The federal appeals court declined to hear the competition authority’s challenge to the Shaw-Rogers merger, removing one of the final stumbling blocks in the two companies’ paths.
• Also read: Court of Appeals gives green light to Shaw-Rogers merger
The Competition Bureau is appealing a decision by the Competition Court that gave the go-ahead for the proposed merger between the two telecom giants in December.
“Even if the competition tribunal made an error on certain points of law raised by the Office, we are not convinced that the result would have been different. As a result, it would be futile to return these files to the competition court for a different decision,” Judge David Stratas said, according to comments shared by the Globe and Mail.
The proposed $26 billion merger sees giant Rogers swallowing up Shaw. However, the latter has to sell its subsidiary Freedom Mobile to Quebecor, which intends to take advantage of it in order to expand its activities in western Canada and become a real national player in the field of telecommunications.
With the presidency failing, Rogers and Shaw need only seek the approval of Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne to move forward.
He said he will review the decision. “Regarding Shaw’s request for spectrum transfer to Videotron, I will make a decision in due course. Promoting competition and affordability in the telecoms industry has been and will be my top priority,” he said.
The NDP is also concerned about the impact the merger could have on telecom competition.
“Today’s decision by the federal appeals court to allow the Rogers-Shaw merger is bad news for Canadian families who depend on telecommunications services in their daily lives. That means less competition and higher monthly bills for mobile and internet service,” said Brian Masse, critic of NDP Innovation, Science and Industry.
“The Rogers-Shaw merger will only result in less competition, bigger monopolies, massive layoffs and higher prices for people,” he added.
The competition court concluded in December that the merger “is unlikely to have the effect of materially preventing or restricting competition” in the telecommunications sector in Canada.
He also pointed out that Quebecor, through its subsidiary Videotron, has “very detailed plans” to become a national player in the field alongside Rogers, Bell and Telus.