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Streetwise Newsletter: CPPIB taps new infrastructure head; Doug Ford’s Hydro One attack

Here are the top reads,

Street moves: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has appointed a new head of its $25-billion infrastructure portfolio, the latest in a wave of changes in leadership positions across the country’s major pension funds. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

Politics: Ed Clark’s frustration was palpable. Sitting on a podium in a drab government conference room one day in 2015, the newly retired chief executive of Toronto-Dominion Bank was fresh meat for the Ontario political press gallery. Opinion (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

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Pension funds: Canada’s largest institutional investors are putting money into campsites and caravans in Europe, looking to affordable family summer vacations for profits. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

Regulators: The B.C. government is giving two regulators more teeth to tackle some white-collar crimes in the province, bringing in the power of the courts to enforce fines against investor fraud. Story (Justine Hunter)

IPO or takeover? Two weeks ago, a dozen investment bankers spent a day in front of the slot machines and poker tables at three Vancouver casinos. They weren’t there for the gambling. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd. toured the bankers through several of its B.C. properties, highlighting family-friendly steak houses and sports bars along with games of Texas Hold ’em as part of a marketing campaign for a long-promised initial public offering. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Takeover approvals: The federal government is currently considering whether to prevent a Chinese state-owned firm from acquiring Aecon Group Ltd., a major player in Canada’s construction industry. Under the Investment Canada Act, the federal government has the authority to review such acquisitions if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an investment by a non-Canadian could be injurious to national security. Admittedly, this wide discretion should be used sparingly. But this transaction is one that should be rejected. Opinion

Export financing: Canada’s export agency is at risk of paying corruption-tainted dividends to the federal government because of weaknesses in its regulations and screening procedures, a new report says. Story (Geoffrey York, for subscribers)

FINANCIAL SERVICES WRAP

Trading: The European Central Bank has asked Deutsche Bank to estimate the costs of winding down the trading operations of its investment bank, the first such simulation by one of Europe’s biggest banks, Deutsche’s finance chief said on Monday. Story

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Earnings: Bank of America reported a 34-per-cent rise in first-quarter profit on Monday as it benefited from higher interest rates and loan growth. Story

DEALS WRAP

Oil sector: Vermilion Energy Inc. is buying Spartan Energy Corp. for $1.2-billion in stock to boost production of light oil as the industry struggles with share-price weakness despite improving crude markets. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Chips sector: U.S. chip maker Qualcomm will refile as early as Monday an application with the Chinese government to clear its $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors, sources said, giving regulators more time to decide on the deal and averting a collapse. Story

Gambling sector: Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is cashing out of casino business Tropicana Entertainment in a US$1.85 billion deal that will see Eldorado Resorts picking up Tropicana’s casino operations including its crown jewel in Atlantic City. Story

Drug sector: Shire, the London-listed rare diseases specialist that is a potential takeover target for Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical, is selling its oncology business to unlisted French drug maker Servier for US$2.4-billion. Story

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Listings: Vancouver-based Mogo has received approval from the NASDAQ Capital Market to list its common shares on the NASDAQ. BetaKit

IPOs: Jason Pressman spent Thursday morning cheering from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange as shares of the software firm Zuora, which he backed in 2008, began trading. By the market’s close, Zuora’s stock had soared 43 percent. Mr. Pressman and many other Silicon Valley venture capitalists expect the windfalls to continue. Story

Training technology: Swiss staffing company Adecco Group is buying U.S.-based technology education provider General Assembly for $412.5 million including debt, it said on Monday, adding heavy investments in the business would initially drag on earnings. VentureBeat

WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

Sector trends: Canada’s venture capital market has started the year with a bang. The market’s top 10 first-quarter VC financings drew a substantial $927 million from investors. That’s up 40 percent from the $661 million raised by the top 10 deals a year earlier and close to twice the $491 million raised by the top 10 deals in Q1 2016. PE Hub

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