Bell Canada’s (BCE’s) planned takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) came a step closer yesterday when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved Bell’s acquisition of MTS’ TV broadcasting licences, which was the sole portion of the deal under scrutiny by the regulator. The deal now awaits approval by the Competition Bureau and the Ministry of Innovation, Science & Economic Development. Bell’s CEO George Cope said of the news in a statement: ‘We continue to make progress toward uniting Bell and MTS as we work with federal regulators to complete the remaining transaction approvals.’ The two parties expect to complete the takeover in early 2017.
In early May 2016 BCE agreed to acquire 100% of provincial full-service telco MTS in a transaction valued at around CAD3.9 billion (USD3.1 billion) including debt, whilst as part of measures to gain regulatory approval for the deal BCE also agreed to offload one-third of MTS’ post-paid wireless customers to rival nationwide operator Telus. Bell also pledged to invest CAD1 billion over five years after the transaction closes to expand high speed fibre and 4G LTE networks and services in rural and urban locations across Manitoba.