Stockbrokers Arthur Nesbitt and Peter Thompson formed their own company in 1925 to manage their own substantial investments in public utility companies. In the late 1930s, the company acquired a controlling interest in Bathurst Pulp and Paper Company and then in 1938, Canadian Oil Companies Ltd., selling the latter to Shell Oil in 1962.
Arthur J. Nesbitt was succeeded as president by his son Arthur D. Nesbitt. The Nesbitt family sold most their interest in Power Corporation to the Paul Desmarais group in 1968 and by 1970 no longer had any involvement in the company. Paul Desmarais began implementing an investment philosophy which continues today: responsible management, prudent approach to risk, and long-term value creation.
1984 saw the creation of diversified management and holding company, Power Financial Corporation. Global expansion for the group began in the 1970s in Europe and in the 1990s in Asia. The group’s involvement in the finance sector continued in 2000 with the acquisition of Canada Life, Mackenzie Financial and Putnam Investments.
Today, Power Corporation owns 65.5% of Power Financial Corporation.
Originally established as an electric utility holding company, the company has become an international conglomerate with major interests in the finance industry, as well as interests in other business sectors such as sustainable and renewable energy. This became evident as the company took a controlling interest in August 2019 in US solar company Nautilus Solar.
Company headquarters are located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.