Canada’s competition commissioner intends to oppose Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $26 billion merger with Shaw Communications Inc., the companies said in a statement released early Saturday.
The telecom giants said they were made aware of the commissioner’s plan to file a petition with the Competition Tribunal seeking to block the transaction, after markets closed on Friday.
They said they would oppose the request while “continuing to engage constructively with the Competition Bureau with the goal of resolving this matter.”
The companies said they remained committed to the planned merger and that it would be “in the best interests of Canada and Canadians because of the significant long-term benefits” for consumers, businesses and the economy.
When it announced the planned takeover in March 2021, Toronto-based Rogers said it would invest $2.5 billion in ramping up 5G networks in Western Canada over the next five years. years, following its acquisition of Calgary-based Shaw. Rogers also planned to create a $1 billion fund dedicated to connecting rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
To address concerns about the impact the deal would have on the Canadian wireless market, the companies proposed the full divestiture of Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile.
The deal would see Rogers acquire 16 western Canadian-based cable services, a national satellite television service and other broadcast and television services. The takeover would create the second-largest cellphone and cable operator in Canada.
By acquiring fourth-ranked Shaw, Rogers would overtake Telus Corp. and would face market leader BCE Inc. in the highly competitive Canadian telecommunications industry.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country’s telecommunications regulator, said in March that it had approved Rogers’ planned acquisition of Shaw’s broadcasting services, subject to a series of conditions. .
The Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada have reviewed the proposed takeover of Shaw’s home phone, wireless and Internet services.