Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed the Competition Bureau’s request to block Rogers Communications (TSX: RCI.B) CA$20 billion (US$14.9 billion) takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX: SJR).
The decision effectively clears one of the final hurdles preventing the merger, which was first proposed in 2021, to push through. It will now only need the approval of federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
The minister has previously said that he would not allow the deal to be consummated as it is originally structured, even with Shaw agreeing to divest its subsidiary Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor (TSX: QBR.B).
The minister said on Tuesday that he will be reviewing the ruling and will “render a decision in due course.”
Canadians on social media are unhappy about the decision, especially after a nationwide outage in 2021 that affected millions of consumers, small businesses, as well as smaller internet service providers, and demonstrated why it would not be beneficial for Canadians to rely on essential connectivity services from an oligopoly, much less an entity made even larger via a merger.
As of this writing, close to 35,000 people have also already signed an online petition started by the Kill the Deal coalition. The petition highlights that based on a survey done over the summer, 80% of Canadians — like the Competition Bureau — are opposed to the #ShawGers merger, and believe that it must be stopped to “protect Canadians from higher prices, poorer service quality and fewer choices, particularly in wireless services.”
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