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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the week. Have a great weekend.

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Listings: The chief executive officer of CannTrust Holdings Inc. says the company hasn’t decided yet whether it will pursue a U.S. stock listing but it is weighing the option. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

Trump slump: President’s moves put Canadian deals on ice: Corporate Canada has cut back substantially on its cross-border shopping habit as the country's political and economic relationship with the United States has sunk to its lowest point in recent memory. Story (Tim Shufelt and Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Key shareholder puts pressure on HEXO to sell amid concern over valuation: Is there such a thing as an undervalued pot stock? A U.S. investor sees one in HEXO Corp., known until last week as Hydropothecary Corp., and is urging the company to sell itself or merge with another player if it can’t drive its share price higher. Shares in HEXO were up about 9 per cent in midday trading after a small New York investment firm, Riposte Capital, published a letter sent to HEXO’s board expressing concern about the company’s “severely depressed valuation.” Story (David Milstead)

Canadian securities regulators moves to crack down on non-GAAP reporting: The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), an umbrella organization comprised of provincial securities watchdogs, has published new proposed regulations for the use of financial measures that don’t adhere to generally accepted accounting principles, often referred to as “non-GAAP” measures. Story (Alexandra Posadzski and David Milstead, for subscribers)

Aphria stock surges as it sells the last of its U.S. assets: Aphria Inc. has offloaded the last of its holdings that violate U.S. federal laws in a creative deal that satisfies regulators while retaining the option to get the stake back. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

Nightmare on Wall Street: Gord Nixon and other insiders recall Lehman’s sudden collapse: Ten years ago, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, becoming a symbol of the excesses of the U.S. financial system and triggering a global crisis. We talked to three players who helped Canada avoid the worst of the fallout, and one who watched Lehman collapse from the inside. ROB Magazine (Dawn Calleja and Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Mining sector: China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. is set to acquire Canadian base-metals miner Nevsun Resources Ltd. for $1.9-billion, trumping Lundin Mining Corp.’s hostile offer in the biggest takeover in the domestic mining sector this year. Story (Niall McGee, for subscribers)

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Venture capital: Kira Inc., a Toronto artificial intelligence software firm that helps cut much of the drudgery of legal contract review, has raised US$50-million from New York venture capital giant Insight Venture Partners. The deal values the seven-year-old startup - which is believed to generate about $20-million in annual revenue and doubling year over year - at more than US$100-million and is one of the largest investments in Canada’s teeming AI sector this year. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Real estate sector: Canada’s Oxford Properties is battling private-equity giant Blackstone Group for control of major Australian office landlord Investa as the Canadian pension fund seeks commercial real estate in Sydney and Melbourne. Just days before Investa Office Fund unit-holders were due to vote on a Blackstone takeover, Oxford launched a 3.3-billion Australian dollars ($3.1-billion) hostile bid for Investa. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Mutual funds: Canadian investors who want to gain exposure to the high-flying cannabis sector without having to participate in individual stock picking will soon have the option of turning to a traditional mutual fund. The StoneCastle Cannabis Growth Fund is set to launch on Sept. 14, a month before recreational cannabis is expected to become legal in Canada on Oct. 17. Story (Brenda Bouw, for subscribers)

Dundee Corp. faces investor spat over preferred share repayment: With a deadline to repurchase some preferred equity looming, one of Dundee Corp.'s largest shareholders is turning vocal, setting the stage for a public spat between the company and its investors. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Tilray IPO blazed a trail few other cannabis companies will follow: Tilray Inc. chief executive Brendan Kennedy is a seriously smart guy. We’re talking Yale University MBA and the good sense to start investing in marijuana producers seven years ago, when legalized cannabis was something that only seemed possible after an evening in the basement with a bong. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Pot shots: Investors shrug after prominent short-seller Citron Research takes aim at Tilray Inc., less than a week after sounding alarm on Cronos Group Inc. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

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Canada’s pot ETFs are struggling to bring in new cash: Canada’s largest marijuana ETF is on a roll – but it’s not attracting cash like it used to. Story (Matt Lundy, for subscribers)

Loblaw sells its stake in Choice Properties REIT to George Weston: Loblaw Co. Ltd. is selling its sizeable real estate portfolio to parent company George Weston Ltd., turning the grocery chain into a pure-play investment on the retail sector and transforming George Weston into a more diversified holding company. Story (Tim Kiladze and Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Essilor/Luxottica and the problems inherent in the longer road to merger approvals: As global M&A activity continues to grow, so too does the merger review timeline for complex multinational deals. In some cases, the review process can extend well over a year. Opinion (John Bodrug)

Proposed loosening of Volcker Rule unlikely to sway Canadian banks on proprietary trading: The proposed loosening of a U.S. rule that bars banks from risky stock transactions could lower compliance-related costs for some of Canada’s big financial institutions – particularly those with a significant presence south of the border – but they’re unlikely to dive back into proprietary trading. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)


The future of bank branches: Free Wi-Fi, discounted cappuccinos, artwork, and a dancing robot are among the features banks across the United States are touting to convince customers that even in an era of smartphones, it is still worth it to visit a bank branch. Banks are in a bind – branches are costly and keep losing traffic as phone apps take over day-to-day banking, but they need them because that is where customers still get advice, resolve tricky account issues or deal with cash and cheques. Story

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Activist investors: U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management made fresh proposals to restructure Hyundai Motor Group on Friday, renewing pressure on the South Korean conglomerate months after forcing it to abandon its own plan. Story

Proxy fight: Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC is launching a proxy fight to remove the entire sitting board at Campbell Soup Co., charging the American food company with being in a “mess” and faulting the board for failing to take corrective action. Story

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