Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications said the Canadian competition commissioner plans to oppose the proposed multibillion-dollar merger of the two competing Canadian firms.
In a joint statement issued Saturday, Rogers and Shaw said they have been notified of Matthew Boswell’s intention to block the deal, adding that they will oppose the expected implementation and continue to communicate with the competition office in an effort to resolve the issue.
Toronto-based Rogers announced last year his plan to buy Calgary-based Shaw in a deal worth $26 billion, including debt. The Canadian Radio, Television and Communications Commission (CRTC) approved the acquisition in March, but set a series of conditions.
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“Rogers and Shaw remain committed to the deal, which is in the best interest of Canada and Canadians because of the significant long-term benefits it will bring to consumers, businesses and the economy,” the two companies said on Saturday.
The companies said they offered to address concerns about the potential impact of the deal on Canada’s competitive wireless market by proposing to sell Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile.
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In addition to the CRTC, the transaction was also approved by Shaw shareholders and the Queen’s Bench Court in Alberta.
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However, a number of obstacles remain, including the green light from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
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Rogers and Shaw said they agreed to extend the timing of the deal to July 31, 2022, to allow continued engagement with the Competition Bureau.
The acquisition will see Rogers acquire 16 cable services based in Western Canada, the national satellite television service and other broadcast and television services.
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The deal faced opposition from competitors and government officials.
Ottawa has pledged to prevent the full transfer of Shaw’s wireless licenses to Rogers, and the House of Commons Industry and Technology Committee said earlier this year that Rogers’ bid to buy Shaw should not go ahead. If it does, the commission said, the government should place conditions on the deal.
Rogers and Shaw expressed confidence in agreeing to the rest of the deal. They say joining forces is necessary to ensure greater connectivity with rural and indigenous communities and to compete in the increasingly globalized market for content.
– With files from Sean Boynton and The Canadian Press
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