Canadian venture capital, private equity activity surges in 2014

Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:00pm EST
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO Feb 10 (Reuters) - Deal-making activity in Canada's venture capital and private equity markets surged in 2014, driven by a spate of deals in the burgeoning tech start-up sector and large investments in oil and gas companies, data from Thomson Reuters showed on Tuesday.

Private equity investments more than tripled from 2013 levels to C$32.2 billion ($25.62 billion) in 2014, while venture capital funding rose 21 percent to C$2.36 billion.

The stunning jump in private equity investment was largely driven by U.S. fast food chain Burger King's C$12.64 billion takeover of Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons, a deal that created the world's third-largest fast food chain.

That acquisition was backed by investments from billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Burger King's majority investor 3G Capital.

Calgary, Alberta-based Encana's sale of its Bighorn assets to Apollo Global-backed Jupiter Resources for C$2 billion and Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson's sale of half his stake in the clothing company to private equity firm Advent International for C$864 million were among other marquee deals.

The number of private equity deals spiked 22 percent to 410 in 2014 from 335 the prior year, according to the data.