Rogers-Shaw merger closes, forming new telecom giant

Click to play video: 'Rogers must fulfill list of conditions in Shaw merger or face stiff financial penalties'
Rogers must fulfill list of conditions in Shaw merger or face stiff financial penalties
WATCH: Rogers and Shaw's merger is approved by Ottawa – Mar 31, 2023

Rogers Communications Inc. has closed its merger with Shaw Communications Inc., marking the final chapter in a two-year-long process that will shake up Canada’s telecommunications landscape.

The deal, valued at $26 billion, including $6 billion of Shaw’s debt, got the final sign-off it needed on Friday from Canada’s Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

As part of the transaction, Videotron owner Quebecor Inc. also closed its own $2.85-billion acquisition of Freedom Mobile from Shaw on Monday.

This secondary transaction was critical to meeting anti-competition concerns raised by the merger of Rogers and Shaw, originally proposed in March 2021.

Tony Staffieri, the CEO of Rogers, called it a “momentous day” in a press release Monday.

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“We’re proud to bring together these two iconic companies to deliver more value, more connectivity, and more innovation for Canadians,” he said.

“The alliance of Freedom and Videotron will permanently transform Canada’s wireless market for the benefit of consumers and create a new competitive environment that delivers innovative products and services at better prices,” Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau said in a statement.

Global News parent company Corus Entertainment is owned by the Shaw family, previously the owners of Shaw Communications.

As a result of the transaction closing, the Shaw family will become “one of the largest shareholders of Rogers,” according to the press release. Brad Shaw and Trevor English, formerly executives of Shaw, are expected to be named to the Rogers board on Tuesday.

Click to play video: '‘I’m not holding my breath’: Rogers-Shaw deal may not lower prices, economists say'
‘I’m not holding my breath’: Rogers-Shaw deal may not lower prices, economists say

The merger was cleared by both the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Tribunal. A federal appeal court upheld the tribunal’s decision after the Competition Bureau, an independent agency that represents Canadian consumers in such matters, sought to have the ruling overturned.

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Advocates of the deal have positioned Videotron as a fourth national competitor that could drive down prices from the big three telecoms of Rogers, Bell and Telus. Critics, however, have decried the loss of Shaw and the growing telecom concentration under the Rogers umbrella.

Before granting final approval on the deal, Champagne imposed 21 conditions on the transaction that he said were key to ensuring Canadians see lower telecom prices as a result.

Among them were guarantees that Videotron expand its offerings beyond Quebec at rates 20 per cent lower than the national average for a period of 10 years. Over the next decade, Rogers also must maintain a headquarters in Calgary and add 3,000 net jobs to Western Canada, in addition to making $6.5 billion in investments in its network — moves the company already said it planned to carry out.

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