Canada court rejects appeal of Rogers takeover of Shaw

Jan 24, 2023, 2:52 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed an attempt by the Competition Bureau to overturn a key approval of Rogers Communications Inc.’s takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.

Court of Appeal Justice David Stratas said the arguments presented by the bureau don’t meet the threshold of a palpable and overring error going to the core of the case that would be required to overturn the decision by the Competition Tribunal to approve the CDN$26 billion (US$19.44 billion) deal.

Stratas delivered his decision from the bench before the companies involved had given their response.

“This is a high threshold,” he said. “It is not enough to pull at leaves and branches and leave the tree standing, rather the entire tree must fall.”

The Competition Tribunal made it clear the transaction would not likely prevent or substantially lessen competition, supported by ample evidence, said Stratas.

The Competition Bureau’s arguments had focused on what they said were four key legal errors that focused especially on how the proposed sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile to Videotron factored into the tribunal’s decision.

Stratas said some of the points raised by the bureau were disputed as a combination of issues of fact and law, while the Court of Appeal can only look into matters of law.

“The Commissioner appears to be inviting us to reweigh the evidence, which we cannot do,” he said.

The deal, which Rogers hopes to close by Jan. 31, still requires approval from Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Champagne said in a statement that he was reviewing the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision and will be making a decision on the deal in due course.

The Competition Tribunal approved the deal on Dec. 30 at the end of more than four weeks of hearings. Rogers and Shaw first announced the deal in March of 2021.

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Canada court rejects appeal of Rogers takeover of Shaw