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Family that controls Cogeco won’t support $10.3B bid from U.S. firm, Rogers

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Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


Published Wednesday, September 2, 2020 9:57AM EDT


Last Updated Wednesday, September 2, 2020 3:39PM EDT

The family that controls Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. says it won’t support a hostile bid from a New York firm that offered $10.3-billion to buy the telecommunications companies.

Gestion Audem Inc., a company controlled by the members of the Audet family, said Wednesday that it does not intend to sell its shares and will not support the unsolicited proposal from Altice USA Inc.

The U.S. cable company made the offer as part of a deal that included a side arrangement that would see Rogers Communications Inc. buy Cogeco’s Canadian assets for $4.9 billion.

Gestion Audem holds 69 per cent of Cogeco’s voting rights and 82.9 per cent of voting rights at Cogeco Communications. Louis Audet is executive chairman of the companies.

Earlier Wednesday, Altice announced an all-cash cash offer that included $800 million to secure the ownership interests and voting shares held by Louis Audet and his family.

Altice would pay $106.53 per share for the remaining Cogeco Inc. subordinate voting shares and $134.22 per share for each Cogeco Communications Inc. subordinate voting share, a roughly 30-per-cent premium on each stock’s one-month, volume-weighted average.

Altice also entered into an arrangement to sell Cogeco’s Canadian assets to Rogers, the Montreal-based company’s largest long-term shareholder, for $4.9-billion cash were the Cogeco bid accepted.

“Under the stewardship of Mr. Audet, the Audet family, and the 4,500 Cogeco team members, Cogeco has built an iconic company in Canada and the United States,” Rogers president and chief executive Joe Natale said in a statement.

“This meaningful offer reflects the tremendous accomplishments of the Audet family and Cogeco’s employees.”

Rogers declined to comment further on the offer.

The proposal caused Cogeco Inc.’s shares to shoot up by almost 20 per cent to $94.57 in early afternoon trading, while Cogeco Communications Inc.’s reached $114.37, an increase of more than 15 per cent. Rogers’s hit $54.94, an almost five per cent increase.

This is the second time Rogers has been rebuffed in a move to wade into the Quebec market. Rogers tried to acquire Videotron in 2000, but the telecommunications company was eventually purchased by Quebecor.

Were the Cogeco deal to go through, Altice would own the company’s U.S. assets, including Atlantic Broadband, a cable operator providing residential and business customers with broadband, video and telephony services in 11 U.S. states.

The proposal would also benefit Rogers as it amalgamates Ontario cable assets, wrote Aravinda Galappatthige and Matthew Lee, analysts with Canaccord Genuity Corp, in a note to investors.

A successful bid could soften the threat of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), who buy network capacity from wholesalers instead of running their own, they said.

Cogeco long pushed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for a “hybrid MVNO” model, which would give companies with existing telecom infrastructure access to national wireless networks and the ability to resell the service to their customers.

“The hybrid MVNO model largely relies on the existence of localized wireline companies with the infrastructure and balance sheet to enter the wireless market and subsequently invest in their own networks,” they said.

“Naturally, Cogeco was the obvious choice for this, which could have increased the level of wireless competition in Ontario. It can be argued that if a transaction occurs, the threat of hybrid MVNO likely wanes.”

Galappatthige and Lee believe the offer made was attractive, but there is room for further negotiation.

They expect Altice and Rogers would be willing to be willing to increase their bid and that regulatory approval could be obtained.

Jayme Albert, a spokesperson for Canada’s Competition Bureau, said in an email to The Canadian Press that the federal body was aware of the Altice and Cogeco reports, but could not confirm whether it is reviewing the proposed transaction.

Under the Competition Act, mergers of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy are subject to review by the regulator to determine whether they will likely result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in any market in Canada, he said.

In general, the bureau must be given advance notice of proposed transactions when the target’s assets in Canada or revenues from sales in or from Canada generated from those assets exceed $96 million, and when the combined Canadian assets or revenues of the parties and their respective affiliates in, from or into Canada exceed $400 million, he added.

