Rogers boosts stake in wireless division


Toronto, - Rogers Communications Inc., the holding company that owns cable TV, Internet, media and video retailing businesses, has reached a deal to increase its stake in its Rogers Wireless Communications subsidiary.

Last year, Rogers Communications failed to buy out other public shareholders of the mobile phone company after an independent committee ruled the offering price was too low.

On Thursday, Rogers Communications said it has reached an agreement that will increase its stake in Rogers Wireless to 55 per cent of common shares, including both class A multiple-voting shares and class B restricted voting shares.

Under the agreement with the five unidentified institutional investors, Rogers Communications will exchange 4.3 million class B shares in the parent company for 4.9 million class B shares of Rogers Wireless.

As a result, the institutional investors will gain a greater stake in the parent company, headed by chief executive Ted Rogers, who attempted last year to take the money-losing Rogers Wireless private.

"The Rogers Wireless shares are being purchased for investment purposes. Rogers Communications has no current intention of acquiring ownership of or control or direction over any additional shares of Rogers Wireless," Rogers Communications said in a release.

Rogers Communications currently owns 11.4 million class B shares of Rogers Wireless -- about 22 per cent of the class. That will increase to 16.3 million class B shares, or 31.9 per cent of the class, if the deal gets the necessary approvals.

Rogers Communications class B shares (TSE: RCI.B) fell 12 cents to $23.58 at the Toronto Stock Exchange after the announcement Thursday morning. Rogers Wireless class B shares (TSE: RCM.B) fell nine cents to $19.57.

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