Saturday, November 26

Rogers exec reveals his $2-million post-merger bonus during tribunal

Rogers’ $26-billion merger with Shaw will be the largest corporate acquisition in Canadian history if finalized

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A Rogers Communications Inc. executive revealed Thursday that he is in line to receive a $2-million bonus if the company’s $26-billion merger with Shaw Communications Inc. goes through, a figure that had previously been confidential.

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Rogers’ president of integration, Dean Prevost, on Thursday tested before a tribunal that is determining the fate of the transaction, which will be the largest corporate acquisition in Canadian history if finalized. While much of Thursday’s hearing took place in camera due to the confidential Nature of Prevost’s work on the merger, during an open portion the question of bonuses was raised.

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Paul Klippenstein, a lawyer for the Competition Bureau, asked Prevost about his compensation, but said he was unsure if the information was confidential.

Before Crawford Smith, a lawyer for Rogers, could confirm the information was indeed confidential, Prevost had answered the question.

“The amount of that award is $2 million,” he said.

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“This is in public? Oh, great,” he added, upon realizing the mix-up.

Prevost also said he will not get the award if the merger does not close.

In a witness statement filed on Sept. 28, Prevost said Shaw and its wireless business Freedom Mobile are regional competitors for Rogers, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta and Southern Ontario. Other competing carriers include Saskatchewanlink Telecommunications Holding East Inc. ( ., BCE Inc.’s Bell-MTS and Quebecor Inc.‘s Videotron, which is in the process of acquiring Freedom Mobile for $2.85 billion.

Prevost said these competitors, however, feature “to a lesser degree” than its national rivals Bell and Telus Corp., because they serve more limited geographies than the Big Three — Rogers, Bell and Telus.

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Rogers has a “sizeable” wireless presence in Alberta and BC despite not offering wireline services in either province, he added. Critics expect this to change once Rogers acquires Shaw’s wireline resources in Western Canada, which it offers under its Shaw Mobile brand.

The Rogers executive also said that the Big Three launched limited promotions in response to offerings by Shaw Mobile, but these were short-lived. On Wednesday, Shaw president Paul McAleese told the tribunal that Freedom Mobile’s launch of “Big Gig” promotions — data plans That at the time were far cheaper than those offered by the Big Three telcos — was “one of the most important events in Canadian wireless history.”

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“If approved, the proposed transaction will allow Rogers to use Shaw’s wireline assets to create a robust, coast-to-coast network,” Prevost said in his earlier witness statement. He added that the combination of Rogers and Shaw’s resources “will create Canada’s largest national wireline network,” which he said will allow for more effective competition against Bell and Telus, who benefit from their long-running network-sharing agreement.

The proposed transaction will narrow the network footprint gap against Telus and Bell, his statement said.

The tribunal on Thursday also heard from Ron McKenzie, Rogers’ chief technology and information officer.

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