Canada’s competition authority admitted defeat in its attempts to scupper a buy out of Shaw Communications by rival Rogers Communications after losing a case at the Federal Court of Appeal, a decision which removes one of the final barriers to long-delayed completion.
The hearing was an appeal against a decision made by Canada’s Competition Tribunal in December 2022, which cleared the way for the buyout to proceed on the condition Shaw Communications’ Freedom Mobile brand was divested to rival Videotron.
In a statement, commissioner of competition Matthew Boswell maintained the Competition Bureau had been correct in its opposition the deal.
However, he accepted the decision to dismiss its legal action and confirmed the authority “will not be pursuing a further appeal in this matter.”
The case brings to a close the Bureau’s attempts to block the deal which ended up being sent to a tribunal to decide on following failed mediation.
Canada’s competition regulator had expressed concerns over the impact of the acquisition on consumer pricing, service quality and innovation.
Rogers Communications welcomed the court decision, stating it was now working on securing the “final approval needed to close the pro-competitive transactions and create a stronger fourth wireless carrier [Videotron] in Canada and a more formidable wireline competitor.”
The delayed deal is now subject to the approval of Canada’s Minister of Innovation Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne who must approve the transfer of spectrum licences to Videotron.