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Canada’s competition commissioner to oppose $26B Rogers-Shaw merger, say companies

Canada’s commissioner of competition 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 notified of the commissioner’s plan to file an application to the Competition Tribunal aimed at preventing the deal, following the close of trading on Friday.

They said they will oppose the application while “continuing to engage constructively with the Competition Bureau in an effort to bring this matter to a resolution.”

The companies said they remain 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 on ramping up 5G networks in Western Canada over the next five years, following its acquisition of Calgary-based Shaw. Rogers also planned to establish a $1-billion fund dedicated to connecting rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

To address concerns about any impact the deal would have on Canada’s wireless market, the companies have proposed full divestiture of Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile.

The deal would see Rogers acquire 16 cable services based in Western Canada, a national satellite television service and other broadcast and television services. The takeover would create Canada’s second-largest cellular and cable operator.

By acquiring fourth-ranked Shaw, Rogers would leapfrog Telus Corp. and take on 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 has 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 been reviewing the proposed takeover of Shaw’s home telephone, wireless and internet services.