On May 2, 2016, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) announced that it will acquire Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) and form Bell MTS. On Febuary 15, 2017, BCE obtained all regulatory approvals required for the $3.9 billion transaction. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Competition Bureau have approved the acquisition and the arrangement is set to close on March 17, 2017.
George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, has announced that current MTS wireless price plans will be maintain for at least 12 months after the closing of the acquisition.
Over the next five years, there will be a wide range of major infrastructure investments for Manitoba. $1 billion will be put towards improving broadband services and networks across the province. The upgrades include the introduction of Gigabit Fibe Internet, which has access speeds up to 20 times faster than those that are currently available. There will also be continuous broadband wireless coverage along Highway 75 in southern Manitoba, and expansion of networks in northern Manitoba - including along Highway 6 and in several small indigenous communities.
David Leith, Chair of the Board of Directors for MTS said, "The close of this transaction will represent a watershed moment in Manitoba’s business history, delivering over $1 billion of value to shareholders while securing investment and community commitments which are so important to the future of the province. On behalf of the Board I want to recognize the tremendous job Jay Forbes has done at MTS since joining in January 2015. Together with the entire management team, MTS became stronger and more focused to deliver maximum value to customers and to shareholders. The value created through the Bell MTS combination is in no small part due to these significant achievements.”
Jay Forbes, President & CEO said, "This announcement represents the culmination of a successful approach to the regulatory approval process and we look forward to closing the transaction within the timelines we provided at the outset. Our employees should be proud of all that we have accomplished as a stand-alone company, and can look forward with excitement to a bright future as Bell MTS. I want to thank my colleagues at MTS for the dedication and commitment they have shown. They bring tremendous talent and energy to work every day on behalf of our customers. Now, with the creation of Bell MTS, they will have the benefit of scale and significant investment to bring customers the world-class telecommunications services the province of Manitoba needs for the future.”
About MTS: MTS delivers a full suite of information and communications services for Manitobans – Wireless, Internet, TV, Phone Service and Security Systems plus a full suite of Information Solutions, including Unified Cloud and Managed Services. MTS Inc. is owned by Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (TSX: MBT).
About BELL: Canada's largest communications company, Bell provides consumer, business and government customers with a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services from Bell Canada and Bell Aliant. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Bell is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE).