Rogers initiating talks with potential buyers for Shaw’s mobile assets

14 Mar 2022

Bloomberg reports that Rogers Communications has opened a data room and begun talks with potential buyers of the mobile assets of Shaw Communications as the two Canadian groups attempt to gain regulatory approval for their merger deal, according to an unnamed source.

TeleGeography notes that on 3 March 2022 a federal statement indicated that the government would require significant divestment of Shaw’s mobile spectrum assets as a condition of merger approval, while Rogers/Shaw issued a joint statement sticking to their expectation of completing the deal in 1H22. Rogers holds first place in the Canadian mobile market, with a 30%-plus share of subscriptions nationwide at end-2021, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, with the country’s other two national operators Bell and Telus closely behind in second and third place, and the Shaw group occupying a distant fourth position with a near-6% share under its Freedom Mobile and Shaw Mobile brands. The Freedom Mobile network covers urban centres across British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario representing around 50% of the Canadian population, and merging this operation with Rogers would go against federal policy of giving users a choice of four providers in all provinces. Fifth-placed cellco Videotron, currently restricting its mobile network to Quebec and Ottawa, has previously expressed its potential interest in the Shaw/Freedom assets.

On 15 March 2021 Rogers agreed to buy 100% of Shaw for around CAD20 billion (USD16 billion) plus CAD6 billion debt, subject to regulatory approvals from Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISED) under the Radiocommunication Act, the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) under the Broadcasting Act, and the Competition Bureau under the Competition Act.

Canada, Freedom Mobile (part of Shaw), Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications, Videotron