Minister Champagne isn’t hurrying to approve Rogers-Shaw merger

Rogers and Shaw hope to gain all avenues of approval by January 31st

Rogers and Shaw are coming close to their proposed January 31st deadline, but Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne isn’t rushing to grant his seal of approval.

Champagne has to approve the transfer of Shaw’s wireless licenses to Vidéotron as part of a side deal to create a fourth wireless competitor.

The Rogers and Shaw deal has overcome other sources of required approval.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the broadcast aspect of the merger in March 2022. The Competition Bureau ended its fight to stop the mergers earlier this week after the Federal Court of Appeal rejected its request to overturn the Competition Tribunal’s ruling backing the telecoms.

Champagne told the Toronto Star he has looked at the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision “but wants to more fully understand” it.

The Minister’s conditions of approval include Vidéotron lowering wireless bills in Ontario and Western Canada and retaining the spectrum licenses it acquires for ten years.

“Discussions about making sure that these conditions are enforceable [have taken place]. And the thing that I can say — I’m a lawyer, so we will make sure that these undertakings are binding,” Champagne told the publication. He confirmed various enforcement options, to occur if requirements aren’t met, are being examined.

“As the regulator, I am not bound by any deadline,” Champagne said.

Image credit: @fp_champagne

Source: Toronto Star