Ben Axler (Spruce Point Capital Management), Patricia Olasker (Davies), Sunny Puri (Anson Funds), David Salmon (Laurel Hill), moderated by Andrea Mandel-Campbell (NATIONAL Capital Markets)
” Is Your Company Safe? “
Mar 4th, 2019
As we head into another proxy season, shareholder activism continues to ramp up in Canada with a number of US hedge funds and short sellers, among others, taking aim at Canadian corporates from retail and tech companies to mining and cannabis. An insightful conversation with a leading US activist to discuss why Canada is such fertile ground and what opportunities he sees. We’ll also hear from leading proxy and legal experts about current trends in activism, key vulnerabilities for Canadian corporates and how they can defend themselves.
Ben Axler, Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Spruce Point Capital Management
Mr. Axler is the founder of Spruce Point Capital Management and co-founded Prescience Point Research Group (2012-2014), a short-focused research firm. Mr. Axler is an activist short-seller, forensic financial researcher, and has exposed over $1.0 billion of alleged frauds on the Nasdaq and the NYSE. Prior to founding his company in 2009, Mr. Axler spent eight years as an investment banker with Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital where he structured and executed billions of dollars of financing, derivative risk management, and M&A deals for leading Fortune 500 clients. Mr. Axler’s work has been widely recognized in the financial industry for its originality and track record of performance.
Patricia Olasker, Partner, Davies
Patricia acts on many of Canada’s most complex mergers and acquisitions. Acquirers, targets and investors, in Canada and abroad, rely on her unparalleled expertise. She was lead counsel for Burger King Worldwide Inc. in its US$12.5 billion acquisition of Tim Hortons and for McKesson Corporation in its $3billion acquisition of Rexall.
Clients appreciate Patricia’s extensive experience in advising parties on both sides of shareholder activism issues. Boards of directors, special committees and activist shareholders regularly consult her on their corporate governance and transactionspecific matters. She acted as lead counsel for Pershing Square Capital Management in its landmark campaign to change the board and management of Canadian Pacific Railway.
Known for her ability to develop innovative financing instruments, Patricia advises clients on public market derivatives and structured debt and equity products.
An adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, Patricia teaches the Advanced Business Law Workshop on mergers and acquisitions and the Regulation of the Canadian Cannabis Industry course. She is the founder of AIDSbeat, the Toronto legal community’s largest charity event.
Sunny Puri, Principal and Portfolio Manager, Anson Funds
Mr. Puri is a Principal and Portfolio Manager at Anson Funds. Anson Funds is a long-short hedge fund with offices in Toronto and Dallas with three core investment strategies: classic shorts, value longs, and opportunistic investments. Anson Funds was a top 100 midsized fund according to Barrons in 2016 and 2017. Prior to joining Anson, Sunny worked at RBC Capital Markets within the M&A Group in Toronto, Canada and Corporate Finance Group in Sydney, Australia. He attained his Chartered Accountant (CPA) designation while at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Sunny graduated from the Schulich School of Business at York University with a Bachelors of Business Administration (Honors) in Accounting and Finance.
David Salmon, President, Laurel Hill
David is responsible for Laurel Hill’s strategic shareholder solutions and corporate governance consulting services in Canada. David works with senior executive, board members and significant shareholders on many of Canada’s notable corporate transactions, he contributes to the creation of effective strategies involving complex and contentious shareholder communications issues related to hostile and friendly acquisitions, proxy contests, and evolving corporate governance issues.
Andrea Mandel-Campbell, Senior Vice President, NATIONAL Capital Markets
Andrea is Senior Vice-President, Financial and Crisis Communications at NATIONAL Public Relations. She provides an integrated service offering that combines deep investor relations experience with strategic communications, media relations and crisis and issues management.
Andrea was previously Senior Vice-President with New York-based global CEO advisory firm, Teneo, and Vice-President of Corporate Communications at Kinross Gold Corporation. A former correspondent for the Financial Times of London and BNN anchor, Andrea is author of the iconic Canadian business book, ‘Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson.’
Listen to the audio below: