Toronto Legal Blog

Business and commercial: Toy company fights to stay afloat

Reports of liquidation regarding Toys R Us in the United States hasn't affected cross border transactions much. In the business and commercial world in Canada, it seems to be business as usual for the toy company -- at least for now. The company filed for protection against its creditors last year and reports indicate it could shut the doors on all of its 880 U.S. locations.

A spokesperson for the Canadian arm of the company said business is continuing as usual at more than 80 stores. The spokesperson also said Toys R Us is continuing to honour things like gift cards, loyalty points and gift registries. In January this year, the company announced it would be closing 180 locations in the United States this year, but no mention was made of any Canadian liquidations.

Mergers and acquisitions: How they affect the technological world

Experts expect the technological sector to make great inroads in the business world this year. Even though natural resource companies still lead the way in mergers and acquisitions deals, technology is primed to see some increased action this year, so says a recent study. Many of Canada's mergers and acquisitions top deal makers say they expect business to increase by more than 75 and 74 per cent in 2018 in volume and value, respectively.

Canada intends to invest more into the technological field, which could be providing the impetus for possible dealmaking. Those who are knee-deep in the mergers and acquisitions world are keen on technology, especially when it involves deals over the border. Canadian companies are expected to look for tech acquisitions from the foreign front and are hoping foreigners will be looking to do the same in Canada.

Ontario helps small business and commercial sectors

Small businesses are getting an injection to give them the help to continue to grow. Ontario is giving small business owners added tools to help them with such things as hiring and training employees. The initiative, called Small Business Access, will have all these tools in one location to make it less complicated to access. In essence, it's a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

The provincial government will be pouring almost $4 million into the initiative over three years. To be considered small, a business in Ontario has to employ 100 or fewer workers. About one-third of the province's workforce is employed by small business.

Weston fattens its coffers in huge mergers and acquisitions deal

One of Canada's most wealthy families, the Westons, is aiming to create a real estate investment trust (REIT) worth almost $4 billion. In the world of mergers and acquisitions in Canada, this deal will see Choice Properties REIT, a Weston holding that's traded publicly, buy Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (CREIT), bringing Weston's portfolio to 752 properties.  The company's holdings currently include Loblaw's, Shopper's Drug Mart and the Joe Fresh fashion line.

This deal with diversify the George Weston Ltd. portfolio to include non-retail holdings and move into the realm of e-commerce, making the company more competitive. In the move, Choice Properties will become its own entity, according to Galen Weston,  Loblaw and George Weston Ltd. CEO and chair. He said the company had always thought about mergers and acquisitions as a potential strategic option. 

Business and commercial law: Fairfax buys part of Carillion

A recent deal between two companies is saving about 4,500 jobs. Carillion Canada recently filed papers in court for protection against its creditors, but Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. decided to buy the company's facilities management sector. This particular part of the business will provide services to places such as airports, health care and defence facilities, along with oil, mining and gas companies as well as to retail and commercial facilities. In this business and commercial deal, thousands of Carillion jobs in Canada will be saved and moved over to Fairfax.

As is customary in these types of transactions, the deal will need to be approved by the Ontario Superior Court, which has been keeping watch over Carillion's business practices since it applied for credit protection. Carillion said it is using the protection to secure its operations and to come up with ways to appease creditors. All facets under Carillion's umbrella are covered by the protection order. Those areas includes Carillion Canada Holdings, Inc., Carillion Construction Inc. and Carillion Canada Finance Corp.

Mergers and acquisitions: Accounting firms make major deals

Experts have said  business deals around accounting companies will be on the rise in 2018. They said they are expecting a busy year with increases in mergers and acquisitions, and recent business deals in Canada with some high-profile companies may prove those predictions correct. Grant Thornton, MNP and BDO recently announced mergers that are starting 2018 off with a business bang.

BDO picked up the forensic accounting firm of Ferguson + Mak LLP -- an area in which BDO wants to expand. A BDO spokesperson said the merger will help to garner new talent to the company as it continues to further escalate its positive reputation in the industry. Meanwhile, MNP, one of Canada's top accounting and consulting companies, melded with Stratège Services Comptables Inc. out of Montreal, which views the marriage as a supportive, entrepreneurial one.

Business and commercial: Canadian communication partnership ends

Vice Canada  and Rogers Communications are severing their two-year, multi-million dollar business relationship. In the world of business and commercial ventures in Canada, this is big news. Vice's studio business was being shared with Rogers, but as of March 31,Vice will be running its own show. 

Although it has separated from Rogers, Vice says it has its sights on other possible new and exciting partnerships in Canada. The severing of ties with Rogers brings with it some job losses according to the Canadian Media Guild (CMG). A Rogers' spokesperson said Rogers views this divorce as just one that didn't match well and the union was not a money maker. A business analyst said it was likely Rogers who made the decision to end the partnership.

Business and commercial: Minimum wage increase affects Ontario

The minimum wage increase has led some business owners to enlist some drastic measures. As of Jan. 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario increased to $14 an hour from $11.60 -- a jump of more than 20 per cent. That sizable increase has caused some havoc in the business and commercial sectors, leading some business owners to cut both hours and benefits for their employees. 

Thousands of Ontario business owners are trying to adjust to the increase. Some have taken drastic measures such as cutting benefits, axing paid breaks and cutting hours. Some larger corporations have taken swift public backlash for doing so. Those in favour of the wage hike argue that the increase was imperative to allow low-wage employees to earn enough to live on. Proponents believe the move will actually help the economy since these workers may now have some disposable income to purchase goods and services.

No weed woes in Canada's mergers and acquisitions scene in 2018

With the legalization of cannabis on the horizon, the pot business seems to be smoking. So far in 2018, that business has lit up the mergers and acquisitions sector of the market in Canada, and experts say they don't foresee any slow down. One of the biggest deals happened between the west and east.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. out of Alberta recently grabbed up 17.62 per cent of Ontario's medical marijuana producer, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TGOD). The deal gives Aurora first dibs on purchasing 20 per cent of TGOD's yearly weed crop. Aurora also put pen to paper recently for a Denmark-based business deal.

Business and commercial ventures: Foreign retailers choose Canada

Many foreign retailers are choosing Canada to set up shop, even though they're treading lightly. Business and commercial ventures are up with respect to these retailers. In fact, 2017 was a record year in Canada for international businesses coming into the retail market.

Twenty-one internationals shops opened their doors in Canada in 2016. That number jumped to around 50 in 2017. These retailers really started to consider Canada in the early 90s and since then their footprint here has been considerably deeper. Their presence made 2017 a marker year for retail and commercial business in Canada. At the end of October, sales were up 7 per cent over the same period the previous year, Statistics Canada numbers show.

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