A House of Commons industry and technology committee is preparing to call a second public hearing into Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. before the end of the month, according to sources.
The committee, which recommended against the deal in a report published in March of 2022, plans to take another look at the takeover, as it now involves the divestiture of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron Ltd., according to four people familiar with the matter. The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorized to discuss the committee’s plans publicly.
The committee comprises MPs from the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic parties and the Bloc Québécois. Its recommendations are non-binding but could put pressure on Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, whose approval is required for the deal to close.
Mr. Champagne has said that he will not issue a decision on whether to permit the transfer of Shaw’s wireless licenses to Videotron until there is clarity around the ongoing legal process. The Competition Bureau is scheduled to face off against Rogers and Shaw at the Federal Court of Appeal on Jan. 24 over the Competition Tribunal’s decision to permit the takeover.
Explainer: How the Rogers-Shaw deal ended up in front of the Competition Tribunal
One of the issues that the committee hearing plans to explore is the process through which Rogers and Shaw chose Videotron as the buyer for Freedom Mobile, Canada’s fourth-largest carrier, according to three of the sources. Videotron has agreed to pay $2.85-billion for Freedom, nearly a billion less than the $3.75-billion offered by Globalive Capital Inc., which launched the carrier in 2008 and later sold it to Shaw.
More to come.