Canada’s falling dollar may continue to make companies attractive opportunities for foreign investors
The agreement that could see Quebec-based home improvement chain Rona Inc. acquired by U.S. rival Lowe’s is the latest attempt by a foreign investor to scoop up a Canadian business — a list that may grow longer with the lower loonie.
Canada’s cheap dollar stood at 72 cents US Wednesday morning, up from as low as 68.7 cents in January. Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s stock closed Tuesday at $71.87 US on the New York Stock Exchange.
On Wednesday, Lowe’s and Rona said each company’s board of directors had unanimously approved the $.3.2-billion Cdn acquisition, which still must get approved by the various regulatory bodies and shareholders for it to proceed.
Here are some of the standout purchases over the last decade of Canadian companies by foreign interests:
Nexen, a Calgary-based oil and gas producer, was sold in 2013 to China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) for $15.1 billion ($21 billion Cdn today) — a deal the Wall Street Journal called a “poorly timed call on oil prices,” which have since plummeted.
Tim Hortons was bought by Brazil-based 3G Capital, which also owns Burger King, in 2014 in a deal that valued Tim Hortons at $12.5 billion. It was the second takeover for Tims, which had been sold to Wendy’s in 1995 and then spun off as a separate publicly traded company in 2006.
Toronto-based Inco, the world’s second-largest nickel producer, was sold to Brazilian mining giant Vale for $19.4 billion in 2006.
British-Australian miner Rio Tinto took over Canadian aluminum giant Alcan in a $38-billion US ($52.9 billion Cdn today) deal in 2007. The friendly agreement thwarted a takeover attempt by U.S. rival Alcoa.
U.S. Steel Corp. took over Canadian steel-maker Stelco in 2007. The federal government later sued U.S. Steel, saying the company failed to live up to promises it made to maintain investment in Canada. A settlement was reached in December 2011 under which U.S. Steel would maintain Canadian operations until at least 2015 and make a further investment of $40.7 million.
Hudson’s Bay Company was sold to U.S. investor Jerry Zucker in 2006 for $1.1 billion in a hostile takeover, the Globe and Mail reported. After Zucker’s death, U.S. private equity company NRDC Equity Partners took over the retailer in 2008, acquiring the 80 per cent it didn’t already own. Hudson’s Bay was listed as a public company again in 2012, still controlled by NRDC.
Swiss company Xstrata acquired Toronto-based copper and nickel mining company Falconbridge in a 2006 deal that valued the company at about $24.1 billion.
Graphics chipmaker ATI Technologies based in Markham, Ont., was bought by U.S. company Advanced Micro Devices in October 2006 in a deal valued then at $5.6 billion US ($7.8 billion Cdn today).
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