Rogers-Shaw merger battle: 2022 roundup | IT World Canada News


The Rogers-Shaw merger saga continued alongside its bumpy path in 2022, following pushbacks from multiple competitors watchdog, some short-lived wins, new ventures, and disillusionment after one too many failed mediation processes.

Rogers traders had been hoping for some respite earlier than Christmas, however the Competition Tribunal has but to reach at a choice on the deal, two weeks after the 2 telecom giants, Rogers and Shaw, filed their closing arguments in a court docket battle with the Competition Bureau. 

Here’s a abstract of key occasions:

In March 2021, Rogers proposed a C$26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications, a transfer that would cut back the variety of Canadian wi-fi operators from 4 to a few. The deal needed to be accredited by the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED).

A yr later, after the CRTC approved the deal following its personal five-day listening to, the Competition Bureau blocked the merger, arguing the deal would damage competitors.

Following a two-day lengthy failed mediation course of with the bureau in July, in August 2022 Rogers and Shaw announced the $2.85 billion sale of Shaw’s wi-fi service firm, Freedom Mobile, to Quebecor’s subsidiary Videotron, in hopes of allaying issues relating to Rogers’ market dominance.

That transfer additionally did not persuade antitrust regulators, main the 2 telecom giants to confront the Competition Bureau in a court docket battle that began in November, hoping to seal the 20-month lengthy M&A (merger and acquisition) battle.

Here are a number of the arguments filed through the six-week lengthy court docket hearings:

The Competition Bureau’s fundamental arguments revolved across the danger of elevated cellphone payments and poorer service, set to have an effect on tens of millions of individuals.

The merged entity will have the ability and incentive to raise prices and lower quality immediately following the closing of the proposed merger. Terms of service allow carriers to change any term of their contract, including fees, simply by giving 30 days’ “notice”. Prices can improve quickly. This means shoppers are more likely to incur a welfare loss even earlier than they return to the market to pick a brand new wi-fi plan.”

The bureau additionally leveraged the July eighth Rogers outage to show the telco’s already poor community reliability.

The variety of distinct networks in Western Canada can even go down from three to 2, leading to much less competitors and fewer funding, the competitors watchdog’s lawyer affirmed.

Moreover, the commissioner argued that the defence of the telcos relating to the intent to assist Canadian firms obtain the economies of scale wanted to counter overseas competitors, is baseless. “Rogers is buying a domestic rival, not to compete internationally, but to consolidate its domestic position by removing an effective regional competitor.”

The bureau’s lawyer additionally argued that the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor would put Videotron in ‘severe vulnerability’, creating an “unprecedented relationship of dependence between Big Three competitor and Videotron, a much smaller, regional player and one significantly smaller than Shaw.” Videotron, he argued, had beforehand accused Rogers of sabotaging its Quebec network-sharing settlement.

Shaw Mobile as a standalone wi-fi firm was a disruptive drive, the bureau argued, because it “promoted vigorous competition” by providing bundled service choices at decrease costs to a mounting variety of new subscribers. The Big 3 (Rogers, Bell, Telus) responded with their very own worth reductions and bigger information packages which are worthwhile to shoppers.

In response, Rogers’ attorneys affirmed that Shaw, in reality, confronted a bleak outlook with out the Rogers takeover and argued that the deal was “pro-competition”, permitting the mixed entity of Rogers and Shaw to compete higher in Canada’s concentrated telecom market.

The position of competitor service Telus was significantly dissected through the hearings, because the telcos argued how each Rogers and Shaw had been steadily shedding market share to Telus, which prompted worth hikes. “Everybody acknowledges that Rogers will face the same competitive pressure applied by Telus because it is by far the dominant player in British Columbia, and Alberta,” the telcos’ attorneys argued.

Furthermore, testimony from Quebecor revealed that it might launch 5G wi-fi providers exterior of Quebec inside three months of buying Freedom, and that it might get 4 years of free backhaul (infrastructure that connects the core of a community to the gear at its edges) community entry from Rogers.

During closing arguments, the telcos emphasised that the bureau has been unable to show that the alleged hurt of lessened competitors outweighs the efficiencies of the deal. Referring to competitors regulation as “the intellectualization of common sense”, the attorneys questioned whether or not the “draconian” measures pushed for the sake of competitors coverage are “faithful to the commercial realities of the industry and to regulatory policy,” and whether or not blocking the deal is within the pursuits of shoppers.

The Competition Bureau, however, harassed that Rogers-Shaw-Quebecor’s claimed efficiencies from the proposed divestiture usually are not cognizable.

If there no choice is reached earlier than the top of this yr, Rogers will face a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars} in charges to its lenders, and dangers a lawsuit from Shaw if issues don’t go as deliberate.

Chief Justice Paul Crampton mentioned that the Competition Tribunal acknowledges the monetary dangers that Rogers faces, however will take the time wanted to supply “a solid, robust decision.”


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