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Streetwise Streetwise newsletter: Credit raters warn of downgrades of WestJet in wake of Onex deal

Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last 24 hours,

Credit raters warn of downgrades of WestJet in wake of Onex deal: Credit rating agencies have placed WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s debt under review for possible downgrades after Onex Corp.’s friendly $3.5-billion bid to take the Calgary-based carrier private. Story (Jeffrey Jones and Eric Atkins, for subscribers)

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WestJet assures employees about jobs, financial security following Onex takeover: WestJet Airlines Ltd. is taking steps to assure its 14,000 employees their jobs and financial security are safe in a $3.5-billion takeover by Toronto-based private equity investor Onex Corp. But there are questions about the employees’ share-purchase plan and profit-sharing, key parts of the airline’s ownership culture. Story (Eric Atkins and Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

With WestJet deal, Onex’s Schwartz again goes to battle with Air Canada’s Rovinescu: The last time Gerry Schwartz sought to become a top gun in Canada’s airline industry, the country’s two main carriers were the opposite of high flyers. Air Canada and Canadian Airlines, which Mr. Schwartz’s Onex Corp. unsuccessfully tried to buy and merge in 1999, were both teetering on the brink. The domestic airline industry is in a much better place today. Opinion (Konrad Yakabuski)

Power Corp. faces shareholder dissatisfaction with company governance: The Desmarais family’s Power Corp. of Canada is facing increasing shareholder dissatisfaction with its governance, with a large minority of public shareholders voting against reappointing co-CEOs Paul Desmarais Jr. and André Desmarais to the board. Story (David Milstead, for subscribers)

Power Corp. eyes U.S. retirement investment companies in expansion plan: Power Corp. executives are keeping a close eye on the U.S retirement-savings business as they look to expand their presence south of the border through acquisitions. Already the second-largest U.S. provider of defined-contribution plans – often called 401(k)s – Power Corp. is looking to boost its U.S.-based-Empower Retirement division. Story (Clare O’Hara, for subscribers)

Shaw unloads entire stake in Corus to raise $548-million: Shaw Communications Inc. is unloading its 38.6 per cent stake in Corus Entertainment Inc. in a $548-million share sale. The offering is priced at $6.80 per share, representing a 15.6 per cent discount to the closing price of Corus’s shares on Tuesday. Typically, discounts on share sales range between 2 and 4 per cent. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

Blockchain entrepreneur Alex Tapscott pays penalty as part of settlement with U.S. securities regulators: Blockchain entrepreneur Alex Tapscott will pay a US$25,000 penalty as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that his venture-capital fund raised money using untrue statements. The settlement comes a day after the Ontario Securities Commission approved its own settlement with Mr. Tapscott and NextBlock Global Ltd., the fund that the 33-year-old Toronto resident co-founded and ran. Story (Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

‘Cash crunch’ leaves Stornaway Diamond Corp. racing to stave off insolvency: Stornoway Diamond Corp. is racing to stave off insolvency as it deals with a decline in gem prices that has prevented the Canadian miner from generating positive free cash flow this year. Longueuil, Que.-based Stornoway said Tuesday it is in talks with backers to secure its long-term financial viability. At the same time, the company launched a major cost-cutting effort and strategic review, which could mean putting itself up for sale. Story (Nicolas Van Praet, for subscribers)

How a hot trend in electronic banking is making life easier for seniors: Can we all agree that paying for stuff with a tap of your debit or credit card is perhaps the greatest innovation in banking since the ATM? There may not be a technology that is more friendly to all generations, from young people to seniors. This helps explain why tap, as accessed via Interac Flash and both Visa and Mastercard, is taking off like nobody’s business in Canada. Story (Rob Carrick)

MORE FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

Power Corp hikes dividend by 6 per cent, though quarterly profit falls: Power Corporation of Canada says its profit for participating shareholders fell to $292 million in the first quarter, from $525 million in the year-earlier period when it recorded gains from the sales of some investments. Story (Canadian Press)

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