Friday News Finds – September 7, 2018

By Danica Bennewies

Hello and welcome back to Top Five Friday Finds – the weekly series in which we share five of the corporate law news stories that dominated the papers (and our conversations) this week. First off, we are sad to say good bye to Tegan Valentine who graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law earlier this year. Tegan has been the voice of Friday Finds and we wish her all the best as she continues with what will be an amazing career. Thank you Tegan! Now, let’s get into this week’s stories.

This week, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) released new proposed disclosure requirements for companies that use non-GAAP financial measures. Among other changes, the regulations state that unless all of the criteria for reporting using a non-GAAP measure are met, a company must not use such a measure. It’s high time that these updates were made to the existing guidelines, as the use of non-standardized measures is growing and can be both confusing and misleading for investors. The proposed regulations are open to a 90-day comment period, ending December 5th.

With the cannabis legalization date of October 17th looming closer, cannabis stocks have been soaring in value. For example, two issuers – Cronos Group Inc and Tilray Inc – both saw double-digit gains on Wednesday. Furthermore, Canadian investors who want to gain exposure to the cannabis sector without having to engage in individual stock picking will soon have the option to invest in a cannabis stock mutual fund. It was announced this week that the StoneCastle Cannabis Growth Fund is planned to launch next Friday, with 13 securities included in the fund’s portfolio. Experts believe that this fund is the first cannabis industry-focused pure play mutual fund in Canada.

Now, let’s take a look at what has been going on in the U.S this week. On Tuesday, Amazon joined Apple in the trillionaire club by becoming the second U.S. publicly listed company to reach $1 trillion in market value. In the morning, Amazon’s share price rose to $2,050.50, pushing the market capitalization over the one trillion mark, before falling shortly after. You’ll recall that Apple crossed this threshold just over a month ago. The question now is: who will be the first to hit $2 trillion? The race is on.

In other Amazon-related news, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. introduced legislation on Wednesday to tax corporations for every dollar that their employees receive in government assistance. This comes after months of Sanders’ criticism of Amazon, where warehouse workers rely on food stamps while CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $168 billion and growing. Sanders has named the legislation the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, or the BEZOS Act for short. We see what you did there, Bernie.

Speaking of billionaires, Elon Musk has hired two lawyers while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigates him for his comments about converting Tesla into a private company. Reportedly, one of Musk’s lawyers was previously an SEC commissioner from 2002 to 2007. Tesla shares have been down 18% while the controversy has unfolded over the past month, however legal analysts believe that the SEC won’t remove Musk from Tesla due to the negative impact it will have on shareholders. Tesla shares took an even further plunge this morning after the company’s chief accounting officer announced his resignation and a video of Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whiskey on a podcast was circulated on social media.

Those are your major finds for this week! Check back next Friday for more news highlights.