Bell, Telus push to block Quebecor purchase of Shaw's wireless unit - Reuters

May 19, 2022 12:50 PM ETBCE Inc. (BCE), TU, BCE:CA, T:CASJR, RCI, QBCRF, SJR.B:CA, QBR.B:CA, RCI.B:CABy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor2 Comments

Rogers Communications Brampton Campus.

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Canadian telecom giants Bell (NYSE:BCE) and Telus (NYSE:TU) are pushing the government to block Quebecor (OTCPK:QBCRF) from buying the wireless business of Shaw Communications (SJR), Reuters reports - a sale that was seen as potentially clearing the way toward a merger of Shaw with Rogers Communications (RCI).

Bell and Telus each wrote letters to the government and to the country's competition bureau urging opposition to the sale, saying Quebecor has a history of not using government resources like spectrum that it had obtained.

The opposition throws a new wrinkle into a long acquisition saga that has ended up most recently with Canada's antitrust agency blocking the Rogers-Shaw deal on competitive grounds.

That deal may hang on the sale of Shaw's Freedom Mobile. The government has rejected prospective buyers for the business, but Reuters reported that a government source says Quebecor is a credible buyer for the business.

The latest news comes alongside a joint effort to pursue Freedom Mobile prepared by Telus (TU) and Globalive Capital. The two have entered into a spectrum and network sharing agreement conditional on Globalive's successful acquisition of Freedom Mobile.

Globalive's previous C$3.75 billion cash offer for Freedom - about $2.94 billion - was rejected by Rogers, according to Globalive Chairman Anthony Lacavera. If he were successful, that deal would mark something of a full circle: Lacavera founded Wind Mobile in 2008 and sold it to Shaw (which renamed it Freedom Mobile) in 2016.

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