Orascom increases stake in Canada’s Wind Mobile

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom has increased its stake in Canada’s Wind Mobile to 99.3% after buying shares owned by Anthony Lacavera, the operator’s founder, chairman and chief executive.

The financial details were not disclosed but Orascom (Cairo, Egypt) said the transaction includes a cash consideration and continuing economic participation in Wind Mobile (Toronto, Canada) for AAL Corp, the holding company controlled by Lacavera.

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom has increased its stake in Canada’s Wind Mobile to 99.3% after buying shares owned by Anthony Lacavera, the operator’s founder, chairman and chief executive.

The financial details were not disclosed but Orascom (Cairo, Egypt) said the transaction includes a cash consideration and continuing economic participation in Wind Mobile (Toronto, Canada) for AAL Corp, the holding company controlled by Lacavera.

Orascom will also transfer the fixed-line assets of Globalive Wireless Management Corp, Wind Mobile’s holding company, to AAL Corp, as well as the Globalive name and trademark.

Certain conditions need to be satisfied, however, before the transaction can be completed, including regulatory approval of the conversion of Orascom’s non-voting shares into voting shares.

Currently, Orascom holds a 65.1% economic interest and a 32% voting interest; following approval, its voting interest would also be 65.1% in advance of the AAL Corp transaction.

Since acquiring spectrum and launching services in 2008, Wind Mobile has become Canada’s fourth-biggest mobile-phone operator, with 600,000 customers, although it still lags the big three of Rogers (Toronto, Canada), Telus (Burnaby, Canada) and Bell Canada (Montreal, Canada) by some distance.

Rogers had 9.4 million customers at the end of September 2012, while Telus and Bell Canada each had 7.6 million.

According to Orascom’s statement, Lacavera will operate as chairman and chief executive of Wind Mobile until the transaction is closed, after which he will continue to hold a non-operational role of honorary chair.

Lacavera plans to launch a new initiative called Globalive Capital in 2013.

“My vision was to ignite change across the wireless landscape in Canada, bringing more competition, better prices and superior service to Canadians,” he said. “Now that I am confident Wind Mobile is on a course for long-term success, I can focus on launching Globalive Capital to make targeted investments in companies … and continue to support innovation through new and emerging entrepreneurs.”

Ahmed Abou Doma paid tribute to Lacavera for making Wind Mobile “the official alternative to the ‘Big Three’ incumbents in Canada”.