BCE and funds to pay C$1.1 billion for Q9 Networks

TORONTO Sat Jun 2, 2012 8:13am EDT

President and Chief Executive of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc George Cope looks on during the annual general shareholders meeting at the Congress Center in Quebec City May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

President and Chief Executive of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc George Cope looks on during the annual general shareholders meeting at the Congress Center in Quebec City May 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mathieu Belanger

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's biggest telecommunications company, BCE Inc (BCE.TO), has joined with a group of private equity fund managers to buy data center company Q9 Networks Inc for C$1.1 billion ($1.06 billion), BCE said on Saturday.

Toronto-based Q9 is one of Canada's largest outsourced data centre operators and will be run as an independent company under current management after the deal closes, BCE said.

Under the terms of the deal, BCE will pay C$180 million and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Equity Partners LLC and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC will contribute C$420 million of the equity funding.

Newly-committed debt financing from Q9 will also help fund the purchase, which is expected to close before the end of 2012.

BCE has spent heavily to acquire assets, including CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster. It is in the process of buying Astral Media Inc ACMa.TO, a major content supplier for BCE's television services, which it is expanding to smartphones and tablet computers on its wireless network.

Q9 has 11 data centers and offers co-location, bandwidth, dedicated servers, firewalls, load balancing, virtual private networking (VPN) and back-up/restore capabilities to protect and manage customer data remotely.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) are providing debt financing. BMO Capital Markets and TD Securities served as financial advisors to Q9. Barclays, Evercore Partners, and RBC Capital Markets are serving as financial advisors to the investor group.

The news was first reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper, which said BCE's rivals Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) and Telus Corp (T.TO) had also considered buying Q9.

($1 = 1.0410 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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