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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last week

Bidding war emerges between Precision and Ensign Energy for Trinidad Drilling: Precision Drilling Corp., Canada’s largest oil and gas drilling contractor, said on Friday it agreed to offer 0.445 Precision shares for each share of Trinidad. With the assumption of Trinidad’s $477-million in long-term debt, the offer is worth $1.03-billion. The bid complicates the ambitions of Ensign, the No. 2 player in the Canadian drilling business, which must now decide whether to up the ante. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Hootsuite hires Goldman to explore sales process, sources say: Vancouver-based Hootsuite recently hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to find a buyer for the business, with a potential valuation of approximately $1-billion, according to investment banking sources. Hootsuite is currently owned by its management team and a number of venture capital funds. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Randgold CEO pushed for takeover by Barrick: A regulatory filing released by Barrick on Friday sheds more light on how the two gold majors got together, a process that took about four years, and is the biggest M&A transaction in the gold sector in seven years. Story (Niall McGee, for subscribers)

Wall Street vets seeking cannabis fortunes in Canada: More than a dozen privately owned U.S. cannabis companies are lined up to list their shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) in coming months, according to regulatory filings and other public documents. All these businesses are run by former bankers and money managers who walked away from careers that would have made them millionaires for a shot at being a billionaire. Column (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Short-seller Muddy Waters takes aim at Manulife: Manulife Financial Corp. has come under attack from short-seller Muddy Waters over the potential fallout from a lawsuit that is currently making its way through the courts. Early Thursday, U.S.-based Muddy Waters LLC revealed a short position in Manulife, which means it will profit if the Canadian life insurance giant’s stock falls. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

A big moment for a small exchange: Canadian Brad Katsuyama’s IEX lands its first listing: When U.S. stock markets open on Friday, there will be one subtle but telling difference. For the first time, there will be a listing on the upstart exchange headed by Brad Katsuyama, the Canadian innovator profiled in Flash Boys, Michael Lewis’s 2014 bestseller. Mr. Katsuyama, a former trader at Royal Bank of Canada, has become Wall Street’s best-known rebel and an outspoken critic of trading practices that enrich exchanges and middlemen at the expense of customers. Story (Ian McGugan, for subscribers)

HSBC launches foray into digital advisers in Canada: HSBC is joining the Canadian banks' robo-adviser revolution. HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings PLC and the seventh-largest bank in Canada, announced on Thursday the launch of HSBC Wealth Compass, an online digital portfolio manager for mutual fund investors looking to access exchange-traded funds. Story (Clare O’Hara)

From Palm Beach to Congo: How the Barrick-Randgold deal came together: The biggest gold-mining takeover in seven years got its start with an arranged meeting. A mutual friend introduced John Thornton, Barrick Gold Corp.’s executive chairman, to Randgold Resources Ltd.'s founder and chief executive officer Mark Bristow, and in late 2015 they sat down together. Mr. Thornton hosted Mr. Bristow at his villa in Palm Beach, Fla., a limestone mansion on the oceanfront. Story (Niall McGee and Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

New funding boosts Montreal’s Hopper to near $1-billion valuation: Hopper Inc., a rapidly growing Montreal travel-booking startup that uses data science and artificial intelligence to predict the cheapest time to book flights, is closing in on a $1-billion valuation after raising US$100-million in a financing led by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Investment banks reap rewards with $2.8-billion in cannabis equity deals: Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector is helping to fill the gap created by a slowdown in capital raising by energy and mining companies. In the first nine months of the year, investment bankers helped a slew of Canadian medical marijuana producers – including Canopy Growth Corp., ABcann Global Corp. and Aphria Inc. – raise a total of $2.8-billion to help finance their expansion plans, according to data from Refinitiv. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

Husky CEO discussed takeover of MEG Energy with ex-director: Husky Energy Inc.’s chief executive officer discussed a potential acquisition of MEG Energy Corp. with the one of the oil sands producer’s largest shareholders weeks before the investor quit MEG’s board in frustration over the company’s direction. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Ontario PCs finally outline reasons for mutual fund fee opposition, citing U.K. example: After unexpectedly weighing in on a national review of mutual fund fees, Ontario’s Finance Minister finally offered a glimpse into the government’s thinking on Tuesday, citing fears about the unintended consequences of any commission changes. On Sept. 13, the same day the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) formally proposed fee changes, including eliminating early-withdrawal penalties on mutual funds known as deferred sales charges (DSCs), Vic Fedeli released a statement that took issue with the recommendations – and seemed to target the decision on DSCs specifically. Despite throwing what had been a nationwide, six-year fee review into disarray, the government said little else that day, and remained silent for weeks after. Story (Tim Kiladze and Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

CIBC removes fossil-fuels restriction for its Women in Leadership bond: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has removed a contentious restriction that would have prevented loans to energy companies from being included in its new bond offering aimed at bolstering female leadership. Story (Alexandra Posadzki and Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Utility IPO: AltaGas Ltd. aims to raise up to $297-million for the initial public offering of its regulated Canadian utility business, proceeds that are earmarked for reducing debt. AltaGas plans to sell 16.5-million shares in the new entity, to be called AltaGas Canada Inc., and has given a price range of $15.50-$18 a share, according to a newly filed preliminary prospectus. That puts the expected proceeds from the IPO at $256-million to $297-million. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

CMHC says latest stress test shows it could withstand major debt crisis: Canada’s federal mortgage insurer says it could withstand a significant household debt crisis that would lead to the failure of a major Canadian financial institution and an almost 50-per-cent drop in home prices. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) released the results on Tuesday of its annual stress-testing exercise, measuring the potential financial effects on the agency if a series of severe events were ever to occur. Story (Janet McFarland, for subscribers)

