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Category Archives: Contractual Matters

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SHOTGUN! You should know this before triggering a buy-sell provision

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Shareholders, Strategy

There are important lessons in a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision examining shotgun buy-sell provisions, and in particular, the enforceability of a buy-sell offer that does not perfectly comply with the terms and conditions of the shotgun provision. Unanimous shareholder agreements, partnership agreements, and joint venture agreements often contain what is commonly known as… → Read More

New 2014 Investment Canada Act WTO Review Threshold

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

Industry Canada has announced that the Investment Canada Act (Act) threshold for 2014 that applies to most direct acquisitions of Canadian businesses by non-Canadian investors from World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries is $354 million (an increase from last year’s $344 million threshold). The threshold applies to the gross book value of the target’s assets…. → Read More

A Guide to Canadian M&A in the Second Half of 2013

Posted in Awards and Recognitions, Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

In July, we published a blog post on the Canadian M&A landscape in the first half of 2013.  As 2013 has now come to an end, it seems appropriate to recap what happened in the second half of 2013.  McCarthy Tétrault advised on seven of Lexpert’s top ten deals of 2013, published in the January… → Read More

Dealmaking in the Beauty and Personal Care Space

Highlights from the Recent Mergermarket Report, Buying Into Beauty

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A

Check out our new post published on our Retail Consumer and Advisor Blog on Buying Into Beauty, the recent Mergermarket report prepared in association with Michel Dyens & Co. In addition to highlighting some of what we think are the key themes coming out of that report for the retail and consumer products audience in… → Read More

Should a Seller Care About Due Diligence?

Yes. And here are a few MORE reasons why.

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

In our recent post we considered, to what extent, the seller in the context of an M&A transaction should care about legal due diligence, and suggested that there are a number of important reasons why a seller should concern itself with legal due diligence in the face of an acquisition. In addition to our thoughts… → Read More

Should a Seller Care About Due Diligence?

Yes. And here’s a few reasons why.

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

Legal due diligence is typically a key part of an acquisition, but historically the focus has been on diligence from the perspective of the buyer, and less frequently from the perspective of the seller. Of course, this is natural given it’s the buyer who will want to uncover everything it can about the business it… → Read More

Are you meeting expectations? A Case for Benchmarking

A Canadian perspective on the interpretation and use of benchmarking in an efforts clause

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

The authors of a recent US article appearing in Corporate Counsel explored how efforts clauses – that is, contractual provisions that require one party to a contract to exercise some standard of effort to maximize the benefits to be received by the other party to the contract – may be improved. Their hypothesis is simple:… → Read More

A Guide to Canadian M&A in the First Half of 2013

Recovery Hits Roadblock: 2013 sees decline in Canadian and Global deal volume and value

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

As we move into the second half of 2013, it seems appropriate to look back at what has gone on so far this year across the Canadian M&A landscape. Below we’ve highlighted some of the major news items and deals that have taken place so far. First Half Sees Fewer and Smaller Deals. The first… → Read More

Deal or No Deal?

The importance of knowing when you have an agreement

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

When negotiating a deal, it is critical for parties to be aware of when they have reached an agreement. Recently, in Proton Energy Group SA v. Public Company Orlen Lietuva, [2013] EWHC 334 (Comm), the English High Court found in a preliminary motion that it was “plausible” that an email with the word “confirmed” was… → Read More

Challenges for State-Owned Enterprises Arising From Proposed Amendments to the Investment Canada Act

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

The Canadian government’s Bill C-60 contains proposed amendments to the Investment Canada Act that will significantly impact foreign investors whom the Canadian government considers as state-owned enterprises (SOEs).  An investor might be an SOE even if a foreign state only indirectly “influences” the investor.  Under these amendments, if the Minister of Industry determines that an… → Read More

Ignorance is not bliss: beware minimal due diligence

Lessons from the Quebec Court of Appeal

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

The Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision in Francoeur v. 4417186 Canada Inc., 2013 QCCA 191, provides a cautionary tale on the dangers of entering into a share purchase agreement and subsequently closing a share purchase transaction, without ample due diligence. The one-sided apportionment of risk The Francoeur share purchase agreement (the “SPA”), which was signed… → Read More

Doing Business in Canada – 2013 Edition

Buying a Canadian Business, eh? A look back.

