CRTC sets Rogers-Shaw transaction hearing for November

CRTC

The CRTC has set a hearing date for Nov. 22 to consider Rogers Communications’ application to acquire Shaw Communications and take over its 16 broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite undertaking Shaw Direct, satellite relay distribution undertaking (SRDU) Shaw Broadcast Services, and Shaw Pay-Per-View.

Considering the size and scope of the proposed $26 billion transaction, the commission will consider whether the acquisition is in the public interest, how the proposed transaction will affect current customers, and in particular, will scrutinize Rogers’ strategy to migrate Shaw customers.

Shaw is the second largest national BDU and the third largest broadcasting and telecommunications company in Canada, while Rogers is the third largest national BDU and second largest broadcasting and telecommunications company in Canada.

The deadline for submission of interventions and comments is Sept. 13.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, the CRTC intends to hold a hybrid public hearing, both in-person in Gatineau, while also making it possible for parties to participate remotely. A satellite appearance location in Calgary, where Shaw is headquartered, may be also be made available. The commission will also accommodate the time difference, with the hearing to begin at 9 a.m. MST (11 a.m. EST).

The federal Competition Bureau has its own investigation underway, looking at the potential impact the merger might have on the wireless and internet market, with critics warning that it will result in fewer consumer options and higher prices. Last week, it obtained court orders to advance its investigation that will compel BCE, TELUS, Videotron, and Xplornet to produce relevant records related to mobile wireless services.

The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on IndustryScience and Technology (INDU) is also studying the proposed transaction.


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