Court of Appeal temporarily suspends tribunal’s ruling backing Rogers-Shaw merger

The Competition Tribunal dismissed the Competition Bureau's application to block the merger in late December


The Federal Court of Appeal has issued an “emergency interim” suspension on the Competition Tribunal’s decision to back Rogers and Shaw on its merger plans.

The tribunal was tasked with hearing the Competition Bureau’s application to block the $26 billion merger in December. Before the month ended, the tribunal dismissed the bureau’s application, allowing the merger to proceed.

The bureau filed a notice of appeal on December 3oth, soon after the tribunal released a summary of its decision, and the Federal Court of appeal granted the temporary stay on January 1st.

“This will remain in effect until our application for a stay and an injunction can be heard,” the Competition Bureau tweeted. The stay does not mean the merger is blocked but does prevent it from closing until the case is heard.

In its final decision, posted on December 31st, the tribunal said, “the proposed transactions and ancillary agreements comprising the arrangement are not likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially.”

The tribunal further dismissed arguments that selling Freedom Mobile to Vidéotron would make it a “less effective competitor” or that the merger would increase anti-competitive behaviour.

In a recent statement, Shaw asked the bureau to reconsider its application to fighting the tribunal’s decision. “It is now clear that the Tribunal rejected the evidence of the most important witnesses of the Commissioner, as well as all of his key complaints and theories.”

The merger received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in March 2022. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne also needs to approve the merger. But he won’t share his decision until the legal challenge is heard.

Source: Competition Bureau, Shaw,  Competition Tribunal