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In the fourth quarter of 2015, Canadian merger and acquisition activity declined for a fifth time in six quarters, a fact masked by near-record value levels. That’s according to data developed by Crosbie & Co using Capital IQ and other sources. A total of 643 announced deals were recorded in Q4 2015, down from 705 deals a year ago. However, values in the final three months of last year totaled $137 billion, up from $116 billion in Q4 2014. Domestic activity, reflecting 435 deals valued at $20 billion in Q4 2015, was lower by all measures year over year, with outbound activity (Canadian buyers of foreign targets) accounting for the gain in dollar terms.
Lawyers expect cross-border deals to again drive Canadian merger and acquisition activity in 2016 after aggressive moves by Canadian companies spurred a major surge in M&A transactions last year, Reuters reported. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt topped the list of law firms that advised on M&A deals involving Canadian entities in 2015, followed closely by its Canadian rivals McCarthy Tétrault and Torys, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Canadian merger and acquisition activity experienced a rebound in the third quarter of 2015, ending a streak of four consecutive quarters of declining activity. That's according to data developed by Crosbie & Co using Capital IQ and other sources. A total of 673 deals announced in Q3 2015 had a value of $92 billion, down from a year ago, but up from Q2 2015. Crosbie said the quarter over quarter growth was partly due to transactions in which Canadian businesses acquired a foreign target. Domestic deals totaled 433 in the third quarter and reflected $18 billion in value, down from a year ago, but consistent with the previous three months.
Deloitte has announced the winners of its 2015 Technology Fast 50 program, which together achieved an average four-year growth rate of 1,293 percent. As in past editions of the Fast 50, a large share of the Canadian winners were venture-backed. They included the top company: Frank & Oak, a Montréal-based online menswear retailer, which raised a US$15 million Series B round in 2014. Frank & Oak showed a four-year revenue growth rate of 18,480 percent. Others in the top 10 included Budge Studios, iotum, Hootsuite, AcuityAds and Aeryon Labs. A full list of the 2015 Fast 50 can be obtained here.
For all the uncertainty on financial markets surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to put off a rise in interest rates, investors bet it will keep the music playing for corporate deal activity, Reuters reported. Worldwide mergers and acquisitions have hit US$3.1 trillion year-to-date, according to Thomson Reuters' data, just 0.9 percent shy of 2007's record over the same period.
Canadian venture capital firm Klass Capital has increased its stake in Docebo SpA, an Italian cloud e-learning solutions provider. After providing US$3 million in funding to the company in February, Klass Capital acquired the shares of angel investor Seeweb, Docebo said. The acquisition's value was not disclosed. Klass Capital Founder and Managing Partner Daniel Klass said the firm plans to commit resources to Docebo's strategy for future mergers and acquisitions. Established in 2005, Docebo reports to having over 800 business-to-business customers in more than 80 countries.
The going public transactions of private equity and venture-backed companies helped drive the Canadian IPO market in the first half of 2015, a new PwC Canada report suggests. Offerings by companies such as Shopify Inc and Stingray Digital Group Inc contributed to $1.4 billion in new issue proceeds in this period, PwC found. Overall, proceed values were down from one year ago, while the number of offerings was up. PwC National IPO Leader Dean Braunsteiner said early signs of private equity firms bringing companies to the public equity market is a trend to watch. Another important trend is the successful offering of special-purpose investment companies focused on startups, he said.
AmorChem, an early-stage life sciences fund managed by Canadian venture capital firm GeneChem, has entered into an agreement with Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and Univalor to participate in the financing of research at the Personalized Cancer ImmunoTherapy Program. The program, which is sponsored by Genome Canada, focuses on the development and clinical implementation of innovative personalized anti-cancer immunotherapies. The investment is AmorChem's second in the program. Earlier in 2015, the fund partnered with the University of Waterloo on a mucoadhesive nanotechnology project.
Canadian venture capital firm GrowthWorks Capital has obtained a loan of around $1 million from R.C. Morris & Company Special Opportunities Debt Fund II LP. The loan adds to the fund's previously extended $5.4 million loan, announced in 2013. In November, the Vancouver-based GrowthWorks said that Christopher Morris, principal of the R.C. Morris & Co fund, had been named the firm's new president and CEO.
Venture capital raised by C100 companies has passed the $1 billion dollar mark. Due to recent financings of Montréal startups Frank & Oak and LightSpeed Retail, money going into Canadian companies that have participated in C100 mentoring programs or that have received investments from C100 charter members reached nearly $1.1 billion in September. That is a ten-fold increase since the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit organization got underway in 2010.
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