The companies involved in Rogers Communications Inc.'s $26-billion deal to buy telecommunications rival Shaw Communications Inc. have extended their deadline to complete the transaction.

Rogers, Shaw, the Shaw Family Living Trust and Quebecor Inc. say they have pushed the deadline back to March 31 from Feb. 17.

If approved, the deal first announced in March 2021 will see Rogers acquire Shaw, while Quebecor's Videotron subsidiary will nab Shaw's Freedom Mobile wireless business.

The deal has yet to close because it is still waiting for approval by Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne who must sign off on the transfer of wireless spectrum licenses from Shaw to Videotron.

The companies, which have extended their deadline several times, say they are continuing to work with the government to secure the final approvals needed to proceed.

The deal cleared a key hurdle in January, when the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed a Competition Bureau request to overturn approval of the agreement by the Competition Tribunal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.