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Streetwise newsletter: Wealthsimple launching zero-commission trading platform; A second look at the valuation of the Canopy deal

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

Discount brokers: Wealthsimple Inc., Canada’s largest robo-adviser, is infiltrating the discount brokerage business with the launch of a new trading platform that will allow investors to buy, sell and track stocks and exchange-traded funds with zero trading commissions. The online portfolio manager – which manages more than $2.5-billion in assets and is predominately owned by investment giant Power Financial Corp. – is naming the platform Wealthsimple Trade. It’s a mobile app that will provide users access to unlimited zero-commission trades of more than 8,000 publicly traded stocks and ETFs listed on major Canadian and U.S exchanges. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Canopy valuation: Calculating the value of Canada’s largest ever cannabis deal seemed simple enough. To boost its stake in Canopy Growth Corp., U.S. alcohol giant Constellation Brands Inc. is purchasing 104.5 million new shares from the Canadian pot producer for $48.60 apiece. Multiply those figures together and the investment looks to be worth $5-billion. But the math isn’t so straightforward, because of a sweetener Constellation receives as part of the deal. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

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Trinidad valuation: As a shareholder of Ensign Energy Services Inc. (ESI-T), I am in favour of management’s recent lowball offer of $1.68 cash for all the shares of Trinidad Drilling Ltd. (TDG-T). But as a shareholder of Trinidad Drilling, I believe that the offer dramatically undervalues the company, and I won’t be tendering my shares anywhere near the current offer price. In fact, less than four months ago I wrote in the Report on Business that Trinidad Drilling, which was then trading at $1.75, could be bought for less than the collateral value of its drilling rigs, estimated at about $3.00 a share. Opinion (Robert Tattersall)

Investigation: Alberta regulators are investigating American short-seller Marc Cohodes regarding his stake in Badger Daylighting Inc., in the latest escalation of hostilities between the U.S. investor and the oil-services company. A lawyer with the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) divulged the existence of a wider probe at a hearing on Wednesday, the same day a commission panel dismissed a Badger-supported application for a cease-trade order against the California-based short-seller. Story (Jeff Lewis, for subscribers)

Discipline: The former chief financial officer of failed investment firm First Leaside Securities Inc. has been banned for three years from being a CFO and fined $50,000, following a review by the Ontario Securities Commission. Story (Clare O’Hara. for subscribers)

MORE DEALS NEWS

Entertainment sector: Amazon is in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, a move that would vault the e-commerce giant into the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, according to people familiar with the situation. Story

Taking Tesla private: Federal regulators are pressing Tesla Inc’s directors for details on how much information Chief Executive Elon Musk shared with them before he tweeted last week about a potential deal to take the company private, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Story

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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Cannabis deals: An investment banker who routinely talks to beverage and pharmaceutical executives likes to tell a quick story about the current state of the world: Every meeting with CEOs used to start with five minutes of small talk about U.S. President Donald Trump. Now every session starts with a conversation about cannabis. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

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