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At some point, growing Canadian businesses will need to think beyond their own back yard. Whether it’s making strategic acquisitions or building a team in a new city, expanding internationally isn’t easy.
“Canadian companies realize they need go move beyond Canadian borders if they're going to be successful and have a global footprint,” says John Muffolini, MNP’s National Leader of Technology, Media and Telecommunications.
This is where having the right partner with expertise and connections is key. Even as the largest mid-market firm in Canada, MNP recognizes it’s impossible to go it alone.
“One of the great strengths that we have is that we've got a bunch of proactive partners,” says Muffolini.
Several years ago, MNP joined the Praxity Alliance, a global cohort of more than 65 independent audit and consultancy firms in over 100 countries. With nearly 52,000 professionals in over 700 offices, each member of the alliance offers an important local context wherever they are. Each Praxity firm must adhere to certain reporting standards while remaining wholly independent.
“We want to tap into professionals in those countries who are going to best serve our clients,” says Muffolini. “That will obviously deliver more value than me trying to find out all the German requirements.”
Historically, the United States has offered easiest transition for Canadian companies expanding abroad. But companies are now looking at burgeoning economies in Europe, South America and Asia. These all sit among the top 20 tech ecosystems, according to a recent report from
Startup Blink, which ranks 1,000 cities in 100 countries based on several factors ranking their business environment.
Expanding or acquiring in these countries requires getting past red tape which companies might not initially think about. Muffolini gives the example of Hamilton Thorne, an MNP client that develops solutions for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), research, and cell biology markets. The company, which is publicly traded in Canada but headquartered in Massachusetts, made acquisitions in Germany-based Gynemed and England-based Planer, in 2017 and 2019 respectively — two different geographies that required their own sets of complex due diligence.
Through Praxity, MNP connected Hamilton Thorne to Mazar offices, a Paris-based international audit, accounting and consulting group, to help the company navigate the unique international tax requirements. While it sounds trivial, these processes can make or break an acquisition.
“Mazars were initially doing the due diligence around whether Hamilton Throne should acquire the companies, and we also helped connect them to the appropriate tax professionals for tax structure and the transactions,” says Muffolini. “Once they got close to that, they decided to acquire.”
At the same time, MNP could step in from a Canadian perspective to help Hamilton Thorne as a publicly traded Canadian company. “Our Praxity partners are boots on the ground, they know the local environment. And that's how we best serve our clients that are going into those new frontiers,” says Muffolini.
As COVID-19 restricts travel and CEOs’ abilities to visit potential acquisitions abroad, an organization like Praxity seems especially important. With MNP’s connections to people in tune with the local markets, Canadian companies can get the expertise without having to do the work to find a brand-new partner.
“Ultimately, our clients may not actually be able to go to an acquisition target themselves. But they still get the benefit of an advisor in that local region, in the same time zones, who speaks the same language, and shares the same customs,” says Muffolinii. “You don’t have to be part of the Fortune 1000 to benefit.”
To learn more about Praxity and how MNP can help with your international expansion, contact Jillian Murdoch CPA, CA at 403.537.7633 or
Related Topics:Due Diligence; International Tax; Transactions
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