Canada’s Competition Tribunal set a timeline of late October for the start of mediation between authorities and the parties involved in a proposed buyout of Shaw Communications by rival Rogers Communications.

The controversial takeover would combine the companies. It has been continually opposed by the country’s Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell, despite attempts to appease concerns with a deal to sell Shaw Communications’ Freedom Mobile should their deal go through.

In a notification published yesterday (17 October) but issued late last week, the tribunal noted the mediation was a confidential process which “assists the litigating parties to attempt to negotiate a consensual resolution to their dispute”.

If it fails, the case will likely have to be decided by the tribunal.

The proposed deal is already behind schedule. When announced in March 2021, it was expected to close in the first half of 2022, though the operators announced in May the process was on hold while they tried to negotiate a settlement to get it through the authority.

In numerous statements Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications have asserted the takeover is in the best interests of consumers, citing perceived benefits of investment in digital infrastructure and job creation.

The competition authority’s concerns are based around a cut in consumer choice and potential higher prices, which the operators argue would be allayed by the divestment of Freedom Mobile.