rdymnbx · 2022-01-28

Bell acquires The Source

One of Barrie’s largest employers has a new corporate owner.

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc. is acquiring the Canadian headquarters for The Source by Circuit City on Bayview Drive, and its 756 retail stores across Canada.

The Source employs 438 staff at its 402,000-square-foot national office and distribution centre in Barrie. Another 3,000 employees are scattered across Canada working at the retail outlets.

The company had filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in Canada shortly after its parent Circuit City did the same in the U.S. before Christmas. Bell is buying the assets from InterTan Canada Ltd., the Barrie subsidiary of Circuit City.

Acting president Bruce Dinan told Barrie staff in a communication, “This is a great outcome for our company. We are moving forward as part of Canada’s largest communications company, one with considerable financial strength, a rich history of technological innovation and a firm belief in the long-term potential of our business.

“The acquisition of The Source, which remains subject to court approval, follows an active sales process that saw our company receive interest from a number of serious buyers. All current InterTan employees will be given the opportunity to continue on in their current roles, on substantially similar terms, under the new ownership. Our head office and warehouse facility will remain open and fully operational. Upon closing of the transaction, Ron Cuthbertson will return to lead the current management team. In the meantime, it’s business as usual at The Source.”

Key to the deal is that a wide array of Bell electronic products, such as wireless, TV, Internet and home phone services, will eventually replace those of rival Rogers Communications in Source stores starting in January 2010.

The purchase will also bring the number of stores offering Bell wireless products closer to Rogers, who operates 1,100 outlets, and Telus, who operates approximately 800 stores in Canada.

The Source will continue as an independent subsidiary, run by the present management team, under the new ownership structure.

Terms of the deal were kept quiet. However, a Bell representative said the company is paying less than the $260 million (U.S.) Circuit City Stores Inc. paid four years ago when it bought the chain of stores, then known as Radio Shack.

“It was a very good marriage,” said Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and chief brand officer for Bell.

“I think the existing management, who were going to continue on and run that business, saw the product breadth we would bring to the table as very attractive to them.”

In 2008, The Source’s revenue was $643 million.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.

With files from Torstar news service