Competition Bureau approves sale of Glentel to Bell, which will sell 50% to Rogers

OTTAWA – Mobile phone retailer Glentel Inc., operator of mall fixtures like WirelessWave and Tbooth Wireless kiosks, will be sold to BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) for $594 million after Competition Bureau approval of a takeover that faced some turbulance last year.

The announcement Tuesday means that Bell will be allowed to sell a 50 per cent stake in the wireless phone retailer to Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) for half the overall purchase price.

Last year, the two telecom companies clashed over the acquisition of Glentel, with Rogers at one point seeking a court injunction blocking the sale, claiming that Glentel was breaking a requirement of their supply agreement.

Glentel (TSX:GLN) countered that it was up to its board of directors, not a supplier to decide on the takeover, and Rogers eventually withdrew its challenge.

The Burnaby, B.C.,-based retailer sells wireless products and services from a variety of carriers including Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Chatr, Fido, SaskTel and Virgin Mobile.

Its 500 retail locations are primarily at malls, Costco stores and business centres under the banners WirelessWave, Wave Sans Fil, TBooth Wireless and Wireless Etc.

Glentel also operates 735 locations in the U.S. and 147 in Australia and the Philippines.

A consent agreement between the Competition Tribunal and the telecom companies says “administrative firewalls” will be established to prevent sharing competitively sensitive information, including subscriber information, pricing and promotional offers.

“These firewalls are necessary to ensure that the transaction does not provide BCE and Rogers with the ability to share confidential information which could result in consumers paying higher prices for wireless products and services,” the Competition Bureau said in its announcement.