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Rogers, Shaw remain defiant on merger despite opposition

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Rogers Communications remains defiant in its pursuit to acquire rival operator Shaw Communications despite opposition from Canada’s Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell.

The proposed C$26 billion merger hit a snag on Friday after the companies were notified of Boswell’s opposition to the deal, paving the way for a lengthy legal battle.

Boswell reportedly has concerns regarding Rogers’ potential ownership of Freedom Mobile – the fourth-largest wireless carrier in Canada - which it will inherit from Shaw should the deal go through.

Rogers insists that it would be willing to sell the sub-brand, but the Competition Bureau remains unsatisfied.

In a joint statement, the two companies said they remain committed to the transaction which they believe “is in the best interests of Canada and Canadians because of the significant long term benefits it will bring for consumers”.

“The transaction will foster greater competition by creating Canada’s most robust wholly-owned national network and generating more choice for businesses and consumers so they may realize the full economic and social benefits of next-generation networks,” the statement added.

The deal was first announced last year and was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in March.

The takeover, if eventually greenlit, will see Rogers acquire 16 cable services in Western Canada, a national satellite television service and other broadcast services across the country.

Rogers and Shaw had scheduled June 13 as the date for the closure of the transaction although this has now been pushed back to July 31.

The delay is a significant setback for chief executive Tony Staffieri who was appointed interim president and CEO of Rogers following an extended dispute.

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