BCE announced today that it will privatize Bell Aliant by acquiring the interest of its affiliate's public minority shareholders.
The transaction "enhances Bell Aliant's ability to invest and serve customers in the Atlantic marketplace from its Halifax headquarters with further development in broadband Internet and TV services, new bundling opportunities, and next generation business services including data hosting and cloud computing," according to the two companies.
"Bell Aliant is a core part of BCE's national communications operations alongside Bell Canada," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada. "Privatizing Bell Aliant enhances our broadband investment strategy and capital markets objectives while delivering great value to the public minority shareholders who have supported Bell Aliant's success."
BCE plans capital investment of $2.1 billion across Atlantic Canada over the next five years to enable the continued rollout of broadband wireline and wireless for consumers and business users.
"In line with our investment-focused strategic imperatives, BCE looks forward to continuing network and service innovation to benefit consumers and business customers across Bell Aliant's territory," Cope added.
BCE will also continue to invest in broadband services for consumers and business customers in rural areas of Ontario and Québec currently managed by Bell Aliant.
"This transaction is a next logical step for Bell Aliant," said Edward Reevey, lead independent director of Bell Aliant. "A Special Committee of independent directors of Bell Aliant has conducted a thorough review of the offer and has unanimously concluded that the transaction provides attractive value to Bell Aliant's public minority shareholders, while also providing them with an opportunity to participate in the future growth of BCE."
Bell Aliant's FibreOPTM broadband fibre-to-the-home network is expected to reach one million premises across the Bell Aliant territory by the end of the year.
"I am proud of what the team at Bell Aliant has accomplished over the last several years," added Karen Sheriff, President and CEO of Bell Aliant. "Solid execution has positioned Bell Aliant to deliver even more value to our customers and shareholders through this transaction."
BCE also today announced that the next phase of its national buildout of mobile 4G LTE service will be in Atlantic Canada, with more than 100 additional small towns and rural locations across the region to benefit from enhanced mobile service by the end of 2015.
"As a result of the privatization, Bell Aliant will be able to combine its product and service strength, and cost management skills, with the world class communications networks and operations of Bell Canada, delivering even more value to our customers," Sheriff continued. "Furthermore, Bell Aliant's heritage of delivering value to its customers through technological innovation and strong local presence will be further strengthened by the full backing of BCE."
BCE expects the privatization transaction to be completed by November 30.