Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal granted a temporary suspension of a tribunal’s decision to clear the acquisition of Shaw Communications by rival Rogers Communications, giving time for the country’s competition authority to challenge the ruling.
Having already failed in an attempt to block the deal, the Competition Bureau Canada announced yesterday (2 January) it had secured an emergency interim suspension of an order made by the Competition Tribunal until its “request for a stay and injunction can be heard”.
The move is the latest threat to a tie-up the operators have long-claimed would be beneficial to consumers and businesses in the country, a position strongly disputed by the country’s competition regulator.
In an attempt to appease concerns Shaw’s Freedom Mobile is set to be sold to Videotron on completion of the main deal.
After failed attempts at mediation between Shaw, Rogers and the Commissioner of Competition, the case went to the Competition Tribunal to decide on whether to allow the agreement to proceed.
On 29 December, the tribunal announced it had sided with the operators and dismissed the regulator’s appeal.
If that decision survives the upcoming appeal, the only remaining approval needed would be for the transfer of Freedom Mobile’s spectrum licences to Videotron. This needs to be secured from the minister of innovation, science and industry.
At the time of the Tribunal’s decision Rogers announced the deadline for the deal had been extended to the end of January 2023. When announced back in March 2021, it was originally slated to complete in the first half of 2022.