updated 11:39 am EDT, Thu June 27, 2013
Verizon also allegedly in talks to buy Mobilicity
Verizon has made an offer to acquire Wind Mobile and is apparently in talks to buy a second Canadian mobile carrier, according to a report. The offer for Wind Mobile, hinted at earlier this month, is said to be worth at least $600 million, though talks between Verizon and both Wind and Mobilicity are still ongoing, and being held in secret.
Sources of Reuters claim that the Wind proposal could possibly reach as high as $800 million, though the final price would be determined after due diligence has been performed. Another source made the claim for the Mobilicity acquisition, but did not suggest any potential pricing.
If agreed upon by the carriers, Verizon will have to gain permission from Canadian regulators before completing either purchase. Earlier this month, the Canadian government prevented Telus from buying Mobilicity for 380 million Canadian dollars ($362 million), stopping a transfer of spectrum from the start-up to the larger Canadian carrier. An attempt be Verizon to buy Mobilicity could be more attractive, due to the potential for increased competition between carriers.
Verizon has an interest in taking on one of the two networks, aside from re-entering the Canadian market, in that it could take part in a spectrum auction due to start early next year. If Verizon is able to buy one of the networks and can secure one of the blocks in the 700MHz range that is close to ranges it uses in the US for its own networks, it could potentially buy larger quantities of smartphones and gain a larger discount per device.
Mobilicity and Wind were created from a 2008 spectrum auction alongside Public Mobile, but have struggled to compete against the more-established large three carriers. In 2011, Wind was reportedly in talks to acquire Mobilicity, but decided not to pursue further.