Business leaders discuss foreign investment rules at Torys' M&A Seminar

Bay Street Riled Up Over Foreign Takeover Rules

January 18, 2012

You’d be dead wrong if you thought Bay Street lawyers, bankers, and yes, even regulators, have simply learned to accept the confusion around Canada's foreign takeover rules.

Just ask Marianne Harris, president of corporate and investment banking for the Canadian office of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Whenever a foreign bidder approaches her firm, she knows "the first thing we’re going to have to do is explain how the net benefit test works," she said on a breakfast panel hosted by Torys on Wednesday, "and I have no idea."

You can go through precedent transactions all you want and you can survey the political climate for months, she said, but you never quite know what you're going to get.

Howard Wetston, chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, also chimed in. "There's no question in my mind that it is the responsibility of governments... to provide as much clarity as possible," he said. However, he added that his comments were general, rather than specifically targeted towards the 'net benefit' rules.

Read the full article here.

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