Wellington West refutes takeover rumour

By Vikram Barhat | March 31, 2011 | Last updated on March 31, 2011
2 min read

Top executives from Wellington West have categorically refuted a story in today’s Globe and Mail that the firm was in takeover talks with Montréal-based National Bank.

Kish Kapoor, president of Wellington West Holdings Inc. summarily dismissed the suggestion as pure speculation. Kapoor shared with www.advisor.ca a copy of a staff circular emailed this morning to all the firm’s employees.

“This article was written as a result of street rumors and certain comments made at National Bank’s annual shareholders meeting in Montreal yesterday regarding its appetite to grow their business outside of Quebec,” read the email signed by both Kapoor and Charlie Spiring, founder and CEO of Wellington West.

The Globe report quoted the bank’s chief executive officer, Louis Vachon, expressing the bank’s interest in Wellington West. National Bank Financial (NBF), the country’s sixth-biggest bank, currently holds a 16.8% stake in Wellington.

“There is nothing new about NBF’s interest in Wellington West. Since NBF became a significant Wellington West shareholder it has regularly told its shareholders and analysts that it would be interested in owning more of Wellington West if the opportunity were to arise,” said Kapoor in the staff memo.

“You may recall that Luc Paiement [co-chief executive officer of National Bank Financial] expressed that interest at our shareholders meeting in Kananaskis. In fact, Luc reiterates this view every time he meets with us to talk about many things relating to the existing relationship between our two firms,” the memo said.

The newspaper report further quoted Vachon as saying “We realize that the market in Canada is already quite consolidated, but to the extent possible we will look at some acquisitions.”

Kapoor is treating the bank’s interest as a compliment and an acknowledgement of work well done, but asserts “we will always have the last word on what is right for all of us.”

“We have always said we are flattered by its interest but will not entertain any overture unless it makes sense for all of us,” noted the firm’s internal communication. “Right now its interest only proves that we are doing all the right things in building one of the finest firms in Canada—with strong momentum in every area of our business. We are creating a firm that is attractive to new recruits, clients and many firms that clearly like us and want to leverage our brand to expand their footprint across Canada.”

Kapoor said with all of this interest come rumours, speculation and lots of attention. “It is the result of being an award-winning company.”

Vikram Barhat