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Streetwise newsletter: Brookfield deal for Forest City, slowing mortgage growth

Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last 24 hours,

MORE FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

Commercial real estate: With help from activist investors, Brookfield Asset Management reached a US$11.4-billion deal, including debt, to buy Forest City Realty Trust and gain control of its offices, apartments and buildings in top U.S. cities. Brookfield’s offer of $25.35 per share comes after a major shake up at the Cleveland-based company’s board in March, where nine directors resigned and two activist shareholders gained seats. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

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Mortgage growth slows: Canadians took out 6.5 per cent fewer new mortgages in 2017 as home sales slumped, but delinquency rates improved as buyers were better able to afford their monthly payments even as costs rose. Home buyers originated 959,000 new mortgages with a total balance of $264.2-billion in 2017, down 6.5 per cent from 1,025,400 new mortgages with a total balance of $268.7-billion in 2016, according to new data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Story (Janet McFarland, for subscribers)

MORE DEALS NEWS

Pharma Deal: Bayer has agreed to sell its established prescription dermatology brands to Denmark’s Leo Pharma, as the German drugmaker focuses on integrating seed maker Monsanto and on bolstering its drug development pipeline. Story (Reuters)

WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

Regulation: Britain’s financial watchdog should get new powers to regulate business loans after it was unable to punish Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) for its “deficient” treatment of customers, lawmakers said on Tuesday. Story (Reuters)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Pension funds: The Public Sector Pension Investment Board, which is primarily run out of Montreal and is better known as PSP Investments, has brought on Eduard van Gelderen as its CIO, luring him away from the office of the CIO of the University of California. Mr. Van Gelderen joins PSP a few months after the pension fund named a new chief executive officer. PSP has $153-billion in assets under management. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

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Big banks: Canada’s housing market is something of a national obsession. It’s understandable. It’s also misguided when it comes to Canada’s banks. It’s all very well for renters to dither about jumping in, or homeowners to fret about what their place will be worth after their kitchen reno. But along with being a tad tedious, all this talk is distracting investors from fundamental improvements in the fortunes of the big banks. Opinion (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Fintech: Richard Cochrane thinks he has the solution for a problem that has plagued First Nations online shoppers since the start of the digital age. That solution is his fintech startup, Status Exempt. The 29-year-old entrepreneur has developed a service and plugin for Shopify Inc.’s e-commerce platform that allows First Nations people to shop online without being charged the harmonized sales tax (HST), provincial sales tax or goods-and-services tax. Story (Darren Campbell)

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