Tag archives: due diligence

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

Evaluating the Legal Risks of Data Assets in M&A

Data is an essential asset for many businesses, and one that is increasingly acquired through M&A transactions. Identifying and assessing the particular legal challenges of data assets is crucial for acquirers to mitigate the risks associated with these assets and unlock their full value. While issues will depend on the particulars of each transaction, the following is a high-level overview of significant considerations.

What rights in the data assets is the acquiring company receiving?

Evaluating a target company’s rights to their data assets is often more complex and uncertain than for more tangible assets. Such rights are often limited by … Continue Reading

Examining data analytics in M&A

The M&A world continues to evolve as transactions are becoming more diverse and complex. Timelines are getting shorter and acquirors have less time to assess their targets but more pressure to justify their acquisitions. Acquirors must simplify the process of acquiring a target, while simultaneously improving the accuracy of their predictions about the acquisition’s profitability. Could data analytics be one of the solutions?

More data is being created today than ever before. Generally, there are two kinds of data relevant to M&A transactions. The first is data created by companies spontaneously (e.g. social media chatter, CRM data, user … Continue Reading

Both sides of the same coin? Examining the rise of sponsor-to-sponsor deals

As competition and asset multiples increase, private equity (“PE”) firms must find new ways to put their money to work. One way to create new value is through a sponsor-to-sponsor deal.

Sponsor-to-sponsor deals involve PE firms on both sides of a transaction – buy side and sell side. Due to their high cost and complexity, there is a general view that sponsor-to-sponsor deals tend to be inefficient. However, a recent report by Bain & Company’s Annual Global Private Equity Report 2019 (Report) found that sponsor-to-sponsor deals are on the rise, which implicitly suggests that these deals may not … Continue Reading

Avoiding independent contractor liability in M&A

The distinction between employees and independent contractors is significant as it pertains to workers’ legal entitlements. Employees have an exclusive working relationship with an employer, which engages rights and obligations under applicable employment legislation and the common law. By contrast, independent contractor agreements are entered into by legal and contractual equals. As a result, independent contractors are not afforded employment law protections.

The misclassification of employees as independent contractors continues to attract considerable legal action and media attention. Recently, Ontario has seen a rise in class action lawsuits involving claimants alleging to have been misclassified by their purported employers. … Continue Reading

AI as a solution for cybersecurity problems in M&A deals

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has immense potential as a solution for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in M&A deals. Generally, M&A deals generate value and as such, understanding vulnerabilities on the acquirer and target sides is important for completion of the transaction. With the common usage of networks and servers to store high volumes of data by corporations, vetting for cybersecurity attacks has become a priority in the M&A due diligence process. In a recent study, IBM reported that the global average cost of a data breach has risen 6.4 percent over a 12 month period to $3.86 million. The average … Continue Reading

Uses of blockchain in the M&A process

We have previously explored some potential uses of blockchain in the M&A process. Generally, blockchain refers to a growing list of blocks linked by cryptography. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block. When a new block is added to the growing list, it is verified by independent parties on the peer-to-peer network and is by design, decentralized and resistant to modification of the data. The possibilities are immense – but ultimately, what are some of the ways that blockchain can help the M&A process?

One key area may be with the use of “smart contracts” … Continue Reading

The role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in M&A

In private equity, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are often overlooked and undervalued. Due diligence is usually more focused on the financial and quantitative aspects of the target. However, in recent years, ESG has proven to be a powerful underlying factor for business successes and failures. As evidence by the #MeToo movement, and the various human resource scandals that have made headlines in recent months, an unhealthy corporate culture can have serious consequences for even the biggest of enterprises. A study that looked at 231 mergers and acquisitions between 2001 and 2016 found that ESG compatible deals performed better … Continue Reading

Holding an oil and gas licence: a privilege, not a right

Say you are about to buy, sell, or invest in an Alberta oil and gas company. You are conducting your due diligence, negotiating the transaction documents, pursuing any necessary approvals and are looking forward to closing. Before you can proceed, get ready to add another item to your closing checklist. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has recently made some changes concerning oil and gas licences and approvals that you will need to consider.

In December 2017, the AER re-issued Directive 067: Eligibility Requirements for Acquiring and Holding Energy Licences and Approvals. The revised directive tightens the Continue Reading

Better, faster, stronger: revamping the M&A due diligence process with Artificial Intelligence platforms

Voluminous information in M&A transactions

M&A transactions can be time-intensive, often involving contract discovery and analysis, due diligence, data room preparation, verification of representations and warranties, privacy issues and multijurisdictional privacy legislation and intellectual property protection, among other important aspects. As deals become larger in value and scope, the review and analysis of the foregoing information becomes both voluminous and jurisdictionally dispersed. The international nature of companies and deals often result in contracts that are drafted in languages other than those commonly spoken by the lawyers on a file. To maximize efficiency, minimize errors and drive down costs, law firms … Continue Reading

Due diligence defence for distribution of securities in breach of securities law

In furtherance of a proposed merger or acquisition, it is common place for an issuer to complete a concurrent private placement in order to, among other things, fund its working capital and current operations, complete the transaction or satisfy regulatory or administrative requirements post-transaction i.e., exchange listing requirements upon completion of a reverse-take over.

Notwithstanding such reason, it is absolutely necessary to the future of the issuer, its directors and officers and any agents, finders, or promoters, to appreciate and understand their responsibilities upon conducting a private placement, as illustrated in the recent British Columbia Securities Commission (CommissionContinue Reading

Incoming legislation implements common reporting standards

On July 1, amendments to the Income Tax Act (Canada) implementing international common reporting standards (CRS) will come into force. The CRS regime is intended to facilitate the exchange of taxpayer information between governments. Financial institutions will be required to report financial information about individuals and entities not resident in Canada[1] to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which will in turn share the information with the tax authorities in the individual or entity’s jurisdiction of residence.

Due diligence obligations

Under CRS, financial institutions in Canada will be required to conduct due diligence on all financial … Continue Reading

Deal maker or deal breaker? Information security during M&A

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently published its Statement of Priorities for the Financial Year to End March 31, 2017 (the Statement). The Statement unveils a new area which the OSC intends to focus its key resources and actions on – cyber resilience. For many, this does not come as a surprise, particularly given the high-profile cyber-attacks on organizations ranging from Ashley Madison to J.P. Morgan. It is now well-recognized that in a market where businesses are exponentially increasing their dependency upon technology, the need to understand and mitigate cyber-security risks is proliferated.

The Statement should serve … Continue Reading

Assessing corruption risks in M&A transactions

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of considering anti-corruption and bribery risks when engaging in international transactions. In connection with the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, Canada, the US and the UK, as well as an increasing number of legislatures around the world have implemented legislation forbidding the transfer of benefits for the purpose of influencing foreign officials. Companies charged under the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) are criminally prosecuted, and can be forced to pay unlimited fines in addition to suffering irreparable reputational … Continue Reading

IP due diligence: beyond the usual suspects

Conducting a due diligence review of intellectual property (IP) matters as part of a merger or acquisition has become commonplace with the growing importance of commercial IP.  While most lawyers are aware of a general need to protect the more popular forms of intellectual property (patents, copyrights and trademarks) in the course of a transaction, there are a number of specific nuances that should be taken into careful consideration to avoid potentially painful missteps.

Intellectual property rights are intangible rights having no physical characteristics, and are established through the legal frameworks that they operate under. Accordingly, IP rights … Continue Reading

LexBlog