BlackRock Investments Canada Inc. (BlackRock Canada), an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK), today announced that it has called a special meeting of unitholders of each of the iShares Funds, to be held on November 16, 2012, to approve a proposal (the Merger Proposal) to merge the iShares Funds. Unitholders of CBR will also consider a proposal (the Index Change Proposal) to change the index which CBR seeks to replicate.
The board of directors of BlackRock Canada and the independent review committee of the iShares Funds have approved or provided their positive recommendation for these proposals as required.
"As the leader in the ETF market, our goal at iShares is to provide the highest-quality investment products for all Canadian investors. We believe these changes will benefit all investors with a product that better delivers on the liquidity and transparency characteristics in an ETF," said Mary Anne Wiley, Managing Director, Head of iShares, BlackRock Canada. "Commodities are something many investors need, and want, in their portfolio and through these enhancements we are delivering a product with a sound structure that investors can use for improved diversification of traditional portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds."
We believe the proposed change in index to one that is provided by Morningstar, Inc. -- a public company with a separate index publishing division and better equipped to support continuous operation/maintenance of the index given its complexity -- is in the best interest of the fund, its unitholders and Canadian investors. The change will bring greater transparency and an expanded universe of holdings which will deliver improved diversification within the fund.
If the Merger Proposal is approved and implemented, CBR will be the continuing fund, GAS will be terminated and unitholders of GAS will become unitholders of CBR. Unitholders of GAS will be able to redeem their units of GAS and sell such units on the TSX in the ordinary course prior to the implementation of the Merger Proposal.
In order for the Merger Proposal to be implemented, it must be approved by a simple majority of the votes cast by unitholders of each of the iShares Funds present in person or represented by proxy at the special meetings. The Merger Proposal will also be conditional on the approval of the Index Change Proposal by CBR unitholders as BlackRock Canada intends to terminate GAS if the Index Change Proposal is not approved. Implementation of the Index Change Proposal is subject to approval by the two-thirds of the votes cast by unitholders of CBR present in person or represented by proxy at the special meeting. The Merger Proposal and Index Change Proposal are also subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory and stock exchange approvals, as applicable. If approved, the Merger Proposal and Index Change Proposal are expected to be implemented on or about November 30, 2012.
Subject to unitholders approving the Merger Proposal and the Index Change Proposal, the prospectus disclosure of CBR, as the continuing fund, will be updated to reflect the implementation of the Merger Proposal and Index Change Proposal.
More information available
Information circulars providing more details on the special meetings of unitholders, the proposed changes and how unitholders can vote will be sent in late October to the unitholders of the iShares Funds and will be available on the iShares website at www.iShares.ca and on SEDAR. Only unitholders of record on October 9, 2012 will be entitled to vote in respect of these matters.
Further information on the iShares funds can be found at iShares.ca.
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At June 30, 2012, BlackRock's AUM was US $3.560 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients' needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2012, the firm has approximately 9,900 employees in 27 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at www.blackrock.com.
About iShares® ETFs
iShares is the global product leader in exchange traded funds with over 500 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 20 exchanges worldwide. The iShares Funds are bought and sold like common stocks on securities exchanges. The iShares Funds are attractive to many individual and institutional investors and financial intermediaries because of their relative low cost, tax efficiency and trading flexibility. Investors can purchase and sell shares through any brokerage firm, financial advisor, or online broker, and hold the funds in any type of brokerage account. The iShares customer base consists of the institutional segment of pension plans and fund managers, as well as the retail segment of financial advisors and high net worth individuals.
iShares® Funds are managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited and BlackRock Investments Canada Inc. Commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investing in iShares Funds. Please read the relevant prospectus before investing. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in unit value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or operational charges or income taxes payable by any securityholder that would have reduced returns. The ETFs are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional.
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