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


Manulife, Sun Life resist calls to spend on acquisitions: Canada’s two biggest insurers are piling up capital and continuing to face Bay Street questions about when they might use their cash piles for big deals. Story (David Milstead)

Brookfield CEO Bruce Flatt sees more cash flow, share buybacks in future: Brookfield Asset Management Inc. CEO Bruce Flatt continues to sound notes of caution about the global economy, but says the company sees itself ramping up the amount of cash it will generate in the coming years, with stock buybacks and perhaps an increased dividend to follow. Story (David Milstead)

Banks are offering cash and iPads to people opening new chequing accounts — should you bite? If you’re up for a bribe, it’s a great time to open a chequing account with one of the big banks. Royal Bank of Canada will give you an iPad that appears to have a retail value of more than $400 if you open one of two types of chequing accounts. Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal are offering $300 cash, while Bank of Nova Scotia is putting up 10,000 Scene points or Scotia Rewards points. Personal finance opinion (Rob Carrick)

CI Financial’s stock sinks as mutual fund giant struggles with redemptions: Canadians continue to pull their money from CI Financial Corp.'s mutual funds, extending the company’s troubling streak of net redemptions and sending its share price tumbling. Story (Tim Kiladze)

CI Financial taps outsider as new CEO to execute turnaround strategy: CI Financial Corp. is hiring an outsider as its new chief executive officer, marking the first time in three decades that the Canadian fund company will be run by someone outside a close-knit circle of leaders. Kurt MacAlpine, a Canadian with experience in management consulting and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), will take over CI on Sept. 1. He succeeds current CEO Peter Anderson, who announced his retirement in April. Story (Tim Kiladze)

Why Ira Gluskin has a beef with Newton Glassman: Ira Gluskin has been unhappy with Newton Glassman for some time. A few folks on Bay Street have known about it. Mr. Gluskin is believed to have held his tongue about the matter in public settings. That changed earlier this summer, when Mr. Gluskin told an investment conference that he was “an unhappy investor who’s waiting to get my money back” from Mr. Glassman’s funds. Opinion (David Milstead)

SEC subpoenas Cool Holdings, settles fraud charges against investor: The top U.S. securities regulator has settled civil fraud charges against Barry Honig, an investor who has held stakes in a number of companies alongside Canadian dealmaker Andy DeFrancesco. Mr. Honig agreed to a lifetime ban from buying and selling penny stocks. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, is continuing its queries. Story (David Milstead)

Why investors whose advisers are using behavioural technology may not be getting the best service: Good businesses build customer trust. Bad ones destroy it by playing pricing games. That was my thought when confronted by the price of potato chips at my local pharmacy, which held a two-pack for $4 sale. Those who wanted a single pack could get it for $4.29. I resisted the urge to buy two packs, destroy one and walk out the door better off than the single-pack purchaser. Opinion (Norman Rothery)


Ivanhoé Cambridge halts partial sale of 10 Canadian malls after it fails to get the price it wanted, source says: Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc. has halted the partial sale of 10 Canadian malls after the real estate company failed to get the price it wanted, according to a person familiar with the matter. This is the second time in more than a year that Ivanhoé has stopped a sale because of tepid interest. Early in 2018, the company took its Calgary Market Mall off the market. A spokesman for Ivanhoé declined to comment. Story (Rachelle Younglai)

Inter Pipeline confirms takeover approach: Inter Pipeline Ltd. said on Friday it had received a takeover proposal from a third party, but stressed it is not in talks to sell the company. Inter’s announcement, made at the request of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), confirms a Globe and Mail report that an unnamed suitor has approached the board with a cash offer. Story (Jeffrey Jones)

Inter Pipeline’s $3.5-billion Heartland project testing investors’ nerves as talk swirls of takeover interest: Calgary’s Inter Pipeline Ltd. is well into its biggest-ever construction project, a $3.5-billion petrochemical complex that has made some investors nervous. It’s not the business plan for the Heartland propane-to-polypropylene venture that has put pressure on the shares; it’s the cost of funding it. Inter appears to want to see the project through on its own – even if that means spurning a takeover bid for the company. Opinion (Jeff Jones)

Pharmaceutical company Bayer AG acquiring BlueRock Therapeutics for US$1-billion: Multinational pharmaceutical company Bayer AG announced it will fully acquire BlueRock Therapeutics, valuing the biotechnology firm with offices in Toronto at approximately US$1-billion. Bayer already owned 40.8 per cent of the privately held regenerative medicine company headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and is paying US$600-million for the remaining 59.2 per cent that’s currently held by Versant Ventures, a venture-capital firm, and BlueRock’s management. Story (Megan Devlin)

Activist shareholder calls for removal of Hudson’s Bay chair Richard Baker if privatization bid fails: One of Hudson’s Bay Co.’s minority shareholders is calling for the ouster of the retailer’s executive chairman, Richard Baker, if his $1-billion privatization offer fails. U.S. hedge-fund firm Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC, which has long called on Mr. Baker to sell HBC’s properties, accused the executive chairman of disenfranchising minority shareholders and threatening them with share losses if they reject his offer of $9.45 per share. Story (Rachelle Younglai)

Surging bullion prices sparking generalist investor interest, unlikely to ignite new M&A activity: Surging bullion prices might not stimulate blockbuster dealmaking, but there are signs generalist investors are wading back into gold stocks after a protracted period of shunning the sector. Story (Niall McGee)

SNC-Lavalin moving ahead with sale of Highway 407 stake to CPPIB after court ruling: SNC-Lavalin says it is moving ahead with a planned sale of a minority stake in Ontario’s Highway 407 toll road to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board after a judge ruled on a dispute between CPPIB and another 407 shareholder. Shares in SNC-Lavalin shot up 6 per cent to $17.35 in morning trading on Wednesday, reversing a four-day slide. Story (Nicolas Van Praet)

Shareholder activism has a bad image, but it has never been more valuable: Shareholder activism is a loaded concept that often evokes negative emotions and summons images of corporate raiders and barbarians. This perception is seldom challenged. What we rarely read about are entrenched chief executive officers and directors who have forgotten their role as stewards of shareholders’ investments. Opinion (Darcy Morris)

Transat slams Group Mach bid as ‘abusive,' says it will challenge offer with Quebec securities regulator: Transat A.T. Inc. is urging investors not to tender their shares to Group Mach Inc.’s latest bid, calling the attempt to block the Air Canada takeover “coercive” and “misleading.” Transat, a Montreal-based airline and tour operator, has agreed to a purchase by Air Canada worth $520-million, or $13 a share, despite complaints from some large shareholders the price is too low. Two-thirds of Transat shareholders must approve the deal in a vote on Aug. 23. Story (Eric Atkins)


Chase Bank to cancel all credit card debt of Canadian customers: A unit of JP Morgan Securities Canada Inc. Chase & Co. has agreed to “forgive” the outstanding credit card debt of its Canadian cardholders as part of the U.S. bank’s move to exit the Canadian credit card market, the company said on Thursday. Story (Canadian Press)

Several Goldman Sachs executives charged by Malaysia in 1MDB scandal: Malaysia filed criminal charges on Friday against 17 current and former directors at subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. following an investigation into a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal that led to the demise of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Story (Reuters)

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