Canada’s Xplornet Said to Draw Interest From Providence, Bain

  • Rural internet provider said valued at more than C$1 billion
  • Decision said to come this year on IPO or sale of company

Canadian internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc. is drawing interest from U.S. private equity firms as the company revives efforts to explore both a public listing and an outright sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Providence Equity Partners, Bain Capital, and Abry Partners are weighing bids for Woodstock, New Brunswick-based Xplornet, which offers high-speed internet service to rural Canadians, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The company is valued at more than C$1 billion ($758 million), the people said.

Xplornet is working with advisers on the dual-track process and has yet to determine its course, the people said. A decision on whether to pursue an initial public offering or a sale could come as early as September, the people said.

Xplornet started work on a potential IPO last year but put those plans on hold amid market volatility.

Allison Lenehan, chief executive officer of Xplornet, declined to comment in a phone interview. Representatives for Providence, Bain and Abry didn’t respond to e-mail requests for comment.

Xplornet spent C$25 million on new wireless spectrum in a government auction last year, and said at the time the added spectrum would allow it to increase its coverage space and add customers. The company provides high-speed internet to 280,000 residential and business subscribers in rural areas through a mix of cellular towers and satellites, according to its website.