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Competition Tribunal clears the way for Rogers-Shaw merger to go ahead

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A competition court has rejected a petition from Canada’s competition watchdog to block Rogers Communications’ proposed $26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications, paving the way for the deal to proceed.

Requires approval from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

In a summary of the judgment released Thursday, the court said the merger of the two telecommunications companies would not result in a significant increase in prices.

The decision says the deal, which involves selling Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor-owned Videotron, is unlikely to materially stifle or reduce competition.

Quebecor agreed to acquire Freedom Mobile for $2.85 billion earlier this year.

Details to be determined

Fears that Bell and Telus (Rogers’ closest competitors in the Canadian telecommunications market) will not be able to compete with the combined company have also been dispelled.

“The court also held that Rogers’ strengthened positions in Alberta and British Columbia, combined with the highly significant competitive initiatives that Terrace and Bell have pursued since the merger was announced, could contribute to increased competition. We have determined that there is a high potential for those markets,” the decision states.

A more detailed decision will be announced within the next two days, it said.

Matthew Boswell, competition commissioner for the Federal Competition Bureau, issued a statement Thursday night saying, “We are very disappointed that the court has denied our application to block the merger of Rogers and Shaw. We are carefully considering our next steps.”

The competition court held four weeks of hearings to discuss concerns about a proposed deal earlier this year.

Through public hearings, the Competition Bureau argued that the merger would weaken competition in the telecommunications market, causing higher prices and lower service.

Rogers and Shaw argued that the deal would increase competition and make things better for consumers.

Earlier this year, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said he would not allow Rogers to acquire all radio licenses for the show, suggesting concessions, including the sale of Freedom Mobile, would be required for final approval of the merger. did.

We are just a few days away from our current closing date of December 31st, but have the option to extend it until the end of January if needed.

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