Federal Court of Appeal rejects Competition Bureau's appeal on Rogers-Shaw

Competition Bureau loses

UPDATE 12:35 p.m.

The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected the Competition Bureau's appeal on the Rogers-Shaw deal.

The Court of Appeal found the Competition Bureau's arguments did not meet the high threshold needed to overturn the decision by the Competition Tribunal approving Rogers Communications Inc.'s takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.

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.

The Court of Appeal said the tribunal made it clear that the deal would not substantially lessen competition and that the decision wouldn't change even with the approach argued by the bureau.

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

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

ORIGINAL 6:55 a.m.

The fate of Rogers Communications Inc.'s proposed takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. goes before the Federal Court of Appeal today as the Competition Bureau seeks to overturn the Competition Tribunal's decision approving the deal.

In its appeal filings the Competition Bureau alleges the Tribunal made four legal errors, centred largely around how the proposed sale of Shaw's Freedom Mobile to Videotron was factored into the decision.

The bureau argues that the Tribunal erred in how it assessed the proposed sale of Freedom Mobile, a deal it says would make Videotron dependent on Rogers for support, and also erred in relying on unenforceable commitments around the deal.

In its response, Rogers says that the bureau has relied on indirect attacks on the Tribunal's assessment of the evidence that it is presenting as core questions of law.

Rogers says the claims of profound legal error and calamitous policy implications are "unhelpful rhetoric," and that the tribunal's decision is "quintessentially fact-based and manifestly serves the public interest."

The hearing at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa is set to run a single day, with a decision date on the appeal not yet set as the extended Jan. 31 closing date of the deal approaches.

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