© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of Rogers Communications Inc. located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 6, 2016. REUTERS / Chris Helgren / File Photo
By Divya Rajagopal
TORONTO (Reuters) – Rogers (NYSE:) Communications said on Thursday that Canada’s competition commissioner has a “statutory obligation” to expedite a hearing on the company’s proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications (NYSE: ) Inc.
There is no compelling reason to change the agreed date, says Rogers.
Rogers made the comments in a formal objection filed with competition court, where the competition commission denied the competition commissioner’s request for additional time to investigate the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc.
Antitrust authorities blocked Rogers’ $20 billion Canadian acquisition of Shaw (US$15.5 billion), arguing it would reduce competition in Canada’s centralized telecoms market. , where customers pay among the highest bills.
Rogers has offered Freedom Mobile as a way to allay concerns about competition.
The antitrust agency has requested at least a six-week extension to the merger proceedings to examine whether the sale of Freedom Mobile remains competitive in Canada’s telecommunications market. The arbitral tribunal will hear arguments about the extension of the hearing deadline this week from all parties involved.
For a story on the next steps in the Rogers-Shaw hearing.
Rogers’ attorneys sent a letter to the court in July opposing the request for an extension, but Thursday’s filing expands on their argument.
Shares of Shaw Communications traded 0.6% higher at C$34.93, down 13.8% from Rogers’ asking price. Rogers is trading up 0.1% at 57.30, while the benchmark Canadian share index remains flat.
(1 dollar = 1.2868 Canadian dollars)