2014 Power Issue

Places of power: Where the big deals got done

The insider stories of where, when and how some of the biggest deals of the year were consummated

To see who made the 2014 Maclean’s Power List, naming the 50 most important Canadians, click here.

Politicians and business executives may spend a good chunk of their time in boardrooms, but that’s not necessarily where they hash out deals that change the shape of their organizations. In some instances, you might even find them negotiating multi-million-dollar deals at your friendly neighbourhood pub. Find out where some of Canada’s biggest power deals of 2014 went down.

Paul Godfrey. (Photograph by Jaime Hogg)

Paul Godfrey. (Photograph by Jaime Hogg)

The deal: Postmedia buys 175 English-language newspapers, specialty publications and associated digital properties from Quebecor’s Sun Media Inc., including the Toronto Sun (1)

The spots: Postmedia’s Toronto office on Bloor Street, Quebecor headquarters in Montreal, and the Café Boulud inside the Four Seasons in Toronto

The story: Back in May 2012, long before his fist pump and the downward spiral of the provincial Parti Québécois, Quebecor’s Pierre Karl Peladeau visited Postmedia’s Toronto offices on Bloor Street to meet with the news giant’s president and CEO Paul Godfrey. The two companies haggled for more than a year over the price of a merger, eventually settling on $316 million. While meetings between the two companies were at their respective offices in Toronto and Montreal, Postmedia’s executive team worked through many of the finer details at their monthly executive breakfast meetings at the Café Boulud, inside the Four Seasons.

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Vancouver.
The deal: The Vancouver Canucks sign all-star goalie Ryan Miller

The spot: Blue Water Café, Vancouver

The story: Everyone knows Ryan Miller can perform in Vancouver. The American was named top goalie at the 2010 Winter Olympics and he nearly stole the gold medal from Canadians (until the Kid scored in overtime). With Roberto Luongo shipped off to play in Florida, Miller was lured to Vancouver after the Canucks’ front office showed him and his wife around the city, which was capped by dinner in a private dining room at the Blue Water Café. (The three-year, US$18-million contract probably didn’t hurt either.) The signing was announced the following day: Canada Day.

Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel

The deal: The B.C. teachers’ contract

The spot: Pacific Gateway Hotel hotel in Richmond, B.C. (previously the Delta)

The story: More than half a million B.C. schoolchildren had already missed several weeks of classes. The province-wide teachers’ strike didn’t find a resolution until Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker met at an airport hotel for six days of negotiations in mid-September. The teachers ratified the six-year agreement later that week.


The deal: Rogers Commications and Vice Media $100-million partnership

The spot: Drinking at a bar in Dublin

The story: Vice Media will soon have a state-of-the-art TV studio in Toronto, but the making of its three-year, $100-million partnership with Rogers (which owns Maclean’s) was hatched in a more humble atmosphere: over pints in Dublin. “I remember saying, ‘More napkins!’ ” Rogers CEO Guy Laurence told the National Post when describing how he and Vice co-founder Shane Smith drew up their early plans. Forget the suit and tie. When Laurence announced the deal in October, he wore jeans and a slick leather jacket.

YVR airport 20130506

The deal: Stephen Harper asks Joe Oliver to become minister of finance.

The spot: Moments after Oliver arrived in Vancouver following a five-hour flight.

The story: Jim Flaherty’s health was deteriorating and, on March 17, he handed in his resignation. In the search for a new finance minister, and fast, the Prime Minister’s Office tried to reach Oliver. Sitting on a plane that taxied down the Ottawa runway, Oliver received urgent emails from his wife that the PM needed to speak with him. But the then-minister of natural resources could not call his boss that very moment; his plane took off. For five hours, Oliver had no idea what the PM wanted to speak to him about. When his flight landed in Vancouver, he learned of his new title. The news was made public on March 19.

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