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December 30, 2022 1:12 am  #1


Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

The only thing that can stop the merger between Rogers and Shaw now that the Competition Tribunal has approved the controversial deal, is a thumb's down from the feds. Hands up anyone who thinks that's going to happen. I predicted this would go through way back when, because Rogers always somehow seems to get what it wants - whether it's good for the very consumers the government insists it wants to protect or not. 

"In a decision released late on Dec. 29 , the three-member tribunal rejected arguments that combining the two telecom giants would substantially lessen wireless competition, particularly after the merging companies struck a side deal to sell Freedom to Quebecor’s Vidéotron Ltd., a major player in Quebec, but a company that has little presence elsewhere."

In a pretzel logic only a government agency could defend, they essentially decided that less competition would somehow be good for consumers.

The fact they dropped this bomb at night during the week between Christmas and New Year's, when there's a lot less scrutiny, speaks volumes. Whenever governments come up with a controversial decision, they'll frequently release it on a late Friday night, believing no one is paying attention and it will be long forgotten by Monday. Sadly, too often that works and it's why there's an actual term for it - The Friday News Dump.

In this case, there can't be a quieter period than between Xmas and Jan. 1st to discourage the public's interest, and any PR firm will tell you that the timing of this decision's release is not a coincidence. 

I believe the chance of this being rejected by Minister Champagne is slim to none. And I always expected that it would go through, despite holding out hope that at least the Competition Bureau saw how bad this will be. I feel sorry for Shaw customers, who are soon going to find themselves as Rogers clients, without it being their choice. But then no one involved in this debacle is really worried about your choice. Because soon all of us will have less of it


Competition Tribunal approves Rogers-Shaw merger, making Trudeau government the final obstacle

 

December 30, 2022 5:29 am  #2


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Didn't the former WIND founder offer more money than Quebecor? 
Where was this when discussing TRUE competition?


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

December 30, 2022 7:39 am  #3


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Yes, that's correct. But unfortunately, Roges decided to sell to Quebecor. The unsuccessful bidder, Globalive, speculated at the time there was only one reason to turn down the more lucrative offer - the fear that his company would actually give consumers a price break, forcing Bell, Rogers and Telus to reluctantly follow suit. That can't happen now. 

From June:

"Anthony Lacavera said in a statement Saturday that Globalive had offered $900 million more than Quebecor did to buy Freedom. He said its bid was rejected because Globalive is "a real independent and pureplay national long-term competitor."

 "Rogers is afraid to compete. They have shopped this deal to a succession of billionaire friendlies and friendly parties who won't compete with them [and] are willing to sell Freedom back to them at any time," Lacavera added."

Rogers Communications says it will sell Freedom Mobile to Quebecor for $2.85B

     Thread Starter
 

December 30, 2022 8:00 am  #4


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

The Toronto Star holds out at least some hope that the government won't rubberstamp this deal. But we'll see.

Will competition law overhaul lead to lower prices, better conditions for workers?
https://clearthis.page/?u=https://www.thestar.com/business/2022/12/29/will-competition-law-overhaul-lead-to-lower-prices-better-conditions-for-workers.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_business

     Thread Starter
 

December 30, 2022 4:23 pm  #5


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Critics are blasting this "hurried" decision and are contemplating an appeal.

From the Toronto Star:

"Critics say the Tribunal’s decision was hastily made and follows a troubling pattern in Canada’s failure to foster healthy competition in one the country’s most powerful sectors.

Though the decision is disappointing, it is ultimately a product of Canada’s permissive and outdated merger laws,” said Keldon Bester, co-founder of The Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project. “It is … disheartening to see the Tribunal rush such a critical decision for Canadians at the request of the merging parties.”


Matt Hatfield, campaigns director of OpenMedia, said the decision was “the last nail in the coffin of telecom affordability in a dismal 2022.” 

Competition Tribunal’s decision on Rogers-Shaw merger ‘rushed,’ ‘disappointing,’ say critics
https://clearthis.page/?u=https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2022/12/30/competition-tribunals-decision-on-rogers-shaw-merger-rushed-disappointing-say-critics.html

     Thread Starter
 

January 1, 2023 8:15 pm  #6


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Many analysts think he's just biding his time, but that this will be a done deal eventually.

Industry Minister Champagne will make no decision on Rogers-Shaw deal until legal case is resolved
https://clearthis.page/?u=https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-industry-minister-champagne-will-make-no-decision-on-rogers-shaw-deal/

     Thread Starter
 

January 19, 2023 9:32 am  #7


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Teksavvy, which is my ISP, has filed an appeal on this deal with the CRTC, arguing the entire thing violates regulations set by the Commission itself. 

