The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Report on Business

Streetwise

News and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance
available exclusively to subscribers of Globe Unlimited

Entry archive:

Canadian deals and investments are flying high

JACQUELINE NELSON

Private capital reached a high point in recent months, with Canadian private equity buyouts setting records in the first quarter and venture capital investments climbing.

Amid oil price declines and market enthusiasm for new public offerings, investors contributed to strong deal-making and investment results, according to a report from Thomson Reuters that details the first-quarter highlights in both the private equity and venture capital spaces.

More »

Gold sector CEO pay is through the roof – and it's embarrassing

TIM KILADZE

Someone needs to break the bad news to gold miners: their party’s all but over. If they keep paying their chief executives handsomely, there’s no chance they’ll win back the global investors they sought for so long.

After peaking in 2011, the S&P/TSX Gold Index has been decimated, losing 63 per cent of its value. Miraculously, though, boards of directors have barely noticed. Which is why, even after tens of billions of dollars worth of writedowns and rounds of executive upheaval, the gold sector’s chief executives still get paid through the roof.

More »

Bennett Jones lands Stikeman veteran

JEFF GRAY

Bennett Jones LLP is adding a veteran deal maker to its roster who made his career at Stikeman Elliott LLP: Brian Rose.

Bennett Jones announced in an internal e-mail on Monday that Mr. Rose – who spent nearly four decades at Stikeman Elliott before retiring in late 2013 – is joining the firm as a senior business adviser, based in New York.

More »

Energy strategist Michael Tran jumps to RBC from CIBC

NIALL McGEE

New York-based energy strategist Michael Tran has jumped from CIBC to RBC.

In his new role Mr. Tran, 32, will be covering supply and demand for the oil and gas industry. For the past six years, Mr. Tran worked as director of energy strategy with CIBC World Markets Corp. His position at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. will be director and commodities strategist. His first day was Monday.

More »

Veteran Calgary Gowlings energy lawyer heads to Dentons

JEFF GRAY

Veteran Calgary energy sector deal maker Patrick Burgess has left Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP for Dentons Canada LLP, his new firm announced Monday.

Mr. Burgess, who has 30 years of experience in Calgary’s oil business, joins the Dentons energy transaction group as a partner. He has worked on deals for a variety of companies, large and small, Canadian and international, including acting for Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. in billions of dollars worth of acquisitions in recent years.

More »

GRI looks to Richard Nesbitt to expand global reach

JACQUELINE NELSON

Toronto-based Global Risk Institute in Financial Services is bringing on a banking veteran to help expand the international reach of its research.

Richard Nesbitt, former chief operating officer of CIBC, will take up the role of chief executive at the not-for-profit financial education group on Friday.

More »

Montreal media company Stingray unveils IPO

NICOLAS VAN PRAET

Montreal media company Stingray Digital Group is going public with a $120-million share offering, testing investor appetite for its lucrative business as its core television platform is under threat from alternatives such as Netflix.

The privately held company is best known in Canada for its flagship product Galaxie, a continuous, commercial-free music streaming service that has become a staple on pay TV channel lineups across the country and in 110 other nations. It filed plans with regulators on Friday to list shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

More »

OPTrust keeps an eye on risk amid investment gains

JACQUELINE NELSON

Amid strong returns in 2014, OPSEU Pension Trust is looking to ratchet down the amount of risk in its investment portfolio.

The fund, better known as OPTrust, said it earned a 12-per-cent return on its investments last year, net of external management fees, and saw its assets grow to $17.5-billion from $16-billion one year earlier. The pension plan has more than 86,000 beneficiaries and contributors who are Ontario government employees from the OPSEU union.

More »

Controversial CIBC director won’t seek re-election

DAVID MILSTEAD

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce shareholders’ meeting Thursday marks the end of the tenure of one of the bank’s more controversial directors.

Leslie Rahl is not standing for re-election after eight years on the CIBC board. Ms. Rahl drew the attention of governance activists and shareholder-advisory firms for her service on the board of the U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, as it collapsed in that country’s housing crisis. Ms. Rahl served on several of the company’s committees, including compliance and “risk policy and capital.”

More »

OSC ruling fuels stock exchange feud over ‘speed bumps’

TIM KILADZE

A ruling Tuesday by the Ontario Securities Commission is expected to add fuel to already-heated arguments over whether all stock exchanges with market “speed bumps” should be treated the same by regulators.

These speed bumps, made popular in Canada by a new stock exchange run by Aequitas Innovations Inc., are designed to create a level playing field with high frequency traders (HFTs). By slowing down high-speed trades, speed bumps purportedly eliminate any advantage such traders would have over average traders.

More »

Ambiguity, legal awkwardness of bitcoin complicates fraud lawsuit

ADRIAN MYERS

Some people think that bitcoin is the next Facebook for the guys who would have invented Facebook but, with the recent bankruptcies of bitcoin miners CoinTerra and Aquifer and the 2014 bankruptcy of the bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, things don’t look so great for bitcoin proponents these days. Part of this is driven by the fact that bitcoin isn’t the quite as liquid and stable as its proponents once said.

