Several months ago we asked whether a COVID-19-related impact on a business might constitute a “Material Adverse Change” (referred to as a “MAC,” or a material adverse effect, “MAE”) under merger agreements, and we noted the near complete absence of case law on the issue in Canada (see: “COVID-19 and Material Adverse Change Provisions
Lessons of the Crew Gold Decision on M&A Engagement Letters
Financial advisors are often critical to the success of an M&A transaction. Often, but perhaps not always. Should the fees payable to a financial advisor be denied if, through no fault of its own, an M&A transaction is completed without any involvement of the advisor? This question is the subject matter of Crew Gold a decision of the Ontario Superior Court which was recently affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
In M&A sell-side roles, financial advisors are typically retained to advise boards on strategy, as well as perform a number of related tasks, including: preparing a timetable, identifying prospective purchasers, preparing a confidential information memorandum (CIM) and standstill agreement, providing a market check on any offers received, assisting in the due diligence process, providing an opinion as to the financial fairness of any offers, reviewing various deal documents and assisting with communications to, and at times interacting with, the public, key stakeholders, rating agencies and proxy advisory firms.
M&A advisory fees for sell-side roles are typically success-based, payable on completion of a transaction. Prior to completion, the advisor may receive a fee for the delivery of an opinion relating to financial fairness and periodic work fees, all of which are usually credited against the success fee. Work fees are typically modest compared to the success fee, as most issuers prefer not to run up huge advisory costs if no transaction is ultimately completed. Besides, it is often argued, any success fee is effectively for the account of the acquirer.…
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New Take-Over Bid Rules Seek to Level the Playing Field … But Will Bidders Still Play?
On March 31, 2015, the Canadian Securities Administrators issued their highly anticipated proposal to make the most significant changes to the Canadian take-over bid regime in years, one of the stated goals of which is to “rebalance the current dynamics” between bidders, boards and shareholders. The three principal changes would (i) mandate a 50% minimum…
Ontario Court of Appeal Loosens Restrictions on Securities Class Actions
When the Ontario Court of Appeal speaks, it sets important policy for the securities industry. On February 3, 2014, the industry was told that class actions claiming damages for secondary market misrepresentations are rendered easier to commence and continue.
In Greene v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a rarely assembled five‑member Court Bench overturned…