BCE takes Bell Aliant private

BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), formerly known as Bell Canada Enterprises, says it has completed the privatization of Bell Aliant and has fully integrated the Atlantic Canada affiliate into its operations.

BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), formerly known as Bell Canada Enterprises, says it has completed the privatization of Bell Aliant and has fully integrated the Atlantic Canada affiliate into its operations.

This concludes the transaction announced on July 23, 2014, when BCE said it would privatize Bell Aliant by acquiring the interest of public minority shareholders for approximately CAN$3.95 billion. Accordingly, BCE acquired the remaining 12,012,892 Bell Aliant common shares through a compulsory acquisition effective October 31, 2014 and now owns 100% of Bell Aliant common shares.

BCE also announced that it has committed $2.1 billion in capital investment for fiber-optic broadband and mobile network expansion across all four Atlantic Provinces over the next five years. Halifax-based Bell Aliant provides customers in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island with TV, Internet, home phone, and business services, and is building a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to reach 600,000 subscribers (see the video "Bell Aliant and FTTH in Canada" or read "Planning leads to FTTXcellence").

"BCE warmly welcomes Atlantic Canada's leading communications company to our national team. Together, we'll accelerate our strategy of customer-focused broadband network and service investment that has transformed the Bell brand," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. "BCE is focused on delivering results for our customers, shareholders and team, and that's what this transaction is all about. Today, Bell just got better.

"In a competitive marketplace, BCE is committed to delivering the latest communications innovations to our customers as quickly, widely and efficiently as possible. Bringing Bell Aliant fully into the national BCE organization enhances our broadband growth and leadership strategy by aligning network capital investments, broadening our national service capabilities, and increasing our operational efficiency," Cope added.

BCE has made some executive changes as a result of the transaction. Dan McKeen has been named to the newly created positions of vice chair, Bell Aliant and senior vice president, residential services, Bell Aliant. Formerly Bell Aliant's senior vice president, customer solutions in charge of marketing, sales and customer contact centers, McKeen will lead Bell's Atlantic presence from the Halifax headquarters of Bell Aliant.

As announced on October 14, Glen LeBlanc, formerly chief financial officer of Bell Aliant, will become CFO of BCE and Bell Canada when BCE's current chief financial officer Siim Vanaselja retires in the second quarter of 2015. Until then, LeBlanc will serve as BCE's senior vice president, finance.

The board of directors of BCE also appointed Robert Dexter, QC, ex-director of Bell Aliant as a director of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.

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