If there is anything that Canadian dealmakers are all too familiar with in 2019, it’s the concept of uncertainty. Raging trade wars, geopolitical tensions, elections, and a forecasted economic downturn are all pervasive in everyday conversation. Despite this, deal flow has remained robust throughout the first three quarters of 2019, as summarized in a recent post. Fortunately, significant uncertainty in relation to trade with the U.S. and Mexico is hopefully coming to an end.
A significant consideration when considering an M&A target can be the impact that pending or threatened litigation has on the proposed transaction.
While some organizations may balk at the idea of acquiring a target that is (or is likely to be) the subject of a lawsuit, such companies are often available at significant discounts to purchasers that are able to understand and address the risks.
Each transaction will have its own unique considerations. However, an organization that is contemplating acquiring a target that is the subject of pending or threatened litigation should, among other items, address the following high-level considerations:… Continue Reading
Climate change has become a high profile issue that is expected to have significant implications for M&A transactions going forward. As public awareness and scientific understanding of climate change continues to evolve, we are more informed about the climate change-related risks that businesses must grapple with and get ahead of. As a result, businesses need to be especially diligent in their assessment of a range of factors that may be impacted by the changing climate when completing M&A transactions. While the risks that should be considered will, of course, vary between transactions, the following is a list of climate-related factors … Continue Reading
The heavy reliance on technology in today’s data-driven world means that cybersecurity threats must be taken seriously. More specifically, with respect to M&A transactions, a target’s cybersecurity mechanisms have become an important part of the due diligence consideration. Indeed, it is important to have a firm grasp on the nature and extent of a target’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities, the likelihood of a breach, and the procedure in place to remedy a breach, if necessary. These considerations have the power to significantly alter the value of a transaction, or even derail it entirely.
Crosbie & Company’s “Crosbie & Company Canadian Mergers & Acquisitions Report for Q3 2019” (the Report) reviews the minor slowdown in Canadian M&A activity in Q3 2019 following a record-breaking second quarter. While deal activity declined slightly in Q3 (776 announced transactions compared to 886 in Q2), the Canadian M&A market remained robust, posting its eleventh straight quarter (dating back to Q1 2017) with at least 700 transactions.
Highlights of the Report
- Slight decline in transaction volume: 776 transactions were announced during Q3 2019 compared to 886 in Q2 2019, representing a 12.4% decrease from the previous quarter.
The Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) is required to review certain merger transactions that exceed various financial thresholds, based on the size of the business being acquired and the combined size of the buyer, the target business, and their affiliates. The notification thresholds under the Competition Act (the “Act”) are discussed in more detail here. The Bureau reviews transactions that exceed these thresholds (“notifiable transactions”) to assess the potential competitive effects of the deal prior to its completion, and if the Bureau concludes that a transaction is likely to substantially lessen or prevent competition, they may seek a remedy (such … Continue Reading
Recent rumblings about the “data masking” market have put this concept on the radar of many, which warrants a closer look at the relevant trends and the potential of data masking. The information age has made cybersecurity a necessity and the increase of data breaches and malware attacks have led to calls for greater data protection.
What is data masking?
Perhaps surprisingly, the purpose of data masking is more than just obfuscating original data in order to protect it. An additional layer is the process of creating a structurally similar, yet inauthentic version, of an organization’s data that can be … Continue Reading
As discussed in previously, the legalization of cannabis in October 2018 sparked a flurry of activity in the Canadian market, as both foreign and domestic investors were eager to enter the space. Notably, in 2018, M&A transactions peaked with over 700 deals completed in the cannabis sector, the total value of which exceeded US$12 billion.
While high entry costs and capital expenditures may continue to be drivers of consolidation in the cannabis sector, there are other emerging factors that may significantly impact the trajectory of M&A activity. With the 2019 year-end rapidly approaching, a reflection on some of these … Continue Reading
As technology has become embedded into most parts of our lives, the majority of companies have completed a digitization process. Maintaining a digital platform has become the new norm, and increasingly sophisticated technologies continue to be developed. Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 (Vision Report), describes this as the transition to the “post-digital era,” where “digital” is a new normal and is no longer a sign, on its own, of innovation. The Vision Report highlights main technology trends that companies will need to get ahead of in order to become leaders.
The main questions related to this “post-digital shift” are; … Continue Reading
As consumer demand for dairy and meat alternatives increases, established food manufacturers are looking to supplement their offerings by entering into M&A transactions with emerging meat and dairy alternative manufacturers. According to a recent report by the Good Food Institute (GFI), there have been 46 completed investments and acquisitions of vegan food manufacturers in 2018 alone, with the largest acquisition having a value of $12.5 billion. Many leaders in the meat industry are starting to acquire and invest in the dairy and meat alternatives market to tap into consumer demand. Investing in vegan alternatives is essential for food manufacturers to … Continue Reading
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
Private equity funds are increasingly turning to a “buy-and-build” (B&B) approach to boost revenues, realize value and increase returns. The B&B approach, also referred to as an “add-on” strategy, involves the purchase of a platform company, followed by the purchase of multiple related and complimentary targets through share or asset acquisitions. B&B strategies offer an alternative to otherwise potentially slow and cumbersome organic growth by setting the table for private equity funds to capture synergies through vertical integration, combined operational strength and leveraging a whole that is worth significantly more than the sum of its parts.