"...their entire transaction hinges on special wholesale arrangements, including one where Rogers will lease its broadband network to Vidéotron at discounted rates that aren't available to independent ISPs, such as TekSavvy. The CRTC sets wholesale rates paid by ISPs who lease access to large carrier networks. 

"When the Competition Bureau argued that the CRTC's rates are so high that Vidéotron cannot use them to compete outside of 
Quebec, Rogers confirmed that it will grant Vidéotron access to its broadband network at preferential rates that are below the CRTC's regulated rates."


It's a compelling argument - that the rules blatantly apply only one way and are monopolistic - but I suspect it won't change a thing. Still, I wish them luck. I've long believed the fix is in for this deal and no matter how long it goes on and no matter what legal moves are made, this will happen. Unless the new chair of the CRTC really lives up to her reputation of being different and caring about consumers and competition in the wireless biz. We'll see.  

TekSavvy challenges wholesale deal with Vidéotron, says CRTC ruling required before Minister's final decision

     Thread Starter
 

January 19, 2023 8:29 pm  #8


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

While there are plenty of reasons to not like this merger, I'm not sure the competition bureau had much choice. The reality is, from a consumer level, this really doesn't change much.

The only market where Freedom and Videotron overlap is Ottawa, so they'd lose a player, but Freedom/Videotron as a 4th true national carrier more than makes up for that.

 

January 19, 2023 9:18 pm  #9


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

But clearly this doesn't meet the smell test. As noted earlier in this thread, the former owner of Wind Mobile offered $900 million more than Quebecor to buy Freedom Mobile, yet Rogers turned him down flat. Anthony Lacavera is convinced - as am I - that the only reason to reject that much money is because Rogers and its crony competitors feared a real player in the marketplace might actually force price reductions. And we can't have that! 

Rogers, of course, is free to sell any of their properties for whatever price they want. But if that didn't send a message to regulators who pretend to care about consumers, nothing ever will. Didn't seem to make a dent with the folks in charge.

     Thread Starter
 

January 19, 2023 9:23 pm  #10


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

How would the former Wind owner be any more likely to create a true mobile competitor than Videotron? They'd still just be a regional player. I suspect Rogers favouring Videotron has more to do with a future promise to Rogers to enter the Quebec cable TV/Internet market over time.

Either way, it's all specultative, and the merger as is does not affect consumer compeition negatively.

Last edited by RadioAaron (January 19, 2023 9:25 pm)

 

January 19, 2023 10:26 pm  #11


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

RadioAaron wrote:

How would the former Wind owner be any more likely to create a true mobile competitor than Videotron? They'd still just be a regional player. I suspect Rogers favouring Videotron has more to do with a future promise to Rogers to enter the Quebec cable TV/Internet market over time.

Either way, it's all specultative, and the merger as is does not affect consumer compeition negatively.

For one thing, Lacavera has said he would have found a way to charge less than the Rogers and Bells of the world if he could have acquired the rights to his old company and take it national - which he had planned. But of course, there's no way of knowing if he actually could have done that. Still, I would have liked to see him try. There is simply no other way to explain why they'd turn down $900 million more than they were offered for his former company and sell it to Quebecor for a bargain basement price instead. It defies credulity. 

As for not affecting competition negatively, that I can't agree with. The fact is there is almost no competition now, with the Big Three marching in lockstep with each other, essentially controlling the market and keeping out any others that would even try to compete with them - and potentially force them to lower their prices. 

With apologizes to Steely Dan, it is pretzel logic that having fewer players in the game leads to more competition and lower prices. It is complete nonsense - yet the regulators seem to have bought into that fabricated absurdity about the marketplace. It proves to me what I think most have long suspected - those in charge are overly influenced by the Rogers/Bell/Telus cabal and no amount of proof would ever satisfy them to rule in any other way but in their favour. 

The fix is in for this deal. It will happen no matter what objections - logical or otherwise - are brought up. And I hope your bills are published on Kleenex, because we will keep paying through the nose as long as this continues. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 19, 2023 10:33 pm  #12


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

RadioActive wrote:

There is simply no other way to explain why they'd turn down $900 million more than they were offered for his former company and sell it to Quebecor for a bargain basement price instead. It defies credulity. 

Sure there is, and I brought it up. Rogers sees a relationship with Videotron as a future way into the Quebec market. They've been trying to acquire Cogeco for years to no avail.

