Weekend Reading: Big Merger Edition

Earlier this week, two iconic fast-food chains decided to join forces when Burger King and Tim Hortons merged in a $12.5 billion deal.

The news caused an uproar on both sides of the border, with Burger King facing criticism for moving its headquarters up north to reduce its corporate tax rate, and Tim Hortons “selling out” to an American chain.

Tim Hortons scored a perfect 100 in a brand recognition survey in Canada, so it’s understandable that Canadians were upset to “lose” this brand to our southern neighbours.

But, let’s clear up a few myths about this deal:

  1. This is not the first time – Back in 1995, Tim’s merged with Wendy’s, a partnership that lasted until 2006 when Wendy’s sold its stake in the Canadian coffee chain.
  2. You won’t see Whoppers at Tim’s, or donuts at BK – The merger led to much speculation from the public about how the menu offerings would change to complement one another.  This will not happen.  Each brand will operate independently.

Tim Hortons shares surged nearly 30 percent in the days (more like hours) following the announcement.  Congratulations to all the owners out there.  Not a bad week!

Shomi state

In other, less exciting news, Rogers and Shaw announced a partnership to launch their own streaming video service called Shomi.  Available only to Rogers and Shaw customers for $8.99 per month starting in November, Shomi will have over 11,000 hours of content from 340 series and 1,200 movies.

The service looks good, but time will tell if it can gain any traction on Netflix, which has been streaming on-demand in Canada since 2010.

This week’s recap

Sandi Martin wrote a great piece about emergency funds on Friday.

On Monday I looked at some different ways Canadian investors are getting screwed by the industry.

On Wednesday, Marie said that contributing to your employer-sponsored pension plans shouldn’t be an option you can decline.

Marie also helped contribute to this Yahoo Finance article that asked if 50/50 finances can work in a marriage.

And finally, my latest piece for The Star looked at how mutual fund fees can hurt your returns.

Weekend reading

The long weekend is here, so let’s enjoy these great personal finance articles before we head back to work (and/or school) in September.

We recorded a Because Money podcast last week with WealthSimple founder Michael Katchen.  Check out what he had to say about transforming the investment landscape in Canada.

Jon Chevreau looked at some of the new ‘robo-advisors’ bringing low fees and light advice to Canada.

Ben Carlson at A Wealth of Common Sense explains the unintended consequences of risk avoidance.

This Young and Thrifty blogger over-contributed to her TFSA and explains how it happened and how you can avoid it.

The good folks over at Don’t Quit Your Day Job posted a chart from the OECD that looks at the savings rate in other countries.  Canada came in at 5.3 percent, while the U.S. saved 4.5 percent.  France topped the list, with its citizens saving a whopping 15.6% of their income, presumably for holidays.

One reason many of us don’t save more is that we spend too much money at places like Costco.  Dan from Our Big Fat Wallet explains why he doesn’t have the Executive Membership.

The Passive Income Earner looks at two dividend aristocrats that often get overlooked.

Mark Seed attempts to end the mortgage pay down versus investing debate with this thoughtful post on Million Dollar Journey.

This Globe and Mail article tackled a difficult subject – when your aging parents need a daily money manager.

Dan Hallett of The Wealth Steward blog said to beware of aggressive investment product marketing.

Jon Chevreau is back again (enjoying his Findependence?) with this piece on how Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s greatest stock picker, caused a rush into ETFs.

And finally, one of my favourite financial writers, Norm Rothery, explains what you need to know about dividend growth investing (bonus vegetable garden analogy!).

Have a great long weekend, everyone!

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  1. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on August 29, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for the mention, Robb, always appreciated. Enjoy the long weekend 🙂

  2. xoxox on August 29, 2014 at 6:46 am

    It’s interesting that almost everyone accepts this tax inversion argument without question. One exception is Iain Butler at the Motley Fool Canada. He wrote the following:

    “After taking a look at a couple of (readily available) numbers, this whole tax inversion labelling seems to be more of a way to fill space in a breaking report where details are scarce than an actuality.

    According to Capital IQ, over the last twelve months (LTM), Burger King Worldwide paid tax at an effective rate of 26.5%. This compares to 27.5% in 2013 and 26.3% in 2012.

    Tim Hortons, on the other hand, had an LTM effective tax rate of 27.7% and was charged 26.8% and 27.7% in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

    I’m no tax expert, by any means, but do you see any material difference between these numbers?

    Additionally, even if Burger Kind did face a tax rate of 40%, as I saw projected by one media outlet, it would have added about $50 million (from $97.4 million to $147.2 million) to its total LTM tax bill. $50 million is $50 million, but mergers between companies that are worth in the neighborhood of $10 billion do not take place so that the combined entity can save such a relatively modest sum.”

    Now the globe article does say that “…despite Canada’s lower corporate tax rates, both Tim Hortons and Burger King have comparable tax bills now. The potential tax advantages in the deal, experts say, could help reduce the bill for future profits from overseas expansion. Canadian tax treaties, unlike those in the U.S., allow companies to repatriate foreign profits from certain countries tax free.”

    It would be nice to see some numbers put to this rather nebulous argument.

    • Echo on August 29, 2014 at 7:04 am

      I’m no tax expert either, but I think everyone was looking at the basic corporate tax rate in the U.S. (35%) versus the 26% rate in Canada an declaring that the reason for the merger. BK already gets generous tax breaks on its overseas profits, which lowered its effective tax rate down to 27.5% last year. I’m sure there is something much more strategic at play here.

  3. Kyle @ Young and Thrifty on August 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Thanks as always for the shout out Robb!

  4. My Own Advisor on August 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the blog support Robb, great to be mentioned.

    Shomi should be interesting, I’ll be looking at this more.

    I also enjoyed the Buffett article, this was interesting from Jon: “If the great mass of investors is moving in this direction, it might give investors pause.”

    Pause indeed 🙂

    All the best,

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