Adds more than 750 stores across Canada to Bell’s national distribution network
Montreal – Bell Canada has announced that it has agreed to acquire national consumer electronics retailer The Source to further enhance the growth of Bell’s wireless, digital TV, Internet and home phone services. “The Source is a respected leader in consumer electronics retailing right across Canada. Its acquisition supports Bell’s strategic imperatives to accelerate wireless and leverage momentum in wireline services like Bell TV, Bell Internet and Bell Home Phone,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE.
“With its strong national presence, brand, and management team, acquiring The Source represents a competitive and cost-effective approach to ensuring Bell’s leadership in delivering the best communications products to Canadians,” Mr. Cope said. “Expanding the number of places people can buy Bell products is a core element in the execution of Bell’s strategy to achieve our goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada’s leading communications company.”
In addition to its extensive lineup of consumer electronics products, The Source plans to carry the full array of Bell consumer services at its more than 750 stores across Canada, including Bell Mobility, Solo Mobile and potentially Virgin Mobile wireless products and services, Bell TV’s industry-leading High Definition television services, high-speed Bell
Internet, and Bell Home Phone products, by January 2010.
The Source will continue to operate independently from Bell following its acquisition and will maintain its well-known national brand, broad range of communications, computing and audio products, and its seasoned management team to be led by Ron Cuthbertson, a respected 30-year retail veteran and most recently President of The Source.
“The Source’s new relationship with Bell will make the most of the combined strengths of both organizations in terms of products, service and national brand strength,” said Mr. Cuthbertson. “Combining Bell’s industry-leading roster of communications services with the brand, distribution presence, and consumer retailing expertise of The Source will contribute positively to the long-term growth of both businesses going forward.”
The Source has a track record of profitability over the past seven years. LTM (latest twelve month) revenue as of December 31, 2008 was approximately $643 million while LTM EBITDA(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was approximately $27 million for the same period. The acquisition of The Source and its more than 750 retail stores, most of them in high-traffic mall locations, is a faster and more cost-effective approach to increasing Bell’s national distribution footprint than building out new retail locations. More than 70% of Canadians live within five kilometres of stores operated or licensed by The Source, and more than 80 million technology-savvy consumers shop at The Source each year.
Bell is acquiring substantially all of the assets of The Source, which was acquired by Circuit City Stores, Inc. in March 2004. On November 10, 2008, Circuit City and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries voluntarily commenced bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and The Source commenced a voluntary proceeding under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Bell is acquiring The Source pursuant to the court monitored sale process being managed by NM Rothschild & Sons Canada Ltd. in connection with the proceedings under the CCAA.
Subject to court approval and other customary conditions to closing, the transaction is expected to close in Q3 2009. Due to the nature of the sale process and at the request of The Source, Bell does not expect to disclose the purchase price until after the completion of the transaction.