Canada's decision on Rogers-Shaw deal may come on Friday

(Reuters) – Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne is set to rule on Rogers Communications Inc’s C$20 billion ($15 billion) deal to buy Shaw Communications Inc on Friday, The Globe and Mail reported on Thursday, citing two sources.

FILE PHOTO: Ethernet cables are seen in front of Rogers and Shaw Communications logos in this illustration taken, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustrations//File Photo

The government announced that Champagne will make an announcement on “competitiveness in the telecommunications sector,” at 8.30 AM ET (1230 GMT) on Friday, without giving any further details.

The announcement relates to the minister’s review of the takeover deal, The Globe and Mail reported.

Champagne has previously expressed support for the deal if certain conditions were met.

Both Rogers and Shaw did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the report.

Rogers in February had extended the deadline for the deal to March 31 for the fourth time, as the companies awaited the final nod from Champagne.

The deal to create Canada’s No. 2 telecoms company was under intense scrutiny from the competition bureau, as it was concerned that the deal would lessen competition in a country where wireless bills are already among the highest in the world.

To address the issue, Rogers and Shaw agreed to sell Freedom Mobile, a wireless business owned by Shaw, to Quebecor Inc for C$2.85 billion, which is also expected to close by March 31.

Champagne’s approval is needed to transfer spectrum licenses of Freedom Mobile unit to Quebecor’s Videotron.

($1 = 1.3513 Canadian dollars)

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