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Streetwise newsletter: Bay Street bonanza; Laurentian Bank CEO’s biggest test yet

People walk by a Bay Street sign at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

© Mark Blinch / Reuters/The Globe and Mail

A surprising flurry of share sales has opened the floodgates for Canadian companies yearning to raise cash, marking the end of a financing drought and reversing the fortunes for Bay Street underwriters behind these deals. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Playing catch-up with its much bigger peers has been the story of Laurentian Bank's life since it was founded 171 years ago as the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. Since taking over as chief executive officer two years ago, François Desjardins has seemed to be winning the race. Opinion (Konrad Yakabuski, for subscribers)

The long-term outlook for Canadian natural gas prices is ugly. Yet there remains a large pack of small- to medium-size gas producers, most just scraping by. This is when consolidation should shift into high gear, especially as the industry struggles to be relevant to major investors. Story (Jeff Jones, for subscribers)

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Northleaf Capital Partners is expanding its private-credit business as institutional investors around the world push more money into loan strategies in pursuit of higher returns. The Toronto-based firm is set to announce the closing of its first global credit fund, Northleaf Private Credit I, having amassed $670-million (U.S.) in investor commitments. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

The meteoric rise in the price of bitcoin – which surpassed $16,000 (U.S.) on Thursday – has buoyed the hopes of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, even as concerns about a bubble continue to mount. Story (Alexandra Posadzki)

The hottest investment on the planet is about to take a major step toward legitimacy – but Wall Street believes that is a risky move. In just days, bitcoin will complete its journey from the obscure corners of the internet to the heart of modern finance. Story (Joanna Slater, for subscribers)

A fledgling Vancouver venture capital firm that has had an unusual success rate early in the life of its first fund is aiming to raise almost three times as much with its second capital pool – and making quick work of it. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Canada's investment regulators are raising the alarm over wealth management firms that fail to follow the industry-funded ombudsman's recommendations to compensate clients after a dispute. Story (Clare O'Hara)

DEAL WRAP

Canadian beverage retailer DavidsTea is evaluating its strategic options more than two years after it went public and soon after rival Teavana shut its doors. Story

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Online gambling company GVC Holdings is in talks to buy Ladbrokes Coral for up to $5.2-billion (U.S.) in a long-awaited deal that would transform it into a bastion of British betting. Story

Hedge fund TCI has suffered a setback in its campaign to oust the chairman of the London Stock Exchange after influential advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that investors vote against the activist's proposal. Story

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Chief Executive Officer Jochen Tilk met on Thursday with authorities in Chile as the Canadian fertilizer company tries to divest its minority stake in Chilean lithium miner SQM ahead of its proposed merger with rival Agrium Inc. Reuters

Yaletown Partners raised more than $100 million in initial commitments for its emerging-growth tech fund, encouraging the firm to bump up the pool's target, two people familiar with the matter told PE Hub Canada. PE Hub

Modsy, a San Francisco-based company that allows people to create 3D renderings of their home in order to visualize what it would look like with various kinds of furniture, has raised $23 million (U.S.) in a series B round of funding from Advance Venture Partners (AVP), Comcast Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners. VentureBeat

Most companies pursuing an acquisition have predictable goals in mind—boosting market share, perhaps, or diversifying earnings. But drugstore operator CVS Health Corp. has somewhat grander ambitions for its $67.5 billion (U.S.) purchase of health insurer Aetna Inc.: changing the way Americans go to the doctor. Bloomberg

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FINANCIAL SERVICES WRAP

A least 50 firms tied to blockchain and cryptocurrencies are set to list on Canadian stock exchanges in the next year, thanks in part to a junior market that's more comfortable with risk than other parts of the world, the head of securities firm GMP Capital Inc. said. Story

Financial regulators reached a long-sought deal on Thursday to harmonize global banking rules, capping a decade of effort to make banks more resilient even if they fell short of their own initial hopes. Story

Big companies are stepping up their plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to get talks back on track after a major setback. Story

Some of the world's biggest derivatives brokerages criticized plans to offer bitcoin futures and options on U.S. exchanges, telling regulators that the contracts have been rushed to market without proper consideration of the risks. Story

Far from being an existential threat, the big shakeup in the money management industry has emerged as an opportunity for the investment arm of Swiss bank EFG International AG to snap up analysts on the cheap. The company has taken advantage of cutbacks at brokers to almost double its equity-research team to about 18 before new European regulations known as MiFID II take hold in January. Bloomberg

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

If it was only about the money, Rogers Communications Inc. would have sold off high-profile holdings such as baseball's Toronto Blue Jays years ago. Story (Andrew Willis, for subscribers)

One of Canada's unheralded software success stories, Ottawa-based Titus Inc., is selling a majority ownership stake to U.S. private equity giant Blackstone Group LP. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

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