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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP leverages its top-tier banking and corporate practices to shine in both debt and equity deals. Toronto’s Tim Andison — ‘among the best lawyers in Canada for fixed income offerings’ — is a key name for both areas and recently advised the underwriters (co‐led by Scotia Capital, Morgan Stanley Canada and BMO Nesbitt Burns) on Source Energy Services’ C$175m IPO. On the debt side, Andison assisted goeasy with its $325m high-yield bond offering. In Calgary, Ross Bentley and ‘rising star’ Jeff Bakker acted for TransCanada on its C$1.5bn hybrid trust note offering and subsequent C$1bn at-the-market equity program. Michael Gans heads a national team that also includes Chris Hewat and Jeffrey Lloyd — all are based in Toronto.

McCarthy TĂ©trault acts on a steady stream of equity and debt deals for both issuers and underwriters. Toronto-based group co-head Andrew Parker is a ‘leader in his field’ and advised Stelco Holdings on its high-profile C$230m IPO. In another equity highlight, Toronto partners David Tennant and Deandra Schubert acted for Jamieson Wellness (and major shareholder CCMP Capital Advisors) in its C$300m IPO and C$273.4m secondary offering. Montreal-based Patrick Boucher jointly heads the department and, alongside Parker, advised CIBC World Markets as lead underwriter on various financings connected to Intact Financial’s acquisition of OneBeacon Insurance Group, including Intact's C$425m medium-term notes issuance. Marc MacMullin is highly sought after for securitizations and jointly leads the structured finance group alongside Dirk Rueter.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, highlighted as a ‘go-to firm for its commercial mindset and industry knowledge’, is equally skilled in debt and equity deals and regularly ranks among the top two firms in Canada in terms of total deal value in both market segments. Corporate finance and securities co-chair Desmond Lee is ‘operating at the top of his game’ and advised the underwriters on Jamieson Wellness’ IPO and upsized secondary offering. Lee also partnered with James R. Brown to advise the underwriters on Roots’ C$200m IPO. Among its issuer-side mandates, department co-chair Michael Innes advised Hydro One on its C$1.5bn offering of convertible unsecured subordinated debentures represented by instalment receipts. Structured finance specialists Peter Milligan and Richard (Rick) Fullerton are also key names. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

‘Capital markets powerhouse’, Stikeman Elliott LLP impresses with its ‘really strong bench’ and ‘hands-on expertise’. The firm excels in both debt and equity, often working alongside its market-leading banking and corporate teams, and is equally active for issuers and underwriters. Toronto-based D’Arcy Nordick — ‘a heavyweight capital markets lawyer’ — jointly leads the practice and advised AIMCo Realty Investors on its C$400m private placement of notes. In Montreal, ‘absolutely fantastic’ securities head Robert Carelli had a banner year, which included advising the underwriters on SNC-Lavalin Group’s C$300m offering of debentures and assisting Yellow Pages with its C$315m notes offering. On the equity front, the team advised Nexa Resources and Votorantim on the Canadian aspects of Nexa Resources’ C$728m IPO on the TSX and NYSE— Jay C. Kellerman, Ivan Grbesic and Ramandeep Grewal led that work from Toronto.

A ‘first port of call for a capital markets deal’, Torys LLP’s ‘excellent responsiveness and strength-in-depth’ mark it as a ‘leader in the area’. Highlights included Toronto-based department co-lead David Seville — ‘invariably calm and extremely pragmatic’ — advising Manulife on a series of debt offerings, including a US public offering of $750m of notes. Also in Toronto, ‘very strong’ group co-lead Rima Ramchandani acted as underwriters’ counsel in Dream Global REIT’s C$300m offering of trust units. IPO highlights included Toronto’s Michael Amm advising the underwriters on Stelco Holdings’ C$230m IPO, and the ‘responsive, practical and business-savvy’ Kevin Morris assisted Roots with its C$200m IPO. Toronto-based Glen Johnson — who advised Ontario Power Generation on a C$500m medium term notes offering — and Calgary-based group co-head Scott Cochlan are prominent figures in the market.

