Rogers and Shaw agree deal to sell Freedom unit
Rogers Communications and Shaw announced on Friday that they have finalised an agreement to sell Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a unit owned by Quebecor in a deal that will pave the way for a merger between Canada’s two biggest operators.
The proposed C$26 billion merger hit a snag earlier this year after stringent opposition from Canada’s Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell as it would lessen competition in the country’s telecoms market.
However, an injunction filed by the Commissioner was reportedly resolved at the end of May.
Rogers and Shaw repeatedly stated that they would be willing to sell the Freedom unit as a way to alleviate concerns to ensure a deal can be reached.
"This agreement with Quebecor brings us one step closer to completing our merger with Shaw," Rogers Chief Executive Tony Staffieri said.
The companies said that the deal for Freedom Mobile was subject to regulatory approvals and the closing of the Rogers-Shaw merger.
The C$2.85 billion includes Freedom’s branded wireless and internet customers, infrastructure, spectrum and retail sites.
Announced in March 2021, Rogers and Shaw are in the process of a $26bn acquisition that will see Shaw fully divest its wireless business to Rogers.
The deal prices Shaw’s shares at approximately $40.50 per share, a premium for Shaw’s shareholders, and the $26 billion price tag includes $6 billion of Shaw’s debts.
Despite market objections from the likes of OpenMedia and ACORN Canada, Democratic Socialists of Canada, Justice Internationale, Leadnow, North99 and The Fees Are Too Damn High Party, as well as other groups, Rogers and Shaw have maintained that the Transaction is in the best interests of Canadian consumers, businesses and the Canadian economy and that a settlement is the best path forward.