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A Couche-Tard convenience store is pictured in Montreal, April 18, 2012. (© Christinne Muschi / Reuters/REUTERS)
A Couche-Tard convenience store is pictured in Montreal, April 18, 2012. (© Christinne Muschi / Reuters/REUTERS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Aug. 31: Nothing left to buy – letters to the ROB editor Add to ...

Nothing left to buy

Re For Couche-Tard, what’s left to buy? (Aug. 26): This is now common with thousands of American and Canadian companies that have acquired their competitors or strategic targets. So much M&A activity has taken place that it feels as if there is nothing left to buy.

Those of us in the M&A business are hunting for deals that do not seem to exist. There are countless buyers, private equity firms and cheap money chasing too few companies. Many companies have changed hands, and everyone we visit tells us that they have been contacted by dozens of competitors. The only companies left seem to be those that refuse to sell.

In simple terms: There are lots of buyers, but very few sellers.

Mark Borkowski, president, Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corp., Toronto

That icon affair

Re Watchdog slams Ashley Madison over privacy failures (Aug. 24): Ashley Madison got caught cheating (with a “phony trustmark icon”). So there is such a thing as karma.

Michael Gilbert, Toronto

A gold-medal gold

Re All that glitters is not gold (graphic, Aug. 20): Olympic gold medals are only 1.2 per cent gold. But the Fields Medal (the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel prize) is not only pure gold but must be cast from Canadian gold. Professor John Charles Fields of the University of Toronto, who founded the honour that bears his name, showed more foresight about “gold” medals than the founders of the modern Olympics.

Eric Mendelsohn, professor emeritus, mathematics department, University of Manitoba

Tax hurdles

Re Debate continues over whether Olympic medalists should be taxed (Aug. 19): Maybe the amateurs can deduct their expenses of learning and endlessly practicing their skill from the bonuses? But wait – their parents will have paid, certainly for the younger ones. So perhaps the athlete should incorporate quickly and put the bonus there to reduce the tax? But they may not be old enough to be a director of their own company. So maybe they should hire a tax lawyer or accountant to figure out a way to dodge the Canada Revenue Agency tax bullet, and even deduct his/her fee? But then the fee could be more than the bonus.

Ottawa has turned our heroic amateur athletes, some of them children, into a nation of bookkeepers and tax dodgers!

Michael Robinson, Toronto

Strong coffee

Re Second Cup seeks a comeback (Aug. 20): Thank you for the balanced piece on Second Cup. As a former franchisee, having opened and then closed a new café after three years of operation, I can attest to the business practices that have led to Second Cup’s downfall and share price slide.

Competition is not the core issue – franchisee relations are. Ongoing practices of not supplying full disclosure to new owners (particularly regarding legal proceedings), allowing franchisees to fail and then taking over their cafés at severely discounted prices, blocking franchisee sales of cafés and other predatory practices are the norm.

Every business faces competition; Second Cup’s failures run far deeper.

Wendell Miles, Edmonton

Letters to the editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit by e-mail, send to: letters@globeandmail.com.

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