The goal of a merger review is to obtain the necessary evidence for careful analysis and consideration before reaching a conclusion as to whether a merger is likely to substantially lessen or prevent competition.
As part of the Bureau’s normal approach in examining a merger, the Bureau consults with a wide range of industry participants, such as suppliers, competitors, industry associations, customers and industry experts, and considers many different factors, including the definition of the relevant market, the level of concentration and the level of competition remaining in the market.
When a merger is likely to prevent or lessen competition substantially, the Bureau generally attempts to negotiate an agreement with the merging parties without proceeding to litigation.
This approach enables a less costly and faster resolution of the matter. We prefer to resolve situations by mutual agreement rather than proceed to the Competition Tribunal; however, if the Bureau determines that a merger is likely to considerably affect competition, it may apply to the Tribunal for an order to prevent, dissolve or alter the merger. In all cases, the Bureau’s mandate is to ensure that transactions will not result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the marketplace.
It is difficult to determine in advance how long a particular merger review will take to complete as the Bureau evaluates the steps that need to be taken on a case by case basis. As always, we work with the merging parties to complete our reviews as expeditiously as possible.
Once the Bureau receives an official notification of a proposed merger or acquisition, this triggers a 30‑day statutory waiting period during which the transaction cannot be completed unless the parties receive approval from the Bureau. For typical, non complex mergers or acquisitions, the Bureau will generally provide a response within a 14‑day service standard. This is the case in the vast majority of transactions reviewed.
For those relatively few transactions that are complex in nature or that raise competition concerns, the Bureau’s review may take longer than 30 days. Issuing a supplementary information request to get additional relevant information from the merging parties (i.e. the companies involved in the merger or acquisition) triggers a second 30‑day waiting period, which starts upon receipt of complete responses from the parties. A proposed transaction may not be completed unless and until those commitments and potentially other requirements have been satisfied or waived by the Bureau.
To learn more on a merger review process, please consult our guidelines.
While we understand that mergers can have an impact on employees, it is not the mandate of the Bureau to consider any impact on jobs/employment in its analysis of whether a merger results in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.
Canadian consumers and stakeholders who wish to share their views on competition-related issues regarding a transaction are invited to do so in the following form.
Information provided to the Bureau in connection with its mandate will be protected as confidential in accordance with section 29 of the Competition Act, subject to the exceptions therein. Further information on the confidentiality provision can be found in the Communication of Confidential Information Under the Competition Act bulletin.
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