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Family that controls Cogeco won't support $10.3B takeover bid that includes side deal with Rogers – CBC.ca

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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 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.

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.

2nd attempt by Rogers to move into Quebec market

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.

If the deal were accepted, Rogers would pay $4.9 billion for the company’s Canadian assets. (J.P. Moczulski/The Canadian Press)

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 CRTC 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 say they believe the offer made was attractive, but there is room for further negotiation.

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

Reaction turns political

In an interview with Quebec City radio station, FM93 (CJMF), Quebec Premier François Legault dismissed the takeover bid. “It is out of the question to let this Quebec company move its head office to Ontario.” 

“We talked this morning with Louis Audet, we speak regularly with Louis Audet, and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep the head office here,” he said during the interview.

Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor — a competitor to Rogers — criticized the offer on Twitter, also citing the location of the company’s head office.

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.

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Canada's top growing companies: 2020 – The Globe and Mail

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W

Welcome to our second annual ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies. The 400 businesses on this list sprawl
across sectors, from fashion to finance, and manufacture everything from medical testing devices to organic
pasta.

Much of the success celebrated in these pages occurred before a global pandemic changed how most
companies operate. But as you will read, many of these businesses were able to adapt, innovate and even expand
despite the challenges posed by these past few months.

As individual companies, and the entire country, work to
rebuild, there’s more need than ever to share the stories of entrepreneurial success—and the innovations and
strategies that made it possible.

OUR METHODOLOGY

Launched in 2019 by The Globe and Mail, the program ranks participating private and public Canadian businesses on three- year revenue growth. Canada’s Top Growing Companies is a voluntary program. We accepted entries from businesses through May 31, 2020.

Applicant companies had to submit a ballot, complete a full application survey and supply supporting financial documentation to our research team for both 2016 and 2019. We evaluated companies based on the most recent fiscal year for which financial statements were available, with a latest possible year-end date of April 30, 2020. In some unique cases, companies were evaluated on calendar years instead of fiscal.

In order to qualify, a company had to have at least $2 million in annual sales in its most recent fiscal year. Companies had to be for-profit, Canadian-run, headquartered in Canada and independent. In rare cases in which applicant companies were recently acquired, they were admitted only if the acquisition occurred following the close of the companies most recent fiscal year.

Franchisors were ranked on corporate revenue only, not systemwide sales. All revenue figures are in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

Research was conducted by Deborah Aarts and Stefanie Marotta. To learn more about the program or to apply for the 2021 ranking, please visit tgam.ca/TopGrowing.

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Shoppers Drug Mart Surrey staff member tests positive for COVID-19 – Vancouver Is Awesome

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The parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw Companies International, confirmed Wednesday that another one of its Surrey employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The employee, who tested positive on a presumptive COVID-19 test, last worked at the 8962 152 St. store location on Friday.

Loblaw regularly updates its COVID-19 page with all positive COVID-19 cases in its stores, by province, in the last 15 days

However, it does not release any personal information about employees.

Last month, multiple Shoppers Drug Mart locations issued notices that team members tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, health officials announced 96 new coronavirus cases in the province.

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How close are we to a coronavirus vaccine? – National Post

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AstraZeneca has had to pause trials twice after participants fell seriously ill and while work has resumed in the UK and elsewhere, the research remains on hold in the US.

Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV, co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert, are pictured in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, March 24, 2020. Photo by China Daily via REUTERS

Which countries have bought doses so far?

Despite global appeals from the WHO for countries to pursue multilateral deals that provide for the equitable distribution of doses, the trials have sparked a multibillion-dollar flurry of vaccine dealmaking by national governments.

The US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is the biggest spender so far, having distributed more than $10bn in funding for vaccine candidates, either via direct financing or through vaccine procurement agreements.

Bar chart showing amount spent on COVID-19 vaccine candidates in billions of dollars
On a per-capita basis, the UK has built the largest and most diversified vaccine portfolio, according to data from Deutsche Bank, having pre-ordered more than five doses per citizen spread across six leading vaccine candidates. The UK is followed closely by the US, Canada and Japan.

A laboratory technician supervises capped vials during filling and packaging tests for the large-scale production and supply of University of Oxfords COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, conducted on a high-performance aseptic vial filling line on September 11, 2020 at the Italian biologics manufacturing facility of multinational corporation Catalent in Anagni, southeast of Rome, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

In total, dealmaking by the US, UK, EU, Japan and other rich nations has meant wealthy countries representing just 13 per cent of the world’s population have bought more than half of the leading vaccine candidates’ promised doses, according to Oxfam, the charity.

Covax, the global vaccine procurement facility, designed to ensure the equitable distribution of doses, only this week secured the participation of 64 higher income countries. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, one of the founders of the facility, has invested up to $895m in nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates that will be distributed under the programme.

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