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Canadian Judge Asks Regulator If There Is a Resolution For Rogers Deal

 |  November 1, 2022

The judge presiding over the antitrust case against Rogers Communications’s takeover of a rival has asked lawyers representing the companies and Canada’s antitrust czar whether there’s a potential solution to the impasse stalling the deal.

Chief Justice Paul Crampton of the Federal Court ordered legal counsel for Rogers, Shaw Communications Inc. and the federal Competition Bureau to a case-management conference at 3 p.m. Ottawa time Tuesday, according to a notice published Monday afternoon.

In the meantime, Crampton asked all sides to “reflect” on whether it’s possible to find a solution that doesn’t involve blocking the entire transaction.

Rogers and Shaw have agreed to sell Shaw’s Freedom Mobile division, which has more than 2 million customers, to Quebecor Inc. in an attempt to resolve concerns that Rogers would gain too much power in the wireless sector.

The divestiture would shrink the Rogers-Shaw deal so that it’s primarily a merger of two companies that offer internet, cable and other services in different regions of Canada. But so far, that hasn’t been enough to satisfy Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell, who has pressed ahead with an argument that the transaction would harm consumers by reducing competition.

Crampton’s orders asks the parties to consider whether “alternative relief” — a change to deal terms that helps ensure competition — is possible, so that “it would not be necessary to continue to seek an order directing the respondents not to proceed with the entire proposed transaction.” The respondents in the case include Rogers and Shaw.