Canada’s competition bureau said on Friday that its decision to start litigation to block a C$20 billion ($15.5 billion) bid by Rogers Communications for Shaw Communications does not mean a settlement cannot be reached.
The Canadian antitrust agency this week rejected the proposed deal, saying it would undermine competition in a country that has some of the world’s steepest wireless rates.
It also dismissed a proposed full divestiture of Calgary-based Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile, saying this was insufficient to address competition concerns.
A Competition Bureau spokesperson said in a statement sent to Reuters on Friday that proposed divestitures “will not eliminate the substantial lessening of competition and any remedy proposal would be assessed individually”.
But it also left the door open to a settlement. “The commencement of litigation does not prevent the parties and the Bureau from reaching an agreement to remedy the competition concerns at any time,” it added.
Some lawyers and analysts say the deal could find support from the bureau if Rogers and Shaw propose additional remedies.
Antitrust lawyers expect Rogers and Shaw to bring in buyers with a proven record in running the business, and propose a sale of some stores or spectrum to overcome the bureau’s concerns.
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