Archive for M&A Activities

General Counsel Practice of Cognition LLP Acquired by NYC-Based Axiom

The general counsel division of the Toronto-based law firm Cognition LLP has been acquired by the New York-based “tech-enabled legal services group” Axiom.

As a result of the transaction, Cognition will split into two distinct entities.  The division that serves corporate clients that have their own in-house legal departments will become Axiom Cognition and will serve as Axiom’s presence in Canada.  It will be based in Toronto and will be Axiom’s sixth international office.  The remaining groups within Cognition that serve small and medium-sized businesses will remain independent of Axiom; will be renamed Caravel Law; will operate in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and the Maritimes; and will continue to be led by Cognition co-founders Joe Milstone and Rubsun Ho.

Cognition was founded to provide legal services to start-ups and companies that are too small to hire their own in-house counsel or lack the resources to retain traditional law firms.  Those of you who are active in Toronto’s technology sector may know of the firm because of its presence at many technology events and conferences over the years.

To read more about the transaction, click here for an article from Legaltech News and click here for the announcement from Caravel Law.

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Nelson Global Products Acquires Silex Innovations

Nelson Global Products, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of exhaust products for commercial vehicles and a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, has acquired Mississauga-based emissions control systems manufacturer Silex Innovations from its parent IAC Acoustics.  As part of the transaction, Nelson also acquired IAC Acoustics’ portfolio company GT Exhaust Inc.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

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StoneCalibre Acquires XMedius Solutions From Sagemcom

Los Angeles-based private equity group StoneCalibre has acquired XMedius Solutions, the Montreal-based subsidiary of France’s Sagemcom Documents SAS that facilitates secure document exchange for large enterprises and small/mid-sized companies across a variety of industries.

This is the first acquisition in Canada for StoneCalibre, which is privately funded and focuses on lower middle market companies.  The seller, Sagemcom, is a leading communications equipment manufacturer with over 1.3 billion euros in revenue, 4,200 employees, and operations in 40 countries.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

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Toronto’s Tickld Acquired by Gateway Media

We were pleased to hear about the acquisition of the Toronto-based viral content creator Tickld by St. Louis-based Gateway Media, owner of digital properties such as AroundMe and CinemaBlend.

Tickld is a leader in creating original viral content with a following of over two million people on social media.  Its 14-person team will remain in Toronto following the acquisition.

To read more about this transaction, click here.

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AppCarousel Acquired by AppDirect

September 24, 2015

Congratulations to the AppCarousel management team on their acquisition by San Francisco-based AppDirect.

Having worked with the team at Wmode (now renamed AppCarousel) since 2002, it’s great to see them realize a very profitable exit. We had the privilege of being Wmode’s exclusive banker for a $5 million financing with Teleglobe in 2004 and a $6 million financing with Wellington Financial LP in October 1996.  During the summer of 2015, Q1 Capital was engaged by the Wmode Board of Directors to provide an assessment of two alternative liquidity options that were being considered and was ultimately engaged to provide the Board with a formal Fairness Opinion.

Founded in 2000 as a Mobile Content Distribution Service that facilitated the management, delivery, and payment of mobile internet media, privately held and Calgary-based Wmode licensed its platform to carriers in the US, Canada, and Europe and, with management foresight, adapted to the fast changing mobile content space and moved aggressively into the mobile app management space for cars, TV, and connected devices with the launch of AppCarousel in late 2011.

About AppDirect:  AppDirect offers a cloud service marketplace and management platform that enables companies to distribute web-based services. The global network of AppDirect-powered marketplaces allows businesses to find, buy, and manage the best applications the cloud has to offer. (www.appdirect.com)

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M&A Surges, But It May Not Last

The record breaking M&A volumes in the United States that have been occurring in the past year are not generating optimism among all experts.  US M&A activity in the first quarter of 2015 increased by 52% over the same period in 2014, coinciding with a number of announcements of major future deals and resulting in some fears about a repetition of fall in deal activity following the 2007 financial crisis.

While most experts do not believe that another crisis is likely, there is still unease regarding the current uses of corporate cash. Companies have been holding onto increasingly large cash positions, raising questions as to where the money is best spent. Recently, the answer has been acquisitions and share buybacks. This type of spending has resulted in a decline in traditional forms of capital expenditure, with such outlays falling from 29% to 23% of operating cash flow over the past decade. There are fears that near-term stock performance may come at the price of future productivity.

To read more about the current M&A trends, click here 

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Inbound Investment

For Canadian companies, rising levels of foreign investment is a positive trend as greater numbers of US, European, and Asian investors are enticed by opportunities in Canada, contributing to a record volume of M&A activity not seen since 2007. A growing portion of this activity comes from the acquisitions of less sizable companies with enterprise values between $25 and $50 million, made by small US private-equity funds that are being forced to look outside of the US due to increasing valuations and intense competitive pressure for deals.

This increase in deal activity is very positive for Canadian sellers and companies looking for growth capital as prices are bid up and deal terms become less onerous. Overall, this appears to be a positive trend for Canada, providing further exit opportunities for Canadian businesses.

To read more about investment into Canada, click here

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Dealmakers Race to Close Deals While Favourable Conditions Still Prevail

The first quarter of 2015 saw a record level of M&A activity and expectations call for continued strength right through to the end of 2015. Following on a record-breaking 2014, 2015’s fast start can be attributed to strong confidence in the economy, low interest rates, and companies with large cash positions. However, this deal making is not predicted to last forever. Some experts believe that we may be reaching a peak level of activity, leading to buyers aiming to close transactions as quickly as possible and a rush to complete deals before these circumstances change. Their recommendation? Close deals while the opportunity still exists.

To read about the changing deal making conditions, click here

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Chango Sold to Rubicon Project for $122 Million

Chango, the Toronto-based programmatic ad-buying platform with 150 employees, has been sold to Rubicon Project for $122 million, mostly in stock.

This is great news not only for Chango’s founders but also for its investors, who had put $18.6 million into the company since 2010. Canadian funds Mantella Venture Partners, Extreme Venture Partners, Rho Canada, and iNovia Capital had invested in Chango alongside New York-based Metamorphic Ventures.

Rubicon Project has now made seven acquisitions in the ad-tech space.  This deal will give it more capabilities in the “intent marketing” sector, in which ad buying platforms focus on users search queries, behaviour, and contextual data to target them with appropriate online and mobile advertisements.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

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LinkedIn Buys Careerify

LinkedIn has acquired Toronto-based startup Careerify.  A portfolio company of the technology incubator OneEleven, Careerify’s software platform taps into the social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) of its users to help identify potential candidates for job openings at the companies for which they work.  Careerify has signed up a number of large clients, including SunGard and Good Technology, and it appears as though LinkedIn is eager to roll out Careerify’s technology to its vast user base.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With this transaction as well as last week’s news of Square buying Kili Technology, it appears as though Toronto-based tech companies are on a roll and attracting the attention of some pretty large and prominent strategic acquirers.

To read more about this deal, click here.

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