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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

Vancouver-based WELL Health Technologies Corp. (WELL-T) was higher on the premarket announcement of a deal to acquire MyHealth Partners Inc. for $206-million plus a conditional earn-out of up to $60-million.

MyHealth provides primary care, specialty care, telehealth services and accredited diagnostic health services from 48 locations across Ontario.

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“This will position WELL as the leading multi-disciplinary provider of telehealth services in Canada due to the breadth and depth of primary and secondary healthcare service offerings including a substantial telecardiology and teleradiology program. Once the transaction has closed, WELL’s combined annualized revenue and EBITDA run-rates will approach $400-million and $100-million respectively,” said Chairman and CEO Hamed Shahbazi.

Lightspeed POS Inc. (LSPD-T) gained ground as its shopping spree continued Monday as the merchant point-of-sale software provider announced two acquisitions totaling US$925-milllion, including an emerging competitor to fellow Canadian giant Shopify Inc. (SHOP-T).

The acquisitive Montreal-based Lightpseed said it would pay US$500-million for Ecwid, a San Diego-based ecommerce platform with more than 130,000 paying customers and US$20-million in revenue in the year ended March 31. Ecwid is a fraction of Shopify’s size and growing at more than 50 per cent a year, compared to Shopify’s 86 per cent per cent year-over-year revenue growth in 2020. Nevertheless, the deal appears to mark an overt expansion in strategy for Lightspeed, which has previously provided “omnichannel” point-of-sale software for merchants in the restaurant, bricks-and-mortar retail and golf and hospitality space looking to serve customers both in person and online.

Ecwid, like Shopify, is more of a pure ecommerce platform that enables companies to sell online. The California company raised US$42-million in growth capital in May 2020 led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and PeakSpan Capital. Lightspeed is paying $175-million in cash and issuing shares valued at about $325-million for the deal, which is expected to close in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

- Sean Silcoff

West Africa-focused gold miner Endeavour Mining Corp. (EDV-T) was up after it said it would target at least $500 million in shareholder returns through to 2023 with a progressive dividend policy ahead of a London listing expected next week.

Endeavour, which is set to list on the London Stock Exchange on or about June 14, is working to integrate new mines after a $2.- billion acquisition spree in West Africa last year spooked some investors.

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Minimum dividends would be set at $125-million, $150-million, $175-million for fiscal 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively, which represents approximately 50 cents, 60 cents and 70 cents per share, respectively, based on current shares outstanding, it said.

At gold prices of $1,500 per ounce or higher, those payments could be supplemented by higher dividends and by ongoing share buybacks provided Endeavour’s leverage remains below 0.5 times net debt to adjusted EBITDA, the company said.

Endeavour has said it would retain its Toronto listing.

Investment firm Blackstone Group Inc. (BX-N) was higher after the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday it will buy data centre operator QTS Realty Trust Inc. (QTS-N) for about $6.7 billion

The buyout firm’s infrastructure unit along with its non-traded real-estate investment trust will pay US$78 per share for QTS, according to the report.

The price represents a premium of about 21 per cent to QTS’ closing price on Friday.

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A COVID-19 pandemic-led remote working environment boosted demand for cloud services, which are reliant on data centers. QTS has more than 7 million square feet of data center space throughout North America and Europe.

The transaction is valued at about US$10-billion, including the assumption of the data center operator’s existing debt, the report said.

On the decline

Fertilizer company Nutrien Ltd. (NTR-T) erased gains in late trading after it said on Monday it expects to increase potash production by about half a million tons in the second half of the year compared to earlier expectations, due to strong global demand.

As crop prices rise, farmers have greater incentive to use fertilizer and maximize yields, boosting potash demand and spurring a surge in global sales of potash fertilizer.

Nutrien expects higher output to boost core earnings from its potash business in the second half of 2021.

The company in May raised its 2021 forecast for adjusted net earnings per share to between US$2.55 and US$3.25 from US$2.05 to US$2.75 forecast earlier.

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Domestic and offshore potash sales volumes are currently fully committed through September, based on original production profile for 2021, Nutrien said in a statement.

See also: Nutrien in talks with BHP to partner on Jansen potash mine

Air Canada (AC-T) also reversed course and finished lower after the Globe and Mail reported Sunday its top executives will give back their 2020 bonuses and stock awards, citing “public disappointment.”

Air Canada scrapped its bonus plan during the COVID-19 pandemic and replaced it with a new plan that paid $10-million in “COVID-19 Pandemic Mitigation Bonuses” earlier this year. It also gave out special share-appreciation units at the end of 2020 that were designed to compensate executives and management for salary cuts the airline announced publicly during the pandemic.

See also: Air Canada granted special stock awards and $10-million in bonuses while negotiating government bailout

With files from staff and wires

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