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‘Canada antitrust talks on blocked deal didn’t result in resolution’

Rogers Communications said on Wednesday talks with Canada’s antitrust authority to discuss possible remedies to the blocked C$20 billion ($15.34 billion) takeover of Shaw Communications did not result in a resolution.

Shares of Rogers were down 1.77% at C$61.99 at midmorning Shaw was down 2.93% at C$37.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Commissioner of Competition has blocked the deal, saying it would hamper competition in the country, where telecom rates are the steepest in the world, according to Finnish consultancy firm ReWheel.

“Rogers and Shaw are not precluded from continuing discussions with the Commissioner at any time,” the wireless companies said in a statement, as the July 31 deadline for closing the deal nears.

The inconclusive mediation process means the deal closure could drag on for months until the tribunal gives a verdict which could be at the end of this year, or the disputed parties reach a settlement.

“It was wishful thinking that a resolution could have been reached during the mediation process,” said Aaron Glick a director with New York-based investment firm Cowen LLC.

The Canadian province of Alberta said on Tuesday it also plans to intervene in the competition review of the deal. The decision of the Alberta government to intervene comes a year after Premier Jason Kenney said that the merger would be a “good news” for the province’s economy.

To allay some antitrust concerns, Rogers has agreed to sell Freedom Mobile, one of Shaw’s cellular businesses, to Montreal-based Quebecor.

While the regulator is studying the potential sale’s impact on competition, it has previously said that alone it would not be able to address the antitrust concerns. US News

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