Sobeys’ Competition counsel on Sobeys/Safeway “Top Deal of 2013”

Paul Collins of Stikeman Elliott LLP led the Competition team for Sobeys in its acquisition last year of Safeway – our Lexpert Top Deal of 2013. The overall “challenge” according to Collins was to “proceed through the Competition Bureau’s review of the transaction in as timely a fashion as possible.” Not only was it a “sizable transaction” in financial value; because it involved 213 grocery stores there was a tremendous level of attendant circumstantial detail. The key was to facilitate the Bureau’s review in a reasonable time frame within the parameters of the transaction’s commercial modeling. The Competition Bureau’s analysis tended to be quite localized. This could have impacted on timing. On the other hand, one did “not want to speed at the risk of compromising the outcome of the transaction,” said Collins.

Collins’ approach to Competition law matters, now on behalf of clients, is informed from his own time at the Bureau. From May 2010 to May 2012, Collins served as Senior Deputy Commissioner – Mergers Branch.

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