New Chicago Skyway owners need long investing view

November 16, 2015

Ferrovial and Macquarie paid $1.8 bln in 2005, $1 bln more than the next bid. Now three Canadian pension funds are buying the Windy City turnpike for $2.8 bln. Thanks to extra debt, the sellers won’t see much profit on their equity. At least the buyers can afford to be patient.

Barcelona at risk of being the Montreal of Spain

November 13, 2015

The uncertainties surrounding regional separatism contributed to the economic problems of Canada’s second city. The tensions of Catalonian nationalism could also harm its capital city. There’s no clear evidence of exodus yet, but Catalan politicians would be foolish to ignore the risk.

Aussie target Asciano could push for higher bid

November 10, 2015

The ports and rail group is now fielding competing, $6 bln-plus takeover proposals from Canada’s Brookfield and a break-up consortium led by local interloper Qube. The target’s board may want to see a clearer gulf in value before hitching itself to Qube’s wagon.

Valeant CEO gets called on $100 mln excess

November 6, 2015

Paying bosses in equity nudges them to serve shareholder interests. The pharma giant went to extremes, allowing chief Michael Pearson to borrow heavily against his shares. The tumbling stock forced him to repay the debt - an example of how skewed incentives have rocked Valeant.

New Canadian PM faces choppy economic ice

October 20, 2015

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals trounced Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in Monday’s election. But the global commodities chill hit Canada hard and the weak currency hasn’t lifted trade. Even hockey franchises are hurting. Trudeau will have to make the most of his honeymoon period.

Numbers add up to HSBC leaving London

July 31, 2015

The global bank is reviewing its head office location based on 11 criteria such as economic importance, transparency and tax. A ranking based on data compiled by Breakingviews shows Singapore, Hong Kong and even Toronto are more attractive than HSBC’s current home base.

Hudson’s Bay wangles way back to Teutonic roots

June 15, 2015

The Canadian owner of U.S. store Saks – once an English company headed by a German – has the best of a $3 bln deal to buy Cologne-based retailer Kaufhof. Offloading real estate will help it finance the trade. It also gives Hudson’s Bay a cushion against old world risks.

RBC’s foray south a pricey bet that two’s a charm

January 22, 2015

The Canadian bank is paying $5.4 bln for U.S. lender City National, a 26 pct premium that planned cost cuts don’t justify. The so-called banker to Hollywood stars is growing well. But RBC’s last venture into American retail banking was a mess. It needs to prove it can do better.

Cheap oil lubricates Li Ka-shing’s corporate rejig

January 12, 2015

Asia’s richest man is shifting a 6 pct stake in Canada’s Husky Energy to his holding company as part of a broader shake-up. The move is vital to keeping Li’s grip on the telco-to-property empire. Though shareholders may object, the falling oil price has worked in their favour.

Private equity shows signs of pre-crisis brio

By Chris Hughes
November 25, 2014

Canada’s Onex has bought Swiss packager SIG for up to $4.7 bln in a secondary buyout. It’s one of Europe’s biggest LBOs in five years and deploys pre-crisis levels of leverage. Private equity restlessness and a shortage of big targets created the conditions for a landmark deal.