Second Rogers/Shaw mediation attempt fails

A second attempt at mediation in the $36 billion Rogers-Shaw merger has failed.

Earlier today, Quebecor Inc., Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications attended a mediation session with the Commissioner of Competition as part of the Competition Tribunal process that failed to yield a negotiated settlement.

In a statement issued on behalf of the three parties, they indicated disappointment with the outcome, saying they believe litigation “is both unnecessary and harmful to competition.”

“The Bureau’s unwillingness to meaningfully engage unduly delays lower wireless prices for Canadian consumers,” it continued. “We remain committed to completing this pro-competitive series of transactions and are confident in the strength and merits of our case in front of the Competition Tribunal, including the many benefits of these transactions to Canadians.”

Earlier this week, Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced terms under which he would consider Shaw’s proposal to sell its wireless division, Freedom Mobile, to Quebecor-owned Vidéotron, which would require his approval to transfer the spectrum licences.

Those terms included a stipulation that any new wireless licences acquired by Vidéotron would need to remain in the company’s possession for at least a decade. Champagne said he would also expect to see prices for wireless services in Ontario and Western Canada comparable to what Vidéotron is currently offering in Quebec, which are on average 20% lower than in the rest of Canada.

This second failed mediation attempt sets the stage for a potentially protracted hearing process to determine the fate of the deal.

Earlier in the summer, Rogers and Shaw agreed to extend the outside date of the proposed merger to Dec. 31, 2022.


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