A Canadian court slammed the approach of competition authorities during a lengthy legal bid to block the purchase of Shaw Communications by rival Rogers Communications, as it awarded almost CAD13 million ($9.6 million) to cover costs incurred by the operators.

In its judgement, the Competition Tribunal described the competition Commissioner’s conduct as unreasonable, pointing to the drawn out nature of proceedings and vast number of documents and evidence produced during the case.

It noted the stance resulted in the production of more than 2.6 million documents, nine days of examinations, 16 contested pre-trial motions and the exchange of around 45 witness statements and expert reports.

“The Commissioner adopted an unnecessarily contentious approach at numerous points during the litigation”, the court noted, adding “that approach resulted in significant additional time and effort being spent on various matters that were ultimately resolved in the respondents’ [operators’] favour”.

Costs awarded comprise separate sums for legal bills and other fees incurred by Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications during proceedings.

The operators eventually won approval for the deal, though not without a number of challenges from the country’s competition authority, which continued its opposition despite concessions being made and following a failed mediation process.

The deal took more than two years to complete after being announced in March 2021.