Archive for Shaw

BREAKING: Federal Court Dismisses Rogers/Shaw Appeal

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on January 24, 2023 by itnerd

In a blow to consumers, the Federal Court of Appeal has shot down the Competition Bureau’s request to blog the merger of Rogers and Shaw. That leaves this whole thing up to federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne. And he Tweeted this:

At this point, the Federal Government hasn’t shown any interest in shooting what is clearly a merger that harms consumers out of the sky. Thus I do not have high hopes that Champagne will do anything but allow this merger to go through. And consumers will literally pay the price at the end of the day.

It’s truly too bad that Canada doesn’t have a federal government who recognizes that Canada pays far too much money for their telco services and is prepared to address the issue. While I am free to be surprised on that front, I don’t think I will be.

Good News! Canada’s Competition Bureau Will Appeal Today’s Rogers – Shaw Decision

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 30, 2022 by itnerd

This morning I was not hopeful about the chances of Canadians getting a positive outcome in terms of the Rogers – Shaw merger decision from last night. But there’s hope as news is out that the Competition Bureau is appealing the decision:

The Competition Bureau is appealing the Competition Tribunal’s dismissal of its case against Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc., the companies said as they expressed their disappointment in the move.

The telecommunications companies said Friday that they were informed of the bureau’s intent to appeal the tribunal’s decision, released late Thursday. They said they were alsot told that the bureau will apply for an injunction to block the deal from closing until an appeal is heard.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Commissioner continues to attempt to deny Canada and Canadians the advantages that will come from these proposed transactions,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The Competition Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement late Thursday that he was very disappointed by the tribunal’s dismissal and was carefully considering next steps.

It’s bad news for Rogers and Shaw. But it’s good news for Canadians as this is a bad deal for Canada and must be stopped. Thus I am hopeful that this deal will be stopped so that Canadians don’t end up getting shafted as a result.

Rogers – Shaw Merger Approved By Competition Tribunal… Which Means That Canadian Consumers Are One Step Closer To Being Screwed

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 30, 2022 by itnerd

Canadian telco consumers should prepare to have less competition in the telco space because late last night the merger of Rogers and Shaw which has been fought by Canada’s competition watchdog have been approved. CBC has the details:

In a summary of its decision released Thursday, the tribunal says the merger of the two telecommunications companies would not result in materially higher prices.

The decision says the deal, which includes the sale of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor-owned Videotron, would not likely prevent or lessen competition substantially.

Quebecor agreed to buy Freedom Mobile in a $2.85-billion deal earlier this year.

Concerns that Bell and Telus — the closest competitors to Rogers in Canada’s telecom market — would be unable to compete with the combined company were also dismissed.

“The tribunal has also determined that the strengthening of Rogers’ position in Alberta and British Columbia, combined with the very significant competitive initiatives that Telus and Bell have been pursuing since the merger was announced, will also likely contribute to an increased intensity of competition in those markets,” the decision reads.

It says a more detailed decision will be released in the next two days.

I’m sorry, but this decision is horrible for Canadians because the exact opposite is going to happen as there’s going to be one less player in the marketplace. While this still has to be approved by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, I expect that to be a rubber stamp as the current federal government in Canada pays lip service to having an affordable and competitive telco space. Canadian consumers might want to remember that when the next election comes and vote accordingly.

Rogers And Shaw Want To Sell Freedom Mobile To Quebecor

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on June 18, 2022 by itnerd

News surfaced last night that Rogers and Shaw have cut a deal with Quebecor to sell the latter Freedom Mobile so that it hopefully the Canadian Government will approve the merger between Rogers and Shaw:

Under the terms of the Divestiture Agreement, Quebecor has agreed to buy Freedom on a cash-free, debt-free basis at an enterprise value of C$2.85 billion, expanding Quebecor’s wireless operations nationally. The Divestiture Agreement provides for the sale of all of Freedom branded wireless and Internet customers as well as all of Freedom’s infrastructure, spectrum and retail locations. It also includes a long-term undertaking by Shaw and Rogers to provide Quebecor transport services (including backhaul and backbone) and roaming services. The parties will work expeditiously and in good faith to finalize definitive documentation.

As Freedom’s new owner, Quebecor will bring a strong operational track record, a history of competing vigorously and successfully in telecommunications services, including its wireless brands in Quebec and Eastern Ontario, and significant financial and spectrum resources to enable an expedient path to the next evolution of 5G technology for Freedom.

“Our agreement with Quebecor to divest Freedom is a critical step towards completing our proposed merger with Shaw. We strongly believe the divestiture will meet the Government of Canada’s objective of a strong and sustainable fourth wireless services provider,” said Tony Staffieri, President and CEO of Rogers. “This agreement between proven cable and wireless companies will ensure the continuation of a highly competitive market with robust future investments in Canada’s world class networks. We look forward to securing the outstanding regulatory approvals for our merger with Shaw so that we can deliver significant long-term benefits to Canadian consumers, businesses and the economy.”

