Toronto-based West Face Capital is managed by Gregory Boland, who is known in the hedge fund circuit as an expert in finding value in severely distressed companies. West Face Capital has over $2 billion in assets under management investing in both public and private markets.
West Face is one of the most well-known activist hedge funds in Canada and over the years has been involved in a number of successful campaigns in its home country, usually aiming at cutting operating costs.
In 2010, the fund took an 11.4% stake in Maple Leaf Foods and managed to get a seat on the company’s board, which was taken by Greg Boland. The investor managed to successfully push the company to reduce the number of directors on the board and other changes. Another successful campaign conducted by West Face was the 2015 sale of WIND Mobile to Shaw Communications for $1.60 billion.
In 2013, West Face took a stake in SNC-Lavalin Group, a Canadian engineering and construction company and a couple of years later, it was reported that the investor was pushing for the sale of SNC’s 17% stake in the Ontario’s 407 toll highway, arguing that the value of the asset was not reflected in the company’s stock price. Last year, West Face Capital joined another activist, US-based Tourbillon Capital Partners, in their effort to push for the sale of the Canadian organic food company SunOpta, Inc. (STKL). The company hired an adviser in response to Tourbillon’s actions and later the same year signed a confidentiality agreement with another activist fund, Engaged Capital.
Other companies that West Face has been involved with include Hudson’s Bay, Stelco, and UTS Energy. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Greg Boland said that his best investments were large, concentrated positions in companies that were struggling for reasons misunderstood by the broader market. At the same time, Boland mentioned Connacher Oil and Gas as one of West Face’s worst bets, which resulted in the 100% loss of capital.