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Telus Corp's (T-T) biggest shareholder, Mason Capital Management LLC, has asked the telecommunications firm to disclose current foreign ownership levels and the basis on which it determined compliance with regulatory requirements.
Mason, a U.S.-based hedge fund, has been looking for a buyer for its 19 percent stake in the firm.
"The uncertainty surrounding Telus' compliance with the foreign ownership restrictions has persisted for many months now," said Michael Martino, principal and co-founder of Mason.
Mason said in a letter to Telus that information on proxies submitted for a recent shareholders meeting shows about 42 percent of voting shares were held by shareholders who declared themselves non-Canadian or refused to answer a declaration of their residency.
The fund said the designated 33.3 percent voting shares in Telus for foreign ownership has been fully or close to fully allocated to non-Canadian shareholders.
“Mason’s allegations are completely unfounded and misleading,” a Telus spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
“Simply put, there is no uncertainty around our compliance with foreign ownership restrictions. TELUS has been and continues to be fully compliant with foreign ownership restrictions, and have our own control processes in place to ensure we remain compliant.”
The federal government is introducing legislation that would enable a foreign buyer to control a telecom company with less than a 10 percent market share, a change that does not affect existing foreign-ownership restrictions on Telus.
Foreigners are currently prohibited from owning more than 20 percent of the voting shares in those companies and limited to indirect control of 46.7 percent.