Pension fund and Rona shareholder Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec was swift to respond on Tuesday to the hostile takeover offer from Lowe’s, reminding the retailer of the Caisse’s dual mandate – not simply to get the best returns, but to contribute to Quebec’s economic development.
Caisse has leveraged its stake in Quebec companies in the past to keep business in the province. Here’s a snapshot of its past involvement.
Vidéotron and Rogers
When Rogers attempted a friendly takeover of Groupe Vidéotron Ltée in 2000, a seven-month battle ensued that saw Quebecor Inc. swoop in and take control of the company for $5.4-billion. (Rogers walked away with a $241-million break-up fee.)
The Caisse owned 17 per cent of Vidéotron and, working with Quebecor, used an old agreement it had made with the Chagnon family, Vidéotron’s controlling owner, to block the sale to Rogers and keep control of Quebec’s largest cable company in-province.
Pictured: Videotron Ltee Chief Executive Robert Depatie holds a mobile phone at a news conference to launch the company's wireless network in Montreal, on Sept. 9, 2010.
Videotron Ltee Chief Executive Robert Depatie holds a mobile phone at a news conference to launch the company's wireless network in Montreal, September 9, 2010. SHAUN BEST
Provigo and Loblaw
The Caisse spent a month stalling a $1.62-billion bid from Toronto-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. in 1998 to take over Montreal grocers Provigo Inc. The Caisse held a 35.7-per-cent stake in the Quebec grocer, and used the month to push for a better deal for shareholders – and special guarantees for Quebec suppliers. Loblaw eventually sealed the deal, but at a price: an extra $120-million and additional protections for Quebec suppliers.
Pictured: A Provigo supermarket in Quebec City is shown in a Nov. 16, 2006 file photo
A Provigo supermarket in Quebec City is shown in this Nov. 16, 2006 file photo. JACQUES BOISSINOT
Consolidated-Bathurst and Stone Container
Jacques Parizeau, then-leader of the Parti Québécois, told reporters in 1989 that the sale of Montreal’s Consolidated-Bathurst Inc. to Chicago-based Stone Container Corp. was bad news for Quebec.
The Caisse had the opportunity to become a player in takeover talks and met with Consolidated-Bathurst seller, Power Corp. of Canada, where chairman Paul Desmarais suggested the Caisse and another government agency wield their 44-per-cent stake in Montreal’s Domtar Inc. into a merger with Consolidated-Bathurst to form a larger Quebec company Mr. Desmarais would lead. The Caisse backed down, and Stone Container bought the company for $2.6-billion.
Pictured: The Consolidated-Bathurst pulp and paper plant in Laurentide in Grand-Mere, Quebec in November 1987.
Consolidated-Bathurst pulp and paper plant in Laurentide in Grand-Mere, Quebec in November 1987. Le Neuvelliste-Trois Rivieres