eFFECTOR Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on pioneering the development of selective translation regulation inhibitors, agreed to go public via merger with Locust Walk Acquisition, a blank-check company, in a $419m deal.
The deal includes a $60m PIPE financing of common stock by Abingworth, SR One, The Column Group and US Venture Partners, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Sectoral Asset Management, Pfizer Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, BioMed Ventures and Osage University Partners.
"After evaluating more than 90 biotech companies, eFFECTOR emerged as the best choice for our business combination. eFFECTOR is at the cutting-edge of targeting translation regulation, which has the potential to simultaneously address multiple drivers of cancer. We are confident that the highly experienced management team with a track record of pipeline advancement and business accomplishments are prepared to lead eFFECTOR as a publicly listed company. This transaction positions eFFECTOR to reach important value inflection points for our impressive list of stakeholders," Chris Ehrlich, LWAC CEO.
eFFECTOR Therapeutics is advised by Credit Suisse, Locust Walk, Stifel, Latham & Watkins, Canale Communications and ICR. Locust Walk Acquisition is advised by Cantor Fitzgerald, JMP Securities, Mizuho Securities and Mintz Levin.
Amazon’s move to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie and TV studio will provide fuel for the Seattle company’s critics in the nation’s capitol who complain it is already too big and powerful, but experts said the deal poses few classic antitrust concerns, Reuters reported.
A little more than an hour after the deal was announced, Republican Senator Josh Hawley blasted Amazon as a “monopoly platform” on Twitter, adding, “This sale should not go through,” and that the company shouldn’t be allowed to buy anything.
MGM is advised by LionTree, Morgan Stanley, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Latham & Watkins and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. LionTree, Morgan Stanley are advised by Paul Hastings. Amazon is advised by Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Investment firms FFL Partners and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec completed the acquisition of New Look Vision Group, a provider of eye care products and services in Eastern Canada, for $970m.
"The transaction offers significant and immediate value to our shareholders, while also providing New Look Vision with additional capital to further our expansion and strategic investments in technology. With our new partners, we look forward to continuing to invest in our Company to best serve our customers, employees, and business partners," Antoine Amiel, New Look Vision President and CEO.
New Look Vision was advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, HPC Puckett & Company, National Bank Financial, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg and McCarthy Tetrault. CPDQ was advised by Barclays and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt. FFL Partners was advised by Stikeman Elliott and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Artera Services, a provider of integrated infrastructure services to natural gas and electric industries, agreed to acquire Feeney Utility Services Group, a natural gas utility service provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The FUSG team is a strong commercial, operational and cultural fit with the Artera organization. FUSG is led by an experienced management team with over 1.7k committed and long-tenured employees. The Company's focus on recurring maintenance and repair work on existing infrastructure, strong reputation in the attractive Northeast market, and long-standing customer relationships are extremely complementary to our strategy and core values at Artera," Brian Palmer, Artera CEO.
Artera Services is advised by BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Harris Williams & Co, UBS and Debevoise & Plimpton. FUSG is advised by Lincoln International and Mintz Levin.
Thoma Bravo, a private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sector, agreed to acquire Greenphire, a provider of financial lifecycle management software, from private equity firm The Riverside Company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our acquisition by Thoma Bravo is further validation of our strategy and the unique value we provide our clients, particularly as pharmaceutical companies and CROs accelerate trends towards participant centricity in their clinical trials," Jim Murphy, Greenphire CEO.
Greenphire is advised by AGC Partners, Jefferies & Company, Jones Day and Zer0 to 5ive. Thoma Bravo is advised by William Blair & Co, Kirkland & Ellis and Finsbury Glover Hering.
Acorns, the saving and investing app, agreed to go public via a merger with Pioneer Merger, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, in a $2.2bn deal.
Wellington Management, Senator, Declaration Partners, Greycroft, The Rise Fund, TPG and BlackRock participated in the transaction.
"Acorns is not only a category leader but also a category creator. Its value proposition is built around inclusive, long-term financial wellness. With integrity at its core, the brand has an incredibly loyal following and market leading retention rates. I could not be more excited to partner with Acorns," Jonathan Christodoro, Pioneer Chairman.
Acorns is advised by Moelis & Co and Paul Hastings. Pioneer is advised by Citigroup and Kirkland & Ellis. Citigroup is advised by Latham & Watkins.
Riot Blockchain, a bitcoin mining company, completed the acquisition of Whinstone, a Bitcoin hosting facility operator, from Northern Data, an information technology company, for $651m.
"The acquisition of Whinstone is the most significant achievement in Riot's growth to-date and positions Riot as an industry leader in Bitcoin mining. After the consummation of this transaction, we will have created a very clear path for the Company's future growth. Riot will wholly own the largest Bitcoin mining facility in North America, with very low power costs, and one of the most talented development teams in the industry. Whinstone will serve as the foundation of Riot's Bitcoin mining operations, upon which we will drive our goal of increasing the American footprint in the global Bitcoin mining landscape," Jason Les, Riot CEO.
