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Streetwise

News and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance
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Daily Deal Roundup: SunOpta buys Sunrise in $450-million deal

Duncan Hood

DEAL OF THE DAY: SunOpta to buy private frozen fruit supplier for about $450-million

Canadian organic foods supplier SunOpta Inc said it would buy organic frozen fruit supplier Sunrise Holdings Delaware Inc for about $450-million in a move to strengthen its packaged products business. SunOpta, which also sells agricultural produce and food ingredients, said it was buying Sunrise from a group of investors led by private equity firm Paine & Partners LLC. Full story

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Volatile markets force exactEarth to postpone IPO

Ahmad Hathout

Despite the string of successful Canadian initial public offerings this year, exactEarth Ltd. announced Friday that it is postponing its own, proving that equity markets are starting to show signs of stress.

ExactEarth, a subsidiary of Cambridge, Ont.’s Com Dev International Ltd., hoped to raise $80-million and list on the Toronto Stock Exchange. However, the company decided to pull its offering because of “challenging conditions in the capital markets.”

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Former RBC CEO elected to BlackRock’s board of directors

DAVID BERMAN

It’s starting to look as though New York-based BlackRock Inc. is being invaded by former Royal Bank of Canada executives. Gordon Nixon, RBC’s former chief executive officer before his retirement a year ago, has been elected to BlackRock’s board of directors, effective Oct. 6.

The news follows – by just one week – the appointment of Marcia Moffat as BlackRock’s head of Canadian operations. Ms. Moffat had spent 12 years at RBC, most recently as head of home equity financing, meaning that Mr. Nixon was once her boss.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Canadian deals decline by $11-billion

DUNCAN HOOD

DEAL OF THE DAY: OceanaGold to acquire Romarco for its U.S.-based gold project

Australian-Canadian miner OceanaGold Corp. has agreed to buy Romarco Minerals Inc. for around $856-million, getting its hands on a low-cost gold mine that is being built in a low-risk jurisdiction. The all-share deal, equal to 68 cents a Romarco share, is a 73-per-cent premium on Romarco’s closing share price on Wednesday. OceanaGold shareholders will end up with 51 per cent of the enlarged company, and Toronto-listed Romarco the rest. Full story

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MTS looks to potential buyers for Allstream business

CHRISTINE DOBBY

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. has hired advisers and wants to speak with potential buyers of its Allstream business in the second half of the year.

The company has been working to turn the asset around since new CEO Jay Forbes took over earlier this year, slashing jobs and capital expenditures at the national enterprise IP services division.

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The gold sector’s hottest takeover prospects: quality developers

TIM KILADZE

As complicated as high-profile acquisitions can seem, they often boil down to simple shopping principles. If the sale price is too good, sometimes you would be silly not to buy.

That rationale is at the root of the gold sector’s latest takeover deal. Australia’s OceanaGold Corp., a smaller low-cost producer, is buying Romarco Minerals Inc. for $856-million in shares, creating an intermediate gold producer worth roughly $1.6-billion.

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Daily Deal Roundup: New biopharma player launches, with help from Novartis

SERES LU AND AHMAD HATHOUT

DEAL OF THE DAY: Grafton Fraser acquires Jones New York stores across Canada

Men’s clothing retailer Grafton Fraser Inc., which runs Tip Top Tailor, said Wednesday it has acquired 35 Jones New York women’s wear stores that had been expected to close – and plans to expand to at least 50 outlets in the next five years. Full story

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Lexpert: Stock market fraud gets Canadians riled up

Lexpert

At its heart, white-collar crime is just corporate lying, cheating and stealing. Of all the offences that fall under the catch-all, stock market fraud seems to get Canadians particularly riled up. From Bre-X Minerals, YBM Magnex, and Livent to Hollinger, Nortel and Sino-Forest, Canada has no shortage of securities scandals. What’s lacking has been convictions. After the landmark case of Nazir Karigar, though, prosecutors seem less reluctant in asking for prison time.

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A tale of two IPOs: Shopify and Mogo face opposite reactions from investors

SEAN SILCOFF

Two Canadian tech companies have gone public recently with promises of a rosy future. One has been a hit with investors out of the gate, the other has face-planted. Now, with their first quarterly earnings reports on the way, investors will have a chance to revisit their initial responses.

The former is Ottawa e-commerce software platform company Shopify Inc. The stock shot up on its debut on May 21 and now trades at double its $17-a-share offer price. Shopify reports on its second quarter Thursday.

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Questrade repays high-interest debt as discount brokerage diversifies

TIM KILADZE

After years of constantly re-investing profits to grow its business, discount brokerage Questrade finally decided to seek outside financing in 2013.

