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Executive chairman of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. Galen G. Weston speaks at a news conference in Toronto, July 15, 2013. Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest food retailer, will buy Shoppers Drug for C$12.4 billion ($11.9 billion), as it faces increasing competition from Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. By acquiring Canada's biggest pharmacy chain, Loblaw said it would create a retail giant with more than C$42 billion ($40.4 billion) in revenue and gain access to the growing small-urban store sector. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS HEALTH)
Executive chairman of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. Galen G. Weston speaks at a news conference in Toronto, July 15, 2013. Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest food retailer, will buy Shoppers Drug for C$12.4 billion ($11.9 billion), as it faces increasing competition from Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. By acquiring Canada's biggest pharmacy chain, Loblaw said it would create a retail giant with more than C$42 billion ($40.4 billion) in revenue and gain access to the growing small-urban store sector. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS HEALTH)
(MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

Don’t let the big names fool you – deal-making doldrums persist

From Sobeys Inc.’s $5.8-billion purchase of Safeway Inc. to Loblaw Cos. Ltd.’s $12.4-billion acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., high-profile deals can overshadow the fact that Canada is coming off its second slimmest quarter for mergers and acquisitions in two years.

Deal volumes in the first half of the year have been muted, with the second quarter’s volume up just 10 per cent from the first quarter’s $24-billion in M&A, PricewaterhouseCoopers noted in its quarterly deal-making trend report Friday.