Toronto-based national telecom Rogers released a $3 billion investment proposal “to bring connectivity, jobs and economic growth to Quebec” in its latest bid to secure the acquisition of Cogeco’s Canadian assets.
Rogers and American cable television provider Altice previously proposed a deal to acquire Cogeco. Altice sought to purchase Cogeco for $10.3 billion and then sell the company’s Canadian assets to Rogers for $4.9 billion. However, the Audet family, which owns Cogeco, rejected the “unsolicited” offer earlier this month.
Since then, Rogers has continued to push for the deal. The company promised to keep Cogeco in Quebec if the acquisition went through, and later issued a letter saying Cogeco rejected the offer with “undertaking any appropriate process.” Cogeco returned fire, saying Rogers engaged in “bad faith tactics” with the acquisition proposal.
Despite Cogeco stating it was not for sale, Rogers and Altice said they were still committed to pursuing the transaction. The latest part of that commitment is Rogers’ proposal to invest $3 billion dollars in Quebec should the acquisition go through.
Rogers’ investment plan includes 5G rollout, keeping Cogeco in Quebec and more
The company laid out four parts of its investment plan. The first focused on growing jobs and powering economic growth, which included investing $3 billion in Quebec over the next five years. Half of that would go towards network improvements. Rogers also said it would ensure 5,000 jobs in Quebec for a combined Rogers and Cogeco entity. Moreover, the company once again committed to keeping the Cogeco headquarters in Montreal and to having a Quebec president leading the Quebec business. Finally, Rogers said it would maintain the Cogeco brand in Quebec and continue relationships with suppliers and contractors.
The next part in Rogers’ plan is to drive a “made-in-Quebec” innovation agenda. That means expanding its 5G rollout throughout Quebec with a commitment to covering 95 percent of the population in the next five years. Rogers said it would establish a tech innovation hub in Quebec that would create up to 300 highly skilled new technology jobs as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in artificial intelligence, software engineering and digital technology.
Roger’s third piece is to expand on rural connectivity and enhance the customer experience. That entails building on Cogeco’s rural expansion commitments and establishing a rural connectivity partnership with the Quebec government to reach an extra 100,000 households. Further, Rogers plans to upgrade services for existing Cogeco customers with a rollout of its own services, such as Ignite Internet, Ignite TV, Ignite SmartStream and its Smart Home Monitoring program.
Rogers may hope to sway Quebec government with investment proposal
Finally, Rogers says it wants to promote culture and community partnerships. That includes continuing Cogeco’s existing community partnerships and launching a new student technology sponsorship program. Moreover, Rogers wants to continue sponsoring major sporting and other cultural events, which includes exploring ways to bring more major events to Quebec. Lastly, Rogers says it will establish a French language training fund for Rogers employees outside of Quebec.
“We understand the importance of reaffirming our strong commitment to Quebec. Rogers stands ready to be Quebec’s partner in building world-class networks to help make it a global leader in technology and innovation,” said Rogers CEO Joe Natale.
Rogers likely hopes to sway Cogeco into accepting the acquisition with its investment plan. However, it may also equally appeal to the Quebec government. Quebec Premier François Legault expressed opposition to the Cogeco acquisition proposal when it was first announced, and Quebec’s Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon recently recognized the importance of keeping Cogeco’s headquarters in the province. Such an investment proposal from Rogers could sway the provincial government to support the deal.
You can read Roger’s investment plan in full on the company’s website.