Canada Tribunal Won't Block Proposed Big Telecom Merger

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Competition Tribunal on Thursday rejected an effort by Canada's competition watchdog to block the proposed merger of Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., two of the country's biggest telecommunications companies.

Rogers' proposed $19.1 billion purchase of Shaw still requires approval from a government ministry, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

In a summary of its decision, the tribunal said the merger would not result in materially higher prices and likely would not lessen competition substantially. The deal includes the sale of Shaw's Freedom Mobile to Quebecor-owned Videotron Ltd.

The tribunal, which held four weeks of hearings to discuss concerns about the proposed deal earlier this year, said it would release a more detailed decision in the next two days.

The Competition Bureau, which is an independent agency, had argued that the merger would lessen competition in the telecom market, cause higher prices and lead to poor service. Rogers and Shaw said it would enhance competition and be better for consumers.