Frontier Communications Inc. has sold off its remaining stake in the telecoms giant, putting the company into an awkward position of selling its remaining stakes in a company it once hoped would lead the way to the wireless industry’s return to profitability.
The Canadian company has been selling the remaining holdings of Frontier Communications Corp., the last remaining Canadian company in the Frontier Communications group, since May.
The stock has dropped more than 35 per cent this year and analysts have called the sale an admission of defeat, with some suggesting that Frontier’s ability to raise additional capital is now in doubt.
“We’ve seen the Frontier stock price go up, and it’s been a very tough year,” said Mike Balsley, an analyst with Macquarie Securities.
“This is the end of a long and painful cycle.
The reality is, the company has a lot of work to do and it needs to take the next steps.”
The company’s stock is down nearly 29 per cent from a high of $42.60 on March 19, after its share price rose nearly 11 per cent in the second quarter.
Frontier’s shares closed Friday at $37.40, up more than 11 per.
The company was founded in the late 1950s and its business is based on providing wireless internet and satellite services to the Canadian military.
Frontier has since built up a network of more than 100,000 customers around the world and has grown its business to include the telecommunications industry.
However, as of December, Frontier was not profitable, with a loss of $1.8 billion.
Frontier is now hoping to turn its focus to the Internet of Things, with the launch of its next smart home device expected to be unveiled in the spring.
Frontier had been considering selling off some of its remaining holdings in the past year, with Balsky saying that it’s now clear that it was in a tough position of trying to find a way to recoup some of the $1 billion it had spent on the company.
“The company is facing an extremely challenging time in the wireless sector,” Balsmith said in a note to clients.
Frontier was bought by Softbank Group Corp. in 2006 and the deal was announced in late 2015. “
As the company continues to move forward in this effort, it will be important to note that there is a very real risk that the Frontier brand will become a casualty of this endeavor.”
Frontier was bought by Softbank Group Corp. in 2006 and the deal was announced in late 2015.
The telecoms company was in talks to buy a controlling stake in Frontier before it was sold in the 2016 merger with China Mobile.
Softbank did not comment on whether it has plans to sell some of Frontier’s remaining shares.
The price of Frontier shares has plunged over the last year.
In early 2018, the Canadian company was trading for $37 a share, down from a peak of $60 a share in January 2018.
Frontier was also buying a controlling share in Telus Corp. from Softbank for about $7 billion.
In March 2018, Frontier agreed to buy Telus for $21.3 billion, bringing the total deal to $47.7 billion, including the sale of its wireless network business.
In 2018, analysts expected that Telus stock price to fall between 27 and 31 per cent.
Frontier CEO John Hunter said the deal for Telus was “the best of both worlds,” with the combined company now worth $35 billion.
The deal was approved by shareholders in March 2019, though analysts warned that the merger would cause the company to miss earnings expectations.
“A lot of this [acquisition] was driven by Telus’ market cap, so we are going to miss those expectations,” Hunter said at the time.
“Telus is going to be the biggest loser.
We are not going to get that revenue growth, and we are not really going to make the growth that we have been hoping for.”
In December 2019, Frontier sold its remaining wireless business to T-Mobile for $3.9 billion.
It is also looking to raise more capital.
“With this acquisition, we will have the opportunity to leverage our existing cash flow, which is growing significantly, as well as the ability to accelerate our future business initiatives,” Hunter wrote in a memo to employees in March 2020.
“To be clear, we are still going to pursue our growth and development strategies.
But as a result of the transaction, we also will be able to accelerate and accelerate our strategic initiatives.”
The sale of the remaining telecoms holdings will put Frontier in an awkward spot.
The federal government has promised to phase out the $8 billion in wireless taxes paid by wireless service providers and to eliminate taxes on the telecom companies’ wireless revenues, which will help the company recover some of that lost revenue.
“Given that the Canadian government has said it is no longer willing to pay taxes on these revenues, the Government is no closer to ending the tax loophole than it was before,” B