Canada Pensions Said In Talks With Fairfax For Blackberry Assets

(BB), yet are holding off from the effort because they only want pieces of the smartphone maker, two people familiar with the talks said. The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Alberta Investment Management Corp., which together manage about C$198 billion ($192 billion), are targeting BlackBerrys secure server network and other business units ( BBRY:US ), the people said. The funds negotiating with Fairfax arent interested in backing a bid for the whole company and havent joined the bidding consortium yet, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Fairfax, the largest shareholder of BlackBerry, announced Sept. 23 it was leading a group of investors planning a buyout of the money-losing smartphone maker. Fairfax Chief Executive Officer Prem Watsa declined to name the investors in the group, saying it had a strong Canadian component. That points to Canadian pension funds such as Ontario Teachers and AIMCo, as the Edmonton, Alberta-based fund is known, said Kevin Stadtler, president of Stadtler Capital Management LLC in Texas. Other funds including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the largest pension manager with C$188.9 billion under administration, and Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, the second-largest, have said in the past six weeks that they would look at BlackBerry. Finance Risk There is a fairly big financing risk if the Canadian pension funds are not involved, said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Aurion Capital Management in Toronto that has about C$7 billion in assets and doesnt own BlackBerry. The problem is the core business has eroded so quickly that its hard to make a case this is a good stable business that would fit their liabilities. Deborah Allan, spokeswoman for Ontario Teachers, declined to comment as did Denes Nemeth, spokesman for AIMCo, Linda Sims at Canada Pension, Jean-Benoit Houde at Caisse de Depot, and Lisette Kwong at BlackBerry. BlackBerry fell for a second day yesterday on concern that Watsa may fail to win support for his $9 a share cash bid. Fairfax has agreed to put up its 10 percent stake in BlackBerry for the offer, and needs to find equity and debt investors for the rest.

Canada July Retail-Sales Rebound Boosts Recovery Argument

That weakness in June even outside of the temporary disruptions was overstated, said Nathan Janzen, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada, by telephone from Toronto. The bounceback implies activity is on a stronger path than what was implied by the June data alone. Growth will expand 0.7 percent in July and an annualized 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter, Janzen predicts. Todays data is the last major release before Julys economic growth report on Sept. 30, and indicates GDP expanded 0.5 percent that month, Robert Kavcic , senior economist in Toronto at Bank of Montreal, said in a note to clients. Tipping Point The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 economists was for a 0.5 percent gain in retail sales. From a year earlier, sales were up 3.0 percent. Canadas economy has been relying on consumers to drive growth, as the nation waits for faster global demand to fuel exports and business investment. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said last week growing confidence about global demand has brought the economy to a tipping point. Sales in July were led by a 3.2 percent increase at gasoline stations. Clothing and accessory stores posted a 1.9 percent gain and home furnishing retailers boosted receipts by 1.6 percent. Sales rose in eight of 11 categories making up 52 percent of total receipts. Motor vehicle and parts sales fell for the first time in seven months, posting a 0.6 percent drop in July. Purchases excluding the motor vehicle and parts category rose 1.0 percent. Economists had forecast a 0.6 percent gain in ex-auto sales. The volume of sales, which excludes price changes and more closely reflects the industrys contribution to growth, rose 0.5 percent in July. Retailers in Ontario, the countrys largest province, led gains with a 1.5 percent increase in July, followed by Quebecs 1.3 percent rise.

Canada’s CBC Hires Former PR Exec Heather Conway as Top Programmer

Heather Conway, a former CEO of Edelman Canada and executive vp of marketing and communications at former film producer and broadcaster Alliance Atlantis Communications, is expected to be named Thursday as executive vp of English-language services at the CBC, replacing Kirstine Stewart, according to the website. She is also a former vp of TD Bank Financial. Conway will oversee English-language TV, radio and online services at the cost-cutting public broadcaster. She most recently served as chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she was charged with finding new revenue streams. The CBC’s board of directors will be looking to Conway’s miracle-working skills to revive the CBC brand in a fast-changing digital landscape. The public broadcaster has had to cut costs and air more re-runs as it attempts to replace $115 million in government financing cut from the CBCs budget over three years. The network also faces the threat of losing its long-standing Hockey Night in Canada property on Saturday nights when the TV contract with the NHL shortly comes up for renewal. Rival networks like Bell Media and Rogers Media, which both run cable sport channels, are expected to take a run at the Hockey Night in Canada rights. News of Conway’s hire first appeared in the Globe and Mail newspaper. Arts & Entertainment