Business

MacBlown in the wind

Ian Brown January 29 1979
Business

MacBlown in the wind

Ian Brown January 29 1979

MacBlown in the wind

MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. President Calvert Knudsen was pleased and British Columbia Premier William Bennett was strutting proudly as he crowed that “threats and bullying tactics” were not his government’s style. Only Canadian Pacific Ltd. Chairman Ian Sinclair seemed the least bit miffed last week as he tentatively withdrew Canadian Pacific Investments Ltd.'s ! $516-million bid for control of MacBlo, Canada’s largest forest products company. By standing down, he brought to a close a month of offers and counter-offers beginning when Domtar Inc. went for control of MacBlo, climaxing with Bennett’s threats to revoke MacBlo’s B.C. timber licences if CPI bought the company. “Ac-

cordingly,” allowed a carefully worded CPI press release, mindful of B.C.’s possible spring election, “the offer will not be mailed at this time.”

The announcement followed three CPI board meetings over two weeks that considered all the alternatives, even defiance of Bennett. “But we acceded to the premier’s request,” said Sinclair. “When the premier of the province tells you something isn't acceptable to his government, I think every company has to pay heed.” Even with CPI’S tentative withdrawal there are signs the game isn’t over yet. MacBlo owns the 18.9 per cent of Domtar it bought from Argus Corp. in December. While a take-over of Domtar is still possible, MacBlo could also sell the chunk to Domtar, or trade it to CPI in return for CPI’S 13.4-percent holding in MacBlo. After nearly two months of poker-playing, “Big Julie" Sinclair may get to use those chips after all.

Ian Brown