A Canada federal judge called into question the competition bureau’s argument to block Rogers Communications’s C$20 billion ($14.9 billion) bid for Shaw Communications Inc as the court hearing kicked off on Tuesday.
The proceeding in a Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa is the antitrust bureau’s latest attempt to kill the deal, saying the transaction will lessen competition in Canada’s telecoms industry, which has some of the highest mobile bills in the world.
But the bureau failed to convince the competition tribunal, a quasi court that handles merger disputes, that the deal is harmful for Canadian consumers. It was approved on Dec. 30.
“According to the tribunal, this was not a particularly close case,” he told the court. “It found, I would say, on the evidence rather decisively that there was no substantial lessening of competition.
Read more: Canada’s Regulator Continues Push Against Rogers-Shaw Deal
“They also found a number of pro-competitive considerations.” Canada judge calls into question regulator’s argument to block Rogers-Shaw deal.
Announced nearly two years ago, the deal has become a test case for the competition bureau’s ability to increase choices for consumers in Canada, where a handful of companies control large swaths of businesses.
At stake is one of Canada’s biggest-ever M&A deals, along with millions of dollars in legal and financial advisory fees. Investors have been closely watching the outcome and Shaw shares have rallied in recent months on optimism over the deal’s success. In early Tuesday trades, Shaw shares were up 1.4%, while Rogers rose 1%, bucking a drop in the benchmark Canada share index.