Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Canso kept its name off the press release on Monday that unveiled the Postmedia purchase of 175 Sun Media newspapers from Quebecor Inc. for $316-million.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. takes its name from an aircraft that can weather the elements, and taking on turbulent debt is exactly what the corporate bond portfolio manager did to support Postmedia Network Canada Corp.'s recent newspaper deal.

Canso has a long Canadian history managing money for institutional and accredited investors, but it doesn't play like other Bay Street firms. Tucked in Richmond Hill, Ont., more than 28 kilometres north of Toronto's financial core, Canso shies away from the spotlight. The firm has $10-billion in assets under management, but doesn't make a habit of commenting on its investments publicly.

It even kept its name off the press release on Monday that unveiled the Postmedia purchase of 175 Sun Media newspapers from Quebecor Inc. for $316-million. The bulletin only revealed that one bondholder who already owned a huge chunk of debt would take the entire $140-million of additional bonds that the transaction required.

Story continues below advertisement

That means Canso's total interest in Postmedia will jump to at least $240-million, making it one of the company's biggest bondholders.

Behind Canso is founder John Carswell, who studied commerce at the Royal Military College of Canada and was a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force before earning an MBA from Queen's University. He worked at other investment firms such as TAL Investment Counsel Ltd. and Foyston, Gordon & Payne where he focused on fixed income.

When Mr. Carswell set off to start his own firm in 1997, he named the group after an amphibious airplane flown by his father who won a Canadian Air Force Cross for search and rescue missions in B.C.

Yet Canso flew so far beneath the radar that sources said even Postmedia didn't know how large a bondholder the firm had become until quite recently.

It was not until Postmedia started talking to existing debt holders to see if they would buy more bonds that it became clear Canso owned at least half of the outstanding first-lien bonds. That meant Canso had at least $100-million before the Sun Media deal. Canso then agreed to buy the whole $140-million of new debt. And Canso had leverage to ask for all of it – it owned so much that its consent would be needed to allow the financing.

Canso was one of the investors in the refinancing of BlackBerry Ltd., and it is a big owner of Yellow Media Ltd.'s securities.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies