Manulife Financial Corp.'s huge $1.6-billion stock sale to fund its purchase of Standard Life's Canadian unit went smoothly Thursday morning, as investors lined up to support the insurer's plan to buy Standard Life's Canadian assets.
There were orders for twice the amount of subscription receipts on offer, said people familiar with the sale. Scotia Capital was the sole lead bank on the sale, to the chagrin of other firms on Bay Street, but given Scotia's long history as a go-to bank in insurance, it's not that big of a surprise.
Manulife and its bankers didn't get greedy. By pricing the sale at $21.50, a 3.8 per cent discount to the closing price for Manulife on Wednesday, that provided a cushion for the deal. The stock was holding above the offer price in late-morning Thursday trading.
The transaction puts Manulife back on offence after a long period of rebuilding its balance sheet.