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Canada’s finance ministry has extended the consultation period for Royal Bank of Canada’s RY-T $13.5-billion proposed acquisition of HSBC’s Canadian unit by 15 days due to a technical error that prevented the department from receiving some submissions by e-mail.

The Finance Department said the technical issue has now been resolved and stakeholders can submit their views and feedback by July 21. The acquisition is set to close in the first quarter of 2024.

The deal, announced in November, is subject to approval from the Finance Department and the Competition Bureau. The Finance Department has said that it was seeking comments on how the deal could impact consumers and the stability of the broader banking sector.

The Competition Bureau’s consultation, which closed last month, would asses whether the deal lessens competition in Canada’s already concentrated banking industry where the top six lenders account for more than 80 per cent of the banking assets.

The deal is the biggest acquisition for RBC. The last time a deal of this size was attempted in the country was in the early 1990s, when RBC wanted to acquire rival Bank of Montreal but was blocked by regulators from doing so.

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