By Derek Decloet and Randy Thanthong-Knight Financial Post and Bloomberg News
Rogers may need to sell all or part of Shaw’s wireless business to get regulators to give their blessing for the acquisition
Rogers Communications Inc. has opened a data room and begun talks with potential buyers of the wireless assets of Shaw Communications Inc. as it tries to gain regulatory approval for a US$16 billion takeover, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Rogers, Canada’s largest wireless and cable firm, may need to sell all or part of Shaw’s wireless business to get regulators to give their blessing for the acquisition of Calgary-based Shaw. The companies have said they want to close the deal by June 30.
Rogers may try to have a buyer lined up before that date in order to satisfy antitrust regulators, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter is still private. Rogers has more than 11 million wireless customer accounts; Shaw has more than two million, making it the fourth player in the Canadian market.
The wireless unit is considered the biggest antitrust concern in the deal, as there’s no geographic overlap between Rogers and Shaw’s cable networks. If the transaction were to go ahead without the divestment of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile division, consumers in major cities including Vancouver and Toronto would have only three mobile-phone providers to choose from.
Shaw shares rose to a record closing level of $38.59 on March 10 as traders bet on the high likelihood of success for Rogers’s $40.50-per-share bid.