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Private equity fund Catalyst Capital Group Inc. is suing the former owners and bankers of Wind Mobile Canada for $750-million, alleging Catalyst's exclusive rights to buy Wind were breached during the sale of the company in 2014.

In an Ontario Superior Court of Justice filing Wednesday in Toronto, Catalyst alleged that former Wind owners VimpelCom Ltd. and Globalive Capital Inc., Wind's investment bank UBS Securities Canada Inc. and a consortium of eight private equity funds including West Face Capital Inc. conspired against Catalyst.

The lawsuit, which has not been heard in court, states that during the spring and summer of 2014, when Wind was up for sale, Catalyst negotiated exclusive rights to buy the company after it defaulted on debts. Catalyst alleges that it recently learned confidential information on its bid was leaked to the rival consortium of private equity funds, including West Face. The rival bidders went on to acquire Wind in September, 2014.

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The rival consortium subsequently sold Wind in 2016 to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6-billion. Catalyst alleges these private equity funds earned $750-million on the sale, "thereby crystallizing Catalyst's damages."

Catalyst said in the lawsuit that it learned of the breach in its exclusive rights to buy Wind from recent court filings by Shaw and the private equity consortium.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal battles between Catalyst and two of the central players in the Wind transaction, West Face and Shaw. Story

Cassels adds Calgary office

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP is setting up shop in the heart of Canada's oil patch, some seven years after the idea first crossed the minds of partners at the historically Toronto-centric law firm.

Within the month, the five lawyers Cassels has hired since April – three partners and two associates – will move into their new offices in the city from the temporary space they are occupying today at Bankers Hall. (The new digs are still under construction.)

The Toronto firm is entering a Calgary that has cooled in terms of deals, funding and project flow ever since oil prices started to collapse several years ago and become more volatile. But, as any investor knows, there are perks to investing at the lows and the same could ring true in the legal business, too.

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"We could have gone there seven years ago and been unable to recruit the same quality of people that we think we can get now. Plus, we might have had to overpay for the people we recruited or the office space," Mark Young, managing partner at Cassels, said in an interview.

"We're not concerned about issues like, do we have one floor too much in office space, or do we have 22 too many lawyers today?"

Still, the Calgary legal market, which enjoyed a steady stream of work for years, is not as robust as it once was. But even though the city is awash with lawyers, Mr. Young argues that there still is enough work to go around.

"When the market is really, really hot, it is hard for a new entrant to come in, except if they have virtually unlimited resources to invest with because you're buying at the top," he added. Story

BCIMC to create real estate company

British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is creating a real estate company with plans to increase exposure to the hot asset class.

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The Vancouver-based pension fund heavyweight's new platform called QuadReal Property Group will develop and manage buildings in Canada, the U.S., Asia and Europe, starting with $18-billion in its own real estate assets. The pension plan , which oversees investments for B.C. public sector pension plans as well as other government funds, said it will be able to improve returns and expand its global reach through this business.

Forming QuadReal will take more than two years as externally managed assets from Sun Life Financial Corp.'s North American real estate subsidiary Bentall Kennedy, GWL Realty Advisors Inc. and Realstar Properties Ltd. are folded into the company.

About $2-billion worth of properties outside of Canada have already been transferred to QuadReal, but the domestic portfolio will take longer to integrate. Beginning in February of 2017, assets from Bental Kennedy will begin to move to QuadReal along with many of the staff that had been managing those properties. Overall, the transfer of 500 Canadian office, industrial, retail and residential properties worth $16-billion will take about two years.

QuadReal will be co-led by Remco Daal and Jonathan Dubois-Phillips. Mr. Daal was formerly president of Bentall Kennedy's Canadian operations and will continue to oversee domestic assets. Mr. Dubois-Phillips, who has a background in real estate finance, will run QuadReal's international business. Story

Lexpert

In North America, New Flyer Industries is the biggest builder of city buses; Motor Coach International is the biggest builder of highway buses. The two seemed a perfect match, with separate businesses dovetailing without much of any overlap. Even the unions and competition watchdogs were on board. So what was the holdup? Financing. Before New Flyer could make its move, the company had to get its books in order.

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Lexpert senior editor David Dias interviews lawyers on the deal at lexpert.ca/globe.

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