Sep 18, 2018
Osler National Co-Chair Shahir Guindi tells Lexpert that GFL Environmental Inc.’s (GFL) deal with investors led by BC Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to recapitalize GFL will help “accelerate the growth and development of the company.” In a feature Q&A article, author Gena Smith focuses on the $5.125-billion recapitalization of GFL — Canada’s largest private management buyout to date, according to Lexpert — and turns to Shahir, who was part of Osler’s team that represented the investors led by BC Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Shahir explains how the transaction came about and the associated benefits.
“When GFL was considering its options, it had the opportunity to meet the team at BC Partners,” Shahir tells Lexpert. “Both parties felt that a relationship would be compelling, and in light of market dynamics and the shareholders that were interested, BC partners was ultimately selected.
“The recapitalization allowed the company to stay private, continue to grow in the private markets and continue to develop its strategy and be more nimble outside of the public eye. Essentially, it was able to focus on the core business rather than everything else that is required for a public company. It also let them partner up with others that will accelerate the growth and development of the company.”
Shahir also explains how with so many stakeholders and various factors at play, the transaction was “relatively complex,” but Osler’s team approach helped facilitate the process.
“Because of the size of the deal and the terms of the transaction, it was a relatively complex transaction,” Shahir tells Lexpert. “The needs of various stakeholders needed to be addressed in a very short timeline. Because we did have both domestic and international participants, various tax and other issues had to be resolved. A number of practice areas were involved including tax, regulatory, corporate, environmental, real estate financial services, insurance, etc.”
Shahir explains why this was the right time for such a large deal.
“It was a confluence of circumstances; a very attractive target, a knowledgeable buyer, and a robust process,” Shahir says. “The market dynamics and participants were ripe for a deal. I think there will be other deals of this magnitude, but they won’t be numerous. There are not many companies of this size in Canada that would be available for a PE play. However, we will and are seeing increased PE activity in smaller transactions across the country and in various sectors.”
For more information, read author Gena Smith’s article “On the Deal Q&A: Growth Spurt” in the September/October 2018 issue of Lexpert.