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Brad Meikle

British private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners has agreed to sell a majority stake in portfolio company Van Geloven BV to Canada's McCain Foods Ltd. No financial terms were released. Based in Tilburg, the Netherlands, Van Geloven is a producer of frozen convenience snacks and foods across a range of brands. Florenceville, New Brunswick-based McCain said the acquisition supports its strategy for growth in European markets. With the deal's close, Van Geloven will operate as a standalone McCain business. TowerBrook, which acquired the company in partnership with management in March 2015, will remain a minority investor.
Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has reaffirmed its previously announced recommendation of the $2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw Media Inc by Corus Entertainment Inc (TSX: CJR.B), Corus announced. Investors in Corus, a Toronto-based media and content company, will vote on the deal on March 9. Corus said ISS has urged that shareholders reject the dissident proxy released by Catalyst Capital Group. Catalyst, a Canadian private equity firm and Corus minority shareholder, opposes the Shaw Media deal, arguing that Corus will overpay for the asset.
Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group has urged investors in Corus Entertainment Inc (TSX: CJR.B) to reject the company's proposed $2.65 billion buy of Shaw Media Inc. Shareholders will vote on the deal on March 9. Catalyst, a Corus minority investor, said Corus has not fulfilled its fiduciary duty by considering potential remedies to address an alleged overpayment for Shaw Media of up to $858 million. Catalyst said it has also requested a hearing by the Ontario Securities Commission to look into disclosure issues related to the acquisition. Corus this week turned down a rights offering proposal from Catalyst that would extend deal participation to all shareholders.
Group Force Benefits Inc, a Canadian group insurance benefits specialist, has been acquired by NFP Corp, a U.S.-based insurance and benefits broker and consultant. No financial terms were released for the deal, which closed in late 2015. Group Force, which has offices in Toronto and Montréal, works with brokers and insurers to create group benefits solutions and back office efficiencies. NFP said the acquisition strengthens its presence in the Canadian market and opens doors for future acquisitions there. Based in New York, NFP is a portfolio investment of U.S. private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Madison Dearborn bought the company for US$1.3 billion in July 2013.
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has acquired a minority interest in Elior Group, a French provider of contract catering, concession catering and services. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which will allow the Caisse to be represented on the company's board of directors. Based in Paris, Elior serves four million customers daily in 18,600 restaurants and points of sale. The Caisse's Andreas Beroutsos said the pension fund manager will make use of its network and knowledge of the North American market to support Elior's continued global expansion.
N. Harris Computer Corp, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc (TSX: CSU), has closed is previously announced buy of SIV.AG, a German provider of utility billing, financial and customer care outsourcing solutions for utilities and energy service companies. No financial terms were disclosed. Constellation said the acquisition expands Harris’ existing utility software business with customers located in Europe. Based in Toronto, Constellation is an acquirer, manager and builder of vertical market software businesses. Publicly listed in 2006, it remains a portfolio company of OMERS Private Equity.
Ares Capital Corp said it was the agent for a US$310 million senior secured credit facility that supported a refinancing alongside the purchase of a Canadian business by U.S.-based Industrial Container Services (ICS). ICS bought the industrial container division of The Bodtker Group, a Calgary-based provider of lubricants, chemicals and packaging products, in late January. No financial terms were released. In a separate statement, ICS, a provider of reusable container solutions, said the acquisition gives the company geographic reach it would not have been able to achieve on its own. Based in Maitland, Florida, ICS has been backed by U.S. private equity firm Aurora Capital Group since 2011.
BB&T Corp (NYSE: BBT) has agreed to acquire Swett & Crawford from Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford, a British wholesale and reinsurance broker. BB&T said it will pay US$500 million in cash for Swett & Crawford, a wholesale insurance broker headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year. Cooper Gay merged with Swett & Crawford in 2010. In early 2013, U.S. private equity firm Lightyear Capital and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) jointly acquired the business. Last month, Lightyear and PSP again partnered in the proposed buy of broker-deal network AIG Advisor Group.
Export Development Canada (EDC) has earmarked $750 million to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada's oil and gas industry that have been impacted by commodity price declines. EDC said it will lend support to companies investing in key areas. They include productivity improvements; infrastructure that will increase market access for resources; new technologies that diversify products; and advances in environmental sustainability. A trade finance agency, EDC is funded through the fees and interest charged on its loans and insurance policies.
Three Canadian pension funds have formed part of a consortium that has agreed to acquire the company that operates London City Airport. No financial terms were released; however, Reuters previously reported the value of asset to be about £2 billion ($3.8 billion). The Canadian pension funds—Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo), Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan—joined with Kuwait Investment Authority to buy the airport from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and Highstar Capital. GIP acquired a majority stake in the asset in 2006. London City Airport served 4.3 million passengers in 2015.

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