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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services this week,

DEALS NEWS: MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS, IPOs and FINANCINGS

Cadillac Fairview to buy east-side Toronto development site from First Gulf: Real estate developer Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. is launching a major new development on the east side of Toronto, the company said Friday in announcing a deal to buy a 38-acre site that will eventually contain over 10 million square feet of new office space. Story (Janet McFarland)

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Element AI closes financing, securing $200-million backed by the Caisse, Quebec and McKinsey: Montreal artificial intelligence startup Element AI Inc. has closed its second large financing round, announcing Friday it has raised US$151.4-million ($200-million), two years after it secured more than US$100-million from global investors. While the financing is one of the largest for an early stage technology company in Canada this year, it comes after a challenging period for the startup, which was co-founded with global fanfare three years ago by a pioneer in the field of deep learning, Université de Montréal professor Yoshua Bengio, and a group of entrepreneurs led by CEO Jean-Francois Gagné. Story (Sean Silcoff)

WeWork considering dramatically reduced IPO valuation: WeWork owner The We Company may seek a valuation in its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of between US$10-billion and US$12-billion, a dramatic discount to the US$47-billion valuation it achieved in January, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. Were the We Company to press on with the IPO at such a low valuation, it would represent a major turning point in the venture capital industry’s growth over the past decade, which has led to the rise of startups such as Uber Technologies Inc. , Snap Inc. and Airbnb Inc. Story (Reuters)

Proposed merger of London and Hong Kong stock exchanges a political quagmire for Boris Johnson: The vote of confidence in Britain that Boris Johnson so cherished came earlier this week. There was just one hitch, and it was a biggie – the investment proposal was Chinese. Ugh! Boris must have thought: Why couldn’t it come from politically convenient country like Germany or America or Canada? Opinion (Eric Reguly)

London Stock Exchange – A story of failed mega mergers: Hong Kong Exchanges offer is the latest attempt at an exchange megamerger after multiple failures between LSE and Deutsche Boerse over the past 17 years. Story (Reuters)

Hudson’s Bay losses grow as brand transition dents Bay sales: Hudson’s Bay Co. reported a big quarterly loss as sales slumped at its namesake Bay department stores, highlighting the challenges facing the Canadian retailer while it pursues a turnaround plan. Toronto-based HBC, which also owns luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, posted a net loss from continuing operations of $462-million, or $2.51 a share, for the fiscal quarter ended Aug. 3, compared with $104-million, or 58 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue was roughly flat at $1.85-billion, compared with $1.86-billion last year. Story (Susan Krashinsky Robertson)

Aimia attacked by second shareholder group, faces threat of board shakeup: The fight to control Aimia Inc.’s future is escalating after a second set of shareholders questioned the Canadian loyalty program provider’s leadership and launched a campaign to shake up its board of directors. Story (Tim Kiladze)

Cargojet’s CEO cashes out $68-million after stock sets record high: Cargojet Inc. chief executive Ajay Virmani has landed a $68-million payday by selling shares as the company’s stock soars in the wake of a transformational deal with Amazon.com Inc. Story (Tim Kiladze)

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CI Financial to launch Assante Connect online investing platform based on WealthBar’s technology: CI Financial Corp. is merging robo-adviser WealthBar’s technology with its independent wealth manager Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Ltd. as it looks to draw in more digital-savvy investors. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Transat loss more than doubles on fees, compensation ahead of Air Canada deal: Airline and tour operator Transat AT Inc.’s third-quarter loss more than doubled due to fees and executive compensation related to its deal to be taken over by rival Air Canada. Story (Eric Atkins)

Obsidian Energy exploring strategic alternatives including possible sale of company: Obsidian Energy Ltd. said it’s exploring "strategic alternatives” after a key asset sale fell through, but environmental liabilities and a heavy debt load will make it challenging for the struggling Calgary oil producer to find a buyer. Story (Alexandra Posadzki)

Shopify buys warehouse robotics company 6 River Systems for $450-million: Shopify Inc. has made the largest acquisition in its 15-year-history with a US$450-million deal as it tries to stake out a position as an e-commerce platform alternative to Amazon.com Inc. The Ottawa-based tech giant, which provides software more than 800,000 retailers in 175 countries use to manage their businesses online, announced on Monday evening it had bought 6 River Systems, a Boston-area startup in the warehouse order-fulfillment business. Story (Sean Silcoff)

Ottawa’s Pythian splits in two as CEO and founder depart to run software spinout: Ottawa information technology services provider The Pythian Group, Inc., has split into two parts in a transaction that will see founder and CEO Paul Vallée leave to lead a separate software startup incubated within the 22-year-old company. Story (Sean Silcoff)

Catalyst boosts HBC stake as it battles take-private bid: Catalyst Capital Group Inc. has amassed a 16-per-cent stake in Hudson’s Bay Co. as the Toronto-based private-equity firm seeks to stymie a privatization bid from the retailer’s executive chairman. Story (Jeffrey Jones)

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Share buybacks could be the remedy for Cenovus’s two-year hangover: Cenovus Energy Inc. is suffering from a two-year, deal-induced hangover. The oil sands company’s improving fortunes are finally offering a chance to cure its lingering financial headache. Opinion (Andrew Willis)

Activist investor Elliott Management calls for AT&T shakeup as Trump piles on: Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. on Monday unveiled a US$3.2-billion stake in AT&T Inc. and urged the sprawling U.S. telecommunications and media conglomerate to end its acquisition spree and focus on improving its business. Story (Reuters)

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

‘We don’t go fast and break things’: Canada’s banks try to manage risks as they cautiously push into AI: Canada’s banks are investing heavily in artificial intelligence but also ramping up efforts to build guard rails around powerful new technology as clients grow wary of potential risks to privacy and fairness. Story (James Bradshaw)

Switzerland warns Facebook’s Libra it will face extra scrutiny: Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency suffered another setback on Wednesday when Switzerland said the proposed payments system could face strict rules that typically apply to banks, on top of tough anti-money laundering laws. Story (Reuters)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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The price of a pension: Inside CPPIB, the $3-billion-a-year operation that invests your money: When the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board put together its first full-year report in the spring of 2000, it assembled its employees for a group photo – all five of them. Story (David Milstead)

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