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

Dividend cut: Callidus Capital Corp. eliminated its common-share dividend as part of a strategy to devote all its cash to making loans, a move that triggered a sharp drop on Friday in the distressed lender’s share price. Callidus, controlled by financier Newton Glassman, held its annual meeting on Friday in Toronto and announced that it was halting its $1.20-a-share annual dividend, which was paid monthly, and recently made a $125-million loan. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Hydro One: Ontario Premier Doug Ford ousted the board of directors and CEO at Hydro One Ltd. by threatening to rip up executive employment contracts at the utility, an aggressive approach that is expected to make it difficult to draft a new leadership team. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Analysis: Welcome to the new Hydro One Ltd., a massive utility soon to be run by a second-rate CEO and a board of directors that is under the thumb of the Ontario government. That’s the future of the province’s electrical transmission network, as Premier Doug Ford’s election promise to replace the Hydro One board triggered the resignation of all 14 directors and the “retirement” of chief executive Mayo Schmidt on Wednesday. Opinion (Andrew Willis)

The package: Hydro One’s retiring CEO Mayo Schmidt can get a cash payment of more than $8-million to compensate him for stock awards he’d otherwise lose, plus bonus and pension payments approaching an additional $1-million, according to a Globe and Mail analysis of company documents. Story (David Milstead, for subscribers)

The stock: Several analysts downgraded their outlook for Hydro One Ltd. Thursday, while investors similarly showed their displeasure of the executive shakeup by driving down the price of the utility’s shares. The shares fell 6.2 per cent to a record low in early trading on Thursday before paring losses late in the day to end down 3.2 per cent. Story (David Berman, for subscribers)

Brookfield: BFIN is expected to lose a top Canadian rainmaker, according to people familiar with the matter, a blow to Brookfield’s real estate brokerage firm that already lost a veteran deal maker and other key partners in Canada. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Transportation industry: Quebec-based Camso, an off-the-road tire maker, is being acquired by Michelin in a deal worth US$1.45-billion. Story (Salmaan Raooqui)

Women in tech: A federally financed venture capital fund that backs technology startups led by women revealed the names of four of its first investments Wednesday – an effort to overcome well-documented systemic biases against female tech CEOs, who struggle more than their male counterparts to raise money. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Venture capital: Only 14 per cent of partners at Canada’s most active venture-capital funds are women, according to a new report that examines the gender imbalance in the country’s investment ecosystem. Story (Josh O’Kane and Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Acquisition machine: Mark Barrenechea is always shopping for the next deal. He’s willing to show how much is in his wallet, too. In a wide-ranging interview at the company’s annual Enterprise World conference in Toronto, the Open Text Corp. boss said the company has no plans to waver from the acquisition strategy that he believes can deliver strong returns to investors in the long term. Story (Josh O’Kane, for subscribers)

Real estate: British no-commission online realtor Purplebricks PLC is expanding into Canada’s real estate market with the $51-million purchase of similar commission-free online realtor Dupropio/ComFree Network (DPCF). Story (Shane Dingman)

Capital markets regulation: The Ontario Securities Commission has ordered several top executives of timber company Sino-Forest to pay millions in administrative penalties, disgorgement and costs. The regulator ruled last year that the company and several of its top executives defrauded investors and misled investigators in one of Canada’s largest corporate fraud cases. Story

Bank acquisition: Toronto-Dominion Bank is jockeying for position as a leading asset manager for institutional clients with a $792-million cash-and-stock deal to buy Regina-based Greystone Managed Investments Inc. Story (James Bradshaw, for subscribers)

Money manger expansion: Money manager Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group Ltd. is expanding its reach into frontier equities with the launch of a new investment firm. On Tuesday, Toronto-based CC&L announced a partnership with Vergent Asset Management LLP (Vergent), an investment manager founded by Ali Al Nasser and Nemer Bechara that will focus on frontier and new emerging markets. Story (Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

Plagerism: The chief executive officer of Calgary-based technology startup Imaginea AI is attempting to quell regulatory and investor concerns that widespread plagiarism in its marketing materials may have misled potential buyers about its planned $30-million cryptocurrency offering. Story (Alexandra Posadzki and Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Pension funds: QuadReal Property Group has become the latest Canadian pension fund to beef up its co-working portfolio, with an equity investment in a second flexible office company. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Cannabis: Canopy Growth Corp. is acquiring Hiku Brands Co. Ltd., the owner of the Tokyo Smoke chain of coffee shops that sells cannabis accessories and clothing. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

Detour Gold: The interim chief executive officer of Detour Gold Corp. is firing back at dissident shareholder Paulson & Co. and insisting that remaining as a standalone, and not selling the company, is in the best interests of shareholders. Story (Niall McGee, for subscribers)

Securities: At a time when regulators across the country have explicitly refused to endorse a statutory best-interest standard for financial advisers, the possibility of Canada’s financial institutions’ charging excess fees demands our attention. Opinion (Anita Anand, for subscribers)

Big bank concentration: Six years ago, Canada’s securities regulators stunned Bay Street by launching a review of mutual fund fees. In late June, after multiple rounds of consultations, the watchdogs finally released their recommendations. They landed with a splat. After so many years of study, the only major proposal was a ban on deferred sales changes. Trailer fees − controversial, annual charges paid by investors to financial advisers, for simply investing in mutual funds − live on. Although the study now feels complete, it shouldn’t be the end. There are still other avenues for regulators to pursue. At the top of that list: the increasing concentration of power in wealth management among the Big Six banks. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

IPO watch: Tilray Inc. is getting closer to going public. The Nanaimo, B.C.-based cannabis grower is looking to sell its shares for between US$14 and US$16 apiece (between $18.40 and $21), the company said Monday in a regulatory filing. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

Private equity: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has acquired a 39-per-cent interest in Sportradar, a sports data provider that counts basketball legend Michael Jordan, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Ted Leonsis, owner of the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, as investors. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Executive appointment: Fund manager Bristol Gate Capital Partners Inc. is importing a new leader, hiring former investment banking executive Richard Talbot as its new chief executive officer. Toronto-based Bristol Gate was founded in 2006 by veteran mutual-fund executives Richard Hamm and Peter Simmie, and focuses on owning shares in U.S. and Canadian companies that significantly increase their dividends over time. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)


Banking earnings wrap: U.S. bank stocks are hurting after disappointing second-quarter results from Wells Fargo and Citigroup, and as JPMorgan’s earnings beat wasn’t enough to boost investor confidence. Analysts are zeroing in on sliding loans and deposits, while Wells Fargo was also hurt by the Federal Reserve’s asset cap. Story (for subscribers)

Earnings report 1: Wells Fargo & Co said on Friday its loan book shrank and it raked in less fee revenue than a year ago, factors that contributed to lower-than-expected quarterly profit and sent its shares lower. Story (for subscribers)

Earnings report 2: JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s quarterly profit topped Wall Street’s expectations on Friday, as trading revenue came in much higher than expected and demand for loans increased on the back of a strengthening U.S. economy. Story (for subscribers)

Earnings report 3: Citigroup Inc’s quarterly profit topped Wall Street estimates on Friday, helped by strength in its consumer banking business in Mexico, North America and Asia. Story (for subscribers)

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