Cosette, the return of the prodigal son?

This week we learned of the return of Cossette and Vision 7 international in the real estate ecosystem in Quebec thanks to a major investment from CDPQ and an international private partner, CVC. The gesture would move the former Chinese owner, Blue Focus International since 2015, to a minority position.

We need to take a step back. During a hostile takeover attempt in 2009, the Cossette management at the time had no other choice, after considering the many avenues they felt were more desirable than throwing themselves into the arms of the firm, the US investment firm Mill Road Capital. It should also be noted that if the group you coveted had succeeded in obtaining it, it would have led to the same result, an American takeover. At the time, the pioneer in Quebec Communications (Cossette) was the subject of criticism, which is inevitable in the competitive world here, as he sold his soul to foreigners. My duty of secrecy and obligations of confidentiality prevent me from going further than asserting that, regardless of acceptance of this unwanted appropriation, no other internal path was proven possible at the time. Moreover, later on, many other high-quality Quebec agencies followed the example of Cosette and were taken over by foreign interests.

When Mill Road wanted to reap its profits, “Habibi” Quebecers found itself for many years in the hands of a giant Chinese telecom company. Despite Cossette’s undisputed return to growth and great successes, the increasingly difficult context between China and the United States, both politically and economically, severely limited the ability of Chinese companies to do business with our southern neighbor. Growing protectionist sentiment has increased pressure on governments, both federal and US, and private companies to stop awarding contracts to Chinese companies. Many other Western economies have, to varying degrees, adopted similar policies. Realizing that this trend would only increase, a solution had to be found to allow Vision 7 International and Cossette to continue their growth in the United States and within the major Western economies.

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This week’s announcement will go straight to addressing the issue. The chosen path can only please the business community and the government of Quebec in a post-pandemic context, making us once again aware of the importance of Quebec property and buying from us in the context of the pursuit of greater security and psyche. Adequacy.

Additionally, CDPQ, our woolly sock, occupies an important position as the dominant contributor. This can be just good news, both from a perception and image point of view – for CDPQ and Cossette – and from an economic point of view, because the future success of the company will generate, in a modest but real way, economic benefits for each of us.

However, the elements may remain blurred or appear inconsistent. Details of the post were not disclosed (CVC-CDPQ), which may raise questions and cause ambiguity. Finally, advertising the head office in Quebec (not Quebec) can only raise smiles from its “marketing hook” side, which will not have many tangible material consequences. The real center of decision-making will remain in Toronto, although we hope to rebalance towards Montreal.

Many players in this field expected the slow and inevitable end of Cosette after the tragic events of 2009. But after a few difficult years, a return to success has been marked, as evidenced by numerous national and international awards and enviable financial health. This last milestone on returning home bodes well for his future. Will other agencies that have become foreign property since then follow suit, as they have done in the opposite direction in the past? Follow.

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