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Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial
Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial
(Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)

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Watsa, Jarislowsky in takeover tiff over funeral firm

The hunt for undervalued companies led two of Canada’s richest and most famed investors to funeral home operator Arbor Memorial Services Inc. Now, a dispute between them could derail a $375-million plan to take the company private.

On one side is Stephen Jarislowsky’s firm, Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., which says the bid of $32 a share is too low. On the other is Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which is helping to finance the proposed buyout of Arbor by the Scanlan family, which already controls the company, in hopes of finally banking some profits on a holding that has done well on paper but is very difficult to sell in the open market.