Globalive Capital, a Canadian private equity firm, has allegedly expressed interest in scooping up Freedom Mobile, the cellphone service provider subsidiary of Shaw Communications, for C$3.75 billion in an all-cash deal, reported the Globe and Mail.
Globalive’s founder Anthony Lacavera also founded Wind Mobile, which was rebranded to Freedom Mobile in 2016.
An unnamed source told the Globe that Globalive would acquire Freedom Mobile’s wireless licenses along with all of its customers and network infrastructure in the deal. Freedom Mobile has over two million subscribers across Ontario, B.C., and Alberta.
Rogers is currently in the process of obtaining regulatory approval for its acquisition of Shaw, worth C$26 billion. Freedom Mobile remains a sticking point for the deal as experts believe that regulators are unlikely to approve Rogers acquiring Freedom’s wireless spectrum licenses.
François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said in a statement earlier this month that “the wholesale transfer of Shaw’s wireless licenses to Rogers is fundamentally incompatible with our government’s policies for spectrum and mobile service competition.”
The deal is being reviewed by Canada’s Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).
Quebecor, which owns Videotron, has also expressed interest in acquiring Freedom Mobile.
Whoever picks up Freedom Mobile will have to make significant investments to position the company as a key competitor against Canada’s major carriers. Jeff Fan, a Scotiabank analyst, told the Globe that the purchaser of Freedom Mobile will need to put in $300 million to $1.5 billion to build 5G networks.
But Freedom Mobile’s 5G plans appear to be on hold. Shaw and Freedom Mobile abstained from the 3,500 MHz 5G spectrum auction, and in an email seen by iPhone in Canada in April 2021, the company had told employees that its 5G network has been put on hold indefinitely.