Competition Bureau ‘needs more time’ to study Quebecor-Freedom deal

25 Jul 2022

Canada’s Competition Bureau said on Friday (22 July 2022) that it requires more time to investigate the proposed sale of Shaw Communications’ cellular division Freedom Mobile to Quebecor – the deal which was agreed last month to allay competition concerns over the planned merger of Shaw with Rogers Communications. As reported by Reuters, the Bureau stated that the information it currently possesses about Freedom’s acquisition by Quebecor – parent group of Quebec-based cableco/cellco Videotron – does not address antitrust issues, therefore the watchdog seeks ‘at least six weeks extension’.

The Rogers-Shaw and Quebecor-Freedom deals had targeted completion by end-July, but the parties are expected to extend their closure windows, after mediation proceedings held with the Bureau earlier in the month gleaned no results.

On 17 June 2022 an agreement to sell Freedom to Quebecor was announced at an enterprise value of CAD2.85 billion (USD2.21 billion), ostensibly creating a stronger mobile competitor by combining Freedom with Videotron, while the transaction terms implied Rogers/Shaw would retain customers of Shaw’s second cellular brand, Shaw Mobile, which focuses on multi-service fixed/mobile bundling.

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