A statement from Cogeco said the non-binding proposal will be submitted to and reviewed by the corporations’ boards of directors Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2020.

Source: – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

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COVID 19: Here's the list of Ottawa-area pharmacies that will offer free testing for asymptomatic people – Ottawa Citizen

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The Ontario government announced Wednesday it would expand COVID-19 testing to pharmacies, with as many as 60 pharmacies set to offer free testing to asymptomatic people beginning Friday.

Here are the 13 pharmacies in the Ottawa area that will offer testing by appointment to asymptomatic patients.

Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies at:

1180 Walkley Road, Ottawa, ON, K1V 2M5, (613) 737-3344, https://stores.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store/620/

647 Earl Armstrong Road, Ottawa, ON, K1V 2G2, (613) 822-6746, https://stores.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store/1161/

455 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1Y9, (613) 238-9041, https://stores.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store/1428/

541 Montreal Road, Ottawa, ON, K1K 0V1, (613) 740-0616, https://stores.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store/641/

3940 Innes Road, Orléans, ON, K1W 1K9, (613) 834-7383,https://stores.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/store/1139/

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Shopify fires two 'rogue' employees following data breach – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Shopify Inc. says it has notified Canada’s privacy commissioner about a recent data breach it says was carried out by two “rogue” employees.

“In accordance with Canadian law, we promptly notified all affected merchants,” a spokeswoman for the company wrote in an email.

“We have subsequently provided information regarding the incident to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.”

Earlier Wednesday, the commissioner’s office said it hadn’t yet received a report about the breach.

“Our office is reaching out to Shopify, given the potential seriousness of the breach, to request more information about the matter,” Vito Pilieci, a senior communications adviser wrote in an email.

Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, it is mandatory for companies to report breaches to the privacy commissioner’s office, “where it is reasonable to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual,” Pilieci said.

Shopify spokeswoman Rebecca Feigelsohn said the two employees involved in the breach were fired.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa-based company first revealed on an online discussion board that it had identified two workers involved in illegitimately obtaining records connected to some of its merchants.

“We immediately terminated these individuals’ access to our Shopify network and referred the incident to law enforcement. We are currently working with the FBI and other international agencies in their investigation of these criminal acts,” the company said.

“While we do not have evidence of the data being utilized, we are in the early stages of the investigation and will be updating affected merchants as relevant.”

The customer data the employees were accessing was linked to fewer than 200 merchants, who Shopify has declined to identify but says have been notified.

The improperly accessed data includes basic contact information such as emails, names and addresses, as well as order details, such as what products and services were purchased.

Shopify said complete payment card numbers and other sensitive personal or financial information were not part of the breach and it has yet to find evidence that any of the data was used.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 23, 2020.

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Shopify says two support staff stole customer data from sellers – TechCrunch

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Shopify has confirmed a data breach, in which two “rogue members” of its support team stole customer data from at least 100 merchants.

In a blog post, the online shopping site said that its investigation so far showed that the two employees, who have since been fired, were “engaged in a scheme to obtain customer transactional records of certain merchants.”

Shopify said it had referred the matter to the FBI.

The employees allegedly stole customer data, including names, postal addresses and order details, from “less than 200 merchants,” but financial data was unaffected.

Shopify said that it does not have any evidence to suggest that the data was used, but that it had notified affected merchants of the incident.

One merchant shared with TechCrunch a copy of Shopify’s email notification, which said the company first became aware of the breach on September 15, and that the two employees obtained data that was accessible using Shopify’s Orders API, which lets merchants process orders on behalf of their customers. The email also said that the last four digits of the customers’ payment card was taken in the incident.

Shopify did not say how many end customers were affected by the theft of data from merchants, but the email sent by Shopify contained the specific number of customer records taken in the breach. In this merchant’s case, more than 1.3 million customer records; over 4,900 were accessed.

A spokesperson for Shopify didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Just last month, Instacart admitted two of its third-party support staff improperly accessed the information for shoppers who deliver grocery orders to customers.

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