Trudeau briefed CEOs of Canada’s Big Five banks ahead of NAFTA deadline: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefed Canada’s top bankers in the days leading up to an 11th-hour breakthrough in talks that sealed the terms of a new, long-awaited U.S.-Canada trade deal. A series of calls the Prime Minister made to the chief executive officers of Canada’s five largest banks to provide updates and seek advice marked the culmination of months of back-channel communications between banks and government officials. Story (James Bradshaw, Andrew Willis and Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Husky launches $3.3-billion hostile bid for MEG Energy: Husky Energy Inc. has launched a $3.3-billion hostile takeover offer for MEG Energy Corp. in a bid to bolster its oil sands holdings with prices for the heavy crude in a slump. Husky said on Sunday that it would pay $11 in cash or 0.485 of a Husky share for each MEG share, a premium of 37 per cent over MEG’s closing price on Friday of $8.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It would also assume MEG’s $3.1-billion debt. Story (Shawn McCarthy and Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Husky investors give cool greeting to hostile takeover bid for MEG: Investors bailed out of Husky Energy Inc. shares on Monday after the company announced a $3.3-billion hostile takeover offer for MEG Energy Corp., an oil sands producer that has been hit hard by transportation bottlenecks. Husky shares were off $1.47 – or 6.5 per cent – to $21.21 as analysts said the acquisition would expose the company to the steep discounts that bitumen producers are forced to accept because of pipeline constraints. Story (Shawn McCarthy, for subscribers)

A white knight for MEG Energy? History’s not on its side: Husky Energy Inc.’s hostile bid for MEG Energy Corp. points to a familiar oil-patch story line, but it also spells the end of an era. MEG is the last of its breed, a pure-play oil sands producer with decent size. That’s because consolidation was forced on its sector of industry by a combination of low oil prices and high debt levels. Opinion (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Private equity investor Larry Tanenbaum plans to double sales of Coca-Cola products in Canada: Entrepreneur Larry Tanenbaum is betting there is life after sugar for Coca-Cola Co. by acquiring the global beverage company’s Canadian bottling and distribution network with plans to double the size of the business. Mr. Tanenbaum, co-owner of Toronto’s NHL, NBA, CFL and MLS franchises, teamed up with former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, who already owns a Kansas City-based Coca-Cola bottler, to purchase a country-wide beverage distribution network with 5,800 employees and 50 sales centres. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

CEO Jay Forbes launches turnaround of major leasing company Element Fleet: Turnaround expert Jay Forbes unveiled his fix for leasing company Element Fleet Management Corp. on Monday by announcing plans to improve customer service, wind down a troubled division, slash the dividend and raise $300-million in an equity offering. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Refinitiv CEO aims to kick-start faster growth: David Craig says he’s running Refinitiv as “a $6-billion startup,” but as he begins to write the first chapter in the history of the new firm, he’s hardly starting from a blank page. Refinitiv, which is legally named Financial & Risk US Holdings Inc., is the result of a US$17-billion deal to spin it off from Thomson Reuters Corp. Story (James Bradshaw, for subscribers)

As he turns 90, Jim Pattison is still fine-tuning his business empire: Jim Pattison had a mission: Saskatchewan or bust. Determined to make the lengthy drive to the Prairie province from Vancouver, the B.C. billionaire embarked on his journey in mid-September, bound for his hometown of Luseland. Mr. Pattison, who turns 90 on Monday, also visited John Deere farm equipment dealerships and Save-On-Foods grocery stores under the Jim Pattison Group umbrella, gaining valuable insights into his vast business empire. The whirlwind trip served as a grassroots reminder that Jim Pattison Group can’t afford to stand still, he said in a wide-ranging, 90-minute interview with The Globe and Mail, days after returning from his adventure. Story (Brent Jang, for subscribers)

Canadian banks lose clout in Barrick deal: So long Royal Bank of Canada, hello Michael Klein. In what will be one of Barrick Gold Corp.’s largest deals in its history – the US$6-billion acquisition of Randgold Resources Ltd. – the Canadian mining company bypassed the country’s biggest lenders. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

MORE FINANCIAL SERVICES AND DEALS NEWS FOR FRIDAY

Cannabis: Medical marijuana producer Sun Pharm Investments Ltd. is moving to create Zenabis Global Inc., a publicly traded company with growing operations in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and eventually in Nova Scotia. Story

Danske scandal: Danske Bank’s deepening money laundering scandal dragged its shares to a four-year low on Friday as Denmark’s biggest bank sought to calm investors over the impact of a U.S. criminal investigation into its Estonian branch. Story

IPO talk: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince insisted the stalled plan to sell shares in oil giant Aramco will go ahead, promising an initial public offering by 2021 and sticking to his ambitious view the state-run company is worth $2 trillion or more, Bloomberg reported on Friday. Story

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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 17/05/24 4:00pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
MEG-T
Meg Energy Corp
+0.76%30.52
WEED-T
Canopy Growth Corp
-1.07%14.81
KO-N
Coca-Cola Company
-0.46%63.03
TRI-T
Thomson Reuters Corp
-0.1%232.72
ABX-T
Barrick Gold Corp
+2.06%24.33
HSBC-N
HSBC Holdings Plc ADR
+0.25%44.54
EFN-T
Element Fleet Management Corp
+2.05%24.38
ALA-T
AltaGas Ltd
+0.55%30.81
CM-T
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
+0.93%67.24
RY-T
Royal Bank of Canada
+0.71%145.34
MFC-T
Manulife Fin
+1.06%36.34

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