Brad Shaw, the chief executive of Shaw Communications Inc., says the company remains committed to its merger with Rogers Communications Inc., and that the boardroom rift at Rogers is a “family and board matter.”
The statement, provided to The Globe and Mail, marks the first time that the Calgary-based telecom has spoken publicly about the power struggle at Rogers, which has struck a deal to acquire Shaw for $26-billion including the debt. The acquisition is still awaiting regulatory approval from three federal bodies.
“On behalf of my family, the Shaw Board of Directors, and our management team, I want to reiterate our continued commitment to work with Rogers Communications Inc. to close the transaction that was announced on March 15, 2021,” Mr. Shaw said.
“Any recent reports or descriptions regarding comments made by me or Shaw Communications with respect to the composition of the Rogers Board of Directors or its management team are false. This is a Rogers Family and Board matter and out of respect for the Rogers Family it is not appropriate for Shaw Communications to comment on recent developments.”
Mr. Shaw’s comments come after five independent directors sent a letter late Wednesday to Toronto mayor John Tory that said ousting Rogers CEO Joe Natale would pose a risk to the acquisition and that Mr. Shaw has requested no more changes to the company’s management and board. Mr. Tory sits on the advisory committee overseeing the family trust, which controls Rogers through its ownership of 97.5 per cent of the company’s voting Class A shares.
The boardroom battle at Rogers erupted after Edward Rogers, then the company’s chair, attempted to replace Mr. Natale with chief financial officer Tony Staffieri and remove other executives. Mr. Natale learned of the plan, triggering an emergency board meeting where the majority of the company’s directors and the Rogers family supported Mr. Natale and his leadership team.
The acquisition of Shaw requires approval from the Competition Bureau, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
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