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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last 24 hours:

RBC earnings overcome volatile December to post profit growth: Royal Bank of Canada weathered December’s wild swings in financial markets to improve its fiscal first-quarter profit by 5 per cent compared with a year ago, but recorded weaker results in some businesses as the bank worked through the hangover. The country’s largest lender is the first of Canada’s Big Six banks to report earnings for the quarter that ended Jan. 31. Story (James Bradshaw)

Insiders bet on Bank of Nova Scotia: Bank of Nova Scotia reports earnings on Tuesday. Of the five major banks, the BNS has the highest INK Edge ranking, which is based on value, insider commitment (buying and holdings) and price momentum. Story (Ted Dixon, for subscribers)

Barrick may have to pay fat premium for Newmont: The marriage of Toronto’s Barrick Gold and Denver’s Newmont Mining, the two big beasts of the gold world, should have happened a long time ago. The theoretical deal made perfect sense because combining their properties in Nevada could save fortunes, all the better to reward shareholders. Opinion (Eric Reguly, for subscribers)

Barrick confirms weighing bid for Newmont Mining in no-premium deal: Barrick Gold Corp. confirmed it is weighing a US$19-billion takeover of Newmont Mining Corp. in what would be the biggest acquisition ever in the global gold sector. In a statement before markets opened on Friday, Barrick said it has reviewed the opportunity to merge with Newmont in an “all-share, nil-premium transaction." Story (Niall McGee, for subscribers)

Caisse set to book huge gain if IPO of Montreal software firm Lightspeed flies: A successful initial public offering by Montreal software firm Lightspeed POS Inc. could deliver a nine-figure gain for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, its largest shareholder. Documents filed as part of Lightspeed’s IPO process Friday revealed the Quebec investment giant holds 29.49 million shares in the 14-year-old firm, which provides cloud-based software for retailers and restaurants to digitally manage point-of-sale and back-office functions on a range of computerized devices. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Brookfield Financial loses two top partners in New York and London: Two of Brookfield Financial’s top partners in New York and Britain have left in the latest shakeup at the real estate brokerage, according to people familiar with the matter. Story (Rachelle Youglai, for subscribers)

Quadriga management ‘error’ the cause of recent cryptocurrency transfer, Ernst & Young says: The court-appointed monitor overseeing the search for millions of dollars lost by a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange says an additional $500,000 worth of bitcoin was transferred earlier this month as a result of a company “error.” Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

Sabia touts SNC’s long-term value as Caisse posts 4.2-per-cent return: Michael Sabia, chief executive of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, rose to the defence of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. on Thursday, saying despite legal uncertainty in Canada and trouble with a mining contract in Chile the company still represents long-term value. The Caisse holds a 20-per-cent stake in SNC-Lavalin, at the centre of the current scandal rocking the ruling federal Liberal party. Story (Les Perreaux and David Milstead, for subscribers)

Devon Energy puts Alberta oil sands assets on the block, adding to exodus of foreign firms from Canada: Devon Energy Corp. has put its Alberta oil sands and heavy crude operations on the auction block, adding to an exodus of foreign oil and gas companies from the Canadian oil patch. Oklahoma-based Devon said it has hired financial advisers to help it seek buyers for the Canadian business, which includes the sizable Jackfish steam-driven oil sands project and a smaller heavy oil operation. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Sun Life hires long-time TD executive: Sun Life Financial Inc. has hired long-time Toronto-Dominion bank wealth executive, Rowena Chan, as the insurer sharpens its focus on customer service. Ms. Chan will become president of Sun Life Financial Distributors, a position that will oversee the company’s 4,000-adviser network. Story (Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

Open banking will benefit Canadians if government leads on regulation: Last month, the federal Department of Finance launched a public consultation on open banking, asking for input from the public and stakeholders. This consultation is kindling a debate that involves many interested parties and stretches far beyond the confines of banking to broader issues of how a modern, digitally-enabled country chooses to evolve and change. Opinion (Andrew Moor)

