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Rogers says Canada's antitrust bureau must expedite Shaw M&A hearing

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TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) said on Thursday that Canada's competition commissioner has a "statutory obligation" to expedite the hearing into the company's proposed acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO).

There are no compelling reasons to change the dates that were agreed by the parties, Rogers said.

Rogers made the comments in a formal objection filed with the competition tribunal, where it rejected the competition commissioner's request for additional time to investigate the sale of Freedom Mobile to Quebecor Inc (QBRb.TO).

The antitrust agency has blocked Rogers' C$20 billion ($15.5 billion) acquisition of Shaw saying it would lessen competition in Canada's concentrated telecoms market, where customers pay among the highest bills.

Rogers offered the sale of Freedom Mobile as a way to allay competition concerns.

The antitrust authority requested at least a six-week extension to the merger proceedings to examine whether the sale of Freedom Mobile will uphold competition in Canada's telecom market. The tribunal will hear the arguments on extending the hearing timeline this week from all the concerned parties.

For a story on the next steps on Rogers-Shaw hearing. read more

The lawyers for Rogers had sent a letter to the tribunal in July objecting to the request for an extension but Thursday's filing expands on their arguments. read more

Shares of Shaw Communications were trading up 0.6% at C$34.93, a discount of 13.8% to Rogers' offer price. Rogers was trading up 0.1% at 57.30, while the benchmark Canada share index was steady.

($1 = 1.2868 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Divya Rajagopal; Editing by Susan Fenton
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