As one of the largest and most active mergers and acquisitions practices in the country, the Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment group is frequently retained by major domestic and international companies and leading domestic and international law firms to provide strategic counsel and representation in merger planning, risk allocation and securing timely approvals before the Competition Bureau (Bureau) and the courts. Our lawyers have been involved in many of the largest and most complex mergers in the history of Canadian business and many other mergers with global implications.
The Bureau is now taking a much more active approach to its review of strategic competition mergers and becoming increasingly sophisticated in conducting its investigations. The Bureau has expanded its focus to identify and review non-notifiable mergers that may impact competition and closely consider the impact of mergers on data, technology and related markets. The net effect of these changes has been to reduce business certainty in the strategic merger review process and increase the need for advanced legal guidance.
Blakes is also at the forefront of competition merger litigation. There are six merger cases that form the primary body of merger jurisprudence in Canada. Blakes has represented the parties in all five of the cases in which the parties were successful (Southam, CP Ships, Hillsdown, Superior Propane and Labatt). Most recently, Blakes represented United Continental Airlines (regarding its alliance agreements with Air Canada) and Office Depot, Inc. (regarding its merger with Staples, Inc.) before the Competition Tribunal.
We advise clients with respect to securing merger approvals for non-Canadian purchasers under Canada’s foreign investment laws and regulations, including all aspects of the Investment Canada Act (ICA). The ICA contains general review and notification requirements for a wide range of investments by non-Canadians, as well as a comprehensive and increasingly utilized national security review regime. Our lawyers are experienced in navigating the complex maze of laws and regulations governing these investments, including the special rules that apply to state-owned enterprises, sovereign wealth funds, investors from certain countries and cultural businesses.