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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Well, it was nice while it lasted (if you’re long the market). Futures are pointing to a flat open after yesterday’s gains snapped three-day skids for all of the major North American equity markets. The S&P/TSX Composite rallied the most since the start of February yesterday and at one point in the session was up more than two per cent, a feat that hadn’t been seen since Feb. 1. And the buyers were buying just about everything: only 16 stocks closed lower in yesterday’s session on Bay Street.

DYE & DURHAM’S BIG DEAL

The Canadian cloud-based software firm that’s best known for its legal and real estate offerings has announced the largest acquisition in its history. The $3.2-billion takeover of Australia-based Link Administration Holdings will make Dye & Durham a major player in that country’s pension administration industry and significantly pad the company’s top line. Link reported A$1.2 billion ($1.1 billion) in annual revenue, compared to the $208.9 million that Dye & Durham reported in its most recent fiscal year. We’ll dig into the rationale for the deal, and the financing – which includes significant backing from Ares Capital Corp.

BNN BLOOMBERG NEWSMAKER OF THE YEAR

This is one of my favourite events of the year. Our staff has voted on what they consider to be the most incredible story of the year (or is it the most important story? That was a separate conversation that we had in the newsroom). We’ll count down the stories that garnered votes and do the big reveal this morning from 10:30-11 a.m.

COVID WATCH

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be flanked by Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, his ministers of health and employment, as well as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and her deputy for a midday update on COVID-19. We’ll watch and be prepared to gather reaction if new measures are announced with implications for the economy. The update will come less than 24 hours after the latest provincial crackdown, as B.C. ordered bars and gyms to close and slashed capacity limits at other venues.

CALGARY ARENA DEAL FALLS APART

Mayor Jyoti Gondek broke the news on Twitter yesterday evening, saying Murray Edwards informed her that the Calgary Flames ownership group intends to “pull the plug” on a $650M+ deal to build a new arena in the city. Gondek said it’s “staggering” that a disagreement over $4 million in climate mitigation costs and $12 million in roadway expenditures would torpedo the deal. For its part, the Flames ownership team released a detailed statement expressing “deep disappointment” and said it “was not prepared” to foot the bill for additional infrastructure costs that it says were heaped on by the mayor’s office.

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • BlackBerry shares have been drifting lower in pre-market trading as the company’s revenue beat and surprise break-even performance in the latest quarter appear to be overshadowed by an underwhelming revenue forecast for the current quarter. On an encouraging note, CEO John Chen said on a call with analysts that he’s expecting “a slight easing in supply chain headwinds” that have been ailing the auto industry, which affects BlackBerry’s QNX business.
  • We’ll keep an eye on shares of Bombardier today after Thomas Bimer, one of its former vice-presidents, was reportedly acquitted by a Swedish court in a corruption trial tied to a 2013 rail deal in Azerbaijan. Here is Bombardier’s statement in response to our outreach: Bombardier has been following the trial closely and is pleased with the judgement announced today. Based on information currently known by the Corporation, Bombardier has found no evidence suggesting any payment of a corrupt nature was offered to a public official. Conducting business with integrity and the highest ethical standards is a top priority for Bombardier and its more than 13,000 employees. Bombardier will refrain from additional comments as this matter continues to be reviewed by certain regulators.
  • Canadian National Railway said in an update last night that it’s essentially back to operating at pre-flood capacity in British Columbia. To underscore the magnitude of the effort that was necessary, the company said it moved the equivalent of 25,000 truckloads of rock, earth and backfill materials to clear its rail network.
  • Boardwalk REIT has announced a special non-cash $0.325 per unit special distribution. The rental property operator also announced a non-core divestment in Saskatoon for $25 million.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: U.S. GDP (Q3), existing home sales, and consumer confidence index
  • 10:30: U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and private sector CEOs at the White House
  • 12:00: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leads federal update on COVID-19