Québecor’s CEO looks favourably at Competition Bureau’s blocking of Rogers Shaw merger

The comments were made in a press release outlining the company's first quarter results

The Competition Bureau’s applications to block Rogers’ overtaking of Shaw helped Québecor Inc. favourably look into expanding its business in Canada, Pierre Karl Péladeau, Québecor’s CEO, said.

Péladeau made the comments in a press release outlining the company’s Q1 2022 results, referencing applications the federal agency filed Monday. The Bureau said Rogers’ overtaking would reduce competition and affordability.

Péladeau said comments made by the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) also played a role. In March, François-Philippe Champagne, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said he wouldn’t approve a merger that would transfer Shaw’s wireless assets (in the form of Freedom Mobile) to Rogers because it would reduce competition.

In response, Rogers has attempted to ease the situation by putting Freedom Mobile up for sale, but the recent actions of the Bureau don’t seem to appease this problem.

The Globe and Mail reported Québecor was recently asked to join the conversation on acquiring Freedom Mobile, despite reportedly being excluded from initial talks.

The company’s other option of expanding, which was around before Rogers started discussions to sell Freedom Mobile, is using the 294 blocks of the spectrum it purchased in the 3500 MHz band to offer telecom services in southern and eastern Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

“We believe that these alternatives position us very favourably, as governmental and administrative authorities, including the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, pursue the public policy of establishing the conditions for true competition in wireless services in Canada,” Péladeau said.

He further referenced Québecor’s 22 percent market share in Quebec as evidence of the company’s “multidimensional expertise.”

“We would apply that expertise with equal energy in other parts of Canada. The opportunities are many and the alternatives promising,” Péladeau said.

The numbers

Québecor’s overall revenue was $1.09 billion, a $3.1 million decrease year-over-year.

8.7 percent revenue increases from Vidéotron offset the total figure. The increased revenue from mobile services and equipment totalled $20 million year-over-year.

Revenue from Vidéotron’s internet service also increased by 0.7 percent. The company added more than 1230,000 new connections over the past year.

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Source: Québecor Inc.