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

Last Spring we announced a special series of blog posts aimed at addressing some of the most significant distinctions between Canadian and US law that ought to be considered in the early stages of the proposed acquisition of a Canadian target. Following the launch of that series our team blogged about important topics like: Financing… → Read More

Good Faith in the Shadow of Contractual Rights

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

Most M&A contracts contain provisions that confer discretionary contractual powers on one or both parties to the transaction (e.g., the right to withhold consent to an assignment).  One of the most pressing questions in modern contract law is whether the party in possession of such a power must exercise it in good faith. In Bhasin… → Read More

Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Uncovering the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

In my last post, I briefly canvassed the differences between defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pension plans.  I cautioned that, due to their perceived financial predictability and apparent straightforward nature, DC plans don’t always get the attention that they deserve from buyers undergoing the due diligence review of a target. While DB plans… → Read More

You Say UCC, We Say PPSA.

A discussion of the Canadian equivalent of the UCC - the Personal Property Security Act in the context of an M&A transaction.

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

Although we often think of the regimes that govern registrations made against personal property as a concern to lenders and their counsel, M&A lawyers and business people are unable to escape this area of the law… at least not completely. As part of the legal due diligence process in almost any M&A deal, registrations against… → Read More

Defined Benefit Versus Defined Contribution Pension Plans: The Basics

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

When purchasing an existing business, many buyers are understandably reluctant to assume obligations under a target’s defined benefit (DB) pension plan. Under a traditional DB plan, members (i.e. plan participants) are entitled to a guaranteed pension amount calculated by a formula. While active employees may contribute to such plans, each Canadian jurisdiction’s laws place the… → Read More

Plugging (You Into) Even More Online M&A Resources

More Online Resources for Deal Makers – What you should know about (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

In our last post, we looked at six traditional resources and more sophisticated paid services that help bring us up to speed in the M&A world. In this post we will list some of the more contemporary deal commentary resources:     NY Times DealB%k: This blog delivers the latest news on mergers, acquisitions, venture… → Read More

Plugging (You Into) Online M&A Resources

Top 6 Online Resources for Deal Makers – What you should know about (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

Whether you’re a seasoned deal maker or just starting out, we all rely on various resources to stay apprised of the cutting edge developments in M&A. Given that the latest information is driven by online resources, we thought it would be appropriate to put together a list of our favourite resources that help keep us… → Read More

Go-Shops in Canada

Go-Shop Provisions in Canadian M&A Transactions: Advantages, Disadvantages and Considerations

Posted in Contractual Matters, Public M&A

It is quite common in negotiated acquisitions for companies to perform a pre-signing market canvass and to enter into an acquisition agreement that contains a “no-shop” provision with a fiduciary out clause for unsolicited third-party proposals, as well as a break fee payable in the eventuality of the target company accepting a superior offer.  Less… → Read More

Hot Off the Press – Updated Canada Tax Service Quick Reference Guide 2012

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Equity, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Shareholders, Strategy

For those interested, the updated edition of McCarthy Tétrault’s 2012 biannual Canada Tax Service Quick Reference Guide is now available on Thomson Reuters/Carswell’s website. The handy booklet is an excellent reference tool for tax practitioners, financial advisors, businesses and individuals seeking pertinent tax rates and facts. Ylang Ha, Douglas Cannon, Frédéric Harvey, Nigel Johnston, Gabrielle… → Read More

The Rising Trend of Reverse Break Fees

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

Break fees have for many years been a conventional deal protection feature of public M&A transactions. These fees, often referred to as termination fees as they are tied to the termination provisions in the contract containing the deal terms, are typically payable by a target company where it elects to end an agreement for an… → Read More

Under the Hood: Guidelines for Drafting Material Adverse Change Clauses

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

There are a number of ways in which a MAC clause can be drafted. Typically, these provisions begin with a broad definition of the type of event that will constitute a “material adverse change” on the business or assets being acquired. This is often followed by a list of explicit “carve-outs” which designate the events… → Read More

MAC Primer: An Overview to the Material Adverse Change Clause

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

In most acquisitions, the distance between signing and closing is measured in weeks, if not months. During this interim period the buyer’s ability to safeguard or control the target’s business is limited. This is an uncomfortable position that can be exacerbated if the transaction is consummated between strategic competitors or in a market with substantial… → Read More

MAC-Ademy: An Introduction to the Material Adverse Change Clause

Posted in Contractual Matters, Private Transactions, Public M&A, Strategy

Recently, a curious team of our M&A bloggers presented an internal roundtable discussion aimed at understanding some of the key issues regarding material adverse change (otherwise known as “MAC”) clauses. Part of what came out of that discussion is a presentation that provides an introduction to the MAC clause and some analysis regarding current trends… → Read More