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Private Equity

Private Equity
Private Equity

Blakes has one of the strongest and most experienced private equity legal practices in Canada. We drive innovative investment structures and strategic thinking, with a depth of industry knowledge and perspectives from across the country.
 
Our Private Equity team spans various legal specialty areas, including financial services, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, competition, foreign investment review, real estate, intellectual property, pensions, benefits, and executive compensation.

The Blakes Tax group also plays a key role in assisting our clients, working to ensure tax-effective investments within Canada and across borders.
 
We also have specialized and regulatory experience in core Canadian industry sectors such as financial services, technology, life sciences, energy, food and agribusiness, gaming, insurance, logistics/supply chain management, manufacturing and retail, among other areas.

We provide strategic advice and legal counsel at each stage of the investment lifecycle: fund formation, fund management and governance, financing, Canadian and international investment-related acquisitions and dispositions, management of portfolio companies, and exit strategies.
 
Fund Formation and Management
 
With a comprehensive understanding of the market and close connections to Canadian and international financial institutions, our team works with fund sponsors to establish –publicly registered and private funds as well as investment vehicles. We also advise domestic and non-resident investors on structuring, commercial agreements, governance, regulatory compliance, market expectations and tax planning.
 
The Blakes team has extensive experience advising on the creation and structuring of open-ended and closed-ended investment funds, including private equity, hedge, infrastructure, real estate, emerging market, fixed-income, mezzanine and distressed asset funds.
 
Fund Investments
 
We work closely with our clients, as both buyers and sellers, to provide advice when formulating an investment strategy and structuring and executing an investment-related transaction. This includes sourcing opportunities, financing, and advising on equity and debt investments and co-investments, convertible shares, private placements and private investments in public entities. We advise both investors and fund investees, providing a 360-degree approach to investment transactions.
 
In addition to retail investors, a significant part of our experience is advising institutional investors (including regulated entities) on their investments. We have assisted some of Canada’s largest and most active pension funds on their fund investments in Canada and internationally. We have also advised investor clients on more-tailored fund arrangements and in situations where the client is a flagship investor.
 
Buyouts
 
Buyouts have long been the core strength of our Private Equity practice. We work with both buyers and sellers at each stage of a transaction from initial strategy, structuring and due diligence through to financing, negotiation, management, shareholder and investor agreements, and executive compensation. We also provide specialized advice on capital markets, tax and other issues that may arise throughout the course of a buyout transaction.
 
Whether the buyouts are traditional public or private, distressed, management or corporate partner buyouts, our team leverages our cross-Canada presence to provide strategic advice that reflects jurisdictional nuances and changing market conditions.
 
Exit Strategies
 
As legal advisers throughout the investment lifecycle, our Private Equity team is committed to maximizing investment realization. Ahead of exit transactions, we advise on liquidity strategies, advance planning, financing and process expectations.
 
Our Capital Markets practice provides the expertise needed for public exits such as initial public offerings and public market sales, including registration, prospectus preparation, listing applications, governance and post-offering requirements. When considering a public or private sale, our team has the transactional capabilities to advise on all sizes of domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and trade sales, from start to finish.

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Recent Experience
  • Desjardins Group on the establishment of the Aequitas fund, a C$50-million private investment fund focused on impact finance to promote gender equality, combat climate change and contribute to achieving other sustainable development goals.

  • ​Canadian counsel for an investor group led by Colony Capital, which invested in a strategic partnership with Vantage Data Centers.

  • Canadian counsel to Real Assets Advisers in the proposed €445-million sale of KKR’s 33.33 per cent equity stake in ACCIONA Energía Internacional to AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets and ACCIONA S.A.

  • Canadian counsel to Coty Inc. on its strategic transaction with KKR for Coty’s Professional and Retail Hair business valued at US$4.3-billion.

  • Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners in connection with its acquisition of Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada’s largest rural-focused broadband service provider, which is the largest private equity transaction in Canada in 2020.

  • Canadian counsel to Kalkomey Holdings, LCC on its merger with CHP KE Group Holdings A, L.P., a subsidiary of Cove Hill Partners.

  • Great Hill Partners in the acquisition of VersaPay Corporation.

  • Canadian counsel to Heartland Generation Ltd., an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners, on its C$835-million acquisition of Canadian Utilities Ltd.’s natural gas and coal electricity generation interests in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, the largest private equity investment in the energy sector in 2019 in Canada.

  • Novolex, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, as Canadian counsel, on its US$2.3-billion acquisition of The Waddington Group from Newell Brands, Inc.

  • Roynat Equity Partners among a consortium of institutional investors on their investment in Legado Partners in connection with the acquisition of Kivuto Solutions Inc.

  • NOVACAP on its sale of Laces Group Inc. to ONCAP.

  • Encore Consumer Capital on its sale of Atlantic Aqua Farms and its affiliated entities to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

  • Blue Sea Capital on its acquisition of RESA Power LLC from Audax Private Equity.

  • BluEarth Renewables LP, a portfolio company of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, on its acquisition of four operating renewable energy facilities from Veresen Inc.

  • Vista Equity Partners on the approximately US$1.2-billion sale of the communities and sports divisions of Active Network to Global Payments Inc.

  • Audax Private Equity Group in connection with its acquisition of Altasciences Company, Inc.

  • KPS Capital Partners on its US$425-million acquisition of TaylorMade Golf from adidas AG.

  • KSL Capital in connection with the pending sale of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. to Vail Resorts, Inc.

  • Norwest Venture Partners on its acquisition of Medgate Inc.

  • Fulcrum Capital on its acquisition of Canstar Restorations.

  • Cerberus Capital Management LP on its acquisition of automotive parts supplier ABC Group Inc.

  • Pet Valu, a portfolio company of Roark Capital Group, on its merger with Pet Supermarket to form Pet Retail Brands.

  • GHO Capital on its acquisition of Caprion Biosciences, Inc.

  • Baring Private Equity Asia on its acquisition of a 35-per-cent stake in TEL​US International.

  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, as Canadian counsel, on its acquisition of 40 per cent of Glencore Agricultural Products (Glencore Agri) valuing Glencore Agri at US$6.25-billion.

  • Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III L.P. on its C$393-million investment in GFL Environmental Holdings Inc.

  • LifeMark Health Corp. and Viewpoint Medical Assessments Inc., portfolio companies of Audax Private Equity, in connection with their acquisition of the physiotherapy, rehabilitation and medical assessments businesses of Centric Health Corporation.

Awards & Recognition

Recipient of the 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” award for Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law in Canada. 
Best Lawyers
Blakes is the No. 1 Canadian law firm in Private Equity according to Bloomberg, Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters) and Mergermarket’s 2019 rankings. 

Bloomberg

  • ​No. 1 in Canada announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in global announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in global announced buyouts/exits by deal count

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in United States announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in United States announced buyouts/exits by deal count

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in Europe announced buyouts/exits by deal value

​Refinitiv

  • No. 1 in Canada announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in global announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in United States announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in United States announced buyouts/exits by deal count

Mergermarket

  • No. 1 in Canada announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in United States announced buyouts/exits by deal value

  • No. 1 Canadian firm in Europe announced buyouts/exits by deal value​


 Our Private Equity group is a well-known leader, having been recognized in the following surveys and publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 

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