Bell Canada to acquire Partners Group-owned Axia NetMedia

BCE Inc (Bell Canada) (TSX, NYSE: BCE) has agreed to acquire Axia NetMedia Corp, a Calgary-based services provider on fibre communications infrastructure and the operator of Alberta SuperNet. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The seller is European private equity firm Partners Group, which acquired Axia in 2016 in a $272 million take-private deal. According to a report by the Canadian Press, Partners Group will divest Axia’s Canadian assets but remain invested in the company’s affiliate in France.

BCE, a Canadian telecommunications business, said the transaction will allow it to assume all operations of Alberta SuperNet, a government-led initiative providing broadband network connectivity to urban and rural communities in the province.

The acquisition is expected to close this fall.

PRESS RELEASE

Bell awarded SuperNet contract by the Government of Alberta

Bell to assume all operations of Alberta’s SuperNet broadband network serving commercial and government customers throughout the province

Acquisition of Axia NetMedia ensures service continuity for Albertans who rely on SuperNet

EDMONTON, July 3, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – BCE Inc. (Bell) (TSX: BCE) (NYSE: BCE) today announced it has been awarded a multi-year contract to operate Alberta SuperNet, the government-led initiative providing broadband network connectivity to schools, hospitals, libraries, municipal and indigenous offices, government facilities, enterprise business customers and Internet service providers in 429 urban and rural communities throughout the province.

Bell currently owns and operates the SuperNet network assets serving 27 urban centres in Alberta, and will now also operate the network elements connecting a total of 402 communities in rural Alberta.

“As Canada’s broadband communications leader and a longstanding partner in the SuperNet initiative, Bell is ready to provide SuperNet users throughout Alberta with world-class broadband connections,” said Tom Little, President of Bell Business Markets. “We thank the government for their continued confidence in Bell, and look forward to delivering the next generation of SuperNet connectivity to support Alberta’s continued economic growth and prosperity.”

Bell also today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Axia NetMedia Corporation, the Calgary-based operator of SuperNet’s rural assets. The acquisition ensures the continuation of SuperNet services for rural customers while enhancing connectivity opportunities for Alberta and national enterprise customers doing business throughout the province. Terms of the transaction, expected to be complete by this fall, will not be disclosed.

“We look forward to welcoming the Axia team to Bell as we integrate our operations to deliver the highest levels of service to Alberta’s SuperNet users,” said Dan McKeen, Bell’s Vice Chair, Western Canada. “Combining the scale and resources of Bell with the proven operational strengths of both companies will support the delivery of seamless broadband service for all SuperNet users today and into the future.”

In operation since 2005, SuperNet was built to ensure broadband network connectivity for Alberta public organizations and business users. The network is also leveraged by hundreds of private service providers to deliver Internet and other services directly to customers throughout the province.

SuperNet consists of more than 13,000 kilometres of fibre and 2,000 kilometres of high-speed wireless links, connecting more than 3,300 government services and public institutions including over 1,950 learning centres, 650 government locations, 300 healthcare facilities, 300 libraries and 90 Alberta municipalities, with more schools being built and connected each year. Currently, 43 First Nations in the Treaty 6, 7 and 8 regions and 8 Métis settlements have SuperNet connectivity within or adjacent to their communities.

About Bell
Founded in 1880, Bell is the country’s oldest and largest telecommunications provider and continues to lead the way in Canadian communications with a strategy of unparalleled investment in broadband network and service innovation.

Bell invests more than $4 billion each year in Canada’s next-generation network infrastructure, delivering world-class fibre connections to the home and business, Canada’s Best National Mobile Network, and the country’s largest network of 28 state-of-the-art data hosting and cloud computing centres. To learn more, please visit BCE.ca or Bell.ca.

Earlier this month, PCMag announced that Bell Internet service is the fastest in Canada by far, with Bell outscoring its nearest rival by more than 30% based on approximately 12,000 Internet speed tests conducted by PCMag between September 2017 and June 2018.

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day, and provides significant Bell funding of mental health care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Media inquiries

Marc Choma
613-785-0622
marc.choma@bell.ca
@Bell_News

Investor inquiries

Thane Fotopoulos
514-870-4619
thane.fotopoulos@bell.ca