CNA – Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc have finalised an agreement to sell Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a unit of Quebecor Inc, the companies said yesterday, paving the way for a merger of Canada’s biggest telecom companies.
Canada’s antitrust agency blocked Rogers’ CAD20-billion acquisition of Shaw in May saying it would lessen competition in the country’s concentrated telecoms market, where customers pay among the highest bills.
Rogers and Shaw had offered the sale of Freedom Mobile, a Shaw unit, as a way to allay competition concerns.
“This agreement with Quebecor brings us one step closer to completing our merger with Shaw,” Rogers Chief Executive Tony Staffieri said yesterday.
Terms of the deal, which include Freedom Mobile’s branded wireless and Internet customers, infrastructure, spectrum and retail sites, were in line with the terms agreed in June, when Quebecor agreed to buy Freedom Mobile in a CAD2.85-billion deal.
The development comes after Rogers last month opposed a request from regulators for more time to probe the Freedom Mobile sale to Quebecor.
Canada’s competition bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment.