Canadian cross-border M&A seen gaining momentum in 2016

Thu Jan 7, 2016 10:45am EST
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By John Tilak and Euan Rocha

TORONTO Jan 7 (Reuters) - Lawyers expect cross-border deals to again drive Canadian merger and acquisition activity in 2016 after aggressive moves by Canadian firms spurred a major surge in M&A transactions last year.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt topped the list of law firms that advised on M&A transactions involving Canadian entities in 2015, followed closely by its Canadian rivals McCarthy Tétrault and Torys, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Thursday.

U.S. firms Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Sullivan & Cromwell rounded out the top five slots based on overall deal value, while Stikeman Elliott advised on the highest number of deals.

Most of the activity was driven by outbound deals, with Canadian banks and insurers eyeing the United States for growth and diversification, and Canadian pension funds looking to put large sums of capital to work overseas.

"The volume of cash available for acquisitions, both on balance sheets of strategic players and private equity firms, means there is a lot of money chasing every opportunity," said David Woollcombe, co-head of M&A at McCarthy. "This is keeping prices high and there's a lot of competition for any attractive asset."


"Despite the volatility, there's strong momentum going into 2016," said Martin Langlois, co-head of M&A at Stikeman Elliott. "There's an appetite for deals and there's no shortage of quality targets. So the opportunities are there."   Continued...