Rogers sheds jobs, bulks up on Cogeco stock

Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:17pm EST
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By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc said on Thursday it will cut 900 jobs across Canada, including 20 percent of its executives, in an effort to streamline operations and better respond to a changing industry.

Rogers, a major Canadian cable-TV provider and owner of the country's largest wireless carrier, also said it will spend about C$163 million ($153.7 million) to boost its stake in a rival cable and telecommunications group headed by Cogeco Inc.

Cogeco is based in Quebec and is strong in that province, where Toronto-based Rogers has had a lower profile. Rogers said, however, that the new purchase of Cogeco shares does not foreshadow an imminent takeover move.

The 900 jobs to be cut represent about 3 percent of Rogers' 30,000-strong work force.

"Back in September, we announced a reorganization that responds to changes in the industry," a Rogers spokeswoman said. "As part of that reorganization, we announced that 20 percent of our VPs in our cable, wireless and corporate groups would be eliminated."

Toronto-based Rogers said in September that it would further integrate its cable and wireless divisions and create a new emerging business and corporate development unit to help it more quickly meet changing customer needs.

"We need to be more nimble and efficient to drive further innovation and deliver long-term growth," the spokeswoman said.

Rogers said on Thursday it will buy 3.2 million subordinate voting shares of Cogeco Cable Inc at C$36.43 a share, a 9 percent premium over the closing price on Wednesday. It will also buy 1.6 million shares of Cogeco Inc at C$28.61 a share, 14 percent above Wednesday's closing price.   Continued...