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

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)

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)

MORE FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

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

Rates: The Royal Bank has raised its prime lending rate after the Bank of Canada increased its overnight lending rate to financial institutions. RBC says it will increase its prime rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.70 per cent, effective Thursday. Story

MORE DEALS NEWS

Keeping options open: Pfizer Inc announced plans on Wednesday to reorganize into three units, separating its consumer health care business that the U.S. drugmaker has been trying to sell since last year. Story

Media sector: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has raised its offer for Britain’s Sky in an agreed deal valuing the pay-TV group at US$32.5-billion, seeing off rival bidder Comcast for now. Story

WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

Chasing private equity clients: Deutsche Bank AG is deploying top executives, as well as billions of dollars, as it seeks to win more business with Wall Street’s most active dealmakers. Bloomberg

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