Tribunal Decision Favouring Rogers-Shaw Merger Temporarily Suspended

The Competition Bureau announced on Monday it was granted an interim stay by the Federal Court of Appeal, for the Competition Tribunal’s ruling that dismissed the Bureau’s case against the Rogers-Shaw merger.

The temporary suspension of the Tribunal’s decision, “will remain in effect until our application for a stay and an injunction can be heard,” said the Bureau.

“We remain very disappointed by the Tribunal’s decision. We are carefully reviewing it and the reasons released last night,” said the Bureau on Monday.

Shaw issued a statement in response to the emergency interim stay, reaffirming the Competition Tribunal’s decision as “comprehensive, thoughtful, well-reasoned and clear in its finding” that the Shaw-Videotron-Rogers deal would “not likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially.”

According to Shaw, it says “we are confident that these pro-competitive transactions will bring more choice, more affordability, more innovation and more connectivity to Canadians, and that the Competition Tribunal’s decision was the right one.”

Shaw cited the Tribunal’s report, noting if the transactions were to proceed, it would mean “the strengthening of Rogers’ position in Alberta and British Columbia…will also likely contribute to an increased intensity of competition in those markets.”

The telecom calls out the Competition Bureau’s position against Rogers-Shaw as leaning heavily on “the interests of TELUS and not consumers,” citing the Tribunal’s final decision in its 88-page report.

“The Commissioner launched his appeal before the Tribunal’s Decision was rendered yesterday evening. It is now clear that the Tribunal rejected the evidence of the most important witnesses of the Commissioner, as well as all of his key complaints and theories. In the circumstances, Shaw urges the Commissioner to reconsider his decision to pursue an appeal,” said the company.

The deal would see Shaw sell Freedom Mobile spectrum licenses to Videotron, which has yet to be approved by regulators.

On Saturday, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, said in a statement he would review the Tribunal’s decision and make a “separate decision only after there is clarity on the ongoing legal process.” He reiterated, “promoting competition and affordability in the telecom sector is one of my top priorities. That position has not changed.”