Hennick, Freycinet back Smoothwater’s $93.4M privatization of Equity Financial

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By Ted Liu

Smoothwater Capital Corporation has entered into a definitive arrangement agreement to take Equity Financial Holdings Inc. (TSX: EQI) private for $93.4 million.

Smoothwater Capital currently owns 3,299,039 common shares of Equity Financial Holdings or 34.57% of the total outstanding shares.

Smoothwater will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Equity Financial Holdings, other than Shares already owned or controlled by Smoothwater, its officers, and by certain other shareholders who have agreed to remain as continuing shareholders, for $9.75 per share in cash for a total equity value of $93.37 million. 

Van Berkom and Associates Inc., the second largest shareholder, owns 1,013,964 shares (10.62%).

Subsequent to the completion of the privatization, Smoothwater will be joined by Hennick & Company, Freycinet Ventures and certain other investors who have committed to contribute capital and take an active role to help accelerate the growth of Equity Financial’s business. Those investors will acquire a non-controlling interest in Equity Financial from Smoothwater, with Smoothwater maintaining control of the privatized company. 

Blair Franklin acts as financial advisor and McCarthy Tétrault LLP serves as legal counsel to the Special Committee. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP serves as legal counsel to Equity. CIBC Capital Markets acts as financial advisor and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP serves as legal counsel to Smoothwater.

Equity Financial Holdings is a financial services company operating through its wholly‐owned subsidiary, Equity Trust, a federally regulated deposit‐taking trust company. Equity Trust serves the Canadian mortgage market by offering residential first mortgage loans to non‐prime and near‐prime customers who do not meet the conventional underwriting standards of the major Canadian banks. 

Smoothwater Capital Corporation focuses on investing its own capital in small to midcap Canadian public companies. Smoothwater Capital is operated by Garfield Mitchell, Chairman, and Stephen J. ​Griggs, Chief Executive Officer.​ Current portfolio companies include ​Equity Financial Holdings Inc., Genesis Land Development Corp. and Epsilon Energy Ltd.

Smoothwater Capital Partners LP I first invested in Equity Financial in 2013.

Founded by Jay Hennick, founder and CEO of FirstService Corporation, Hennick & Company is a privately held company that invests in growth oriented businsses for the long-term.

Led byChief Investment Officer and President, James Appleyard, Freycinet Ventures supports and accelerates high-impact Canadian ventures through financial investment, experienced mentorship, and access to networks.

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