Quebecor has a deal for Freedom Mobile aimed at clearing the Rogers / Shaw combination (NYSE: RCI)

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Rodgers Communications (NYSE:RCI), Shaw CommunicationsNYSE:SJR) and Quebec (OTCPK: QBCRF) announced a deal to sell Freedom Mobile on Shaw to Quebec – tackling what was a key hurdle for A $ 26 billion deal for Rodgers to acquire Shaw.

The companies have agreed to sell Freedom to Quebecor at no corporate value, with no debt of C $ 2.85B (about $ 2.3B) and cover all of Freedom’s wireless and Internet customers, along with infrastructure, spectrum, and retail outlets.

It also includes a commitment from Rodgers and Shaw to provide transportation services (including feedback and backbone) to Quebec, along with roaming services.

This paves the way for “a strong and resilient fourth wireless operator in Canada”, the companies said (hoping the deal would allay concerns of the Competition Commissioner and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry).

“Our agreement with Quebecor to sell Freedom is a critical step towards completing our proposed merger with Shaw,” said Rogers CEO Tony Stafieri.

The deal will be closed at the same time as the Rodgers Show deal, which needs to be reviewed by the Canadian Competition Bureau and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, but has several other approvals.

Antitrust concerns about the deal focus on Shaw’s wireless business. In late May, Rodgers and Shaw promised not to close the deal before antitrust issues have been resolved with agencies.

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