Rogers-Shaw $26-billion proposed deal: Timeline of key events

By The Canadian Press

Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. are gearing up for public hearings before the Competition Tribunal after talks with the federal competition watchdog failed to resolve issues it has with the companies’ $26-billion proposed merger.

Three regulators must allow the deal: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) must approve the transfer of licences on the cable side, and the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development must approve the transfer of wireless spectrum licences. The Competition Bureau also launches an investigation into the deal.

Here’s a look at some key moments leading up to this point:

March 15, 2021: Rogers announces an agreement to buy Shaw in a deal valued at $26 billion. Rogers says it will purchase all outstanding Class A and B shares of Shaw for $40.50 per share in cash, amounting to approximately $20 billion, and take on about $6 billion of debt owed by Shaw. The sale requires approval from shareholders, and Rogers expects to close the deal in the first half of 2022.

May 21, 2021: Shaw shareholders vote in favour of the proposed sale of the company to Rogers.

Nov. 22, 2021: The CRTC opens a five-day hearing to consider the Rogers-Shaw merger.

Nov. 25, 2021: BCE Inc. urges the CRTC to reject the proposed Rogers-Shaw deal, echoing concerns raised by broadcasters, producers and distributors about the market dominance Rogers would have if the deal were to be approved.

March 3, 2022: Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the federal government will block the wholesale transfer of wireless licences owned by Shaw to Rogers Communications. Rogers extends the deadline to close the deal from June 13 to July 31.

March 24, 2022: The CRTC approves Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw’s broadcasting services and lays out a series of conditions the company must meet.

May 7, 2022: Rogers extends the deadline to close the deal from June 13 to July 31.

Rogers Communications Inc. signage is pictured in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. The company released its second quarter 2022 results today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

May 9, 2022: The Competition Bureau files an application to block Rogers’ purchase of Shaw because it claims the transaction would lead to worse service and higher prices for consumers.

May 12, 2022: Quebecor Inc.’s CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau gives a strong signal that he would like to purchase Shaw-owned wireless carrier Freedom Mobile if regulators force Rogers to sell it as a requirement of the merger’s approval.

May 19, 2022: Globalive Capital founder Anthony Lacavera reinforces his bid for Freedom Mobile, formerly Wind Mobile, by signing a network and spectrum sharing agreement with Telus Corp., conditional on Globalive’s successful acquisition of Freedom. Lacavera founded Wind Mobile in 2008.

May 30, 2022: Rogers and Shaw agree to not close their deal until they have resolved the Competition Bureau’s concerns, either through a negotiated agreement or via the Competition Tribunal.

June 2, 2022: Globalive says it has gone straight to Shaw with its $3.75-billion offer for wireless carrier Freedom Mobile due to a lack of engagement from Rogers.

June 17, 2022: Rogers and Shaw make a deal to sell Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron Ltd. for $2.85 billion in an attempt to ease the Competition Bureau’s concerns about the combination of the two companies.

June 24, 2022: Rogers, Shaw and the Competition Bureau agree to participate in a mediation process in July.

July 4, 2022: Two-day mediation period begins between Rogers, Shaw and the Competition Bureau.

July 6, 2022: Talks end with no resolution.

July 8, 2022: Rogers hit with widespread network outage that leaves millions of customers without mobile and internet service and causes trouble for 9-1-1 services and debit transactions.

July 27, 2022: Rogers and Shaw extend the deadline to close a deal to Dec. 31, with a possible further extension to Jan. 31, 2023.

Aug. 12, 2022: Rogers and Shaw finalize a deal to sell Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Videotron for $2.85 billion. The parties say the agreement is consistent with the terms agreed upon on June 17 and is subject to regulatory approvals and the closing of the Rogers-Shaw deal.

Aug. 26, 2022: Competition Tribunal rules Rogers’ July 8 service outage is relevant to the upcoming hearings on the proposed deal.

Oct. 14, 2022: Competition Tribunal confirms that mediation will take place from Oct. 27 to Oct. 28 between Rogers, Shaw and the Competition Bureau. Quebecor will also take part.

Oct. 25, 2022: Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne puts new conditions on the Rogers-Shaw deal, specifically targeting the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Videotron, a key component in the proposed transaction between the telecom companies. In a statement, Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau says he intends to accept the industry minister’s conditions, agreeing to incorporate them in a new version of the transaction.

Oct. 27, 2022: The mediation period with the Competition Bureau begins. Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor jointly released an evening statement saying the mediation did not yield a negotiated settlement.

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