Topic: Technology and innovation

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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

Acqui-hiring: What we know and what we need to know from a Canadian perspective

“Acqui-hire” transactions, which are particularly prevalent in the context of start-up technology-related M&A transactions in the U.S., focus on acquiring a company primarily to obtain its employees and their skills, in addition to other possible assets (see our earlier post on acqui-hires). In these type of transactions, it is thought that the greatest perceived value in the target lies in its employee base or segment(s) thereof. If there is also perceived value in the intellectual property (IP) or other assets of the target company, an acquiror might purchase those assets and possibly license them back. In some cases, … 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

2019 in Review: eSports edition

The eSports industry experienced monumental growth in 2019 and is well underway to becoming a financially lucrative market.

By the end of last year, eSports had over 433 million global viewers, more than American Football and rugby combined, and is expected to reach over 645 million viewers in 2020. For perspective, the 2019 League of Legends World Championship alone amassed a peak viewership of 3.98 million, far surpassing earlier eSports viewership records.

2019 also marked the year that eSports became a billion dollar industry. In line with its massive following, eSports drew in record revenues last year, experiencing a 26.7% … Continue Reading

Cybersecurity in M&A Transactions: Friend or Foe?

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.

With the introduction of EU’s General Data Protection RegulationContinue Reading

Chamber of Digital Commerce Releasing the First Ever Comprehensive Report on Canada’s Blockchain Ecosystem

Over the last decade in which the digital economy has grown at an unprecedented pace across industry sectors, blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology have shown the ability to reform the ways in which businesses and governments operate. To better understand Canada’s blockchain ecosystem, on October 4, 2019, the Chamber of Digital Commerce Canada released Canada’s first ever comprehensive report examining the country’s burgeoning blockchain ecosystem.

Through data collected from more than 150 stakeholders from industry, government and academia, this report serves as a baseline measurement of the Canadian blockchain ecosystem for tracking future growth and GDP impacts over the … Continue Reading

Emerging Trends in Information Technology (IT) Mergers and Acquisitions

Canada’s burgeoning information technology (IT) sector is a standout in the Canadian mergers and acquisitions landscape. A recent report by Duff & Phelps illustrates that in the first half of 2019, IT was the third most active deal-making sector in Canada with over 104 closed transactions. Against this backdrop, three trends emerge:

  • ‘Buying into’ privacy or cybersecurity risk. Buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of conducting rigorous due diligence on a target company’s privacy and cybersecurity systems and practices. Marriott’s data breach in 2018, where about 383 million guest records globally were exposed to cybercriminals, highlights this.
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Venture capital investment once again shows strong year-over-year growth in H1 2019

The Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (the CVCA) recently published its 2019 first half (H1 2019) report on Canadian venture capital (VC) and Canadian private equity (PE) investment. Over the past year, Canadian VC investment has continued its ascent, reaching unprecedented heights and experiencing its strongest first half performance on record. Conversely, Canadian PE investment remains feeble, posting its lowest first half performance since the CVCA began collecting data in 2013.

A review of the increasing trends in the Canadian market reveals that VC investment in Canada is very robust and … Continue Reading

The growth and expansion of streaming services

The source of our television services is significantly changing from traditional cable and television services to online providers. The actively changing television service landscape is because of the growth of over-the-top (“OTT”) media services.

Growing Popularity

According to a report by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, OTT services are television services that are provided through the internet. The CRTC Report identifies most of these OTT services as subscription-based-video-on-demand services, such as Netflix and Crave. The CRTC attributes SVOD services as generating the bulk of OTT revenue, surpassing traditional broadcasting revenue by almost a billion dollars.

Streaming Wars

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5G technology driving M&A activity in the telecommunications sector

The much anticipated rollout of fifth-generation wireless (“5G”) technology and changing consumer habits are expected to drive M&A transactions in the telecommunications sector over the next year. According to EY’s May 2019 Global Capital Confidence Barometer (the “EY Report”) 55% of telecommunications executives expect to actively pursue acquisitions in the next year, a significant increase from the long-term average of 45% for the telecommunications sector.

As consumption patterns for video and gaming continue to change telecommunications executives are anticipating the impact that future 5G speeds and capacity will have on adjacent industries like mobile streaming services … Continue Reading

Merge with caution: the future of food delivery services

The convenience and efficiency of meal ordering applications (“apps”) has led to a rapid development in food delivery services. However, despite the ever-growing popularity of online takeout, the increase in food-delivery companies and the decrease in restaurants offering food delivery service is slowing the growth of what could be a lucrative market.

