A woman holds two cellphones in this photo illustration, Monday March 29, 2021 in Chelsea, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Shaw shareholders overwhelmingly approve of selling company to Rogers Communications

Shaw shareholders overwhelmingly approve of selling company to Rogers Communications

CALGARY — Shaw Communications Inc. shareholders voted Thursday in favour of a proposed sale of the company to Rogers Communications Inc. for $26-billion, including debt.

The favourable vote, supported by the founding family that controls Shaw and its Freedom Mobile service, was expected. But is near the beginning of a long approval process that is expected to continue into the first half of 2022.

Shaw said it will be seeking approval from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench on Tuesday.

In total, 99.8 per cent of votes cast at a special virtual meeting Thursday were in favour of the plan of arrangement, well above the required two-thirds support.

“Today marks an important milestone in the journey to combine Shaw and Rogers, creating a truly national network provider with far-reaching and multi-generational benefits for all Canadians,” stated Brad Shaw, executive chair and chief executive.

He noted that the voter turnout exceeded 70 per cent, which he said was a “strong endorsement for the combination.”

Under the plan, Rogers — which is controlled by the family of the late Ted Rogers — will pay $40.50 in cash for all of Shaw’s issued and outstanding class A and class B shares.

The deal still requires approval from Canadian regulators including the Competition Bureau and the CRTC, two federal bodies that operate largely independent of the government.

The deal also requires approval from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. A Commons committee has also held several days of hearings but its role is to advise Parliament as a whole.

The proposed deal has faced stiff opposition from consumer groups, academics, customers and others since Rogers and Shaw announced their agreement earlier this year.

As part of the transaction, the companies said Rogers will invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks over the next five years across Western Canada.

Rogers applauded the vote by Shaw shareholders.

“Rogers and Shaw are coming together to build a world-class national network and create new jobs and investment in Western Canada, and I want to thank Shaw shareholders for voting in favour of a combined company that will have the scale and capabilities to achieve these goals,” stated president and CEO Joe Natale.

As part of the deal, dated March 13, Rogers has exercised its right to require Shaw to redeem all its preferred shares on June 30. The redemption price is $25 per share plus accrued and unpaid dividends.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May, 20, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:SJR.B)

The Canadian Press

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