More »

BMO restructures capital markets arm, cuts jobs, realigns roles

TIM KILADZE and LUKE KAWA

Bank of Montreal is quietly making strategic changes to its capital markets arm, announcing jobs cuts and a realignment of roles throughout the month of April.

In total, roughly 50 people have lost their jobs, according to people familiar with the situation – many of whom are senior professionals, including directors and managing directors.

More »

Why Canada’s banks care about ‘synthetic’ trade crackdown

TIM KILADZE

Bay Street is struggling to quantify how badly Canada’s banks will be hurt by Ottawa’s decision to tighten rules for arcane transactions known as ‘synthetic equity arrangements,’ but some people familiar with these trades stressed the impact should not be underestimated.

As part of the federal budget, Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who once worked on Bay Street, proposed preventing banks from making these arrangements in order to dodge taxes. At the moment, it is unclear how many Big Six banks still utilize these trades, which are conducted on what are known as “Delta One” desks, but they were once widely used.

More »

Pension funds to revisit 30-per-cent investment restriction

JACQUELINE NELSON

The federal government is reigniting a debate over whether to ease investment restrictions on some Canadian pension funds.

Tuesday’s budget included plans for a public consultation on whether to change rules that limit federally regulated pension funds from owning more than 30 per cent of the voting shares of a corporation. Pension groups and other stakeholders will now have a chance to weigh in on the merits and perils of reducing ownership restrictions that bind many pension funds across the country.

More »

Upstart energy firm tests investor appetite with $100-million share sale

JEFFREY JONES

Deventa Energy Inc., a small, private energy company, is pounding the pavement looking for $100-million in a big test of investor appetite for early-stage Canadian energy plays in a depressed market.

Deventa has assembled a sizable land position in the southern part of the prolific Alberta Montney region and is now looking for capital to start drilling $10-million horizontal wells.

More »

Dragons' Den star Wekerle facing $1.3-million lawsuit for wrongful dismissal, assault

NIALL McGEE

Michael Wekerle is being sued by his former personal shopper who alleges Mr. Wekerle fired him from a snazzy high-end Toronto clothing store last year without cause, and failed to pay him profits in the store he says he was a part-owner in.

Peter Halpin also alleges the star of CBC’s Dragons' Den and CEO of Difference Capital Financial Inc. had him forcibly removed from the Da Zoo clothing store in May, 2014, and assaulted him. Mr. Halpin is asking for $1.3-million in damages, including $100,000 for assault and battery.

More »

Three ways this budget may whack bank profits

DAVID BERMAN

The Conservative government’s 2015 budget was short on specifics for how Ottawa would ensure that taxpayers won’t have to bail out systemically important banks during the next financial crisis. That came as a surprise to some observers who had expected more clarity on the Taxpayer Protection and Bank Recapitalization Scheme after consultations were launched in August.

More »

Caisse wins rare job protections for Quebec in Cirque du Soleil deal

JACQUIE McNISH AND NICOLAS VAN PRAET

The business of acquiring Quebec companies could become more onerous if the $1.5-billion takeover of Cirque du Soleil is approved by regulators.

According to people familiar with the fine print of the planned acquisition, private equity giants TPG Capital and Fosun Capital Group have committed to some of the toughest job protections yet seen in Canada. If the deal is approved by regulators over the next few months, it’s a good bet future suitors will be hearing similar proposals at the Quebec deal table.

More »

Gentility in short supply as activist investors muscle into oil patch

JEFFREY JONES

Zach’s back.

The co-founder of Connecticut-based FrontFour Capital Group, Zachary George, has amassed a sizable stake in Canada’s Legacy Oil + Gas, and unless its board sees things his way, and fast, things could get unpleasant.

Mr. George, of course, is an activist investor who made a splash in Calgary in 2013 when he questioned the independence of directors at Renegade Petroleum and locked horns with its chairman, former investment banker Tom Budd – no shrinking violet himself.

More »

What Canada’s scorching IPO market needs most: caution

TIM KILADZE

Call it the ultimate banker’s dilemma. The floodgates for initial public offerings have unexpectedly flown open – yet there’s every reason to be worried. If underwriters aren’t careful, this party will be broken up far too soon.

As energy prices crashed in the second half of last year, Canadian investors took part in a classic rotation, selling resource stocks with abandon and buying shares in nearly every other sector.

More »

Cara CEO says low debt load frees it up to make acquisitions

NIALL McGEE

The CEO of Cara Operations Ltd. says the company’s recent IPO puts it in a position to make new acquisitions – Something Cara’s previously high debt load did not allow.