JLL’s Montreal capital markets team signs on with rival CBRE: Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s capital markets team in Montreal has suddenly resigned, leaving the commercial realtor just as the big-property market in Quebec heats up. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Tilray buying hemp company Manitoba Harvest for $400-million in U.S. CBD play: Cannabis grower Tilray Inc. is acquiring hemp food company FHF Holdings Ltd., known by its brand name Manitoba Harvest, for roughly $400-million in cash and shares, as both firms look to capitalize on the emerging cannabidiol market in the United States. Story (Mark Rendell, for subscribers)

Mojio raises US$40-million in latest round of financing: Mojio Inc., a startup founded in Vancouver that makes wireless technology for cars, has raised US$40-million in series B financing, close to double the money it had originally attracted in the round. Story (David Ebner, for subscribers)

Halifax judge appoints two law firms to represent Quadriga creditors owed $15-million: A Halifax judge has appointed Miller Thomson LLP and Cox & Palmer to represent users in the restructuring of QuadrigaCX, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange that has lost millions of customer funds following the death of its founder. Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer together represent 252 creditors with claims of roughly $15-million. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

Critics of the overhauled CPP say it’s a bad deal - here’s why they’re wrong: The Canada Pension Plan is a model of how to get people to save for retirement – require them to do it and get their employers to pay as well. Some people have a problem with this and recent changes to the CPP have set them off. The changes will cost workers and their employers more while paying higher retirement benefits to future retirees. Opinion (Rob Carrick)

How two Canadian financiers took an obscure Apple reseller for a wild ride: The company was called Cooltech, then Cool Holdings. But the experience of investors who followed the lead of two prominent Canadian cannabis investors and bought the rapidly rising shares of a small U.S. technology retailer has been profoundly uncool. Canadian financiers Andy DeFrancesco and Aaron Serruya were part of a group that took the electronics seller on a wild ride in 2018. Story (David Milstead, for subscribers)

Toronto investment bank Infor prepares for wave of corporate credit restructurings: Infor Financial Inc. sees trouble brewing in the corporate credit market. In a contrarian move, the Toronto investment bank recently launched a restructuring business to advise financially distressed companies. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Windfall shrinks at Economical Insurance IPO: For a handful of its clients, the planned public-market debut of Economical Mutual Insurance Co. is a long-promised lottery win that keeps shrinking in size. Over time, a series of setbacks, which included new federal regulations and the planned launch of a $100-million charitable foundation funded by Economical’s policy-holders, trimmed the expected individual payouts to between $300,000 and $430,000. Story (Andrew Willis, Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

Toronto startup Peraso takes bold step in wireless market with US$42-million raised in VC deal: A Toronto startup looking to challenge computer chip giants Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. in the wireless market has raised US$42-million in a venture capital deal. Peraso Technologies Inc., whose semiconductor technology derives from inventions by University of Toronto engineering professor Sorin Voinigescu, offers products that address two emerging trends in the wireless market. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

iNovia raises $600-million for two new funds: iNovia set out last year to raise a US$500-million “growth” fund specializing in leading US$50-million to US$100-million financing rounds by rapidly growing software firms generating millions of dollars a year in sales. The firm has now raised US$400-million, saying it could still add another US$100-million before its final close. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Canadian wing of Credit Suisse Securities promotes two senior executives: Credit Suisse Securities (Canada) Inc. has promoted two of its most senior Canadian investment bankers as the Swiss bank looks to consolidate its clout in the country’s energy sector. Story (James Bradshaw, for subscribers)

Franklin Templeton goes for a piece of the ETF market: Canadian investors’ stampede into exchange-traded funds has investment managers rolling out a host of lower-cost options to complement existing product lines. Franklin Templeton Investments – a long-time active money manager in Canada – has decided to step into ETF index investing for the first time with four new passive funds, while Bank of Montreal has launched a set of asset allocation funds that automatically rebalance for investors. Story (Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

Toronto-based tech company Newtopia to go public through direct listing: A Toronto-based health technology upstart is taking a page out of the books of tech unicorns such as Spotify and Slack, foregoing a traditional initial public offering in favour of the more unconventional direct listing route. “We definitely considered all options,” said Jeff Ruby, who founded Newtopia Inc. in 2008. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)


Cryptocurrencies: The wary skepticism that Canada’s big banks have for the cryptocurrency industry was on full display Friday when a Nova Scotia judge issued an order for the eventual disbursement of more than $30-million that belonged to the insolvent QuadrigaCX trading platform. Story

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