Mason Capital Management LLC has enlisted Blackstone Group LP (BX:US) to help sell a stake of about 20 percent in Telus Corp. (T) and has contacted 20 to 30 potential investors, a person familiar with the discussions said.
Mason hired Blackstone in mid-May to help it dispose of its stake in Telus, Canada’s third-largest wireless carrier, the person said, declining to be named because the talks are private. The New York-based private-equity firm is talking to strategic buyers in the industry, according to the person.
Mason is trying to unload its Telus investment less than a month after using its C$1.9 billion ($1.8 billion) stake to force the Vancouver-based carrier to withdraw a plan to abandon its dual-class share structure. Telus said on May 9 that it dropped the plan to convert all nonvoting shares into voting stock on a one-to-one basis, after it became apparent the proposal wouldn’t survive a shareholder vote.
Telus wanted to boost the appeal of its stock as the carrier competes with BCE Inc. (BCE), Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B) and industry upstarts for a bigger stake of Canada’s wireless market. Chief Executive Officer Darren Entwistle said after withdrawing the proposal that he remains committed to a one-for- one share conversion and plans to introduce a new proposal “in due course.”
Telus plans to achieve a one-to-one stock conversion “regardless of what Mason Capital chooses to do with their holdings,” Shawn Hall, a spokesman, said today.
Dan Gagnier, a spokesman for New York-based Mason, declined to comment, as did Blackstone’s Peter Rose.
Telus’s voting shares fell 1.5 percent to C$59.53 at the close in Toronto. The shares have risen about 3.3 percent this year.
Mason’s plan to sell its stake was reported earlier by the Globe and Mail.
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