By Tegan Valentine
Hello and welcome back to Top Five Friday Finds – the weekly series where we share five of the business news stories that dominated the papers (and our conversations) this week.
Remember a few weeks go when we posted about Aurora Cannabis’s hostile takeover of Cannimed Tharapeutics? Well the transaction is back in the news after CanniMed filed a lawsuit against Aurora for “multiple claims of wrongdoing” To recap, Aurora launched an all-stock hostile takeover bid for CanniMed back in November 2017. If the transaction were to go through, it would create the second-largest medical-cannabis company in Canada. CanniMed’s lawsuit alleges that Aurora conspired to injure CanniMed’s economic interests – and is asking for $725 million in damages. The outcome of the case remains to be seen, but rest assured this is not the last we’ll hear of the ongoing Aurora/CanniMed saga.
Carrying on with the cannabis trend, the Bank of Montreal blazed a new trail this week when it was the first of the ‘big five’ Canadian lenders to participate in a major marijuana deal On Wednesday, Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest licensed producer of medical cannabis, announced a bought deal valued at approximately $175 million. The deal was lead by joint book runners BMO Capital Markets and GMP Securities LP, and indicates the softening attitude of Canadian banks towards the burgeoning marijuana industry. With that being said, you shouldn’t count on seeing a huge uptick in big five involvement in the industry! Many banks are still hesitant, and ‘weighing’ the risks to protect bank customers and stakeholders.The beauty contest for Amazon’s new headquarters is on and it looks like Toronto is still in the running! The online merchandise retail behemoth has been hunting for a new home, and while 10 Canadian cities applied for consideration Toronto is the sole Canadian city to make the cut. Amazon intends to spend over $5 billion US building their new North American headquarters, and the project is estimated to add 50,000 high-paying jobs to the selected city. No decision has been made yet, but fingers are crossed that Toronto manages to sway the judges!
The Bank of Canada has spoken at it looks like benchmark lending rates are going up a quarter point to 1.25%. Canada’s biggest lenders responded almost instantly, with all of the big 5 banks bumping lending rates up a corresponding quarter percentage point within 24 hours of the announcement.The increase in lending rates didn’t come as a huge surprise, as the Bank had hinted back in December that a rate hike would be coming in the new year. Citing solid economic performance as motivation for the hike, the Bank did indicate that more rate increases are likely coming down the pipe, altho critics are quick to point out that the move might not be smart with NAFTA up in the air.
And finally, panicking cryptocurrency holders can rejoice! While Bitcoin prices have seen a dramatic dive over the past week, Vancouver based InvestX is offering to take cryptocurrency and invest it in traditional asset classes. While many funds accept cash to invest in virtual currency, InvestX is the first Canadian investment fund to do the reverse. The fund allows cryptocurrency investors to convert their Bitcoin (or other currency) directly in U.S. dollars at spot rates, allowing investors to skirt the days long process it takes to typical convert digital coins into case.