On July 7, 2006, BCE, Bell Canada and Aliant formed Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund, the largest business trust in Canada with an enterprise value of approximately $10 billion. As part of the transaction, Bell Canada's wireline telecommunications operations in its regional territories in Ontario and Quebec were combined with Aliant's wireline telecommunications operations in Atlantic Canada, its information technology operation and other operations, to form the operating business of the fund, and the fund acquired BCE's 63.4 per cent indirect interest in Télébec, Limited Partnership and NorthernTel, Limited Partnership, which is exchangeable for a 63.4 per cent interest in the Bell Nordiq Income Fund.
In addition, Bell Canada acquired Aliant Mobility's wireless operations and Aliant's DownEast Communications retail outlets. Approximately $1.25 billion of Bell Canada debt was effectively transferred to the fund. In connection with this transaction, Bell Canada and the fund entered into a series of outsourcing and commercial agreements, pursuant to which Bell Canada will provide services to support the operations of the fund in Ontario and Quebec, and the fund will provide services to support Bell Canada's wireless operations in Atlantic Canada. The fund's telecommunications operations extend through the four Atlantic provinces and Ontario and Quebec, with more than 3.4 million local access lines and more than 400,000 high-speed Internet subscribers on a consolidated basis.
On July 7, 2006, an operating subsidiary of the fund also entered into a $3.5 billion credit facility with a syndicate of financial institutions co-led by The Bank of Nova Scotia and Royal Bank of Canada.
On July 10, 2006, BCE completed a plan of arrangement pursuant to which it distributed an approximate 28.8 per cent interest in the fund to its shareholders.
BCE and Bell Canada were represented by an in-house team that included Martine Turcotte, Michel Lalande, Christopher Ginther, Miguel Baz, Yves Caron, Alain Dussault, Barry Pickford, Josie Ciccotelli, Morris Weinstock and David Elder, as well as by Stikeman Elliott LLP, with a team that included Ed Waitzer, Simon Romano, Jean-Marc Huot, Kevin Kyte, Howard Rosenoff, Sean Vanderpol, Benoit Dubord, Sheel Parekh and Nicole Charalambous (corporate and securities); Robert Hogan, Fred Harvey, Frank Mathieu and Alan Kenigsberg (tax); Karen Jackson, Wesley Ng, Jacky Luk, Alethea Au, James Chen and Meaghan Obee Tower (outsourcing); Brenda Hebert, Viateur Chénard, Andrew Elliott and Sébastien Thomas (real estate); Paul Collins and Sandy Walker (competition) and Michel Legendre (pensions). The labour and employment issues for Bell were handled in-house by Genevieve Bich of Bell.
Aliant was represented by an in-house team that included Fred Crooks, Evan Kipnis, Alana Patterson, Paul Fitzpatrick, Shane Goguen and Nanci Rorabeck. Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP acted for Aliant with a team comprised of David Jackson, Sheila Murray, Brendan Reay, Anoop Dogra, John Wilkin, Eric Moncik, John Tuzyk, Paula Sawyers, Cynthia Sargeant, Helen Martin, Andrew Gordon, Mathieu Poirier and Ronan Levy (corporate/securities); Richard Corley, Parna Sabet, Christine Ing, Jillian Swartz, Greg Segal, Marc Shewchun, Mark Johnson, Ian Hay, David Shaw and Jennifer Allen (commercial and information technology); Michael Harquail, Martin Herman, Michelle Laniel, Norm Saibil, Angelo Noce and Annick Demers (banking); Paul Tamaki, Kathleen Penny, Leslie Morgan, Allan Gelkopf and Jean Gagnon (tax); Cal Goldman, Rob Kwinter and Gary Jessop (competition/regulatory); Kathy Bush, Paul Dimitriadis, Connie Reeve and Lee Shouldice (pensions and employment); John Hutmacher, Yannick Beaudoin and Daniel Ferreira (real estate); Jonathan Kahn and Michael Mercer (environmental) and Jeff Galway, Brad Berg and Anne Glover (court approval).
Regulatory and labour/employment advice to Aliant was provided by Cox Hanson O'Reilly Matheson with a team comprised of Daniel Gallivan, Q.C. (corporate/securities), Daniel Campbell, Q.C. (regulatory), Brian Tabor, Q.C. (real property), and David Mombourquette and Terry Roane, Q.C. (labour and employment).
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP acted for the co-lead arrangers and the syndicate of lenders that provided the new $3.5 billion credit facilities, with a team comprised of Joanne Foot, Kenneth Atlas and Will Wallace.