The company was able to raise the $10-million it needed, but the fresh funds came at a high price: The loan charged a 10-per-cent annual interest rate.

A year and a half later, Questrade is no longer in such a tough bind. Earlier this week Crown Capital Partners, the company that lent it the money, announced the five-year loan was repaid in full.

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Centerra Gold looks to further acquisitions

RACHELLE YOUNGLAI

Fresh from buying a gold property in Ontario, Centerra Gold Inc. is on the hunt for another acquisition.

Centerra, whose key mine in Kyrgyzstan is perpetually under threat of a shutdown from the local government, spent an initial $85-million for the Canadian gold property.

The Toronto-headquartered company has found itself in a somewhat fortunate position during the gold downturn. Centerra hasn’t had to sell prized assets to preserve its balance sheet and instead has cash to spend.

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Chilean family makes surprise bid for Barrick copper mine

RACHELLE YOUNGLAI

One of Chile’s wealthiest families has emerged as a surprise bidder for Barrick Gold Corp.’s large copper mine in South America, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Empresas Copec, a forestry and energy conglomerate controlled by Roberto Angelini Rossi and his family, has been mulling an expansion into mining.

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Attention shoppers: The oil patch is on sale

JEFFREY JONES

Is Encana Corp. oversold or underacquired?

It’s a question investment-banking types are asking as the company’s shares sink under the weight of falling oil prices and last week’s disappointing quarterly financial showing.

Stock in one of Canada’s marquee energy producers is worth about a third of what it was a year ago. To put it another way, it spent $9-billion (U.S.) on U.S. oil acquisitions last year, a figure that is now nearly $3-billion more than the entire company’s market capitalization.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Honeywell hits the acquisition trail

SERES LU

DEAL OF THE DAY: Honeywell shells out $5.1-billion for Elster

Industrial systems-maker Honeywell International Inc. has acquired Elster, a manufacturer of water and gas meters, from Melrose Industries for $5.1-billion (U.S.) cash. The deal comes as part of Honeywell CEO Dave Cote’s plan to spend $10-billion on M&As by 2019 to bolster Honeywell’s equipment offerings and market presence. Melrose bought Elster in 2012 for $2.3-billion. Full story

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Real estate darling Tricon raises $150-million as shares climb

TIM KILADZE

The Toronto-based residential real estate company taking the United States by storm is tapping investors for fresh funds as it builds a brand new dimension of its business model.

Late Tuesday, Tricon Capital Group announced the creation of a new initiative, Tricon Luxury Residences, which will focus on developing and managing top-tier rental apartments in Canada and the United States. Until now, Tricon has largely focused on developing residential homes and managing single-family rentals south of the border – 90 per cent of its assets are housed in states such as Texas, Florida and California.

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There’s new hope for a national securities regulator. Don’t let it die

TIM KILADZE

To all the people putting in countless hours to create a pan-Canadian securities regulator: You’ve made great strides, don’t you dare look back now.

Amid widespread political wrangling and never-ending delays, it has been easy to start worrying the dream is dying. Ontario and British Columbia roared out of the gates two summers ago with plans to create a co-operative regulator, but since then, more and more hurdles have popped up.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Teva to become one of world’s biggest drug firms

SERES LU

DEAL OF THE DAY: Teva snaps up Allergan’s generic business in $40-billion deal

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has agreed to buy Allergan PLC’s generic drug business for $40.5-billion (U.S.). Allergan will receive $33.75-billion in cash and shares of Teva valued Monday at $6.75-billion. The deal will make Israeli-based Teva one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. Full story

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CI Financial committed to struggling Marret

NIALL McGEE

CI Financial Corp.’s chief executive officer says the firm is “absolutely” committed to sticking with Marret Asset Management Inc., run by long-time bond manager Barry Allan, despite signs that the company is struggling.

“As we go forward, I think it will continue to be better,” Stephen MacPhail, CI Financial’s CEO, said in an interview on the prospects for Marret, whose portfolio managers are responsible for running a good chunk of CI’s fixed-income business.

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Top-ranked telecom analyst leaves Bay Street for Wind Mobile

TIM KILADZE

Burgeoning wireless provider Wind Mobile is beefing up its management ranks by hiring one the industry’s leading telecom analysts.

Glen Campbell is joining the company to take on the role of chief commercial officer, leaving behind his gig as head of Canadian equity research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. At BofA, Mr. Campbell also oversaw coverage of Canadian telecom companies.

