(Re) Starting-Up: Corporate records are the key to M&A in the age of COVID-19

M&A as a catalyst for recovery

As many jurisdictions begin to ease restrictions on commercial activities, economic uncertainty remains and the landscape of M&A activity is undoubtedly very different from early 2020 pre-COVID-19. As you begin to lead your company towards recovery, it is worth noting that in the midst of such upheaval, there are a number of promising indicators for the future of M&A activity and steps you can take to maximize your company’s chances of success.

In a recent global survey of 2,900 C-suite executives released at the end of March, EY found that “despite unprecedented social and … Continue Reading

Providing or Procuring Ed-Tech Products? Educate Yourself about Privacy Matters

A new wave of advancement in the education industry has emerged. Schools, universities and colleges are relying more on technology now than they ever have before – and this reliance on technology will only increase in the coming years. Educational institutions are using technological solutions to assist in teaching, engaging in discussions with their students and more recently, in evaluating student performance and proctoring examinations on a remote basis.

As an educational institution entering into contracts with service providers who are offering ed-tech solutions or as a company providing such technological tools to various institutions, it is important to consider … Continue Reading

Diamond In The Rough: Mining as a potential bright spot in M&A

The mining sector has been one of the few bright spots in Canadian M&A since the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the landscape for transactions, with several large deals announced and continuing despite the pandemic.

As with other business sectors, mining has been significantly impacted by regulations and the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. However M&A opportunities for Canadian mining companies have persisted despite these issues.

One of the first significant deals announced during the COVID-19 pandemic was Endeavor Mining Corporation’s combination with SEMAFO Inc., which valued SEMAFO at $1 billion. Other recent deals include Shandong Gold Group acquiring Canadian-based … Continue Reading

Purchasing Companies That Sell Technology to the Government: The Details Matter

Procurement contracts are increasingly used in both Canada and the United States (US), particularly with respect to technological services. Federal procurement expenditures for Canada amount to an average of CAD $22 billion in goods and services annually. Further, the US typically awards USD $500 billion in contracts annually, with Canadian companies actively participating in that market.

Where an acquirer is purchasing or investing in a vendor selling to government entities, the diligence process and subsequent transaction documents should carefully consider the risks arising from such dealings. Government contracting with respect to technological services, such as cloud computing, provide unique risk … Continue Reading

Measuring The Impact Of COVID-19 On Canadian M&A

The future of M&A beyond the COVID-19 pandemic remains fiercely debated and quite unclear. We’ve already seen transactions and their underlying agreements change in a number of ways, including more scrutinized structures, and more detailed negotiations regarding contractual carve-outs, such as material adverse change and force majeure clauses. As previously noted, this will undoubtedly lead to significant changes to M&A transactions in the near future. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown to have a macro-level impact on M&A transactions. Indeed, EY’s recent M&A report “Global Capital Confidence Barometer” (the Report) has analyzed COVID-19’s influence on M&A to-date, and … Continue Reading

Securing Equity in Unsecure Times

Since the beginning of March, 15 companies within the S&P/TSX Composite Index have gone to market to raise capital. All but one did so by raising debt. By comparison, of the largest LSE listed issuers, 23 have raised equity and 10 have raised debt. It is clear – European issuers are favouring equity during this crisis.

Now is the time for Canadian issuers to raise equity.

Early in their response to the COVID-19 crisis, Canadian issuers focused on raising debt. But given the recent strength in the stock market and the risk debt poses to an issuer’s balance sheet, prudent … Continue Reading

Timely, or too soon? Competition Bureau releases guidance on “failing firm” claims in merger reviews

On April 29, in a rare decision based on the “failing firm” rationale, the Competition Bureau announced it would not challenge the acquisition of Total Metal Recovery (TMR) Inc. by American Iron & Metal Company Inc. (AIM), because TMR would have likely exited the market without the merger.

The Bureau released a detailed position statement on the transaction, which will assist parties seeking to rely on a “failing firm” argument. This will be particularly important in the wake of the COVID-19 economic downturn, as many businesses may face failure and seek to be acquired by a competitor if they cannot … Continue Reading

Canadian Government Announces New Policy Applying “Enhanced Scrutiny” to Certain Foreign Investments During COVID-19

Market Contraction

The financial markets and global economy have experienced a precipitous decline and substantial volatility due to the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This has had a significant and immediate impact on the level of M&A activity, both in Canada and globally, as companies are shelving deals or simply walking away entirely.

In fact, Thomson Reuters, citing data from the financial research firm Refinitiv, recently reported that there was a 57% decline in M&A activity in Q1 2020 as compared to Q1 2019, as Canadian M&A activity dropped to its lowest level since 2015. Globally M&A activity … Continue Reading

Earnouts: Sharing Risk and Reward in Uncertain Times

The turbulent economic environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the M&A world in numerous ways. Among them is the increased focus on earnout provisions, both those in place from legacy deals and those being considered for inclusion in an upcoming transaction. This post provides an overview of the earnout mechanism and describes the alternative approaches dealmakers have at their disposal.

The purpose of an earnout is to allocate risk and reward between a purchaser and a seller in respect of the post-closing success of the acquired business. Earnouts are useful as a means of bridging the valuation gap: … Continue Reading

Private Equity Exits During COVID-19: What the 2008 Crisis Can Teach Us

In a previous post, we discussed the impact of COVID-19 on private equity transactions and how companies can prepare for upcoming economic changes. While opportunities for new investment are on the horizon with private equity funds presently flush with cash, movement on existing investments is likely to slow as sellers wait until markets stabilize before divesting their assets. Recent research suggests that funds with vintage years 2012 through 2017 are facing a lower exit pricing environment, which could lead fund managers to increase their holding periods and delay exiting until they can better recover their investments.

A look at … Continue Reading

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