Merger Notification & Review

chess pieces

On July 1, 2021, the Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) ruled that it does not have the power to issue “interim, interim orders” in the context of a proposed merger of two companies in the midstream infrastructure and environmental solutions space. Rather, the Tribunal found that, in the case of mergers, interim relief is limited to that expressly provided for by sections 100 and 104 of the Competition Act (the “Act”).


Continue Reading Competition Tribunal Dismisses Request for Interim, Interim Order

In contrast to Canada, South Africa’s competition law has both competition and public interest objectives.  A major focus of the legislation from a public interest perspective is the promotion of historically disadvantaged persons and small business.  This is understandable, given the fact that when the legislation was first enacted in 1998, South Africa was emerging

Following its recent announcement of a proposed market inquiry in this sector, the South African Competition Commission (the “Commission”) is continuing its efforts to improve regulatory scrutiny within digital markets.  On 7 May 2021, the Commission published for comments draft amendments to its guidelines for the notification of small mergers (the “Draft 

Non-compete clauses are included in virtually all purchase and sale agreements. They are designed to ensure that purchasers realize the full value of the acquired business by, for example, prohibiting competition from vendors within a defined area for a certain amount of time.[1] There is no question that such clauses are valuable to purchasers and essential in the mergers and acquisition context.

The Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has long recognized that non-compete clauses “can serve legitimate purposes”. However, the Bureau’s approach to non-compete clauses has been revised in its updated Competitor Collaboration Guidelines (the “CCGs”), which were issued on May 6, 2021 – see our prior blog post titled “New Competitor Collaboration Guidelines”. Significantly, as discussed in more detail below, the Bureau has signalled that it may consider such clauses under the criminal cartel provisions in the Competition Act (the “Act”) where they, for example, amount to a market allocation agreement or there is evidence that they are nothing more than a “sham”.
Continue Reading Non-Compete Clauses – So What’s the Risk?

On May 6, 2021, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released its new (and long-awaited)  competitor collaboration guidelines (the “New CCGs”). This is the first update to these guidelines since the previous version was published by the Bureau over a decade ago, in 2009 (the “2009 CCGs”).

The New CCGs

On April 1, 2021, the Government of Canada announced two important updates relating to merger filing fees: (i) a decreased merger filing fee ($74,905.57), and (ii) a new Service Fees Remission Policy.

Decreased Merger Filing Fee for 2021

Effective immediately, the Competition Bureau’s (the “Bureau”) filing fee for merger reviews has decreased from

Canada’s Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has joined an international multilateral working group that will be focusing on the analysis of pharmaceutical mergers. Initiated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the working group also includes the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Offices of State Attorneys General, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”)

The Competition Bureau announced the 2021 transaction-size pre-merger notification threshold under the Competition Act is decreasing to C$93 million, effective February 13, 2021. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada also announced new, lower foreign investment review thresholds under the Investment Canada Act, effective January 1, 2021.

These thresholds are adjusted annually based on GDP formulas. As a consequence, they generally increase each year. This year’s decrease in merger review thresholds is a consequence of Canada’s economic contraction following from extensive restrictions on economic activity imposed by governments which were intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. If the economy recovers, it is likely these thresholds will increase in 2022.

Competition Act

In general terms, certain transactions that exceed prescribed thresholds under the Competition Act trigger a pre-merger notification filing requirement; such transactions cannot close until notice has been provided to the Commissioner of Competition (the “Commissioner”) and the statutory waiting period under the Competition Act has expired or has been terminated or waived by the Commissioner. Where both the “transaction-size” and “party-size” thresholds are exceeded, a transaction is considered “notifiable”.
Continue Reading 2021 Merger Review Thresholds

Competition, marketing and foreign investment law saw a number of changes in the past year. Many of these changes were in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed every aspect of how Canadians, businesses and government agencies operate. Despite the pandemic, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) has actively continued its enforcement activity and provided a number of guidance documents to help businesses stay onside the Competition Act (the “Act”). Similarly, Canada’s Investment Review Division also had to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Below we discuss ten key themes seen in the competition, marketing and foreign investment law space this year, and discuss what the year ahead has in store.
Continue Reading What 2020 tells us about 2021 and beyond: Fasken’s Year-End Review of the Top 10 Trends in Canadian Competition, Marketing & Foreign Investment Law

The Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released some informative statistics summarizing the number and characteristics of merger reviews started and concluded by the Bureau’s Mergers Directorate in its 2019-2020 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2020). In past years, similar information was presented by the Bureau at the Mergers Roundtable hosted by the Canadian Bar Association’s Mergers Committee and the Mergers Directorate, which did not happen this year due to COVID-19.

Non-Notifiable Mergers

About a year ago, the Bureau expanded the role of its Merger Notification Unit, now referred to as the Merger Intelligence and Notification Unit, to include a broader focus on active intelligence gathering on non-notifiable merger transactions that may raise competition concerns. These efforts have borne fruit, with the Bureau identifying and reviewing a number of non-notifiable transactions where the parties would not have otherwise engaged with the Bureau prior to closing. In one instance, the Bureau became aware of a non-notifiable transaction, Evonik Industries AG’s acquisition of PeroxyChem Holding Company LLC, and entered into a consent agreement with the merging parties which required the divestiture of assets in British Columbia to remedy competition concerns.

Number of Annual filings and reviews

There has been a slight increase in merger filings and reviews over the past year, although not outside the normal range for the past 10 years. Set out below is a chart outlining the total number of merger filings by year for the past 10 years.

image: Competition Bureau Canada


Continue Reading Merger Review by the Canadian Competition Bureau in 2019-2020: Breaking down the Numbers