OTTAWA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Canada's Competition Bureau said on Monday it is seeking to block Rogers' proposed acquisition of Shaw, two of the country's largest telecommunications companies.
The watchdog said in a news release that it challenged the merger on Monday by requesting an order from the Competition Tribunal to prevent it from proceeding and an injunction to stop the parties from closing the deal until its application can be heard.
"The effort is to protect Canadians from higher prices, poorer service quality and fewer choices, particularly in wireless services," the bureau said.
On March 13, 2021, Rogers agreed to purchase Shaw in a transaction valued at approximately 26 billion Canadian dollars (20.8 billion U.S. dollars), including debt.
Rogers is the largest wireless services provider in Canada, serving about 11.3 million subscribers across the country. Shaw, which provides wireless services to over 2 million customers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, is the fourth largest wireless services provider and Rogers' closest competitor.
The competition bureau alleged that removing Shaw as a competitor threatens to undo the significant progress it has made introducing more competition into an already concentrated wireless services market, where Rogers, Bell and Telus (the Big 3) serve approximately 87 percent of Canadian subscribers.
After an extensive investigation, the bureau determined that competition between Rogers and Shaw has already declined. Its position is that if the proposed merger is allowed to proceed, harm will continue and may worsen, the news release said.