Rogers Tells Ottawa It Wants Xplornet to Buy Freedom Mobile: Report

Last month, it was rumoured Xplornet was in talks with Rogers to acquire Freedom Mobile from Shaw, as part of the pending Rogers-Shaw merger expected to close in Q2.

New Brunswick-based Xplornet would acquire Freedom Mobile from Shaw, in a move that would help improve the chances of the Rogers-Shaw merger being approved by competition regulators.

According to two unnamed sources speaking to The Globe and Mail, Rogers has now shared the idea of Xplornet acquiring Freedom Mobile to the federal government, and now Ottawa will decide if it is a reasonable proposal.

Canada’s Competition Bureau and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development still need to approve the Rogers-Shaw deal. Last month, the CRTC approved the broadcasting elements related to the Rogers-Shaw deal.

A spokesperson for Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, told the Globe in a statement, “as the regulator responsible for approving the transfer of licensed spectrum, [Mr. Champagne] will review any applications on their merit and what is in the best interest of Canadians.

Back in March, the Industry Minister made it clear Rogers would not be able to acquire Shaw’s wireless licenses for the deal to happen, as that would not foster wireless competition.

Rural telecom Xplornet was acquired by global private equity firm, Stonepeak back in June 2020, in a deal worth a reported $2 billion. Xplore Mobile was not part of the acquisition; the latter was created when Xplornet acquired wireless customers from Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), after the latter was bought by Bell in 2017, as part of a condition of the sale.