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Rogers, Shaw merger will result in competition, Shaw CEO tells committee

VANCOUVER, March 29 (Reuters) - The merger of Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc would result in sufficient market competition, Shaw’s chief executive said on Monday, as a Canadian parliamentary committee grilled the telecom firms’ officials on anti-trust aspects of the deal.

Rogers agreed to buy Shaw in a C$20 billion ($16 billion) deal that would create Canada’s second-largest cellular and cable operator. But the Canadian government was quick to say it would attract stiff regulatory scrutiny.

“I truly believe that these two companies coming together and the investments that are going to be made, there will be as much competition in the future as there was in the past,” Shaw CEO Brad Shaw told a parliamentary committee in a livestreamed hearing.

The deal represents Rogers’ second attempt in less than six months to consolidate Canada’s concentrated telecoms market, where the top three operators control about 90% of the C$53.1 billion market. Rogers’ effort to buy Cogeco Inc’s Canadian assets was rebuffed by Cogeco’s top shareholder in September.

Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government ordered Canada’s top three telecom operators to cut prices on their mid-range wireless service plans by 25% within two years or face regulatory action.

Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Dan Grebler

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