Perspective: Canadian Competition Bureau's Recent Enforcement Action and Plans to Revise Guidelines May Signal More Expansive Merger Reviews

A recent Competition Bureau challenge to a completed merger below the compulsory notification thresholds and an announced intention to amend certain aspects of the Bureau's Merger Enforcement Guidelines may signal more expansive merger reviews by the Bureau. In particular, the Bureau appears to be reviewing more transactions below the compulsory notification thresholds, and may, in its merger reviews, be focusing more on (i) whether the merger may create anti-competitive buying power, (ii) potential vertical foreclosure of competitors who are also suppliers or customers of a merger party, and (iii) minority interests and interlocking directorates. The Bureau also appears to be poised to follow recent amendments to the U.S. merger guidelines and de-emphasize the role of market definition in establishing anti-competitive effects of a merger. Finally, the Bureau's recent merger challenge serves as a reminder that the Bureau considers not only whether a merger lessens existing competition between the parties, but also whether it is likely to prevent future competition from developing.

This article discusses the Bureau's application to the Competition Tribunal for dissolution of the January 2011 acquisition of Complete Environmental Inc. by CCS Corporation, and the Bureau's February 25, 2011 announcement that it will revise its Merger Enforcement Guidelines later this year.

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