Competition Bureau ‘disappointed’ after Tribunal clears path for Rogers-Shaw merger

Still requires approval from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Adrian Wyld – The Canadian Press

The Competition Tribunal has dismissed an application from Canada’s competition watchdog to block Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $26-billion purchase of Shaw Communications Inc., clearing a path for the deal to go ahead.

The Competition Bureau Canada has argued that the merger of the two telecommunications companies would lessen competition in the telecom market, trigger higher prices and lead to poor service.

However, in a summary of its decision released Thursday, the Tribunal said the merger would not result in materially higher prices.

It said the deal, which includes the sale of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor-owned Videotron Ltd., would not likely prevent or lessen competition substantially.

The deal still requires approval from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

The Competition Bureau Canada said it was very disappointed with the Tribunal’s decision.

“I am very disappointed that the Tribunal is dismissing our application to block the merger between Rogers and Shaw,” Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition, said in a brief statement late Thursday. “We are carefully considering our next steps.”

The deal’s current closing date is Saturday, though the parties have the option to extend through to the end of January if needed.

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