Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) has just announced that BCE Inc. will purchase all of its issued and outstanding common shares in a move that is slated to change the scope of the provinceís mobile industry.
"This transaction will deliver immediate and meaningful value to MTS shareholders, while offering strong benefits to MTS customers and employees, and to the Province of Manitoba," said Jay Forbes, President & CEO of MTS. "A successful national operator like Bell has the scale, reach and financial strength to offer better access to advanced services for more Manitoba consumers and businesses, and to compete and invest in the province's infrastructure in the long term."
Proposed benefits to MTS customers and services include access to innovative consumer and enterprise telecommunications products, and support to the local community. BCE has also stated their intention to invest $1 billion in the next five years to:
- Make Gigabit Fibe Internet, offering average access speeds up to 20 times faster than what MTS customers receive today, available within 12 months of the transaction close,
- Expand the mobile LTE network and make improvements to mobile data speeds that will double customersí average download speeds, and
- Provide access to Fibe TV, North America's most innovative TV platform.
Bellís MTS team will be based in Winnipeg as part of the new Western Operations headquarters for BCE, growing the Bell Western team to 6,900 employees, from MTEís existing 2,700. Bell Media's TV, radio and digital platforms will continue to offer opportunities for local artists and entertainers along with ongoing support for the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the national TSN sports network and TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg. Bell MTS will also maintain the company's sponsorships and community investments in Manitoba, including a shared commitment to United Way and programs for students and new grads. Additionally, BCE will introduce a new Bell Let's Talk Manitoba fund focused on mental health support for aboriginal communities which is slated to be chaired by Manitoban Clara Hughes, the national spokesperson for Bell Let's Talk and a legendary Canadian Olympian who was born and raised in Winnipeg.
BCE Inc. also announced that it will divest one-third of MTSí postpaid wireless subscribers to TELUS Corp. following the completion of Bell's acquisition of the Manitoba provider.
"This transaction with TELUS enhances wireless competition to the benefit of Manitobans while reducing the cost of our acquisition of MTS," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.
The MTS acquisition is set to close at the end of 2016 or early 2017 pending regulatory approvals.