Accelero Capital to acquire Allstream

May 24, 2013, 08:15 ET from Accelero Capital

TORONTO, May 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Accelero Capital Holdings S.ά r.l. Group ("Accelero") today announced it has signed a binding agreement with Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (TSX: MBT) to acquire the Allstream business ("Allstream" or the "Company") in a transaction that values Allstream at $520 million, subject to certain customary adjustments, including assumed debt obligations and normalized working capital, as well as certain pension related obligations. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2013, subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

Allstream is an enterprise-focused communications solutions provider in Canada. The Company has approximately 30,000 route kilometers of fibre network coverage across Canada, serving more than 50,000 businesses. Allstream is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and employs over 2,000 personnel. Accelero is an investment and management group focused on telecommunication, digital media and technology. Accelero's team has an unparalleled track record in strategic, operational and financial management in Canada and around the globe. Naguib Sawiris, Accelero's Non-Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, is a renowned telecom entrepreneur who has overseen more than $1 billion of investment in the Canadian telecommunications market, contributing to the emergence of independent wireless competition in Canada.

Under Accelero's ownership, Allstream expects to strengthen its position as a leading independent Canadian telecommunications solutions provider to the enterprise market, and continue to provide high quality products and services. Accelero will work with Allstream's senior management team to accelerate the Company's ambitious business plan by providing access to new capital, talent and opportunities. This plan includes a commitment to significant ongoing investment in Allstream as part of its vision to build on and accelerate its momentum in the Canadian telecommunications market. Allstream's head office will remain in Toronto.

Naguib Sawiris commented: "This investment reflects Accelero's long-term commitment to the Canadian telecommunications market, and our belief in the opportunity that exists to provide capital to enhance the competitive landscape in Canada. Allstream is the leading competitor to the incumbents in the Canadian enterprise market, and a fast-growing player in the IP space with an advanced coast-to-coast fiber network."

Ossama Bessada, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Accelero, said: "Allstream fits within Accelero's strategy to invest in attractive companies where our capital as well as our strategic operational support can create an opportunity for value creation. We are committed to working closely with current management to invest in the business and drive enhanced competition in the Canadian telecommunications marketplace through innovation and superior customer service in the future."

Commenting on the acquisition, Dean Prevost, President of Allstream, said, "We are delighted to work with Accelero to realize Allstream's full potential and deliver on our core mission to provide world-class products and services to Canada's business community. I am confident that with Accelero as a strategic shareholder, and with the benefits of being a totally focused and privately held company, Allstream can build on this momentum for the benefit of our customers, employees and the competitiveness of the Canadian telecom sector."

Transaction Details

In connection with the transaction, and subject to receipt of all necessary approvals, MTS has agreed to retain the pension obligations, and related pension plan assets, in respect of retirees and other former employees of Allstream under Allstream's current defined benefit pension plans. Allstream will retain such plans in respect of current employees. MTS has also agreed to reimburse Allstream for the solvency funding payments that may become payable in respect of employees of Allstream as they relate to pre-closing service.

The transaction is subject to approvals under the Investment Canada Act and by the Competition Bureau.

Advisors and Legal Counsel

BMO Capital Markets is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Torys LLP is legal counsel to Accelero.

About Accelero Capital

Accelero is an investment and management group focused on telecommunication, digital media and technology. Accelero's team has an unparalleled track record in strategic, operational and financial management. Accelero was established by former Orascom Telecom, Wind Telecom and VimpelCom executives: Ossama Bessada, former CEO of Wind Italy and former Head of Europe and North America Business Unit of VimpelCom; Khaled Bichara, former President and Chief Operating Officer of VimpelCom and former Group Chief Executive Officer of Orascom Telecom and Wind Telecom; and Aldo Mareuse, former Group Chief Financial Officer of Orascom Telecom and Wind Telecom. Accelero is backed by Naguib Sawiris, a renowned global telecom entrepreneur. The Accelero team leverages its expertise and sector know-how to identify high-growth assets and assets with turnaround potential.

SOURCE Accelero Capital