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  • By The Financial District

Canada's Antitrust Panel OKs $14.8-B Rogers-Shaw Deal

Canada's antitrust tribunal approved Rogers Communications Inc.'s C$20 billion ($14.77 billion) bid for rival Shaw Communications Inc., ending months of uncertainty over the merger that would create the country's second largest telecom firm, Reuters reported.

Photo Insert: The ruling dismissed the Commissioner of Competition's plea to oppose the merger.

The ruling on late Thursday dismissed the Commissioner of Competition's plea to oppose the merger, which has been seen as a test case for the country's ability to foster competition amid growing worries of consolidation in sectors ranging from telecoms to banks.

The two companies and the competition bureau approached the tribunal after the bureau rejected Shaw's proposal to sell Freedom Mobile Inc. to rival Quebecor Inc.'s Videotron unit for C$2.85 billion to facilitate the deal. The bureau said Quebecor was not a viable competitor with the merged entity.

However, in its Thursday ruling, the tribunal said such a sale would allow Videotron to expand in new markets and ensure competition remains robust.

The Rogers-Shaw merger after the sale of Freedom Mobile was "not likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially" and may not lead to "materially higher" prices or a decline in quality of service, the tribunal said.

"I am very disappointed that the Tribunal is dismissing our application to block the merger between Rogers and Shaw," Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition, said.

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