus Corp. to bolster his attempt to operate a viable fourth national wireless operator if Globalive acquires Freedom.

“All regional cable companies including Quebecor cannot afford to compete in wireless outside their respective home cable footprints as they cannot afford a retaliatory strike from the big three (Rogers, Telus, and BCE Inc.) in their legacy cable footprint where they risk losing high-value bundle customers,” Lacavera added in his email.

BNN Bloomberg is a division of Bell Media, which is owned by BCE