March 10, 2008
— Consortium combines financial strength, wireless management expertise, strong portfolio of existing wireless assets and leading track record of wireless and telecom investing —
TORONTO, March 10, 2008 –Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (“MTS Allstream”), the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”) and The Blackstone Group L.P. (“Blackstone”) announced today that they have formed a consortium to make a deposit and submit an application to bid as a new entrant in the upcoming Advanced Wireless Services (“AWS”) spectrum auction. The consortium made a $340 million deposit in the form of letters of credit to Industry Canada. The auction, which is scheduled to begin on May 27, 2008, is being conducted by Industry Canada. One of the objectives of the auction is to foster greater competition and innovation in the Canadian wireless market. As contemplated, MTS Allstream, CPPIB and Blackstone will each own approximately one-third of the new entity. Ownership and governance of the new entity will comply with Canadian ownership and control rules for the telecommunications sector and the AWS auction rules. It is contemplated that if the consortium is successful in acquiring spectrum licenses, André Tremblay and a team of veteran managers with deep expertise in the wireless telecom industry will manage the new wireless company. Mr. Tremblay was previously the founding CEO of Microcell, operator of the Fido brand wireless service. He and his team have extensive experience launching a competitive new entrant in the Canadian wireless market. Pierre Blouin, Chief Executive Officer, MTS Allstream, said, “We are moving towards the auction with exceptionally strong partners, a clear and disciplined strategy, and a focus on creating long term value for our shareholders. By participating in this group with a minority interest, MTS is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and maintain its current dividend policy.” “A strong new entrant has the potential to bring much-needed innovation to Canada’s wireless telecom sector.” Mr. Blouin added, “If our group is successful, we will have created the opportunity for our Allstream Enterprise division to offer very rich wireless voice and data products to its large business customers across Canada through a preferred wholesale arrangement and without affecting our successful wireless business in Manitoba.” The parties to the consortium do not intend to provide further comment regarding their plans or strategies until such time as they have finalized their discussions and executed definitive agreements. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and CIBC World Markets Inc. are advising MTS Allstream on the formation of the Consortium. Torys LLP and Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP are legal advisors to MTS.
About MTS Allstream MTS Allstream Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., and is one of Canada’s leading national communication solutions providers, delivering innovative products and services through the Enterprise Solutions and Consumer Markets divisions. The Enterprise Solutions division, which operates under the Allstream brand nationally and under the MTS Allstream brand in Manitoba, is a leading competitor in the national business and wholesale markets. This division offers customers a portfolio of solutions tailored to the needs of medium and large businesses looking for success in a world of rapidly evolving technology – IP connectivity, unified communications, IT consulting and security services, and voice and data connectivity services. The Consumer Markets division leads every telecommunications market segment in Manitoba, delivering a full suite of next generation wireless, high-speed Internet and data, digital television and wireline voice services under the MTS brand, as well as small business services in select markets across Canada under the Allstream brand, and security and alarm monitoring services through AAA Alarm Systems Ltd., an affiliate of MTS Allstream which also operates in other western provinces. MTS Allstream’s extensive national broadband fibre optic network spans more than 24,300 kilometres, and provides international connections through strategic alliances and interconnection agreements with other international service providers. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.’s common shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT). For more information, please visit: www.mtsallstream.com.
About The Blackstone Group The Blackstone Group is a leading global alternative asset manager and provider of financial advisory services. Its alternative asset management businesses include the management of corporate private equity funds, real estate opportunity funds, funds of hedge funds, mezzanine funds, senior debt funds, proprietary hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds. The Blackstone Group also provides various financial advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement service. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com.
About the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board The CPP Investment Board invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan to pay current benefits on behalf of 17 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries. In order to build a diversified portfolio of CPP assets, the CPP Investment Board is investing in publicly-traded stocks, private equities, real estate, inflation-linked bonds, infrastructure and fixed income. Based in Toronto, the CPP Investment Board is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm’s length from governments. At December 31, 2007 the CPP Fund totaled $119.4 billion.
For further information contact:
For more information about MTS Allstream, please contact:
Manager Corporate Communications
Vice-President Investor Relations
For more information about the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, please contact:
For more information about The Blackstone Group, please contact:
SVP, Corporate Communications