Position statements “welcome transparency” from Competition Bureau

May 28, 2020

Competition partner Omar Wakil has told the Globe and Mail that position statements released by the Competition Bureau has provided welcome transparency for firms hit hard by COVID-19.

The bureau released two statements that explained its reasoning not to block two individual mergers over the last 12 months. The publication of the analyses could help limit the concern for businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic if they’re preparing for a merger or acquisition.

Lawyers from Torys’ Competition practice penned this analysis of the two reviews.  

The article states that while “mergers that lead to substantially less competition are typically prohibited … there are exceptions”. Those exceptions are around improved efficiencies and simply preventing “failing firms” to go out of business.

Omar told the Globe that despite the two cases being put through “lengthy and complex reviews”, the deals still went through as planned, and added the fact these reviews were complex means merging parties should prepare for a great deal of scrutiny.

“I think that the bureau recognized that these were reviews that happened pre-COVID but they’re relevant for the COVID word and the post-COVID world,” Omar said.

“So kudos to them for getting these out and giving people some guidance as to what their thinking is.

“There are going to be distressed firms out there that are going to need to re-evaluate their position in the marketplace, and many will be thinking about consolidation as one potential way to deal with a crisis.”

Read more of the firm's competition insights on the practice page.

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