Mobilicity won a court order on Wednesday allowing it to pursue a formal sales process – the latest twist in its restructuring saga.
The struggling wireless carrier, legally known as Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings Inc., set a Dec. 9 deadline for qualified buyers to submit a bid. (In order to qualify, potential purchasers must indicate their interest by Dec. 2.)
“The sales process appears reasonable and is approved,” reads the order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
In a sworn affidavit dated Nov. 7, Mobilicity’s chief restructuring officer William Aziz says a “number of parties” have expressed an interest in recent months for “some or all of the assets of the Mobilicity Group.”
Mobilicity, which won court protection from creditors in late September, is assessing its alternatives after the federal government denied Telus Corp.’s second attempt to purchase the small carrier last month.
In his affidavit, Mr. Aziz says Mobilicity continues to have a “dialogue” with Industry Canada about a proposed transaction with an unnamed buyer, which sources say is Telus.
On Friday, Telus chief executive officer Darren Entwistle said in an interview that he respects the government’s decision, but maintains that allowing Telus to buy Mobilicity would be in the public interest because it would save jobs, ensure continuous service for the small carrier’s customers and guarantee the efficient use of its spectrum.
Other than Telus, Wind Mobile has also expressed an ongoing interest in Mobilicity in recent months. But sources say Wind has been unable to match Telus on price.
Telus’s original $380-million offer to buy Mobilicity was blocked in early June as a result of the current prohibition on wireless newcomers transferring spectrum licences to large carriers before 2014. In Mobilicity’s case, that ban expires in February.
U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc., which tabled a $350-million preliminary offer for Mobilicity over the summer, pulled the plug on its Canadian expansion plans in early September.
Even before those respective offers from Telus and Verizon, Mobilicity began its search for a buyer in July, 2012, according to court filings.