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Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor sign ‘Definitive Agreement’ for sale of Freedom Mobile to Videotron

Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Quebecor announced on 12 August that they have entered into a 'Definitive Agreement' for the sale of Shaw's subsidiary Freedom Mobile to Quebecor's cableco/cellco division Videotron, under terms consistent with those agreed by the parties when they originally announced the deal on 17 June 2022. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and closing of the proposed merger of Shaw and Rogers announced on 15 March 2021.

In a statement the parties said they strongly believe the sale of Freedom to Videotron 'provides the best opportunity' to create a strong fourth national cellco, thereby addressing the anti-competition concerns raised by the Commissioner of Competition and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry regarding the Rogers-Shaw merger. The statement adds that a combined Videotron-Freedom would be well positioned to launch a strong, competitive national 5G offering, using Videotron's 3500MHz spectrum holdings. Accordingly, the parties believe the Rogers-Shaw transaction should now be approved.

Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau declared: 'Our strong track record combined with Freedom's solid Canadian footprint will allow us to offer consumers in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario [in addition to Videotron's existing Quebec/Ottawa mobile footprint] more choice, value, and affordability through discounted multi-service bundles and innovative products.'

As previously announced, Rogers, Shaw and the Shaw Family Living Trust have agreed to extend the 'outside date' of the Rogers-Shaw transaction to 31 December 2022 whilst continuing to seek regulatory approval, and the latest statement notes that this date may be further extended to 31 January 2023 'at the option of Rogers or Shaw, provided Rogers has committed financing available to complete the merger.'

Thanks to TeleGeography for this industry update.

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