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Rogers, Shaw say merger deal to be opposed by competition commissioner

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Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications say Canada’s Commissioner of Competition plans to oppose a multibillion-dollar proposed merger of the two Canadian rival companies.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, Rogers and Shaw said they were notified of Matthew Boswell’s intention to prevent the deal, adding that they would oppose the anticipated application and continue to engage with the Competition Bureau in an effort to resolve the matter.

Toronto-based Rogers announced last year its plan to buy Calgary-based Shaw in a deal valued at $26 billion, including debt. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the acquisition in March, but laid out a series of conditions.

Read more: Rogers’ takeover of Shaw clears CRTC hurdle. Here’s what happens next

“Rogers and Shaw remain committed to the Transaction, which is in the best interests of Canada and Canadians because of the significant long-term benefits it will bring for consumers, businesses and the economy,” the companies said on Saturday.

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The companies said they have offered to address concerns regarding the possible impact of the deal on Canada’s competitive wireless market by proposing to sell Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile

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In addition to the CRTC, the deal has also been approved by Shaw’s shareholders and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

However, a number of hurdles still remain, including the greenlight from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Read more: CRTC approves Rogers’ takeover of Shaw broadcasting, but with costly conditions

Rogers and Shaw said they had agreed to extend the timing of the deal to July 31, 2022, to allow for continued engagement with the Competition Bureau.

The takeover would see Rogers acquire 16 cable services based in Western Canada, a national satellite television service and other broadcast and television services.

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The deal has faced opposition from competitors and government officials.

Ottawa pledged to block the full transfer of Shaw’s wireless licences to Rogers, and the House of Commons industry and technology committee said earlier this year that Rogers’ bid for Shaw should not go ahead. If it does, the committee said the government should place conditions on the deal.

Rogers and Shaw have expressed confidence that the rest of the deal will be approved. They say joining forces is necessary to ensure greater connectivity to rural and Indigenous communities and to compete in the increasingly globalized market for content.

— With files from Sean Boynton and The Canadian Press 

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