Welcome to the Lexpert Special Edition on Finance and M&A. In this issue, alongside the biographical information about Lexpert-ranked lawyers, we bring you topical articles including our Top 10 Deals of 2019.
In picking the top deals, the quantum of the deal is important but not determinative. It is the complexity and hurdles that were overcome that truly reflect the value of the specialized lawyers who acted on these deals. In fact, many of these deals are years in the making and involve various stakeholders across multiple jurisdictions. For example, the C$1.9-billion Wataynikaneyap transmission project in northwestern Ontario was a decade in the making, and the project is majority-owned by a holding company consisting of 24 First Nations. Hasbro’s acquisition of Entertainment One involved assets and regulatory approvals from all over the world.
Other deals are one step in a larger story. After Newmont completed its acquisition of Goldcorp, Newmont Goldcorp and Barrick Gold combined their mining properties in Nevada, creating the world’s largest gold-producing complex, in a deal Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow said was 20 years in the making. Pembina’s acquisition of Kinder Morgan continued the trend of consolidation in the Canadian oilsands.
And much of the complexity faced by corporate lawyers can be evident in not just individual deals but in the wider trends these lawyers see. Shareholder engagement, environmental, social and governance issues and the oversight of corporate conduct are major concerns that boards will have to deal with in 2020. Canada is an attractive place for private equity, and the public markets are not getting the same attention from investors. That means that the private equity market is also highly competitive, and there are very few proprietary deals where a fund would find a business and buy it without having competing bids
The lawyers involved in these deals face these complexities head on and work tirelessly to get the deal done. They bring expertise and flexibility, providing value in a complex business environment that is never dull.