The Commissioner of Competition must pay Rogers and Shaw nearly $13 million in costs related to the abortive attempt to block Rogers’ $26 billion takeover.
The Competition Tribunal has directed the commissioner to pay Rogers nearly $415,000 and Shaw $416,000 in counsel fees. The commissioner must also pay Rogers $9.2 million and Shaw $2.8 million for costs related to reports and expert witnesses during the late 2022 trial.
“The commissioner adopted an unnecessarily contentious approach at numerous points during the litigation,” the tribunal’s decision, signed by Chief Justice Paul Crampton, reads.
The decision pointed to the commissioner’s unwillingness to focus on the sale of Freedom Mobile to Québecor subsidiary Vidéotron. “Among other things, the commissioner’s refusal to focus on the divesture, despite repeated suggestions from the tribunal that he do so, resulted in substantial resources having to be devoted by the respondents and the tribunal to something that had become legally and practically foreclosed.”
Québecor acquired Freedom for $2.85 billion.
However, the tribunal notes the commissioner’s continued pursuit of the case, even after the divestiture of freedom was announced, wasn’t “vexatious or irresponsible.”
“It raised some novel issues, and there was a broad public interest in bringing the case,” the decision states.
Québecor added Freedom to its banner of companies on April 4th, days after Innovation Minister Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne approved Rogers’ takeover of Shaw.
The tribunal’s decision doesn’t award Vidéotron any costs.
Source: Competition Tribunal