Rogers Says Shaw Acquisition ‘Must be Allowed to Proceed’
Rogers on Tuesday said in a new legal filing that its proposed $26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications “must be allowed to proceed,” arguing that the transaction has been delayed for long enough and already been through months of scrutiny — reports Reuters.
“This pro-competitive transaction has been delayed long enough and must be allowed to proceed,” Rogers wrote in the filing.
The Rogers-Shaw deal was greenlit by the Tribunal last month, dismissing the Competition Bureau’s application to block it over concerns it would lead to less competition and higher prices. However, the Commissioner of Competition appealed the decision and is set to face the telecom giants in the Federal Court of Appeal on January 24.
In a separate filing on Tuesday, Shaw called the Bureau’s appeal an “unmeritorious challenge” to a “once-in-a-generation” transaction.
The Bureau is gearing up to contest the proposed merger once again. Last week, the watchdog tacked on two additional claims of “legal errors” by the Tribunal in dispensing its decision.
But Tuesday’s document from Rogers argued the deal has already been subject to a long investigation, six months of close case management by Chief Justice Paul Crampton and Tribunal Chair Justice Andrew Little, a carefully sequenced exchange of evidence, two mediations, 16 motions, and 11 days of discovery.
“The Tribunal’s assessment of the actual Transaction was devastating for the Commissioner,” Rogers said in the document. The telecom giant went on to claim that its acquisition of Shaw will improve competition in both the wireline and wireless sectors.
If the Bureau’s appeal fails, Rogers and Shaw will only need Industry, Science and Technology Minister François-Philippe Champagne to approve the sale of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Vidéotron, a side deal that’s part of the transaction, to move forward with their merger.
Minister Champagne has said he will render a separate decision on the deal once “there is clarity on the ongoing legal process.”
TekSavvy, an independent internet service provider (ISP) is urging the Industry Minister to block the deal. The operator has also petitioned the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate the “unlawful” internet rates Rogers has agreed to offer Vidéotron as part of the Freedom sale.
In addition, the House of Commons’ industry and technology committee is set to launch a second public hearing into the Rogers-Shaw merger before the end of this month.
Rogers and Shaw, meanwhile, have extended their mutual deadline for the merger and the Freedom-Vidéotron deal to January 31, 2023.