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The Challenges of Selling a Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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In the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, when mandatory lockdowns turned Canada’s largest cities into ghost towns, small business owners feared the worst.

As the year comes to a close, however, the situation has come to seem a little less dire. While plenty of businesses have had to close their doors for good, others have found ways to adapt to the new reality through delivery, curbside pickup, and other innovations that make it easy for customers to continue patronizing them in safe and responsible ways.

This has brought with it a certain amount of clarity. In some cases, the coronavirus shock has even provided business owners with an opportunity to have a realistic conversation about where they see themselves in five years.

This has led some Canadian business owners to start thinking about whether or not 2021 is the right time to sell to younger entrepreneurs who have the energy and vision to face the challenges of the contemporary market.

How to Sell a Business in Canada

Selling a small business in Canada is a process that involves many steps. Business sales are regulated by the federal and provincial governments, and even if you already know the person you’re selling to, it’s a lot harder than simply handing over a set of keys and cashing a cheque — and if you don’t already have a buyer in mind, the process is even more complex.

In most cases, before a business sale can be closed, the following steps will be necessary:

  • Strategic planning to determine the right time to sell
  • Valuation of the company to determine current market value
  • Maximizing business value to improve leverage
  • Finding potential purchasers
  • Preparing confidential information pertaining to the sale
  • Structuring, pricing and negotiating the sale

To get through these steps requires a significant amount of professional and legal help which many small businesses simply don’t have in-house.

The Crucial Role of Business Brokers

Given all the complexities involved in selling a company, it’s no surprise that many business owners opt to work with Canadian business brokers who can help them navigate this complex process and arrive at a fair deal.

For example, brokerages like Beacon Mergers & Acquisitions specialize in divestiture, so if you want to sell your business in Toronto they can help you put it up on the market and negotiate with interested buyers.

Not only do the play a crucial role in connecting you with potential buyers in a confidential way, they can also screen buyers based on your own criteria, so you can be confident that you’re selling to an acceptable individual or business.

Even before the crisis hit, business sales were up in Canada according to the Globe and Mail. As Baby Boomers prepare for retirement and Millennials start eyeing opportunities to invest, it’s not surprising that successful companies are changing hands to make way for a new generation of entrepreneurs.

But given the complexities of the process, it’s important for those interested in selling to get the right advice before they start the process. If you’re considering divestiture, make sure to get in touch with Toronto business brokers who can help you negotiate the right deal.

 

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Lufthansa sets 2024 goal, eyes capital increase

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Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it aims to boost its return on capital employed (ROCE) and laid out plans for a capital increase as it prepares for a business recovery amid an easing coronavirus pandemic.

The largest German airline aims to have an adjusted EBIT margin of at least 8% and an adjusted ROCE of at least 10% in 2024, it said late on Monday.

Adjusted ROCE was –16.7% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019.

The group added it had mandated banks to prepare a possible capital increase, though size and timing have not yet been determined and the German state, which has bailed out the airline during the pandemic, has not yet given its approval.

 

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Virtual Law Firms Are on the Rise in Canada

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Virtual law firms have been on the rise for a while. In a 2019 roundtable discussion conducted by the American Bar Association, several firm leaders met to discuss the growing presence of online legal services. The consensus was clear: virtual is the new reality.

That was 2019. In the intervening two years, the world was gripped by a global pandemic that forced most people to conduct their business indoors. As you might have guessed, demand for contactless, remote legal services has only ballooned since that roundtable discussion.

While the roundtable primarily focused on the legal industry in the US, you can witness similar trends here in Canada. Like the taxi industry and entertainment distribution industry before it, law is increasingly moving toward digital spaces.

This article explores what virtual law firms are, what benefits they present for Canadian clients, and what kind of clients are driving the virtual law boom.

Not a Change but an Addition

At its best, the shift from brick-and-mortar law firms to virtual isn’t an alteration of legal services as much as it is an addition.

The best virtual law firms do not compromise on service – they still offer traditional legal services with the expertise of real lawyers. The only difference is that they have added a new medium: a more accessible, transparent means of communication and billing.

Why Canadians Choose Online Law Firms

For some clients, the traditional brick-and-mortar firm was hard to give up. They viewed their lawyer like they viewed their doctor: a professional whose in-person expertise couldn’t be replicated in a digital space. Then, the pandemic hit. As millions more Canadians acclimatized to working online, they also habituated to the idea of doing business online.

 

Credit: Ketut Subiyanto Via Pexels

The benefits were immediately apparent. Virtual law firms feature streamlined communication, available seven days a week. They eliminate the need to go to a physical office. They offer all the same legal expertise and services as a brick-and-mortar lawyer. And, crucially, they often leverage transparent pricing: flat, predetermined legal fees with no hidden costs. A client looking for affordable legal services in Mississauga or Toronto, for instance, can simply click a few buttons and hire a lawyer on the spot.

Who Is Using These New Services?

You might be wondering: do they wheel a computer into the courtroom when someone avails themselves of a virtual lawyer? No, that isn’t quite the case.

Clients tend to use virtual law firms for everyday legal services – not necessarily courtroom representation. A client looking to create a will or name a power of attorney might choose a virtual lawyer for the sake of simplicity. A homebuyer, looking to keep costs manageable might hire a virtual lawyer for closing since their prices are both more transparent and affordable. A couple seeking to draft a cohabitation agreement may find similar benefits in an online lawyer.

The fact is that virtual legal services are not only here to stay – they are on the rise. Fortunately, the future is friendly; online law firms offer the same legal expertise as their physically housed counterparts, with the added benefits of being accessible and affordable.

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Tourmaline to expand in Montney with C$1.1 billion deal for Black Swan

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Canada‘s Tourmaline Oil Corp said on Friday it would buy privately owned Black Swan Energy Ltd in a C$1.1 billion ($908.79 million) deal, as the oil and gas producer looks to expand in the Montney region, one of North America’s top shale plays.

Canada‘s Montney, which straddles Alberta and British Columbia, has seen a wave of consolidation as companies buckled under collapsing oil prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourmaline said the deal represents a key part of its ongoing North Montney consolidation strategy and the company sees the area as a key sub-basin for supplying Canadian liquefied natural gas.

The company in April acquired 50% of Saguaro Resources Ltd’s assets in the Laprise-Conroy North Montney play for $205 million and entered into a joint-venture agreement to develop these assets.

Analysts at brokerage ATB Capital Markets called the Black Swan assets a “hand in glove” fit with its recent acquisitions.

Tourmaline stock rose 4.5% to C$32.1.

The deal value consists of 26 million Tourmaline shares and a net debt of up to $350 million, including deal costs.

Tourmaline will acquire an expected average production capacity of over 50,000 boepd when the deal closes, likely in the second half of July.

The company, which also raised its dividend by 1 Canadian cent per share, expects the Black Swan assets to generate free cash flow of $150 million to $200 million in 2022 and beyond.

The Canadian energy sector has seen a flurry of deals with companies expecting to benefit from the rebound in oil prices as global fuel demand picks up.

ARC Resources Ltd in April bought Seven Generations Energy Ltd for C$2.7 billion to create Montney’s largest oil and gas producer.

($1 = 1.2104 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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