Shaw shareholders “overwhelmingly” approve $26bn Rogers deal

Shaw shareholders “overwhelmingly” approve $26bn Rogers merger

24 May 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Shaw Communications’ (Shaw) shareholders have “overwhelmingly” voted in favour of $26 billion merger between Shaw and Rogers Communications (Rogers).

Announced in March 2021, the deal will see Rogers acquire all of Shaw Communications’ class A and B shares. In a special meeting held 20 May 2021, Shaw’s Class A and B shareholders backed the proposed business combination.

“Today marks an important milestone in the journey to combine Shaw and Rogers, creating a truly national network provider with far-reaching and multigenerational benefits for all Canadians,” said Brad Shaw (pictured), executive chair & CEO.

“Shaw’s shareholders overwhelmingly supported the transaction and the high voter turnout, which exceeded 70%, represents a strong endorsement for the combination. We have taken an extraordinary and historic step towards a future with unlimited potential where connectivity and leading 5G technology will enable so much more than we can even imagine today.”

The deal is still subject to a number of additional conditions including approvals from certain Canadian regulators including the Competition Bureau and the CRTC - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are also reportedly reviewing the agreement. On 25 May 2021, Shaw will also seek a final order from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, to approve the transaction.

The deal prices Shaw’s shares at approximately $40.50 per share includes $6 billion of Shaw’s debts.

At the time of the announcement, it was confirmed that the new company will invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks over the next five years across Western Canada. As well as plans to establish a $1 billion Rogers Rural and Indigenous Connectivity Fund to connect rural, remote and Indigenous communities across Western Canada to high-speed Internet.

The deal has faced a lot of opposition from consumer groups. At the start of May, OpenMedia, a Canadian telecoms advocacy group, on behalf of 6 civil society organisations issued a joint statement calling on the federal government to block Rogers from buying out Shaw. They also launched a petition that has already accrued more than 23,306 signatures (as of 24.05.21).

In the statement, on behalf of OpenMedia and ACORN Canada, Democratic Socialists of Canada, Justice Internationale, Leadnow, North99 and The Fees Are Too Damn High Party, it stated that “This buyout threatens to further slash consumer choice and affordability in Canada’s already-dysfunctional telecom market, at a time when affordable connectivity has never been more important. It cannot be allowed to go through under any circumstances”.