Rogers chairman tightens his grip

2 minute read

General view of the Rogers Building, quarters of Rogers Communications in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

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NEW YORK, Nov 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) - For Canadian telecom tycoon Edward Rogers, power means the freedom to change one’s mind. A court ruled on Friday that the chairman of Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) was within his rights to oust five board members after they challenged his ouster of Chief Executive Joe Natale. With a reshaped board in hand, though, Rogers is throwing his weight behind Natale after all.

Rogers controls the company his father founded through a trust that holds his family’s voting shares. When he pushed to fire Natale, other directors – including some from his own family – tried to depose him. Now that their challenge has failed, Rogers’ grip on the C$30 billion company looks assured. Keeping Natale looks like an attempt to move on.

Perhaps Edward Rogers is on his best behavior while his firm pursues its C$26 billion acquisition of rival Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO). Competitors had used the board battle as a pretext to ask regulators to delay hearings. The risk is that when the deal is done, Rogers could change his mind again, as his family seems to expect. Founders often say their control ensures stability; Rogers is putting that theory to the test. (By Jonathan Guilford)

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Editing by John Foley and Amanda Gomez

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