Court Paves the Way for Approval of Rogers–Shaw Merger

Pete Evans, CBC News:

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has rejected the Competition Bureau’s request to block the takeover of Shaw by Rogers, a decision that removes one of the final hurdles standing in the way of the $20-billion merger from going ahead.

The merger, first proposed in 2021, would see Toronto-based Rogers Communications Inc. take over Calgary-based rival Shaw Communications Inc. in a move that would further consolidate Canada’s top-heavy telecommunications sector.

A reminder that these two companies are not “rivals” in a meaningful sense. Someone living in Alberta cannot buy wired internet or cable TV services from Rogers and, as best as I can tell, someone in Ontario would be similarly unable to buy those services from Shaw. The same is true for Bell and Telus, the other two big players in Canada: wired Bell services are available in Ontario eastward, while Telus’ are offered from Manitoba westward. Residents of Northern Canada get screwed over no matter which major provider they choose.

Canada has been carved up by these telecom providers and there is no meaningful competition. It is true for cell plans and it is even more true for providers of wired communications. This merger will likely get final approval because it does not meaningfully change the competitive landscape in Canada, and that is an alarming picture in its own right: two of the biggest telecom providers in the country are being combined and we will see little change in service offerings.