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Verizon delays acquisitions of Canadian wireless firms: report

Showgowers visit the Verizon booth on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilkin
Showgowers visit the Verizon booth on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilkin

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has decided to put off the acquisition of two small Canadian wireless companies until after a government auction of wireless licenses in January, a Canadian newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. telecommunications firm is instead focusing on whether to take part in a key Canadian spectrum auction, which has a September 17 deadline for applications, the Globe and Mail said. Potential bidders in the auction are barred from negotiating any deals with other bidders until next year.

The newspaper said it was not clear what prompted the change in strategy and whether this signaled Verizon was less enamored about entering the Canadian market or whether it wanted to drive down the prices for the firms Wind Mobile and Mobilicty.

Verizon had tabled a $700 million preliminary offer for Wind Mobile and signed a non-disclosure agreement with Mobilicty in recent months, it said.

This month Rogers Communications Inc , Canada's largest wireless company, attempted to thwart Verizon's entry into the country by backing a private equity bid for the two carriers.

In July, Reuters reported that Mobilicity, legally known as Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings Inc, was in talks with Verizon, among others, in connection with a potential acquisition.

Representatives for Verizon, Wind Mobile and Mobilicity could not be reached for comment outside normal business hours.

(Reporting by Lehar Maan and Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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