Consumers of this market are notoriously fickle in their loyalty. Rather than order through a specific app, consumers are more likely to order through apps which offer a wide variety of restaurant options and cheaper fees. Recent media attention has highlighted the conflict between delivery companies … Continue Reading

“DARQ” technology and disruptive M&A: gearing up for the “post-digital era”

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

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

Good eats: rising interest in dairy & meat alternatives driving M&A activity

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

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

A-I Captain! Know the legal risks of buying an AI company… or go down with the ship

On February 21, 2019, Blackberry completed its acquisition of Cylance, a privately-held artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity company. Acquisitions of AI companies like Cylance are becoming increasingly common as businesses seek to realize the opportunities in offering much-improved products or services to their customers. Canada, in particular, has become a hotspot for activity in the AI industry.

Acquiring an AI company is not always smooth sailing. There are common risks that buyers must be aware of prior to embarking on an acquisition.

Know where the data comes from

An AI derives its value from data sets used … Continue Reading

Fintech is thriving! Global investment more than doubles in 2018

KPMG recently published its “Pulse of Fintech” report on global investment in fintech for H2 2018. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Global investment in fintech companies hit $111.8B in 2018 (with 2,196 deals), more than doubling global fintech investment in 2017. This was partly due to a small number of mega deals.
  • In the Americas, 2018 fintech investment hit $54.5B across 1,245 deals.
    • At $52.5B (up from $24B in 2017), investment in United States fintech companies made up the vast majority, mainly driven by a strong number of $100M plus mega deals.
    • Canada’s fintech market remained steady in
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Narwhals, unicorns and profits – Canadian tech start-ups are on the rise

Unicorns and narwhals – what business do these creatures have in boardrooms and on stock exchanges?

“Unicorn” and “narwhal” are industry terms used to describe certain private start-up tech companies. “Unicorns” are start-ups valued by investors at $1B or more, a rare and substantial feat that has earned them their mythical nickname. “Narwhals” sit a stage below, vying for graduation to unicorn status.

The Canadian Unicorn Pipeline

The Toronto-based Impact Centre recently posted its 2019 Narwhal List (the List), which identifies nascent Canadian companies that may evolve into unicorns, as well as the financial avenues that can facilitate such … Continue Reading

3D printing – the manufacturing industry’s “comeback kid”

Speed. Scale. Diversity.

What do these words have in common? According to Deloitte, they are the three main reasons that 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), is experiencing a sustained resurgence in 2019.

Deloitte recently published the 18th edition of its Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions report, which forecasts both global and regional trends in its titular sectors for 2019. In the past, Deloitte reports explored 3D printing, expressing cautious optimism in the face of the market’s supposed overenthusiasm for the new technology and its seemingly endless possibilities. Though the 3D printing market never collapsed, … Continue Reading

The impact of 5G technology on M&A

Global M&A activity in the technology, media and telecommunications industry reached an all-time high of 3,389 deals in 2018. The year was marked by several of the largest merger valuations in history, even though 70% of deals were for less than $100 million, demonstrating that much of the M&A activity was driven by smaller companies. This M&A activity is expected to remain strong and could increase even further in 2019 as the entire industry is set to be impacted by the implementation of 5G wireless technology. 5G – or fifth-generation – network technology is the newest iteration of mobile wireless … Continue Reading

Strategies for parenting start-ups, post-acquisition

In recent years, we have seen more acquisitions of start-ups by big corporations in the tech industry, healthcare, retail, fashion, beauty, food, and transportation. The benefits of M&A transactions in these sectors has been more widely recognized. For instance, for a start-up, partnering with a large corporation provides broader market access, deeper industry knowledge and accelerated brand development opportunities. From the perspective of the corporation, it means access to growing markets, new technologies, and tapping into niche skills, talents and entrepreneurial and agile culture.

Despite the surging interest in enhancing collaborations between start-ups and bigger companies from both sides, Accenture Continue Reading

Technology and creativity: keys to unlocking real estate?

With increasing globalization, shifting demographics and advancing technologies, just to name a few, society is changing rapidly. These changes, as reflected by evolving tastes, preferences and needs, influence both how and where people live and work. As part of their joint publication, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019 (the Report), PwC and the Urban Land Institute forecast that in response to mounting pressure on the Canadian real estate industry (the Industry) to confront these changes, we may begin to see Industry players increasingly embrace both technology and creativity.

Smart technologies may help the Industry adapt to a changing

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Record year predicted for the cybersecurity industry

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

Managing information technology risk to improve M&A outcomes

An organization’s technology systems are an integral part of its business. Integrated into all aspects of its operations, the possible failure of these systems has been the top concern in Allianz Group’s survey of over 1,900 risk management experts for six straight years. High profile incidents such as the Visa service outage, where a systems error shut down all Visa transactions in the UK and Europe demonstrate that even large, sophisticated companies are at risk.

Given the considerable risk and consequences of technology errors, it is surprising that information technology (IT) systems are often an overlooked element in mergers … Continue Reading

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