I’m not so sure about that. While Quebecor has made life miserable for Rogers, Bell, and Telus within the province of Quebec, I seriously doubt that they’d be willing to do the same thing outside of Quebec. Which means that consumers won’t benefit. In my opinion, what really needed to happen is that Freedom Mobile needed to sold to a company who would commit to lowering prices and committing to competing against the big three telcos. That didn’t happen here and Canadians lose as a result.

Rogers & Shaw Hit Pause On Their Merger

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 31, 2022 by itnerd

In a move that will be seen as good news to many, Rogers and Shaw have agreed to pause their merger via agreeing to a preliminary injunction until the Competition Tribunal decides if the deal can go ahead. Here’s a quote from the Competiton Bureau website:

Today Rogers and Shaw agreed to a preliminary injunction that prohibits them from closing their proposed merger until the Commissioner’s challenge is heard and decided by the Competition Tribunal.

As part of an agreement that will be registered with the Tribunal, Rogers has also agreed not to enforce any condition in its agreement with Shaw, or any other agreement entered into in connection with the proposed merger that limits Shaw’s ability to operate, maintain, enhance or expand its wireless business.

Rogers and Shaw have also agreed to the Commissioner’s request for an expedited hearing process before the Tribunal. The Commissioner sought an expedited process given the ongoing harm he has alleged is already occurring in the market. The expedited schedule will be set by the Tribunal with input from the Commissioner and the parties.

This isn’t really good news or bad news in my opinion. Though some will see it as good news. In reality it’s just part of the process of the Competition Bureau trying to stop this deal. Because they know that what Canadians from coast to coast to coast know. This is a bad deal and Canadians will lose if it goes ahead as it creates less competition and not more. The only thing that is interesting is that the Competition Bureau is trying to expedite things. That part is good as this needs to be sorted sooner rather than later. And I am hoping that by “sorted” it means that this deal is shot out of the sky.

Competition Bureau Confirms That It Wants To Stop The Rogers Shaw Merger

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 9, 2022 by itnerd

Yesterday I reported that Rogers and Shaw received communication from the Competition Bureau saying that they were going oppose the merger of the two telcos. Now the Competition Bureau has confirmed that this communication happened. And they provided among other details, this:

The Competition Bureau is seeking to block Rogers proposed $26 billion acquisition of Shaw in an effort to protect Canadians from higher prices, poorer service quality and fewer choices, particularly in wireless services.

The Bureau challenged the merger today by requesting an order from the Competition Tribunal to prevent it from proceeding. The Bureau is also requesting an injunction to stop the parties from closing the deal until its application can be heard. The Bureau must now prove its case before the Tribunal in order for the deal to be stopped. 

The Bureau alleges that removing Shaw as a competitor threatens to undo the significant progress it has made introducing more competition into an already concentrated wireless services market, where Rogers, Bell and Telus (the Big 3) serve approximately 87% of Canadian subscribers. 

Following an extensive investigation, the Bureau determined that competition between Rogers and Shaw has already declined. The Bureau’s position is that if the proposed merger is allowed to proceed, that harm will continue and may worsen. The applications filed seek to safeguard an effective, growing and disruptive regional competitor for the benefit of consumers.

Well, this is a very interesting development. The Competition Bureau sees this merger the way that Canadians see this merger. Which is that it is harmful to Canadians because it shrinks competition. I for one will be cheering for the Competition Bureau in this fight as Canada needs to do better when it comes to its telco services.

Competition Bureau To Rogers And Shaw: That Merger Ain’t Happening On Our Watch

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 8, 2022 by itnerd

Rogers and Shaw apparently got some bad news on Friday night. Apparently the Competition Bureau dialled them up and let them know that their proposed merger was going to be opposed by them. Rogers put out a press release that among other things said this:

Rogers Communications Inc. (“Rogers”) and Shaw Communications Inc. (“Shaw”) were notified this afternoon following the close of trading of the Commissioner of Competition’s intention to file applications to the Competition Tribunal opposing Rogers’ proposed merger with Shaw (the “Transaction”).

Rogers and Shaw remain committed to the Transaction, which is in the best interests of Canada and Canadians because of the significant long-term benefits it will bring for consumers, businesses and the economy. The companies have offered to address concerns regarding the possible impact of the Transaction on Canada’s competitive wireless market by proposing the full divesture of Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile. Rogers and Shaw are engaged in a process to sell Freedom Mobile, with a view to addressing concerns raised by the Commissioner of Competition and ISED.