Regulators don't work on the "sniff test," they set rules and standards and judge cases against them. It's the only way to appear apolitical. For its size, the Rogers/Shaw deal passes existing regulations quite cleanly. 

Objections should focus on changing the rules, not opposing applications that currently pass them.

(As for Mr. Lacavera, it's pretty clear that his objective is to get back into the market, aquire a bunch of spectrum, and then sell again as soon as it's allowed. It's worked for him once already.)

Last edited by RadioAaron (January 19, 2023 10:56 pm)

 

February 3, 2023 8:08 am  #13


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Whatever happens with this done deal (my worst fear) you have to admit that Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri has what my grandmother would charitably call chutzpah when he said this about Videotron becoming a fourth party in the wireless market:

“We have thrived in a competitive landscape in the past.” 

The gall of the man insisting it's a truly "competitive market."

Sure Canada’s fourth carrier will be competitive — but not so competitive it will hurt Rogers, CEO says
https://clearthis.page/?u=https://www.thestar.com/business/2023/02/03/rogers-wont-be-hurt-by-competition-from-vidotron-ceo-says.html

     Thread Starter
 

February 3, 2023 11:36 am  #14


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

However in fairness, with Videotron acquiring Freedom Mobile and also buying up spectrum last year in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Southern Ontario, the company will be more of a national player like Shaw never was.  For the first time Videotron will be a factor outside of Quebec.
 
In that province they had lower prices and  forced Bell, Telus and Rogers to match them or at least lower their rates. Freedom Mobile is a significant cell service provider in Canada and will certainly help Quebecor expand nationally. 

 

February 3, 2023 12:15 pm  #15


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Yes, Videotron may well be a new national player. But you have to wonder why Rogers, which is all about profit, decided to turn down an offer from Globalive for $900 million(!) more than Quebecor was offering. In my mind, there is only one possible explanation - they expect Quebecor to play ball to keep prices high, though perhaps they'll put some trinkets in the window to make it look like they're doing something. 

We'll never know what Globalive might have done for the market. But clearly it wasn't something Rogers wanted to see come to pass. Ask yourself why.

     Thread Starter
 

February 3, 2023 2:27 pm  #16


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Globalive is all about profit too.  And what is quite strange is the fact that Globalive tried to buy back the same company that they owned five years prior.  Globalive later wanted to partner with Telus on spectrum thinking this would make the offer more appealing.   Was Globalive planning to flip Wind/Freedom again if they had been successful buying from Rogers? 

 The CEO played up the fact that if they owned Freedom it would be good for the Canadian mobile market and give Canadians lower prices.  They had that same opportunity five or six years prior before selling to Shaw.  So why did they sell in the first place?   Also Shaw had much more success growing the customer base for Wind/Freedom than Globalive. When Shaw purchased the company in 2016 Wind Mobile had just under one million subscribers.  End of 2021 the number of customers had grown to over 2.1 million.

So we need to ask ourselves why on these issues as well...

 

February 3, 2023 2:55 pm  #17


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

Well I don't disagree with your points (for a change!) There's a lot of reasons for suspicion on all sides, which seems to happen whenever Rogers is in the middle of things. The point, in the end, is that Rogers picked the company to sell Freedom Mobile to, the one entity in the running least likely to upset the apple cart and keep prices high - even when faced with such an obvious discrepancy in the two prices being offered.

I find nothing to like about this deal but the people I feel sorry for the most are current Shaw customers, who did not sign up with Big Red and will suddenly find themselves dealing with a giant company known to not exactly play fair with its customers. If anyone should be worried about what comes next, it's them.

And I know one of them. My brother lives in Calgary and used Shaw. He's plenty upset that he might well end up paying bills to a company he chose not to go with. And it's often easier said than done to simply switch providers. 

But to me there's one inescapable fact that all those opposed to this deal with the devil that's undeniable. The laws of economics say it's impossible to have fewer players and create more competition. It just cannot work that way, no matter how Rogers tries to spin it. I'll leave it to you to figure out why the powers-that-be are buying that argument. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 3, 2023 5:43 pm  #18


Re: Competition Tribunal OKs Rogers-Shaw Merger, Feds The Last Hope

My thought about why Rogers chose Videotron to sell Freedom to is they have the money to build more towers plus they bought a ton of 5G spectrum in most provinces that freedom operates. This way it will allow Videotron to launch a national network much easier than freedom under old ownership had lots of issues building and expanding the networks.