Pre-IPO, Cara had $278-million in debt with a debt/EBITDA ratio of 3.1 “which doesn’t allow you any room to go and do an acquisition.” said Bill Gregson in an interview. Cara had earmarked funds raised from the IPO to pay down debt. Earlier this month, Cara whipped up $230-million in a hugely successful public offering with demand for the shares outstripping supply by a factor of 20 to one. On its first day of trading the company’s stock rose 43 per cent.

More »

Hydro One bondholders greet IPO news with yawns

SEAN SILCOFF

News of the Ontario government’s planned initial public offering of Hydro One has landed in the bond world with a big yawn. And when bondholders are yawning, that’s a reassuring sign that nothing crazy is about to happen.

Since the Kathleen Wynne government last week confirmed earlier Globe and Mail reports that it will float a 15 per stake in its electricity transmission and distribution utility, spreads on medium-term bonds over Government of Canada paper have widened by about one basis point, and on longer-term (30-year-plus) bonds by about two to three points. That’s a nothing-to-see-here reaction to a fairly significant event affecting one of the biggest and best-rated borrowers in Canada. Even after Standard & Poor’s Corp.’s ratings services trimmed Hydro One’s credit rating by a notch to A from A+ late Monday, the move had no discernible effect on prices, bond traders told the Globe and Mail.

More »

Canaccord Genuity brings managing director back home

JACQUELINE NELSON

Jamie Brown has made the journey from the den of a dragon back to Canaccord Genuity Corp.

Mr. Brown is rejoining Canaccord Genuity as vice chairman and managing director of investment banking. Before January 2015, he was managing partner and a key leader at Difference Capital Financial Inc., the merchant bank co-founded in 2012 by Michael Wekerle, a dragon on CBC’s business-oriented reality TV show, Dragon’s Den.

More »

Why bringing retail investors into Hydro One IPO is a smart move

NIALL McGEE

It’s a common refrain from retail investors — that on a hot initial public offering, retail often gets the short end of the stick. They usually have to wait until a stock starts trading on the secondary market before they can get a piece of it. By that point, it may be too late to benefit from any initial pop in the share price.

More »

Goldman COO offers real talk on energy prices, markets

TIM KILADZE

Canadian energy investors who continue to pile into new energy financings ought to consider hearing Gary Cohn out.

The former commodities trader, who is now Goldman Sachs’s chief operating officer, knows a thing or two about crude, and his expertise has convinced him that oil prices should stay suppressed for quite some time. The way he sees it, supply is now so robust that a quick rebound doesn’t make sense.

More »

Ex-clerk of privy council Wayne Wouters joins McCarthys

JEFF GRAY

The federal government’s former top civil servant, Wayne Wouters, is joining McCarthy Tétrault LLP as a part-time strategic and policy adviser, the firm is to announce on Monday.

The long-time federal bureaucrat retired last summer after five years as clerk of the privy council of Canada, the head of the federal civil service who reported directly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

More »

Cirque du Soleil sold to U.S., Chinese investors for $1.5-billion

JACQUIE McNISH and NICOLAS VAN PRAET

Guy Laliberté, the audacious street performer who transformed his fire-breathing act into a global circus empire, has agreed to sell control of Cirque du Soleil to two of the world’s largest financial investors for about $1.5-billion.

Sources close to negotiations said Mr. Laliberté has agreed to sell majority control of the Cirque to TPG Capital, a Texas-based private equity fund, and Fosun Capital Group, a privately owned fund manager based in Shanghai.

More »

Terminal fail turns Bloomberg user’s day inside out

NIALL McGEE

Currency strategist Camilla Sutton got into her downtown Toronto office this morning at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. Today was no ordinary day, though. Her Bloomberg terminal was down.

“I could look up where the dollar was trading but I couldn’t really see where it was trading in relation to everyone else at the same time, what had happened in rates markets, what had happened in equities. You’re kind of blind to the news flow,” said Ms. Sutton, who is chief FX strategist with Bank of Nova Scotia.

More »

Fairfax's bearish market outlook shaped Brit deal

JACQUELINE NELSON

Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. chief executive Prem Watsa says his bearish market views played a key role in a recent pension fund partnership.

In February, Fairfax made an offer to acquire London-based Brit PLC in a deal valued at about $1.8-billion (U.S.). Two private equity sellers owning about 73 per cent of the specialty insurance company supported the deal and agreed to lock up their shares, i.e. they would not sell them to a rival bidder. Fairfax quickly went out to raise more than $1-billion via the sale of debt and equity securities. By late March, the takeover had been declared unconditional as to acceptances, meaning it had enough shareholders on its side to proceed with its offer.

More »

Lexpert: Insolvency work ain’t what it used to be

LEXPERT

Lexpert identifies and reports on emerging business issues and practice areas in the business of law. Whether online, in our magazine or in the DealsWire e-newsletter, we chronicle deals and lawsuits of interest, and cover issues of broad concern to the legal profession and those who purchase legal services. We hope you enjoy this sample of our latest content.

More »

Video »

Sign up for our newsletter

Blog contributors

Most Popular