Canada’s competition watchdog has approved Rogers Communications Inc’s acquisition of Shaw Communications after securing binding commitments from the telecom company to create jobs and invest in expanding its network. The acquisition, worth C$20 billion ($14.8 billion), will combine two of Canada’s biggest telecom companies and is expected to face regulatory scrutiny.
The Competition Bureau stated that the acquisition will increase competition in the industry and offer several benefits to Canadians, including increased access to network services and faster internet speeds. However, the regulator also recognized that the deal could result in reduced competition in some markets, such as Manitoba.
To address these concerns, Rogers has agreed to a series of commitments, including investing C$6.5 billion ($4.8 billion) over the next five years to build out its network and create thousands of new jobs. The company has also agreed to sell some of Shaw’s assets to smaller telecom players to maintain competition in certain markets.
Rogers has committed to expanding its 5G network to more than 60% of the Canadian population within the next three years and to provide affordable internet services to low-income households. The company has also agreed to maintain current prices for Shaw’s mobile customers for at least three years.
The acquisition has faced criticism from consumer groups and some industry players who argue that it will lead to higher prices and reduced competition. However, Rogers and Shaw have stated that the merger will enable them to provide better services and compete with foreign telecom giants.
Rogers CEO Joe Natale said in a statement, “We are committed to delivering more affordable and reliable connectivity to our customers, and this combination will allow us to do that by investing more in networks and expanding the reach of our innovative products and services.”
The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.