Rogers acquires rival Shaw in Canadian telecoms shake-up

Rogers acquires rival Shaw in Canadian telecoms shake-up

15/3/2021 9:37:00 PM

Rogers acquires rival Shaw in Canadian telecoms shake-up

BENGALURU/OTTAWA: Rogers Communications Inc said on Monday it was buying rival Shaw Communications Inc for about C$20 billion (RM66.13 billion) in a d...

A sign outside a Rogers Communications retail store in Ottawa, Canada. – REUTERSPIXBENGALURU/OTTAWA:Rogers Communications Inc said on Monday it was buying rival Shaw Communications Inc for about C$20 billion (RM66.13 billion) in a deal that would create Canada's second-largest cellular and cable operator but might attract stiff regulatory scrutiny.

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By acquiring fourth-ranked Shaw, Rogers would leapfrog Telus Corp, taking on market leader BCE Inc. Shaw's strong presence in Western Canada would also help Rogers double down on its efforts to roll out 5G throughout the country.Shaw shares jumped 42% to C$34, but traded well below the offer price of US$40.50, suggesting doubts about the deal, which is valued at C$26 billion including debt. Shares of Rogers were also up 7% at C$64.

The deal, if completed, would be the biggest Canadian telecoms merger since BCE completed the spinoff of its stake in Nortel Networks in a transaction valued at C$88.7 billion, according to Refinitiv data.“It’s really too early to speculate on the regulatory outcome overall,“ Rogers chief executive officer Joseph Natale said on a conference call. “But we feel confident this transaction will be approved.”

The deal will be reviewed by the independent Competition Bureau of Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, as well as the department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.Canadian Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the review would focus on “affordability, competition, and innovation.”

Toronto-based Rogers said it planned to spend C$2.5 billion on ramping up 5G networks in Western Canada over the next five years following its acquisition of Calgary-based Shaw.Rogers also said it would not raise wireless prices for Freedom Mobile customers for at least three years after the deal as it had pledged to continue offering affordable wireless plans.

Rogers' finance chief, Tony Staffieri, said the company was not looking to sell cable firm, Cogeco, in which it owns a 34% stake.The deal brings two of the country's biggest family-founded telecom businesses together, with a combined C$19 billion in annual revenue. BCE raked in C$22.9 billion last year, while Telus had C$15 billion in revenue. – Reuters

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