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BCE Inc. Message Board

  • goldinvestmentmanagement goldinvestmentmanagement Aug 12, 2009 12:07 PM Flag

    BCE, Telus shares rise on speculation

    Shares of BCE Inc. (BCE-T 25.44 0.36 1.44%) and Telus Corp. (T-T 33.67 0.48 1.45%) rose Wednesday
    morning after an analyst published a report speculating that the two biggest telecom players in Canada
    would merge within two years.
    “Faced with cyclical and secular pressures on the top-line, we believe that a BCE-Telus merger is
    increasingly likely in the coming year or two as both companies look to cut costs and sustain margins,”
    Jonathan Allen, of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. wrote in a research report.
    The arrival of greater competition in the wireless sector through the launch of three to five new firms
    in the next year should help remove regulatory hurdles for a deal, he said.
    Telus considered making a premium bid for its larger rival two years ago, when BCE put itself in play.
    BCE's efforts at privatization eventually failed.
    Mr. Allen says that the next time the two companies sit down together they should consider a merger
    of equals, that would see Telus shareholders receiving one-third of the new entity and BCE
    shareholders getting two-thirds. This structure would avoid adding debt, he said.
    Both BCE and Telus are seeing their growth squeezed in response to new competition and changing
    consumer habits. The new environment is forcing them to find new ways to cut costs.
    “There is only so much cost cutting that can be achieved individually. The scale benefits from a merger
    of Bell and Telus are substantial,” Mr. Allen wrote.
    A combined company would produce savings of $1.2-billion annually, he estimated.
    Officials from Bell were not immediately available for reaction. Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson
    declined to comment on “rumour and speculation.”
    In morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, shares of BCE rose 25 cents to $25.33 and Telus
    shares climbed 28 cents $33.47.

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