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Fairfax Agrees to Buy Allied World For $4.9B



Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., the Canadian investment and insurance company, agreed to buy Allied World Assurance Co. for $4.9 billion (U.S.) in cash and stock in chief executive officer Prem Watsa’s biggest purchase.

Fairfax will pay $54 per share, which is 18 per cent higher than Allied’s closing price on Friday. For every share, Allied investors will receive about $10 in cash — half from Fairfax and the rest from a pre-closing dividend by Allied — as well as $44 of Fairfax’s stock, according to a statement late Sunday from the companies.

Toronto-based Fairfax has the option to increase the cash portion by up to $30 per share and Watsa said Monday that he may take on equity partners, as he has done in prior deals.

Smaller insurers have sought merger partners in recent years as buyers of commercial coverage and their brokers prefer companies with scale. Watsa said the deal wasn’t organized with cost cuts in mind, and that Zug, Switzerland-based Allied, also known as AWAC, will continue to be led by CEO Scott Carmilani.

“This is transformative for Fairfax and will be the largest and the best company that Fairfax has purchased in 31 years,” Watsa said in a conference call Monday. “We’re buying AWAC because of Scott Carmilani and his track record with his management team.”

Fairfax is among major North American insurers that have been expanding in the specialty market through takeovers to diversify. Earlier this month, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Holding Co. agreed to buy Ironshore Inc. for about $3 billion to expand in the Bermuda market, where commercial clients go to insure unusual risks.

Watsa, often likened to value investor Warren Buffett, is known for acquisitions. His firm agreed in October to buy commercial and consumer units from American International Group in nations including Argentina and Turkey. Last year, he bought Brit Plc, which guards against losses in industries such as energy and aerospace.

His other insurance deals include the 2010 purchase of Zenith National Insurance Corp. for about $1.3 billion to expand in California. He also expanded into coverage for pet owners.

Like Buffett, he uses insurance premiums to invest in other industries. Fairfax controls one of the biggest stakes in BlackBerry and profited in the U.S. financial crisis by using derivatives to bet against the creditworthiness of U.S. banks and insurers. The Allied deal will boost Fairfax’s investment portfolio to $39 billion from about $30 billion, and Watsa said he sees opportunities for reinvesting funds.

“The recent election of President-elect Trump and the Republican control of both the U.S. House and the Senate has the strong potential to make the business climate for growth in the U.S. great again relative to the rest of the world,” he said on the call. “Our businesses in the U.S., including Allied World, will benefit from any such positive economic development.”

Allied World was created in late 2001 by AIG and Chubb Corp. to help fill a void in the industry after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The firm, which counts North America as its largest market, helps guard clients, including corporate executives, against lawsuits. It also has been expanding in professional liability coverage, environmental-related policies and contracts protecting customers against costly surprises tied to mergers and acquisitions. Its reinsurance segment takes on risks tied to natural catastrophes and crop damage.

Allied World tried to expand in 2011 when it reached a deal to combine with Transatlantic Holdings Inc. However, Transatlantic backed out under pressure from its investors and later agreed to sell itself to Alleghany Corp. instead.

Allied World gained about 23 per cent this year through Friday in New York trading, and the stock has more than doubled since the end of 2011.

The transaction with Fairfax would give Allied shareholders a roughly 27 per cent stake in the combined company — or about 10 per cent if Fairfax exercises the option to use more cash instead of stock, according to a presentation for investors. The companies expect the deal to close in the first half of 2017, subject to standard approvals.

“Our shareholders will benefit from Fairfax’s tremendous investment capabilities,” Carmilani said in the statement. “Fairfax provides a great home for Allied World to continue to build a strong business for our customers, business partners and employees.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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