Champagne's Rogers-Shaw decision to come 'only after' there's clarity in legal battle

Canada's Industry Minister says he will render his decision on Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $26-billion purchase of Shaw Communications Inc. only after there is clarity in the ongoing legal battle.

The Saturday statement from Francois-Philippe Champagne comes days after the Competition Tribunal dismissed an application from Canada’s competition watchdog seeking to block the takeover, a decision the Competition Bureau says it’s appealing.

Champagne says he will review the tribunal’s decision and will issue his separate decision “only after there is clarity in the ongoing legal process.”

The minister rejected in October the wholesale transfer of wireless spectrum licences from Shaw to Rogers, with Shaw’s ownership of Freedom Mobile widely considered a main hurdle to federal approval.

At the time, Champagne left the door open to a revised deal that would include the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron Ltd. under two major conditions.

Videotron would have to agree to keep Freedom’s wireless licences for at least 10 years and the minister would “expect to see'' wireless prices in Ontario and Western Canada lowered in line with the company’s Quebec offerings.

"What remains before me is the separate request to transfer spectrum licences from Shaw to Quebecor. Promoting competition and affordability in the telecom sector is one of my top priorities. That position has not changed," Champagne said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:SJR.B, TSX:QBR.B)

The Canadian Press