B&B: the… Continue Reading
Merger and acquisition activities in 2018 in the asset and wealth management sector logged a total of 140 deals, up 5% from last year. According to an overview published by PwC, the total announced value of the M&A deals was US$14.9 billion, which represented a year-over-year increase up 72% – the highest percentage increase since 2009. Interestingly, almost 40% of deals in this sector were made during the last quarter of 2018, totalling US$9.9 billion in deal value. Specifically, there were three mega-deals that exceeded US$1 billion during the fourth quarter. With respect to deal volume, the fourth quarter … Continue Reading
M&A activity in the insurance sector in North America declined in the years immediately following the financial crisis, and has peaked in recent years. We previously reported on the boom in the North American M&A insurance sector in 2016, where Q1 saw a record high in insurance agency M&A deals with 109 transactions reported. These trends continued throughout 2016, which ended with 446 insurance M&A deals, and into 2017, and 2018, which Optis Partners LLC (Optis) reported saw record levels of M&A deals among insurance brokers. Although Optis reported 16% fewer deals in the first half of … Continue Reading
Optimism is the name of the game for the U.S. M&A market. A recent report by Deloitte cites positive tax reform, a relaxed regulatory climate and growing cash reserves as the primary reasons for expecting 2019 to be a big year for M&A. 79% of the 1,000 U.S. corporate executives and private equity firms surveyed said their organizations will close more deals in 2019 than 2018. 70% of the respondents also expect the aggregate value of deals closed to exceed 2018, with over half of deals expected to be between $500 million and $10 billion.
Interestingly, divestitures are expected to … Continue Reading
With a growing reliance on technology, it does not come as much of a surprise that the importance of cybersecurity is increasing as well. In its Mid-year Market Review, Momentum Cyber reported that $2.3 billion had already been lost as a result of cryptocurrency breaches. This staggering loss may be one of the many reasons why there is a greater focus on cybersecurity and why the number of mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) in the cybersecurity sector has been rising. It was even predicted in August 2018 that this would be a record year for the industry.
This prediction … Continue Reading
A recent report Bloomberg indicates the increasing relevance of buyers staying away from a “#MeToo company” in M&A transactions – i.e., a company facing sexual misconduct allegations. This does not suggest that buyers are staying away. Instead, buyers are developing novel ways of addressing the risk brought upon by a “#MeToo company.”
The first method that has seen increased prominence is by incorporation of a legal representation in the M&A agreement, requiring the target company to reveal allegations of sexual harassment. Known as a “Weinstein Clause” (also referred to as a “#MeToo rep”), this representation, which ultimately hinges on a … Continue Reading
Is M&A still a male dominated industry? Back in its 2011 article, Reuters referred to M&A as a “man’s game”. They found that only 15% of executives and senior level managers in US investment banking and securities dealing industries were women. A 2011 survey found that 83% of female finance executives perceived the glass-ceiling to be a very real and prevalent factor preventing them from moving forward. Further there were a small number of women graduating from business schools choosing to enter the financing and accounting market – nearly half the number of the men in the recruitment process.… Continue Reading
As previously noted, businesses are keen to shine their spotlights on the surge of disruptive technology, particularly with the opportunities it stands to introduce, the existing standards it proposes to displace, and the upside it promises for bottom lines. In recent years, the rise of disruptive technology has created a boom for some industries while potentially upending others. For legal practice, the result is the same in both instances – these technologies have created new challenges, particularly for corporate M&A lawyers.
A prominent example of a disruptive technology is cryptocurrency. The exponential growth of cryptocurrency and its related technologies has … Continue Reading
Historically a highly fragmented industry, the waste management and recycling sector has undergone a process of consolidation and increased M&A activity over the past several years. Analysts have offered various explanations for this trend, ranging from a desire for larger companies to expand their geographic coverage to a rise in clean-tech and recycling businesses.
Although typically not an industry that attracts the limelight, investors now view waste management and recycling companies as attractive targets due to the high barriers to entry and the presumed lower risk that comes with businesses providing essential services. As a result of these and … Continue Reading
The outlook for the Canadian Hotel segment is looking ripe for investment according to a recently released report from the CBRE. The CBRE Canada’s 2018 Hotels Outlook Report showed that there was strong operational performance which is expected to continue in this year.
The report indicated that hotel-investment volume reached $3.4 billion in 2017 and $4.1 billion in 2016. These years were marked by a higher volume of merger and acquisition deals which had not been a trend in this industry for quite some time. The healthy state of Canada’s hospitality segment is positively influenced by low-interest rates, lower … Continue Reading
In the first quarter of 2018, M&A activity across the world hit a 17 year record high according to Mergermarket’s Q1 2018 Global M&A Report. This is an 18 percent increase in value compared to the first quarter of 2017. This increase was affected by the surge in deal-making seen at the end of 2017 which carried over into 2018 as the US experienced mega US healthcare deals. In fact, US M&A activity during Q1 2018 was reported to represent 44.2% of the total global share. According to data from Bloomberg, the healthcare sector has already reported $156 billion … Continue Reading
A relentless parade of new technologies is unfolding on many fronts – one of which includes the M&A scene. While not every emerging technology will alter a business’ landscape, certain technologies have the potential to disrupt the status quo, alter the way companies operate and rearrange value pools. These “disruptive technologies” can quickly displace established systems and set new industry standards.
As an example, earlier this year, Toronto-Dominion Bank made headlines for its acquisition of “Layer 6 AI”, a start-up company which uses artificial intelligence to analyze various forms of data and anticipate an individual customer’s needs. This announcement came … Continue Reading
Is this the end of European conglomerates?
The end may be in sight for European conglomerates. Activist investor Christer Gardell of Cevian Capital predicts a growing trend of “demergers” in the next five to seven years, due in large part to an increasing number of European conglomerates engaging in in spin-off transactions, or “spin-offs.”
Generally, a spin-off refers to a transaction in which a parent company sells or distributes new shares of one of its business units, after which the business unit then becomes a new legally distinct and independent company. The use of spin-offs by conglomerates to “demerge” may … Continue Reading