US hedge fund looks to sell near-19% Telus stake

6 Jun 2012

The Globe & Mail reports that US hedge fund Mason Capital Management has hired Blackstone Group to seek a buyer for its near-19% voting stake in Canadian telecoms group Telus. Mason built up the stake, worth approximately USD2 billion, in a strategy aimed at profiting from blocking Telus’s proposal to introduce a single class of common shares in place of its current dual-share structure of non-voting/voting stock. The proposed one-for-one conversion of non-voting shares into voting shares would dilute the influence of Mason – or the purchaser of its stock – significantly. The newspaper points out that the planned one-for-one swap – if not achieved by Telus in the meantime – is nonetheless set to occur after foreign ownership restrictions on large Canadian telcos are eventually relaxed. However, this is not going to happen any time soon, as confirmed by Industry Minister Christian Paradis who this week said of the matter, ‘We will need to hold public hearings and this is not on the cards for now.’ The dual-class structure is a legacy from Telus’ previous part-ownership by US telco Verizon, as the non-voting shares were issued in 1999 to comply with foreign ownership laws.

Canada, Telus Corp (old), Telus Corporation