Rogers argues against calls to delay CRTC hearing about Shaw acquisition

In a filing to the CRTC, the company says the Rogers family is "aligned" on the deal -- it may be the only thing they are aligned on

Rogers and Shaw logo on iPhone

Rogers Communications wants an upcoming regulatory hearing about its proposed acquisition of Shaw to move forward as planned despite the ongoing dispute between Rogers family members over control of the company.

As reported by The Globe and Mail, Rogers (the company) submitted a regulatory filing to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Tuesday. The filing argued against calls to delay the November 22nd hearing from advocacy groups and rival telecom companies.

The Globe reports that the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) sent a letter to the CRTC on Monday, as did BCE. Telus followed suit on Tuesday — all sought to delay the regulatory hearing until the uncertainty around who controlled Rogers Communications was resolved.

As a quick refresher, Edward Rogers — son of the late Ted Rogers, who founded the company — is locked in a dispute with his mother Loretta Rogers and sisters Martha Rogers and Melinda Rogers-Hixon over the company’s board. Edward had attempted to oust CEO Joe Natale and replace him with former chief financial officer Tony Staffieri. However, after a butt-dial allegedly revealed the scheme to Natale, Edward was voted out as the board chair.

While no longer chairperson, Edward was still on the board as a director and promptly announced plans to remove several members (including the new chair) from the board and replace them, which effectively brings us up to date with the Rogers family now feuding in a Vancouver courtroom over whether Edward legally can replace the board. A decision is expected from the judge on Friday.

Those interested can read a complete timeline here.

Rogers argues that the family is “aligned” on the importance of the Shaw deal

With all that chaos going on, it’s no surprise that some have questioned whether to move forward with a hearing about an acquisition valued at $26 billion. Arguments for the delay include that it’s unclear which of the two boards currently has the authority to oversee the company’s affairs. Another argument is that the outcome could lead to changes in the Rogers executive team and it’s unclear if new executives would respect assurances in the proposed Shaw deal made by the old team.

Rogers countered those arguments in its filing, saying that it and Shaw’s “commitment to this transaction has never wavered.” Additionally, Rogers said any commitments made by the company will be honoured “regardless of any changes to the directors and officers that may occur in the future.”

It’s worth noting, however, that the Rogers company is embroiled in a lawsuit with Quebecor’s Vidéotron over an alleged breach of the companies’ shared network agreement. Vidéotron claimed in the lawsuit that a new chief technology officer (CTO) who disliked the agreement joined Rogers in 2018 and exacerbated issues.

Rogers Communications also argued in its CRTC filing that delaying the hearing would lead to delays in the CRTC’s review of the deal and create more “uncertainty in the marketplace.”

“The Rogers family and Rogers are aligned on the importance of this transaction. They fully support the application that Rogers has filed with the commission. They have stated this publicly multiple times,” Rogers said in the filing.

A spokesperson for the CRTC told The Globe that it was reviewing the requests for a delay.

Update 11/03/2021 at 12:02pm ET: Added more detail about the PIAC and NPF letter.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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