Mark Leftly: Peppa Pig's breakthrough may finally stop Canada hogging all the action

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference