Rogers CEO shoots down talk of Shaw takeover

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TORONTO -- Rogers Communications Inc. has little appetite for "some large, dilutive" deal such as the purchase of Shaw Communications Inc., Rogers' chief executive said Tuesday.

"We do not have any active file on Shaw," Ted Rogers said in response to an analyst's question during the company's earnings conference call. "We have not had any discussions with Shaw on putting the companies together."

His remarks came after a Canaccord Adams analyst published a research note last week in which he speculated the two big Canadian cable-TV and telecoms companies could be in talks for a deal that would value Shaw at as much as CAN$14.4 billion ($13.6 billion).

Rogers called the speculation "plain irresponsible" and also criticized the media for reporting on "some completely theoretical diatribe".

Shaw shares slid 88 Canadian cents, or 3.4%, to CAN$25.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly after Rogers made his comments.

In the research note, Canaccord's David Lambert wrote that recent insider buying and increased spreads on credit default swaps for both companies "suggest that discussions could be under way".

Lambert acknowledged that Shaw had said in April it was not for sale.

"We've got a lot on our plate right now," Rogers said Tuesday, adding that any acquisitions the company may look at will be smaller, tuck-in deals, unlike a Shaw takeover.

"You can rest assured that there's not a lot of appetite to do some large, dilutive transaction like that."

Lambert's note was not the first time talk of a Rogers-Shaw tieup emerged. In February 2006, a report in the Financial Post newspaper said Rogers had made an unsuccessful bid for Shaw.

Shortly after the story was published, Shaw shot down the talk of a deal by saying the offer described by the Post "did not occur". Rogers issued a nearly identical statement.
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