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March 4, 2022

Rogers takeover of Shaw Communications

A House of Commons committee says it does not believe that Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. should proceed, and urges the government to prioritize consumers as it reviews the transaction, for example by forcing Rogers to divest Shaw’s wireless business.

The report from the industry and technology committee, which was tabled on Friday, said that while the committee opposes the takeover, if the deal does go forward, the government must ensure that all of the conditions attached are enforceable.

The government does not have to follow the report’s recommendations, which are non-binding. The committee comprises members of Parliament from the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic parties and the Bloc Québécois.

“Rogers has linked a number of commitments to the merger that the government has no way to enforce. The committee therefore doubts Rogers’s promises to rural regions,” the report reads.

Rogers has promised to create a $1-billion fund to connect rural, remote and Indigenous communities in Western Canada to high-speed internet as part of the merger.

The Federal Industry Minister said Thursday that he won’t allow Rogers to acquire all of Shaw’s wireless licences, as doing so would be at odds with Ottawa’s desire to encourage competition in the industry. However, Mr. Champagne’s statement left the door open to allowing some of Shaw’s wireless licences to be transferred to Rogers.

A spokesperson for Rogers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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