Canada’s Public Mobile under new ownership

Canadian mobile operator Public Mobile has been acquired jointly by Toronto-based investment vehicle Thomvest Seed Capital, and Cartesian Capital, a New York-based private equity firm.

Thomvest is now the company’s controlling shareholder and the two firms’ investment has taken Public Mobile to a cash flow positive position.

“Despite the current uncertainty in the Canadian wireless industry, Public Mobile’s strong performance and rapid growth continue to attract financial backing from blue chip investors. This financing is an enormous vote of confidence in Public Mobile’s business and a significant milestone in our company’s history,” said Alek Krstajic, Public Mobile’s founder and CEO

According to Stefan Clulow, managing director at Thomvest, the investment firm’s strategy is to partner with entrepreneurs to “build companies that transform their industries”.

“Circumstances in the Canadian wireless industry have created a window for Canada’s fourth wireless player to emerge. We are pleased to partner with Cartesian and the Public Mobile team to pursue this opportunity.”

“In the coming months, the Canadian wireless industry will see consolidation, and an important spectrum auction,” added Paul Pizzani, partner at Cartesian. “Public Mobile is well-positioned to grow in scale by pursuing these consolidation opportunities and by bidding for national spectrum in the 700MHz auction.”

Public mobile was one of three small Canadian operators that announced their withdrawal from industry body the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in April this year.The operators claimed the association was biaseds towards the country’s three largest operators. The other two, Wind Mobile and Mobilicity could soon merge, according to reports.

This week, the Canadian government blocked Telus’ application to acquire Mobilicity’s spectrum licences, after Telus agreed to acquire the smaller Canadian operator for $380m in May, pending regulatory approval.

Wind Mobile now wants to open talks to buy Mobilicity, according to CEO Anthony Lacavera. “We are certainly interested in re-opening the discussion with Mobilicity,” he said.

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