Rogers, Shaw agree merger pause
June 1, 2022
By Colin Mann
Canadian multiplay telcos Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications have agreed to not proceed with closing their proposed merger until either a negotiated settlement is agreed with the Commissioner of Competition or the Competition Tribunal has ruled on the matter. As a result, there is no need for the Tribunal to hear the Commissioner’s application for an interim injunction.
Rogers and Shaw are engaged in a process to fully divest Shaw’s wireless business as part of their proposed merger. The agreement with the Commissioner allows the parties to focus on addressing the Commissioner’s concerns with the Transaction in order to reach a settlement.
Rogers and Shaw strongly believe the Transaction is in the best interests of Canadian consumers, businesses and the Canadian economy, and that a settlement is the best path forward in ensuring that the benefits of the Transaction are fully and expeditiously realised.
If a Tribunal hearing is ultimately required to address the Commissioner’s application to prevent the Transaction, Rogers and Shaw intend to oppose it. An expedited schedule of that application is expected to be set soon.
The pair say that bringing the businesses together, the combined company will have the capabilities necessary to invest in digital infrastructure, create jobs, drive innovation, increase choice, and bridge the digital divide. In addition, 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 realise the full economic and social benefits of next generation networks.
They suggest benefits of the Transaction include:
- Investing C$2.5 billion (€1.8bn) to build 5G networks across Western Canada over the next five years;
- Establishing a new C$1 billion Rogers Rural and Indigenous Connectivity Fund dedicated to connecting rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across Western Canada;
- An additional C$3 billion to support further network, services, and technology investments;
- Creating up to 3,000 net new jobs in Western Canada; and
- Extending Rogers Connected for Success programme across Western Canada to bring the first of its kind low-cost broadband programme nationally to help seniors and low-income Canadians in every community where the combined company offers Internet services.
The Transaction has already been approved by the shareholders of Shaw and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw’s broadcasting services, subject to conditions and safeguards designed to ensure that the Transaction benefits Canadians. The Transaction remains subject to the approval of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and other customary closing conditions.