Rogers and Shaw agree to injunction that temporarily blocks their merger closing
Wireless companies had vowed to press on despite Competition Bureau objections
Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. say they will oppose a hearing by the Competition Tribunal but have agreed not to close their $26-billion merger until objections by the Competition Bureau are resolved.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Rogers and Shaw said the agreement with the commissioner of competition, Matthew Boswell, "allows the parties to focus on addressing (his) concerns with the transaction in order to reach a settlement."
On May 9, the commissioner of competition filed an application to block Rogers' purchase of Shaw, arguing that the transaction would lead to worse service and higher prices for consumers.
He also alleged that removing Shaw as a competitor would undo the progress made on competition in Canada's telecom sector over the years.
Rogers and Shaw said they believe their transaction is in the best interest of Canadian consumers, businesses and the economy and that a settlement is the "best path" to ensuring those benefits are expeditiously realized.
"If a Tribunal hearing is ultimately required to address the commissioner's application to prevent the transaction, Rogers and Shaw intend to oppose it," they said in a news release, adding that an expedited schedule of that application is expected to be set soon.
In the agreement with the Competition Bureau, the two telecoms say they don't agree with the commissioner's conclusions.
In a release of its own, the Competition Bureau said Rogers and Shaw agreed not to close the proposed deal "until the commissioner's challenge is heard and decided by the Competition Tribunal."
It said that Rogers also agreed to not limit Shaw's ability to operate, maintain, enhance or expand its wireless business.
Earlier this month, Rogers and Shaw announced that they would press ahead with the deal and fight the commissioner's efforts to block it.