‘Excellent in all areas’, Bennett Jones LLP distinguishes itself through its ‘outstanding service’ and ‘great depth’, as well as its prominence in energy and natural resources-related offerings. In a recent example, Osisko Gold Royalties turned to the firm for assistance with its C$274.9m private placement of shares — Toronto-based group co-lead Linda Misetich Dann and Toronto-based mining head Sander Grieve led the work. In Calgary, John Piasta (‘very knowledgeable and solutions-oriented’) acted with Mark Powell to advise Parkland Fuel on its C$662m private placement of shares and its C$500m private placement of high-yield notes. Calgary-based department co-lead Brent Kraus is an ‘excellent lawyer’ and advised Schlumberger Canada Finance on its $1.1bn notes issuance.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP’s ‘cutting-edge legal knowledge’ and ‘strong business sense’ finds favour with sources. The team secured a steady stream of high-profile deals in the debt space over the past year, such as Toronto’s David Wilson (‘at the top of his profession’) advising Xplornet Communications on a $230m private placement of high-yield notes in the US and Canada. In Montreal, Olivier DĂ©silets assisted Alimentation Couche-Tard with its private offerings of $3.4bn in senior unsecured notes in the US and C$700m of senior unsecured notes in Canada. Other key names in Toronto include Patricia Olasker (‘incredibly smart, on both the legal and business fronts’), while Franziska Ruf is highly regarded in Montreal. In 2018, Mindy Gilbert left to become general counsel at GFL Environmental.

FASKEN’s national practice impresses with its relatively even split between Ontario and Quebec highlights — it also has sizeable platforms in Alberta and British Columbia. In Montreal, regional securities head Jean-Pierre Chamberland advised the dealers on several notes offerings by Alimentation Couche-Tard in the US and Canada, including a C$700m issuance. In Toronto, Alex Nikolic and Jon Levin advised TMX Group on a C$300m private placement of debentures. The firm was also involved in several matters in the newly liberalized cannabis sector, including advising GMP Securities, as lead underwriter, on MedReleaf’s C$100.7m IPO — Toronto’s Rubin Rapuch led that work.

The ‘very impressive’ group at Goodmans is held up as ‘extremely knowledgeable, proactive and capable’. Led by senior specialist Stephen Pincus, whose ‘expertise yields outstanding dividends’, the practice is best known for its strength in REIT-related matters and cross-border deals. Pincus recently acted alongside ‘rising star’ Brad Ross to advise BSR REIT on its $135m IPO. William Gorman is also a respected name and, together with Allan Goodman, continues to advise various underwriters on equity and debt offerings by Brookfield entities. On the cross-border front, Jonathan Feldman teamed up with Goodman and Ross to advise Ceridian on the Canadian aspects of its IPO and concurrent private placement worth a combined $631.3m.

Norton Rose Fulbright scores highly for its ‘practical advice’, ‘strong business understanding’ and ‘ability to bring in specialist resources as required’. The group, which has close relationships with both underwriters and issuers, packs a punch in energy and natural resources-related matters and also shines in financial services, infrastructure and life sciences — particularly on the debt side. Highlights included Montreal-based partners Stephen J. Kelly and Solomon Sananes advising the underwriters on two public offerings. Also in Montreal, Elliot Shapiro advised on several private offerings of debentures. Calgary-based Marcus W. Archer and Toronto-based Andrea Brewer lead the national group alongside Shapiro. Toronto’s Elana M. Hahn is also recommended for her ‘broad knowledge of international capital market practice’.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s capital markets practice is ‘excellent in all respects’, according to some. The group, which acts for both issuers and underwriters, has a strong national presence and is split between platforms in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The department is particularly robust in Vancouver, which is the seat of practice lead Kent Kufeldt — he also operates from Calgary — and high-profile mining chair Fred Pletcher. Mining-related work provides the bulk of instructions but it also has strong credentials in energy, life sciences and technology deals.

A ‘tier one firm in Alberta’, Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP is ‘peerless in the energy sphere’, according to sources. Alyson Goldman is a key contact and recently advised the underwriters on Suncor Energy’s $750m notes offering. On the issuer side, the firm acted for Whitecap Resources in a C$425m financing, involving a C$92.5m non-brokered private placement and a concurrent C$332.5m bought deal equity financing.

Traditionally strong in the mining sector, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has significantly diversified its practice in recent years. Most notably it has become a ‘leader in deals in the cannabis space’, as evidenced by its recent advice to Canopy Growth on its C$500m notes offering, which represented the largest financing to date in the cannabis industry — Toronto’s John Vettese led that work. On the mining side, the firm advised the banks on several securities matters connected to Nemaska Lithium’s C$1.1bn project financing package, including acting for the managers in a $350m bond offering. Managing partner Mark Bennett is highly regarded.

Dentons’ national capital markets team secures a significant share of energy offerings, and is strong in both debt and equity deals. It has also recently handled deals relating to life sciences, mining and technology. In Calgary, the ‘very capable’ William Gilliland advised the underwriters on Parkland Fuel’s C$500m high-yield notes offering. On the issuer side, Gilliland assisted Capital Power with its $183m offering of subscription receipts. In a significant deal outside of the energy sector, Montreal-based corporate head Charles Spector advised Clementia Pharmaceuticals on its $137.9m IPO on the Nasdaq.

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