Mediation fails to resolve Rogers-Shaw takeover differences

Rogers Communications and Canada’s competition watchdog have failed to resolve their differences over the telecom giant’s $26 billion proposed takeover of Shaw Communications following a mediation period and weeks of talks.

In a joint press release Thursday evening, Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor Inc. say they are “disappointed” the mediation session did not yield a negotiated settlement. They say they remain committed to completing the transaction.

The fight will now move to public hearings before the Competition Tribunal, scheduled to begin on Nov. 7, and which could drag on until mid-December.

The Competition Bureau has been trying to block the deal, arguing that the transaction would lead to worse service and higher prices for consumers.

Earlier this week, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne put new conditions on the deal, specifically targeting the sale of Shaw-owned wireless carrier Freedom Mobile to Québecor’s Videotron, a key component in the proposed transaction.

In response, Québecor said it would accept the industry minister’s stipulations, agreeing to incorporate them in a new version of the transaction.

The CRTC conditionally approved Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw’s broadcasting services in March, but the deal still needs to get the green light from the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Rogers is hoping to close the transaction by the end of the year, with a possible further extension to Jan. 31, 2023. The closing date has been delayed several times.

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