Mark Leftly: Peppa Pig's breakthrough may finally stop Canada hogging all the action
Mark Leftly is political correspondent at The Independent on Sunday and associate business editor across the Independent titles. He writes a weekly column, Parliamentary Business, published on a Wednesday, that covers politics and the City. He is a multi-award winning reporter and was named Press Gazette's business magazine journalist of the year prior to joining The Independent on Sunday.
Wednesday 09 January 2013
Outlook As ever in life, Peppa Pig is the best barometer of cultural advancement. Today, the co-owners of the bossy animated porcus, Entertainment One, completed its $228m (£142m) purchase of Alliance Films, a Canadian distributor of flicks ranging from quip-laden classic Pulp Fiction to the dreadful Twilight series.
Last week, eOne got the deal past the Canadian Competition Bureau, which, bearing in mind that there's not an awful lot of crossover between the businesses, is a bit of a no-brainer. Yet Peppa succeeded where many of our humanoid FTSE 100 titans failed.
In 2010, BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers abandoned his $39bn bid for fertiliser group Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as the government seemed determined to veto the deal in the national interest. A year later, there were plenty of nationalistic moans when the London Stock Exchange tried, and failed, to merge with its Toronto counterpart.
Canada appeared to be closed for businesses – to yucky foreigners at least. Then-industry minister Tony Clement argued that the Potash Corp offer would not have been of "net benefit" to Canada under a foreign ownership test, while the leader of Saskatchewan province premier Brad Wall warned that there were no conditions that would ever allow a sale to non-Canadian investors.
While it is a stretch to argue Alliance has the same strategic importance as a salt that can help grow the crops to feed a fast-growing global population, or an exchange that is home to Canada's biggest companies, this deal might just prove to be a crack in the country's protectionist views.
At the end of 2011, without even the slightest irony, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada laughably sent out a press release stating: "Canada's leadership on the world stage in support of free and open trade was once again on display today as the Honourable Ed Fast, minister of international trade and minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, helped lead efforts that resulted in a strongly worded pledge by 23 members of the World Trade Organisation 'to fight all forms of protectionism in the strongest terms'."
Then, in a classic case of the head brewer telling the master vintner to lay off the sauce, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper accused the United States of a "surprising amount of protectionism in… political discourse" and argued that critics of free trade lacked "credibility".
Maybe Peppa is an indication that these comments aren't knowing in-jokes, but that overseas money is now welcome in Canada, a change of cultural, as well as economic, philosophy. However, the test will be when another foreign outfit comes in for one of the country's big natural resources groups.
Who knows? Maybe another FTSE 100 miner or multinational will take a crack at Potash Corp – $39bn might even look like a decent sum after developing nations held back on purchasing potash last year while negotiations on long-term contracts took place.
One thing's for certain: as proved by the oinking little madam's ability to crack markets from the Americas to Asia, following Peppa's lead is always a good bet.
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of 'carnage' and war crimes in Gaza war
Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...
£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...
£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...