Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. have finalized an agreement to sell Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a unit of Quebecor Inc., the companies said on Friday, paving the way for a potential merger of Canada’s biggest telecom companies.
“This agreement with Quebecor brings us one step closer to completing our merger with Shaw,” Rogers Chief Executive Tony Staffieri said.
The companies said the Freedom Mobile deal was subject to regulatory approvals and closing of the Rogers-Shaw merger.
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 to in June, when Quebecor agreed to buy Freedom Mobile for $2.85 billion.
Rogers and Shaw announced their plans in March 2021, with Shaw shareholders soon after endorsing the deal.
The merger has approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which was only tasked with assessing broadcasting elements of the transaction. The CRTC approved the deal with conditionsincluding requiring Rogers to pour millions more than it had proposed to fund initiatives to help shore up local and indigenous news coverage.
But the Rogers-Shaw deal remains subject to review by the Competition Bureau and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Canada’s antitrust agency blocked Rogers’s $20-billion acquisition of Shaw in May, saying it would lessen competition in the country’s concentrated telecoms market.