Tim Hortons may be one of the most iconically Canadian companies to be targeted for a U.S takeover, but it is certainly not the first.
In fact, Burger King’s proposed takeover of the coffee-and-doughnut giant is not even the first time Tims itself has been a takeover target. It was previously owned by Wendy’s International before its most recent iteration as a public company, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.
There are few sectors in Canada’s business landscape that have been untouched by foreign ownership (aside from protected sectors like telecom and the banks). But it may surprise some to know just how many of our beloved homegrown brands are less Canadian than we thought.
- Tim Hortons sold to Wendy’s International in 1995 and was owned by the U.S. burger giant for about a decade before it was spun off as a separate company and completed an initial public offering in 2006.
- Canada’s oldest company, The Hudson’s Bay Co. was purchased by U.S. private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners in 2008 and operated as a holding company of the group, which also owned Lord & Taylor’s, until 2012 when it was publicly listed for trading.
- Montreal-based Molson Brewing company was combined with Coors in 2005 to create Molson Coors Brewing Company, the seventh-largest beer company in the world. It is headquartered in the U.S. but listed on both the Canadian and U.S. exchanges.
- Eaton’s, once Canada’s dominant department store chain was insolvent by the time Sears decided to buy it in 1999. At the time, Sears was Canada’s most popular department store, but is now facing financial challenges of its own.
- Canada Goose jackets were at the peak of their trendiness when the company was bought in 2013 by New York-based Bain Capital, the former company of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The company vowed to keep its winter gear “made-in-Canada.”
- Imperial Oil Ltd., one of the largest companies operating in Canada’s oilsands and owners of Esso gas stations. Headquartered in Alberta, it is 70 per cent owned by U.S. oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp.
- Hamilton, Ont.-based Stelco operated for nearly 100 years as a Canadian-owned steel company until it filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and was acquired by U.S. Steel. The company originally promised to maintain levels of production, but idled the plant almost immediately in 2008 and permanently closed it in 2013.
- Canadian hockey gear maker CCM (The Hockey Company) was bought out by U.S. sneaker company Reebok in 2004 a decade after the shoemaker’s major rival Nike moved into the hockey market with the purchase of Bauer.
- Ottawa’s Corel Corp., a graphics processing software company that helped to put Canada’s capital on the tech sector map, was bought by U.S. private equity firm Vector Capital in 2003.
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