UPDATE 4-Canada set to approve Rogers takeover of Shaw with transfer -Globe and Mail

·2 min read

(Adds response from Shaw Communications)

March 31 (Reuters) -

Canada is set to approve on Friday a transfer of wireless licenses that will finally settle Rogers Communications Inc's C$20 billion ($15 billion) bid for Shaw Communications Inc, the Globe and Mail reported.

Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, is planning to approve the transfer of Shaw's wireless licenses held by its Freedom Mobile unit to Quebecor Inc on Friday morning, the Globe and Mail said, citing a source with knowledge of the announcement.

Rogers and Shaw agreed to sell Freedom Mobile to Quebecor for C$2.85 billion to win government approval for the merger.

Champagne will make an announcement on "competitiveness in the telecommunications sector," at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) on Friday, the government said, without giving any further details.

The minister will approve the transfer of Shaw's licenses to Quebecor's Videotron Ltd with a number of conditions attached, as well as financial penalties associated with breaking those conditions, the Globe and Mail said.

Reuters earlier reported that government would announce their decision on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The Rogers-Shaw tie-up will create Canada's No. 2 telecoms company. The deal has been under intense scrutiny from the competition bureau, as it was concerned that it would reduce competition in a country where wireless bills are already among the highest in the world.

The sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor is expected to close by March 31.

Champagne previously expressed support for the deal if certain conditions were met.

Shaw Communications declined to comment on the report while Rogers, Quebecor and the Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Rogers in February extended the deadline for the deal to March 31 for the fourth time, as the companies awaited the final nod from Champagne.

($1 = 1.3513 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Tom Hogue and Christian Schmollinger)