Rogers Says Competition Bureau Has ‘Obligation’ to Fast-Track Shaw Merger Hearing

Rogers on Thursday filed an official objection to the Competition Bureau’s request to delay a tribunal hearing into the company’s planned $26 billion CAD acquisition of Shaw Communications — reports Reuters.

Back in May, the Competition Bureau petitioned the federal competition tribunal to block the Rogers-Shaw deal over concerns it would decrease competition in Canada’s already oligopolistic telecom market.

In turn, the two companies decided to sell Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor for $2.85 billion in hopes of allaying fears that their union would harm wireless competition and increase prices.

The Bureau said last month that the Freedom sale does not address all of its doubts regarding the merger, adding it does not have enough information to give it the green light. Canada’s competition watchdog asked for at least a six-week extension in merger proceedings to investigate the proposed Freedom Mobile sale.

Rogers opposed the request at the time, and the company expanded on its arguments in Thursday’s objection.

In its recent filing with the competition tribunal, Rogers said Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell has a “statutory obligation” to expedite the merger proceedings. Rogers added that there are no compelling reasons to change the dates that the parties have already agreed to.

Last week, Rogers and Shaw extended the deadline of their deal to December 31, 2022. The tribunal is set to hear arguments from both sides on the timeline extension this week.