Telus slams cable rival Shaw for Canwest deal

Said takeover has 'implications' for monopoly behavior

TORONTO -- Western Canada's biggest media rivalry erupted into the public eye Monday with phone giant Telus Corp. slamming cable rival Shaw Communications for its $2 billion deal to purchase CanWest Global Communications Corp.'s TV assets.

Telus told the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which referees the country's highly-regulated broadcast sector, that the takeover has "serious implications" for possible monopoly behaviour in the local TV business.

"The CRTC must adopt, as conditions of approval of this transaction, safeguards to limit any abuse of market power and anti-competitive behaviour by Shaw and its affiliates," Telus said in a submission ahead of Sept. 20 hearings in Ottawa by the regulator to consider the takeover deal.

The deal to feed TV content from Canwest Global's over-the-air and cable TV channels through Shaw's cable TV, phone and Internet services comes as Telus continues to roll out its own Internet-based TV (IPTV) service, Telus TV, as part of its own triple-play offering to western Canadians.

Shaw's play for Canwest Global's TV assets also comes as the wider Canadian TV industry faces increased competition from Netflix, Apple TV and other emerging digital platforms.

Calgary-based Shaw is looking to take Canwest Global's TV assets out of creditor protection, and will tell the CRTC during next month's public hearings that the transaction will have net benefits for the Canadian TV system.