Published On: Monday, 06 March 2017

Existing Merger & Acquisition Review Process Needs Changes

Existing Merger & Acquisition Review Process Needs Changes

- The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies through research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.

CANADA - It is time for Ottawa to reform its merger review process to ensure that Canada is actively promoting efficiencies and innovation, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report.

In “Promoting Innovation and Efficiency by Streamlining Competition Reviews,” authors Brian Facey and Joshua Krane argue that merger review should support and encourage mergers that generate innovation and economic efficiencies in Canada.

“Simply put, the current process for efficiency-enhancing mergers is too long and costly,” commented Facey. “The Competition Bureau also needs the resources to do its job.”

The authors focus on a subset of mergers – those that involve combinations of major competitors intended to achieve significant efficiencies – that can face the greatest costs under the current system.

“Canadian business and political leaders have long recognized the need for Canadian companies to achieve scale to reduce costs and compete domestically and internationally,” said Krane.

The authors recommend the following:

  1. That the predominate purpose of merger review be to increase the efficiency of the Canadian economy;
  2. Timeframes need to be set and adhered to and the Bureau requires adequate resources to quickly review mergers intended to benefit the Canadian economy;
  3. Merging parties need access to mediation or to the Competition Tribunal (a specialized and experienced court that adjudicates disputes principally between the Bureau and businesses) to adjudicate or mediate merger cases; and
  4. The Competition Act should protect Canadian interests by preventing decisions of foreign agencies from interfering with the realization of efficiencies and increased export opportunities from Canada.

Facey concluded: “Economic efficiency and innovation are and must be seen to be the paramount objectives of merger review by the Competition Bureau.”