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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Canadian Pacific Railway is one step closer to prevailing in the takeover battle to build a continental rail network after Kansas City Southern announced yesterday that CP's cash and stock offer is a superior proposal to its existing friendly deal with Canadian National. And so now CN has until the end of this week to woo KCS with amendments to their takeover arrangement before that deal is formally terminated.

So many issues to explore today. Firstly and most importantly: what will CN do? Then we have to consider how KCS and CP's investors will respond if a formal agreement is reached. And then we have to think about whether CN's management and board are operating on borrowed time in the face of a simmering activist revolt led by TCI Fund Management. Important to point out that based on Friday's closing prices on the NYSE, CP's offer is currently worth US$287.67 per KCS share. CN's is worth US$334.24.

CINEPLEX GETS ITS DAY IN COURT

Almost 15 months to the day since Cineworld Plc bailed on its takeover of Cineplex, a long awaited judicial hearing into the matter begins today. At its core, Cineplex is arguing "buyer's remorse" prompted Cineworld to abandon the deal after COVID-19 torpedoed the global cinema industry. For its part, Cineworld claims Cineplex "acted covertly" as it attempted to avoid breaching certain debt covenants in the takeover agreement. Presumably M&A lawyers across the globe will be watching how this unfolds. As for Cineplex's investors, they've got to be left wondering what if, as their shares sit at a fraction of the ill-fated takeover bid of $34/share.

ELECTION HOME STRETCH

It’s one week until Canadians head to the polls. With debates in the rear view and all of the major parties’ platforms out, it’s really just a question of whether a late-stage stumble or surprise will land on the campaign trail. Over the weekend, the NDP released a costed platform that forecasts a cumulative deficit of $314 billion over the next five years. The other major weekend development was the re-emergence of the SNC-Lavalin scandal in excerpts from ex-Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould’s upcoming book. The latest Nanos data puts the Liberals at 33.2 per cent support, versus 30.2 per cent for the Conservatives – a gap that barely exceeds the margin of error.   

RETURN TO OFFICE

It’s a theme that’s personal for us today as we begin the gradual return of programs to our newsroom. It begins with the re-emergence of The Street, as Paul Bagnell sets our morning news agenda. And then it’s Jon leading our coverage into and after the opening bells. His guests today include TMX Group CEO John McKenzie shortly after the start of trading.

MARKET WATCH

We’ll watch the energy group closely today as West Texas Intermediate crude moves back above US$70 per barrel. U.S. futures meanwhile are pointing to a higher open after all the major indices closed lower on Friday. And, the most remarkable market action this morning is overseas as a Financial Times report about Beijing aiming to break up Alipay sent tech stocks lower.

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Crescent Point Energy is giving dividend-starved investors something to cheer today, announcing its quarterly payout is rising to three cents per share from 0.25 of a cent. Perspective is everything though: the dividend is still just a fraction of the monthly payout of 23 cents per share that investors were accustomed to in 2015.
  • Amazon is going on a Canadian hiring spree, announcing this morning it’s hunting for 15,000 full- and part-time workers.
  • A made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine candidate has landed a backer in China. Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics announced this morning that Everest Medicines will pay up to US$500 million to license Asia rights to the vaccine (which is currently in Phase 2 trials) and other joint-venture possibilities. (NOTE: We’ll chase Providence)
  • Today’s the first day when partial vaccination will be required to access some non-essential services (including movie theatres and restaurants) in British Columbia. As of Oct. 24, double vaccination will be required.
  • Wrapping on a marketing note: Flair Airlines announced this morning that it has signed up Canadian tennis phenom Leylah Fernandez in what’s being described as her first major sponsorship deal.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable earnings: Oracle
  • 900: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses media in Sioux Lookout, Ont.
  • 900: Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds news conference in Gaspé, Que.
  • 1000: Ontario Superior Court of Justice begins hearing Cineplex-Cineworld case
  • 1100: Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole makes announcement in Carp, Ont. (plus avail)
  • 1330: Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau makes announcement in Vancouver (plus avail)
  • 1330: Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds news conference in Victoria by the Sea, PEI
  • International Economic Forum of the Americas' four-day conference de Montreal begins
  • OPEC publishes monthly oil market report

Editor’s note: An earlier version of today’s Daily Chase included incorrect information about the magnitude of Crescent Point’s dividend adjustment. We regret the error.