Competition Bureau Approves Glentel Sale to Bell and Rogers

by Istvan Fekete on May 8, 2015

Five months ago Bell made public its intention to acquire Glentel, the independent wireless retailer known for its Wireless Wave and T-Booth brands. The proposed amount was $594 million.

Although it seemed to be a simple acquisition, the Bell–Glentel fusion drew the attention of Rogers. The latter ultimately filed an injunction with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on December 17 to prevent the sale. The reason cited: It would give Bell too much control over a retail channel through which Rogers also sells its products.

But things don’t stop here: Several weeks later, Rogers decided to withdraw the injunction and made a proposal to Bell. Under the new deal, the two incumbents would join forces and acquire 50% each of the Canadian retail arm of Glentel.

This sounded better than the injunction, and Bell apparently agreed to the deal. However, this new proposal was subject to approval from the regulatory board, which waited until earlier this week to issue a ruling.

The Competition Bureau announced that it has reached an agreement between all parties that will “preserve competition in the wireless telecommunications sector.” The Bureau was concerned that the acquisition by Bell of wireless retailer Glentel Inc. and the subsequent sale of 50% of Glentel to Rogers would likely result in a substantial lessening of competition in the wireless sector.

“Telecommunications products and services are very important for Canadian consumers. The Bureau is confident that the agreement reached today will ensure that there will not be significant anti-competitive effects for Canadian consumers arising from BCE and Rogers’ acquisition of GLENTEL. We are pleased that BCE and Rogers chose to work with the Bureau to find a solution that addresses the Bureau’s concerns,” said Jeanne Pratt, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Mergers and Monopolistic Practices.

There is a catch though: Under the consent agreement filed on May 5 with the Competition Tribunal, administrative firewalls will be put in place between BCE, Rogers, and GLENTEL to prevent the sharing of competitively sensitive information, including subscriber information, pricing, and promotional offers.

Glentel has more than 490 retail locations in Canada and sells device plans from multiple carriers.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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