Top of the morning to you. It’s me, FP reporter Geoff Zochodne, and I come bearing news of a food fight, a mobile million and a toy story.
No free lunch
Sobeys owner Empire Co. is facing tougher industry competition and industry concerns about grocery e-commerce just as its turnaround begins to show some signs of traction, Hollie Shaw reports. Net earnings for the grocer’s recent quarter were $58.1 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with $30.5 million (11 cents) in the same period a year ago.
Quote: “If you don’t think that people giving away some free groceries for whatever reason with gift cards impacts everybody in the market — it does,” chief executive Michael Medline said. “To what extent, you can’t measure it, but it would theoretically make sense.”
Cannabis company The Green Organic Dutchman Ltd. (TGOD) plans to go public later this month in a much-anticipated deal that implies a market capitalization of more than $650-million, reports Mark Rendell. Mississauga-based TGOD filed an amended preliminary prospectus with securities regulators late Tuesday evening, announcing its plans to raise between $75 million and $100 million.
Bottom line: The company — which is one of the largest privately held cannabis companies in Canada — will issue between 20.5 million and 27.4 million units, made up of a common share and a half-share purchase warrant, at $3.65. The deal will value TGOD above $650-million, putting it within the Top 10 most valuable Canadian cannabis companies.
A million callers
Seven years after Quebecor Inc. launched its mobile network to become the fourth wireless player in Quebec, it has surpassed the 1 million subscriber mark, writes Emily Jackson.
Bottom line: After adding 34,000 mobile customers in the three months ending Dec. 31, the wireless market share of Quebecor’s Videotron brand now sits at 16 per cent, according to Videotron CEO Manon Brouillette. Executives at the Montreal-based company have previously stated a goal of capturing a quarter of the regional wireless market.
Play time is over
MGA Entertainment Inc. is trying to organize a group of fellow toymakers to make a bid for the Canadian operations of Toys “R” Us Inc., the industry giant that appears to be headed toward liquidation. The Canadian division of the company has around 80 stores.
Quote: “If there is no Toys “R” Us, I don’t think there is a toy business,” said Isaac Larian, MGA’s founder and chief executive officer. “At the right price, it makes economical sense.”
Theranos founder strikes different kind of deal
Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford University dropout once billed as the “next Steve Jobs” has forfeited control of Theranos, the blood testing startup she founded, and will pay US$500,000 to settle charges that she oversaw a “massive fraud.”
Bottom line: Along with the fine announced Wednesday, Holmes has agreed to return 18.9 million shares of Theranos that she obtained during the fraud. If the company is sold or liquidated, Holmes will not profit from any remaining ownership in the company until at least US$750 million in proceeds are returned to investors, the SEC said. Theranos said Wednesday that neither the company nor Holmes admitted or denied wrongdoing.
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