Rogers, Shaw extend closing date of merger to Feb. 17

Illustration shows Rogers and Shaw Communications logos
Ethernet cables are seen in front of Rogers and Shaw Communications logos in this illustration taken, July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustrations/File Photo

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) and Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO) said on Monday they had extended the deadline for their C$20 billion ($15.01 billion) merger to Feb. 17 from January end, as the companies await government approval.

The deal, which will create Canada's No. 2 telecoms operator, needs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne's approval for the transfer of spectrum licenses held by Shaw's Freedom Mobile unit to Quebecor Inc's (QBRb.TO) Videotron.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, which Champagne heads, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The C$2.85 billion sale of Freedom Mobile has been key in resolving antitrust concerns around the Rogers-Shaw merger. The sale is also expected to close by Feb. 17, the companies said on Monday.

Champagne had previously expressed support for the transaction if certain conditions were met.

Canada's antitrust tribunal approved in December Rogers' bid for rival Shaw, ending a protracted legal battle with regulators and months of uncertainty over the deal.

Earlier this month, a Canadian court dismissed the competition bureau's efforts to overturn the approval.

The antitrust agency failed to convince the court that the transaction was bad for consumers in a country where wireless bills are already among the highest in the world.

Rogers had in March 2021 announced the bid for Shaw.

Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila

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