Roundtable: Canada 2012 Report, Who's Who Legal

Stephen Halperin was one of the three Canadian lawyers interviewed for the Who's Who Legal's "Roundtable: Canada 2012".


Stephen Halperin:  There has unquestionably been a slowdown in significant transactional activity in recent months, which clearly impacts our corporate, capital markets and M&A transactional practices. In Canada at least, I believe this is more pronounced among "financial players" and there continues to be a relatively healthy flow of strategic, synergistic transactions, albeit – with some exceptions – at the smaller, lower-profile end of the spectrum than in prior years.

My anecdotal sense is that there is increased caution among transaction decision-makers. Boards of directors are more engaged with management in the "go/no go" decision, due diligence standards are generally being enhanced; as a result, deals tend to have longer gestation periods, and buyers are much more particular. To a significant degree, this is the natural and predictable consequence of "buyer's market" dynamics, as opposed to multi-bidder, "auction" dynamics that typified prior periods (fuelled largely by the intense involvement of private equity buyers). As a result, in the absence of "deal tension", buyers can afford to be more cautious. Sellers, other than distress sellers with a "high motivation" to transact, are forced to respond to this caution and decide whether they will accept lower pricing, greater conditionality and less execution certainty. All of this inevitably leads to tensions that militate against "easy deal-making".

Click here to read the full interview.