Tech & Science

Rogers-Shaw merger closes, forming new telecom giant

Rogers Communications Inc. has completed its merger with Shaw Communications Inc., marking the final chapter in a two-year process that has disrupted Canada’s telecommunications landscape.

The $26 billion deal, which includes $6 billion of Shaw’s debt, received the necessary final approval from Canada’s Minister of Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne on Friday.

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As part of the deal, Videotron owner Quebecor Inc. also completed its $2.85 billion acquisition of Freedom Mobile from Shaw on Monday.

This secondary transaction was important to address anti-competitive concerns raised by the Rogers-Shaw merger originally proposed in March 2021.

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri called it a “big day” in a press release on Monday.

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“We are proud to bring these two iconic companies together to bring more value, connectivity and innovation to Canadians.

“The Freedom-Videotron partnership will permanently transform the Canadian wireless market for the benefit of consumers, creating a new competitive landscape that offers innovative products and services at better prices.” Pierre-Carl Perrado, CEO of Quebec, said in a statement.

Global News’ parent company, Corus Entertainment, is owned by the Shaw family, who previously owned Shaw Communications.

As a result of the closing of the transaction, the Shaw family will become “one of Rogers’ largest shareholders,” according to a press release. Brad Shaw and Trevor English, former Shaw executives, will be named to Rogers’ board on Tuesday.

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‘I’m not holding my breath’: Rogers-Shaw deal may not bring prices down, says economist

The merger was approved by both the Canadian Radio and Television Communications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Court. A federal appeals court upheld the court’s decision after the Competition Bureau, an independent body representing Canadian consumers in such matters, attempted to overturn the ruling.

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Proponents of the deal have positioned Videotron as the fourth national competitor able to cut prices from the Big Three telecoms of Rogers, Bell and Terrace. Critics, however, have blamed the loss of the show and its growing focus on telecoms under Rogers’ umbrella.

Before giving final approval to the deal, Champagne said it would impose 21 conditions on the deal, which it said were key to ensuring Canadians see lower telecom rates as a result.

Among them was a guarantee that Videotron would expand its service beyond Quebec for 10 years, at a rate 20% lower than the national average. Over the next 10 years, Rogers will need to keep its headquarters in Calgary and add his 3,000 net jobs in western Canada on top of his $6.5 billion investment in the network.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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