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

Catalyst Capital buys 18-million share stake in HBC from Ontario Teachers’, plans to oppose Baker bid: Activist fund manager Catalyst Capital Group Inc. acquired a minority stake in Hudson’s Bay Co. last week and plans to oppose a $1-billion buyout offer for the retailer led by its executive chairman, Richard Baker. Catalyst, a Toronto-based fund controlled by financier Newton Glassman, snapped up a significant portion of a 10 per cent stake in Hudson’s Bay sold by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, according to a Catalyst spokesperson. Story (Andrew Willis)

Acacia Mining says Barrick offer doesn’t fairly value company: Acacia Mining PLC says Barrick Gold Corp.’s takeover proposal undervalues the company, prompting Acacia to push its biggest shareholder to table a “fair” bid. Last month, Toronto-based Barrick said it was willing to acquire the 36.1 per cent of London-based Acacia that it doesn’t already own for US$285-million in stock. At the time, the proposal was worth roughly 9 per cent less than Acacia’s market value. Story (Niall McGee)

Onex slashed proposed offer for WestJet because of grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes: Onex Corp. slashed its proposed offer for WestJet Airlines Ltd. as a result of the grounding of the airline’s Boeing 737 Max aircraft and other uncertainties before agreeing to pay $31 a share for Canada’s second-biggest carrier. The Toronto-based private equity fund on March 25 made a written, nonbinding offer of $35.75 a share to buy the Calgary-based airline, with conditions that included satisfactory due diligence. Story (Eric Atkins)

The rise of ETFs is making life miserable for Canada’s mutual fund industry: Canadian mutual-fund sales will never again outsell Canadian exchange-traded funds in a single year, according to Matt Hougan, chairman of Inside ETFs. The bold prediction was made last week during the Inside ETFs Canada conference in Montreal, as Mr. Hougan discussed the growth of the Canadian ETF market in comparison with the United States. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Sale of Fortress’s Collier Centre leaves investors empty-handed: Investors who provided $53-million in syndicated mortgage financing for one of the largest projects being developed by Fortress Real Developments Inc. have been notified they will recover nothing on their investment. The Collier Centre condominium and commercial site, based in downtown Barrie, Ont., has had a troubled history and was seized last year by senior lender Morrison Financial Realty Corp., which was owed $29.6-million on its mortgage loan to Fortress. Story (Janet McFarland)

The key to GFL’s billion-dollar IPO: shrinking the heavy debt load: The timing of GFL Environmental Inc.'s plan to go public is nearly perfect. Stock markets are on fire, and rival waste-management companies are watching their share prices soar. But there is a variable that clouds GFL’s future, one that could prevent the waste-management company from attaining a premium valuation: its large debt load. Story (Tim Kiladze)

Toronto startup Xanadu raises $32-million to help build ‘world’s most powerful computer’: A Toronto startup aiming to build the world’s most powerful computer by harnessing the quantum properties of light has raised $32-million from leading early stage financiers in Canada and the United States. The financing for three-year-old Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc. was led by Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and backed by Canada’s Georgian Partners Inc., Radical Ventures and Real Ventures, American billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper and Silicon Valley Bank. Story (Sean Silcoff)

MORE FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

U.S. regulators ask Deutsche Bank to explain ‘bad bank’ proposal: report: U.S. regulators have sought explanation from Deutsche Bank AG about its “bad bank” proposal and its impact on U.S. operations at the loss-making German lender, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Story (Reuters)

Politicians need to move fast as Facebook, other Big Tech move into finance, BIS says: Politicians need to quickly coordinate regulatory responses to new risks from technology companies such as Facebook Inc. moving into finance, although banks won’t be squeezed out anytime soon, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday. Story (Reuters)

MORE DEALS NEWS

Casino operator Eldorado Resorts buying Caesars Entertainment for $8.5-billion: U.S. casino operator Eldorado Resorts Inc. has agreed to buy rival Caesars Entertainment Corp. for about US$8.5-billion in cash and stock, as it looks to build scale to take on larger companies such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. Story (Reuters)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Horse racing faces an uncertain future after a rash of animal deaths – and the Stronachs are caught in the middle: It’s 8:30 a.m. at Clockers’ Corner, the bustling coffee spot at the top of the stretch at Santa Anita Park, where jockeys and trainers, agents, owners and racing fans gather to watch the morning workouts. Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer here, sits in the stands nearby, fielding questions from a reporter. But her eyes never leave the track. She scans the thoroughbreds galloping below, looking for bobbing heads or uneven hip action – any hints of trouble. Weekend Feature (Tavia Grant and Andrew Willis)

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