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. 

This deal means the Weston companies will own about 66 per cent of the combined company and shareholders, about 27 per cent. Before this is a done deal, it has to go through REIT unit holders and the federal Competition Bureau, which usually reviews all Canadian mergers. The merger will revamp the corporate structure of the business with some top flight executives changing roles.

These kinds of business deals need the expertise of knowledgeable lawyers with business acumen. Even those involved in mergers and acquisitions in Canada that aren't in the billions of dollars might do well to get legal guidance before making any major decisions. A lawyer will make sure any contracts are within the letter of the law and that they ensure the best interests of clients. 

Source: toronto.citynews.ca, "Westons' Choice Properties to create Canada's largest REIT, buys rival for $3.9B", David Paddon, Feb. 15, 2018

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