The Competition Bureau, which seeks to block the proposed acquisition of Shaw by Rogers, a transaction worth $26 billion, in order to protect Canadians against higher prices, reduced quality of service, and loss of choice, particularly with regard to wireless services, has reached an agreement with the two companies.
Rogers and Shaw have accepted a preliminary injunction prohibiting them from proceeding with their proposed merger until the Competition Tribunal has heard and ruled on the challenge filed by the Commissioner.
Furthermore, Rogers has also agreed not to apply any of the terms and conditions set out in its agreement with Shaw, or in any other agreement entered into in connection with the proposed merger, which would have the effect of limiting Shaw’s ability to operate, maintain, improve or expand its wireless business.
Both companies also agreed to the Commissioner’s request for an expedited hearing before the Tribunal. He is calling for an expedited process given the continuing harm he says is already happening in the marketplace. The expedited schedule will be determined by the Tribunal with input from the Commissioner and both parties.
The Competition Bureau filed a request with the Tribunal on May 9 to obtain a court order blocking the proposed acquisition of Shaw by Rogers. The Bureau will now have to prove its allegations in court for the transaction to be permanently blocked.
In a press release, the Bureau declared that eliminating Shaw as a competitor would jeopardize the considerable progress the company has made in increasing competition in an already concentrated market. In the wireless services market, the three major national carriers (Rogers, Bell and Telus) serve about 87 per cent of subscribers in the country, the press release also stated.