Bell Canada's MTS deal gets shareholder thumbs-up

Bell Canada's pending acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) overcame a major hurdle this week as MTS shareholders have voted 99.6 percent in favor of the deal.

In May, Bell Canada announced a deal to acquire MTS for $2.5 billion (CAD $3.1 billion).

As part of gaining regulatory approval for the deal, Bell Canada said it would offload one-third of MTS' post-paid wireless customers to Telus, one of its largest competitors.

Following the close of the acquisition, Bell has committed to invest about $800 million (CAD $1 billion) in Manitoba over five years to expand and enhance broadband infrastructure. Specifically, BCE will roll out its Gigabit Fibe Internet service within 12 months.

Bell Canada will rename the Manitoban operations as Bell MTS and will pay for the shares with a combination of 45 percent cash and 55 percent in BCE shares.

Before seeking permission from Canada's three main regulators -- Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada, CRTC, and the Competition Bureau -- Bell Canada will seek court approval next week.

Bell Canada expects the regulatory review process to take until late 2016 or early 2017.

BCE's acquisition comes during a time of transition for MTS. In November, MTS sold off its Allstream business division to Zayo Group for $348 million following a number of unsuccessful efforts to divest the unit.  

For more:
- see the release

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