Opposition say Ottawa courting trouble on foreign takeovers rules

by Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 17, 2012 6:35 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – The Harper government is again under pressure to spell out clear rules on foreign investment following yet another spurned bid and in advance of the next big ask — the proposed Chinese acquisition of a major Canadian oil company.NDP and Liberal critics blasted the government for sitting on the issue for two years, saying they now are facing a decision this fall whether to accept China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s (CNOOC) $15.1-billion deal to buy Calgary-based Nexen Inc. without clear guidelines.Earlier Monday, U.S.-based Lowe’s withdrew its bid to acquire the Rona hardware chain, citing the Quebec company’s opposition.But analysts said another consideration was likely the political barriers put up from both leading parties in the province, including the Parti Quebecois minority government, that might have made approval under the Investment Canada Act problematic.“We don’t know what the Canadian government would have done with the Rona takeover, although clearly the government of Quebec was against it and that would have been an important factor in the process,” said Oliver Borgers, a partner in McCarthy Tetrault’s competition law group.The act calls for a demonstration of a “clear benefit” to Canada, but is unclear what that means beyond that a deal would create or preserve jobs, and generally benefit the economy.And that’s the problem, say critics — the ambiguity and secrecy of the process allows for too much discretion, including political pressures.“Ad hockery is what you get when you get when the government is negligent in setting the framework,” said Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale, a former finance minister.“What you’ve got is complete and utter chaos because it will all boil down to what Stephen Harper had for breakfast this morning and how he’s feeling about it.”The question of political factors coming into play was given more fuel Monday when Conservative MP Rob Anders said he opposed the Nexen takeover, referring to China as a “non-benevolent country.” He added that other MPs in the caucus agree.NDP energy and natural resources critic Peter Julian called on the government to conduct public hearings on the Nexen bid, accusing the government of listening mostly to CNOOC lobbyists.Although he did not answer the question directly, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the Nexen deal will be “scrutinized very closely.” He added that what the NDP was proposing would “deter any form of investment in the country.”Following the 2010 rejection of BHP Billiton’s bid to buy Potash Corp. (TSX:POT), Ottawa suggested it would clear the confusion of what constitutes “net benefit” under the act, but has not issued new guidelines.Instead during the spring, Paradis tripled the threshold of purchases that would need to be reviewed to firms with $1 billion in asset value, and said Ottawa would be more open with the reasons behind its decisions.Opposition parties say the government is inviting trouble because more bids to buy into Canada’s rich resources sectors are almost certainly to occur.“This is a watershed. The size and scope of this takeover brings us into a whole new range in terms of potential acquisitions of Canadian energy companies,” said Julian. “So the whole issue around net benefit and how the government treats these applications has to be set down.”Julian said the current approach is not fair to Canadians, who have no faith in the process, or investors, who fear a strong public reaction will scuttle their bid.But despite some high-profile rejections in the last few years, there seems to be no loss of appetite from foreign investors for Canadian properties. One reason is that Canada’s relatively healthy economy and sound fiscal position has made it a safe heaven for investors.Borgers said to some extent investors expect some push-back when they seek to purchase assets in foreign countries.“I don’t think a couple of rejections is going to taint our reputation,” he said. “If you look to many of the large, important economies around the world, there have been many deals rejected and Canada would not be perceived to be far outside that pattern.” Opposition say Ottawa courting trouble on foreign takeovers rules read more

War for the Planet of the Apes roars past SpiderMan

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ roars past ‘Spider-Man’ by Jake Coyle, The Associated Press Posted Jul 16, 2017 9:05 am MDT Last Updated Jul 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – This file image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Woody Harrelson, center, in a scene from, “War for the Planet of the Apes.” “War for the Planet of the Apes” took down “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales, according to information available Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Twentieth Century Fox via AP, File) NEW YORK, N.Y. – Monkey business still pays. “War for the Planet of the Apes” took down “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales.Though some initially expected a closer race, “Spider-Man” dropped to second with $45.2 million after its $117 million debut last weekend. But director Matt Reeves’ “War for the Planet of the Apes” pulled away thanks to strong reviews for the third installment of the rebooted “Apes” franchise. Led by Andy Serkis’ celebrated motion-capture performance as the ape leader Caesar, “War for the Planet of the Apes” won a 94 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.Fox’s “Apes” led something of a summer anomaly: There is an unusual confluence of acclaimed films in release. Five of the top six at the box office (“Apes,” ”Homecoming,” ”Baby Driver,” ”The Big Sick” and “Wonder Woman”) boast Rotten Tomatoes rankings of 92 or better, and the sixth (“Despicable Me 3”) was largely received as a solid enough family release.Summer, rarely a critics’ paradise, is suddenly flush with good movies.“What I think sets the ‘Planet of the Apes,’ these three films, apart from other franchise films, is that it’s not gratuitous sequel-itis,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s distribution chief. “This is storytelling, and it’s episodic storytelling. It’s not ‘Well, let’s put the band back together.’ “But there were also hints of franchise fatigue for the “Planet of the Apes” series. Reeves’ latest edition came in closer to 2012’s “Rise of the Planet of the Planet of the Apes,” and well below the $72.6 million debut of 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” The film, which cost about $150 million to produce, added $46 million from overseas. (“Spider-Man: Homecoming” was still king overseas, where it added $72.3 million to bring its global haul to nearly $500 million.)Aronson believes the good word-of-mouth will carry “War for the Planet of the Apes.” ”At the end of the day, we’re going to have a terrific multiple and it will be a lot closer to ‘Dawn’ than it will be ‘Rise,’ ” he said.Universal’s family sequel “Despicable Me 3” pulled in $18.9 million in its third week, bringing its cumulative total to $188 million domestically. Sony’s Edgar Wright action comedy “Baby Driver” followed behind with $8.8 million; its three week gross is $73.2 million.The weekend’s other most notable new entrant was Kumail Nanjiani’s acclaimed romantic comedy “The Big Sick,” which expanded to about 2,600 theatres after three weeks of limited release. The Lionsgate-Amazon Studios film, produced by Judd Apatow, made $7.6 million — a rare success for a comedy in a summer full of disappointment .The horror film “Wish Upon,” from Broad Green Pictures, was the weekend’s only other new release. It opened with $5.5 million and a dismal C CinemaScore from audiences.Next weekend may well continue the streak of well-reviewed summer releases. Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller “Dunkirk” lands in theatres following rapturous early reactions.Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.1. “War for the Planet of the Apes,” $56.5 million ($46 million international).2. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $45.2 million ($72.3 million international).3. “Despicable Me 3,” $18.9 million ($71 million international).4. “Baby Driver,” $8.8 million ($6.2 million international).5. “The Big Sick,” $7.6 million.6. “Wonder Woman,” $6.9 million ($3.3 million international).7. “Wish Upon,” $5.6 million.8. “Cars 3,” $3.2 million ($20.1 million international).9. “Transformers: The Last Knight,” $2.8 million ($6.7 million international).10. “The House,” $1.8 million.___Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:1. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $72.3 million.2. “Despicable Me 3,” $71 million.3. “War for the Planet of the Apes,” $46 million.4. “Wukong,” $37 million5. “Cars 3,” $20.1 million.6. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” $7.5 million.7. “Transformers: The Last Knight,” $6.7 million.8. “Silver Soul,” $6.3 million.9. “Baby Driver,” $6.2 million.10. “Wonder Woman,” $3.3 million.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP read more