Edward Rogers files petition in Canadian court to validate new board of Rogers Communications

VANCOUVER (Reuters) -Edward Rogers has filed a legal petition in a British Columbia court to validate his reconstituted board of Rogers Communications Inc, his spokesperson said on Tuesday, as a family fight over control of one of Canada’s biggest telecoms companies deepens.

Rogers, son of late founder Ted Rogers, has been battling with his mother and two sisters over who should lead the company after he attempted to remove Chief Executive Officer Joe Natale in late September.

Edward Rogers was removed as the chairman of Rogers Communications last week following his failed attempt to replace Natale with CFO Tony Staffieri.

Edward Rogers retaliated by constituting a new board on Sunday, which recognized him as the chairman. But the rival faction, including his mother and two sisters, named board member John MacDonald as chair and reiterated support for Natale.

While family differences and disagreements at a board level are not uncommon, a public dispute is rare in the Canadian corporate landscape.

Rogers shares fell 0.4% on Tuesday, adding to Monday’s fall of more than 6% as analysts cut the price target, saying the ongoing strife within the family would be a distraction to the management. The stock is down 5% so far this year, compared with 16.2% gains in rival BCE Inc and an 11.4% rise in Telus.

That stock underperformance is partly said to have contributed to Edward Rogers’ decision to remove Natale, one person familiar with the matter said.

Rogers is also in the middle of its biggest M&A move, with a planned C$20 billion ($16.2 billion) takeover bid for smaller rival Shaw Communications Inc.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in VancouverEditing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)

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