(OTTAWA) Selling Shaw Communications’ wireless business would fail to outweigh the damage its marriage to Rogers Communications would cause, the competition commissioner says.
If cleared by regulators, the $26 billion deal, announced in March 2021, would bring together two of the country’s largest telecommunications companies.
Rogers and Shaw are looking for a buyer for Freedom Mobile, Shaw’s wireless division, as they expect spin-off to be a condition of getting the go-ahead from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) already gave its approval to the transaction earlier this year.
But even without Freedom, the Competition Bureau says the new merged entity would erase more than a decade of regulatory efforts to spur competition in the telecommunications sector. According to the Bureau, competition has even lessened since the agreement was announced.
Rogers and Shaw have 45 days to file responses with the Competition Tribunal, and once received, the Bureau will have 14 days to issue a response.
Rogers and Shaw said they intended to move forward with the transaction and would oppose the commissioner’s efforts to block it.
Company in this story: (TSX: RCI.B, TSX: SJR.B)