Rogers and Shaw will oppose the application to prevent the Transaction to be made by the Commissioner of Competition, while continuing to engage constructively with the Competition Bureau in an effort to bring this matter to a resolution and ensure that the Transaction’s benefits can be realized by all Canadians.

As a result of this news, Rogers and Shaw have pushed the the outside date of the merger to July 31 2022. That way they can “engage” with the Competition Bureau and get them to change their minds. Something that I personally don’t see happening. So I expect this to be in court at some point.

Frankly, i’m not at all surprised by this as there has been healthy opposition to this merger as it is seen as reducing competition rather than increasing it. And frankly, Rogers specifically has larger issues at the moment. While they have made announcements about increasing the speeds of their Internet offering to better compete with Bell and Telus, the facts are that those announcements really won’t make the Internet experience for the majority of their customers any better anytime soon. So if I were Rogers, I’d focus on that rather than reducing competition by buying Shaw.

CRTC Approves Rogers Takeover Of Shaw…. And That’s A Mistake

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 25, 2022 by itnerd

Yesterday, the CRTC approved the takeover of Shaw by Rogers. In it’s decision, it said this:

The Commission approves, subject to a number of modifications and the fulfilment of specific conditions of approval, an application by Rogers Communications Inc. (Rogers), on behalf of Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), for authority to transfer the effective control of the broadcasting undertakings licensed to Shaw or its subsidiaries to Rogers or its subsidiaries. The Commission concludes that the transaction as modified by the Commission is in the public interest and advances the objectives set out for the Canadian broadcasting system in the Broadcasting Act (the Act).

Those conditions are:

  • A $27.2 million payout to the Canada Media Fund, Independent Journalism Fund and other cultural agencies
  • Time-bound commitments to Shaw customers, such as notifying them 90 days before current contracts end about the impending merger
  • Rogers also must report annually on its increased contribution to local news
  • Hiring more journalists at its Citytv stations
  • Producing an extra 48 news specials annually “that reflect local communities.”

Now this decision only covers broadcasting elements of the transaction. It doesn’t cover the cellular parts of the deal for example. But regardless, the CRTC has once again proved that they don’t have the interests of Canadians in mind. This deal would reduce competition, raise prices, and not benefit Canadians at the end of the day because they would have less choice in the telco marketplace. And it proves that the CRTC needs to be abolished in favour of a regulatory body that protects Canadians and holds telcos accountable. Because when the head of the CRTC meets his telco friend in a bar for a beer, then any pretence of impartiality goes out the window. Which by extension means that decisions like this are suspect by default.

Now to be fair, there are other hoops that this deal has to go through. And one can hope that common sense prevails and nukes this deal from orbit. But somehow I see this as the beginning of the end for affordable telco services in Canada.

Petition Opposing Rogers/Shaw Merger Passes 61,000 Signatures

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 8, 2021 by itnerd

It appears that the Rogers/Shaw merger which is already being opposed by the Conservative Party Of Canada is also opposed by a whole lot of Canadians. Open Media put out a press release on Friday saying that a petition opposing the merger has surpassed 61,000+ Canadians. According to the press release, OpenMedia and a number of other civil society groups have issued a joint statement, warning Canadians of the merger’s dire implications, encouraging them to speak out.

Clearly Canadians are responding to this and don’t want this merger to go through. The question that you have to ask if the Canadian Government is listening.

Rogers Communications Intends To Buy Shaw Communications For $26 Billion….. This Cannot Be Good For Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 15, 2021 by itnerd

The news dropped this morning that Rogers Communications has signed a deal to purchase Shaw Communications in a transaction that’s valued at $26 billion.

This transaction will create Canada’s most robust wholly-owned national network, and as a result of the combined teams and enhanced capacity, will generate more choice and competition for businesses, as well as realizing the full benefits of next generation networks for Canadians and Canada’s productivity. Once the transaction is complete, the companies plan to invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks across Western Canada, which is expected to create up to 3,000 net new jobs.

It also will likely remove Shaw Communications and Shaw owned Freedom Mobile from the telco landscape in Canada. So that cannot be good for Canadians. But Rogers did say this:

The combined company is committed to continue offering affordable wireless plans, with no overage fees, that meet the budgets and needs of Canadians. As part of this commitment, Rogers will not increase wireless prices for Freedom Mobile customers for at least three years following the close of the transaction

That may be cold comfort for Freedom Mobile customers who hear this news. You can fully expect this deal to get a lot of scrutiny given the fact that it will result in less choice in the telco landscape. Which by extension is not good for Canadians. And you can also expect that other telcos, AKA Bell might have something to say about this. But if this deal goes through, it would make Rogers top of the food chain in the Canadian telco space.