Streetwise newsletter: The week’s best reads: Funding, Laurentian, bitcoin

Good morning Streetwise readers. Here are the best reads of the week. Have a fantastic weekend.

A surprising flurry of share sales has opened the floodgates for Canadian firms yearning to raise money, marking the conclusion of a funding drought and reversing the fortunes for Bay Street underwriters behind those deals. (Tim Kiladze, for readers)

Playing catch-up with its much larger peers has become the story of Laurentian Bank’s life because it was founded 171 decades ago as the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. Since taking over as chief executive officer two decades back, François Desjardins has appeared to be winning the race. (Konrad Yakabuski, for readers)

The long-term prognosis for Canadian natural gas costs is ugly. Yet there remains a huge pack of little- to medium-size gas manufacturers, most just scraping by. This is when consolidation must change into high gear, particularly as the industry struggles to be applicable to significant investors. (Jeff Jones, for readers)

Northleaf Capital Partners is expanding its private-credit company as institutional investors around the world push more money into loan plans in pursuit of higher yields. The Toronto-based company is set to announce the closing of its initial worldwide credit finance, Northleaf Private Credit I, having amassed $670-million (U.S.) in investor obligations. (Jacqueline Nelson, for readers)

The meteoric rise in the purchase price of bitcoin — that surpassed $16,000 (U.S.) on Thursday — has buoyed the hopes of cryptocurrency fans, even as worries about a bubble continue to mount. (Alexandra Posadzki)

The hottest investment on Earth is going to take a significant step toward legitimacy — but Wall Street believes that’s a risky move. In only days, bitcoin will finish its journey from the obscure corners of the world wide web to the heart of contemporary finance. (Joanna Slater, for readers)

A fledgling Vancouver venture capital firm which has had an unusual success rate early in the life span of its first fund is aiming to increase almost 3 times as much with its next capital pool — and making quick work of it. (Sean Silcoff, for readers)

Canada’s investment authorities are raising the alarm over wealth management companies that fail to adhere to the industry-funded ombudsman’s recommendations to compensate customers after a dispute. (Clare O’Hara)

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. is selling $200-million in stocks even as the firm dials back spending and warns of further delays to its marquee Trans Mountain pipeline growth. (Jeff Lewis)

Laurentian Bank of Canada is attempting to calm jittery investors, implying shareholders overreacted when they sent its share price tumbling after the bank disclosed problems with some mortgages it issued. (James Bradshaw)

Among Canada’s unheralded software success stories, Ottawa-based Titus Inc., is selling a vast majority ownership stake to U.S. private equity giant Blackstone Group LP. (Sean Silcoff, for readers)

If it was just about the money, Rogers Communications Inc. could have sold off high-profile holdings like baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays years back. (Andrew Willis, for readers)

Mark Skapinker constructed some of Canada’s top software companies in the 1990s, then became one of Canada’s top venture capitalists in the 2000s. Now, he is drawing on both adventures with his most recent plan: to turn conventional venture capital on its mind. (Sean Silcoff)

With customers embracing healthy lifestyles and conglomerates scrambling to keep pace with fast-changing food options, international giant Nestlé SA is shelling out $2.3-billion (U.S.) to obtain Montreal’s Atrium Innovations Inc., a privately owned firm that specializes in organic and natural supplements. (Tim Kiladze and Nicolas Van Praet)

It required a series of major hurricanes to dent Bank of Montreal’s fourth-quarter earnings, capping an otherwise strong year that demonstrated few flaws in the Big Six banks’ capacity to churn out higher gains. (James Bradshaw)

Laurentian Bank reported an audit had found “documentation problems and customer misrepresentations” on several mortgages it had sold to another firm, triggering the worst one-day selloff in its own stocks since 2009.

Because interest rates remain so low and profits are subdued, Manulife Financial Corp. has been debating what to do with certain parts of John Hancock, its fighting American organization. Rumours of a sale or spin-off of Manulife’s struggling units, especially the ones that pay premiums, have swirled for a short time. (Tim Kiladze, for readers)

The mind of exchange-traded funds for AGF Management Ltd. will be leaving the business at the start of 2018. (Clare O’Hara, for readers)


President Donald Trump took aim at the third-largest U.S. bank on Friday, composing on Twitter that government penalties and fines against Wells Fargo amp; Co might be hiked amid an ongoing sales scandal.

Construction firm Aecon Group Inc. says it has received two regulatory permissions required for it to be sold to a Chinese state-owned firm for $1.5-billion.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is investing $320-million in a partnership with over a dozen contemporary logistics properties in Hong Kong.

U.K. company chiefs called for a swift and comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union as Brexit discussions moved onto shaping the nation’s future relationship with the bloc, with only 15 months remaining before Britain is supposed to leave. (for subscribers)

AmorChem has raised a $44.2 million second fund to invest in seed-stage biotechnology companies. AmorChem II was endorsed by the Québec government, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Merck, along with other shareholders.

Kinepolis Group NV has completed the acquisition of Landmark Cinemas Canada LP from TriWest Capital Partners and Landmark management shareholders. Originally announced in September 2017, the purchase closed today following the acceptance by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are finding their way into the dark pools that allow asset managers to execute multiple large block trades simultaneously, without leaving ripples in the market place.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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