Verizon bids for Canada's Wind, talks with Mobilicity-sources

TORONTO, June 26 Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:54am EDT

TORONTO, June 26 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has offered to buy Canadian telecommunications startup Wind Mobile and is also in talks with rival startup Mobilicity over a potential deal, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Verizon came forward with a tentative offer for Wind last week with an offer of $600 million to $800 million, with more specific pricing pending due diligence, said one source familiar with the situation.

The offer comes as a subsidiary of European telecoms company Vimpelcom Ltd withdrew its bid to take control of Wind Mobile from its founder and chief executive, Anthony Lacavera, a move that had created uncertainty about the future of the upstart Canadian wireless company.

Verizon has also approached rival Canadian startup Mobilicity and may be interested in acquiring the struggling wireless player, said another source familiar with the matter.

Verizon's entry would create a potentially powerful rival to BCE Inc, Telus Corp and Rogers Communications Inc. The three companies are the dominant players in the Canadian wireless market, where prices have traditionally been higher than in the United States.

The Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources, reported earlier on Wednesday that Verizon had made an opening offer for Wind worth roughly C$700 million ($665.87 million). It also said the company was in talks rival Mobilicity.

Verizon declined to comment on the matter. However, last week Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo publicly confirmed that Verizon was interested in entering the Canadian market.

A Wind spokeswoman and a Mobilicity spokesman both declined to comment.

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