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Daily Deal Roundup: News Corp buys Canadian startup Checkout 51

Duncan Hood

MOVE OF THE DAY: Canadian investment bank Edgecrest puts itself up for sale

Canadian mining-focused investment bank Edgecrest Capital has put itself on the auction block, hurt by a prolonged downturn in the natural resource sector that has hit fees and activity, according to two sources familiar with the situation. The move comes two years after Toronto-based Edgecrest, which is led by investment banker David Beatty, opened shop. Full story

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Couche-Tard investors asked to weigh Freedom 65 clause

Sean Silcoff

For years convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has seemed like the most enlightened of Quebec’s dual-class share public companies, relatively speaking.

Yes, it had two classes of shares that left majority voting power with the four founders – including executive chairman and retired CEO Alain Bouchard – despite the fact they collectively own just 22.7 per cent of the equity. But the 10-to-one voting rights on their Class A shares came with a sunset clause: on the first day when all founders (including retired executives Jacques D’Amours, Richard Fortin and Réal Plourde) were 65 years old or when they collectively held less than half of the voting rights, their stock would lose its superior voting rights. That would have happened no later than 2021 when Mr. D’Amours turned 65.

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AGF Management’s head of retail to leave investment firm

TIM KILADZE

AGF Management Ltd. is parting ways with the head of its retail mutual fund business, marking the first major personnel shakeup at the company since appointing a new chief investment officer.

Gordon Forrester, who oversaw the retail arm that is estimated to contribute 80 per cent of AGF’s revenues, is leaving the firm in less than two weeks, according to an internal memo sent to employees. The company did not name a replacement. Instead, chief executive Blake Goldring is expected to get more involved in the retail business’s day-to-day operations.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Valeant surge continues with Commonwealth Labs buy

DUNCAN HOOD

DEAL OF THE DAY: Brookfield nearing deal for $1.5-billion of Berlin Property

Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canada’s largest alternative asset manager, is nearing a deal to acquire a group of buildings on Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz for about €1.4-billion ($1.5-billion U.S.), people with knowledge of the matter said. Full story

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Stronach’s Acasta boosts IPO to $350-million

NIALL McGEE

Star-studded SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) Acasta Enterprises Inc. is boosting its initial public offering to $350-million from its initial target of $275-million. The shell company which features a bevy of household Canadian business names among its list of managers and advisors is expected to close its offering on July 30. Acasta is set to be the biggest IPO in the nascent SPAC sector this year.

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PSP Investments eyes global growth, reshapes strategy on strong results

JACQUELINE NELSON

The pension plan for federal government employees is ramping up its international expansion plan, reshaping its investment strategy as assets are projected to double within a decade.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), which invests pension funds for federal civil servants including the Canadian Forces and the RCMP, said Thursday it was entering a new stage of development after earning a total portfolio return of 14.5 per cent in its fiscal 2015 year ended March 31. These results beat its investment benchmarks and pushed assets under management up by 20 per cent to $112-billion.

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Pan-Canadian securities regulator ready to forge ahead

TIM KILADZE

The drawn-out dream of creating a common Canadian securities regulator is one step closer to reality, with Ottawa and the group of provinces backing it set to announce a chair for the board of directors this week.

The creation of a common regulator, formally known as the Co-operative Markets Regulator, has been pushed back multiple times, but there is a belief that with more provinces, such as Nova Scotia, on the cusp of signing, the group has enough critical mass to forge ahead, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

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Lexpert: How businesses should cope with infringers in 3D printing

Lexpert

Lexpert Roundup on the Business of Law 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.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Royal LePage expands to rule the West Coast

AHMAD HATHOUT

DEAL OF THE DAY: BlackBerry buys crisis alert system AtHoc

BlackBerry Ltd. is looking to make more money off of its popular BBM messaging service by acquiring privately-held AtHoc, a provider of secure, networked crisis communications. The proposed acquisition comes in the same week the Waterloo-based company made further cuts to its work force. The terms were not disclosed. Full story

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Lexpert: Feeling underappreciated at work?

Lexpert

Corporate law firms have never been a great fit for the rebellious. With a few exceptions, the culture demands that associates never challenge the firm or senior partners. So what to do if you’re a senior associate and feeling underappreciated? Can you have “the talk” without blowing up your (less than stellar) prospects?

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DLA Piper snags four lawyers from Wildeboer Dellelce

JEFF GRAY

The lure of working for one of the world’s largest law firms has netted DLA Piper’s new Canadian outpost four new partners, all from Bay Street’s small and scrappy Wildeboer Dellelce LLP.

DLA Piper, which after years of rumours finally moved into Canada earlier this year by gobbling up Vancouver-based mid-tier firm Davis LLP, said from the get-go that it’s short-term goal was to beef up the small Toronto office it inherited.

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