On March 29, 2000 Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc. completed its global initial public offering of approximately $1.8 billion of common shares. The closing of the IPO marked the culmination of the demutualization of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life), one of Canada’s largest insurance companies.
The demutualization of Sun Life involved the conversion of the company from a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders to a stock corporation with public shareholders. This transaction represented one of the most complex insurance company demutualizations yet undertaken in the world. Commenced in August 1997, the demutualization of Sun Life involved insurance and securities regulatory authorities in five countries on three continents, and included the conversion of Sun Life’s global branch operations into subsidiaries of the new public company.
Tim Unwin, Gord Currie, Paul Belanger, Steve Ashbourne and Kenneth Klassen of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP represented the underwriters on the transaction. Sun Life was represented principally by Torys, with a team led by Richard Balfour and which included Patricia Koval, Blair Keefe, Philip Mohtadi, Daniel Donnelly, Lucia ten Kortenaar on tax matters, Matthew Cockburn, Judith Kim, Jennifer Guerard and Michael Amm.