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As buyout multiples have climbed and capital piles up in private investment funds, acquirers have been looking for a competitive edge in their hunt for acquisitions. For some firms, that has meant doing more advanced data analysis.

We continue to publish stories from our annual Big Deals series about financing and investment banking. Here are the latest:

Innovation: Data scientists, physicists, mathematicians and behavioural economists. Meet the new deal team. As buyout multiples have climbed and capital piles up in private investment funds, acquirers have been looking for a competitive edge in their hunt for acquisitions. For some firms, that has meant doing more advanced data analysis in an effort to better understand, value and integrate a business into their portfolio. And that is bringing computer science and M&A communities closer than ever. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

Pot sector: It has been a busy six months of dealmaking for legal cannabis companies. The sector ended  the last year with a bang after a quiet third quarter, as companies raised a record $900-million in equity in the last three months of 2017, according to data compiled by Canaccord Genuity Corp. Story (Christina Pellegrini, for subscribers)

Utilities: Canadian utilities and pipeline companies spent the past two years on an $80-billion shopping spree in the United States, their hunt aided by low interest rates and their own high-priced stocks. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Real estate: China's restrictions on foreign real estate purchases sharply slowed Chinese investment in Canadian offices, hotels and other large properties late last year – even before Beijing's dramatic seizure of Anbang Insurance Group, whose buying spree had driven up prices. Story (Rachelle Younglai, for subscribers)

Here is the rest of the series in case you missed it (the usual news summaries are further below):

Activists: At first glance, the latest data on activist investors make no sense. On one hand, there's never been more capital deployed by sharp-elbowed fund managers in their battles against public companies. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

Deal machine: As Alberta's traditional corporate giants grapple with volatile oil and gas prices, a small but powerful company with roots in Red Deer is emerging as one of the province's future stars. In the span of three years, Parkland Fuel Corp. has become a dominant force in the retail gas market, now owning and operating more than 1,800 service stations across Canada. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Bought deals: Junior mining companies are increasingly turning to senior firms for capital, as traditional bought-deal financing becomes a riskier gambit in a difficult market for commodity plays. Story (Niall McGee, for subscribers)

Bonds: The maple bond market rebounded last year to levels not seen in nearly a decade, as a flurry of foreign companies tapped the Canadian-dollar debt market for cash. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

Cross border: Canadian companies spent a good deal less money swallowing up foreign firms last year, but there are early hints they will be hungrier to do cross-border deals in 2018. Story (James Bradshaw, for subscribers)

The winners: Here are the Canadian Dealmakers award winners for 2017. Story Rankings: Annual league tables for investment banking and M&A law firms Tables (for subscribers)

Deals: The largest mergers and acquisitions of 2017 Table


Banking: Risks are building in Canadian credit markets, says a key international finance group that is raising early warning signs about the potential for stress in the country's banking system. Story (James Bradshaw)

Succession: Goldman Sachs Group Inc unexpectedly announced on Monday that Harvey Schwartz will retire from the bank, leaving David Solomon as sole president and chief operating officer and the most obvious successor to Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein. Story

Sentiment: Thomson Reuters Corp. is to track and analyze chatter about bitcoin on hundreds of news and social media websites to help investors looking for an edge in trading the world's biggest cryptocurrency, the company said on Monday. Story


Competition review: Officials from the federal Competition Bureau, accompanied by Toronto police, visited the executive offices of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp. on Monday morning in connection to the Bureau's review of the companies' deal to swap dozens of newspapers. Story (Susan Krashinsky Robertson and Molly Hayes)

Media sector: Apple Inc will buy digital magazine service Texture, which lets users read titles for a monthly subscription fee, the iPhone maker said on Monday. Story IPOs: Dropbox Inc on Monday priced shares for its initial public offering that would value it at up to US$7.1-billion, nearly a third below the valuation it commanded in 2014, a clear sign of how overheated the private tech market became a few years back. Story

Oil: British officials have been informed by their Saudi counterparts that oil giant Saudi Aramco's initial public offering is likely to be delayed until 2019, the Financial Times reported. Story (for subscribers)

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