Riot Blockchain was advised by XMS Capital Partners and Sidley Austin. Northern Data was advised by Greenhill & Co and Sullivan & Cromwell.
Press Ganey, a provider of health care consumer and workforce engagement solutions, agreed to acquire SPH Analytics, a provider of member experience measurement and engagement, from Symphony Technology Group, an American private equity firm based in Palo Alto. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"SPH has created unrivaled impact within the health plan segment helping our clients earn the highest levels of member experience and engagement while driving sustained performance improvement. We look forward to our next chapter with Press Ganey and building upon this strong foundation to immediately bring even greater value to those we serve," Amy Amick, SPH Analytics CEO.
SPH Analytics is advised by William Blair & Co and Paul Hastings. Press Ganey is advised by MSLGroup.
Prestige Consumer Healthcare, an American company that markets and distributes over-the-counter healthcare and household cleaning products, agreed to acquire the consumer health business of Akorn Operating Company, a specialty pharmaceutical company, for $230m.
"The sale of the Consumer Health business enables us to optimize our core prescription drug portfolio and enhances our capacity to make growth-oriented investments" Douglas Boothe, Akorn President and CEO.
Akorn Operating Company is advised by William Blair & Co and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
CORE Industrial Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, agreed to acquire Marianna Beauty, a developer and manufacturer of innovative hair, skin and beauty products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The combination of Marianna and Arizona Natural Resources will generate immediate benefits to our customers as we build on the already formidable product capabilities of the two businesses, leverage scale advantages that come with operating a much larger company, and expand our enterprise distribution footprint across the West Coast and Midwest,” Mike Cate, Marianna Chief Executive Officer.
CORE Industrial is advised by Norton Rose Fulbright and BackBay Communications.
SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm, agreed to acquire Canlak, a Canadian coatings company, and Valentus Specialty Chemicals, a holding company focused on partnering with businesses with superior coatings technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The combined company will offer a comprehensive portfolio of wood coatings products to serve the sports, commercial and residential flooring, cabinet and furniture manufacturing sectors,” Mario Toukan, SK Capital Managing Director.
Cathay Bank, a California state-chartered bank, agreed to acquire 10 retail branches in California from HSBC, a British multinational investment bank and financial services holding company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to continue our long history of banking in the California community. The transaction complements our footprint and strengthens our ability to serve our communities and clients well and long into the future," Chang M. Liu, Cathay General Bancorp President and CEO.
Cathay General Bancorp is advised by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
IBM, an American multinational technology company, agreed to acquire the copy data management business of Catalogic Software, a provider of smart data protection solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"IBM Storage has been an important business partner for Catalogic. We built a great team with a strong focus on supporting IBM Storage and we wish that team continued success. I am excited about the future of Catalogic with a stronger focus on building our SaaS platform for protecting hybrid and cloud native environments," Ken Barth, Catalogic Software CEO.
Susquehanna Growth Equity, an entrepreneur-centric growth equity firm, completed the investment in MediSpend, a global technology company providing solutions for the life sciences industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are incredibly excited to partner with the Susquehanna Growth Equity team as we advance into our next stage of company growth. This partnership will promote investments across the company as we expand our product offering to continue our mission to help ensure end-to-end compliance for our customers," Craig Hauben, MediSpend CEO.
Tenex Capital Management, a private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies, agreed to invest in JTM Foods, the largest manufacturer of handheld snack pies in North America. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We believe Tenex is the ideal partner for JTM and that the team's manufacturing expertise will be highly beneficial as our business continues to grow and we work to enhance our offering and service the needs of our customers," Monty Pooley, JTM Foods President and CEO.
KKR agreed to invest $55m in eSSENTIAL Accessibility, a provider of Accessibility-as-a-Service.
"eSSENTIAL Accessibility provides companies with a complete platform of technology capabilities, user experience design and DevOps integrations, subject matter experts, legal guidance and training, helping them become truly accessible to people with disabilities," Ben Pederson, KKR Principal.
Colony and Macquarie looking to sell Mexico Telecom Partners. (FS)
Colony Capital and Macquarie Group are exploring the sale of Mexico Telecom Partners. The two firms are working with an adviser to consider options for MTP, which describes itself as the largest private-tower company in Mexico, Bloomberg reported.
The company may fetch $1bn or more. MTP works with major carriers in Mexico and has a portfolio of more than 3k towers. Macquarie and Digital Colony’s predecessor, Digital Bridge, formed Mexico City-based MTP in 2014. At the time, it had more than 550 towers in its network.
Azul looking to acquire LATAM Airlines' Brazil operation.
Azul, a Brazilian airline, approached LATAM Airlines Group, Chile’s bankrupt airline operator. Azul’s shares rose more than 9% in Sao Paulo, while LATAM’s shares in Santiago, where the airline is listed, were down 20%.
LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago and, while it has secured new liquidity in that process, it has yet to present a formal restructuring plan, Reuters reported.
During the pandemic, Azul and LATAM developed a codeshare program to avoid competing in Brazil as the market shrank, which regulators blessed. That program suddenly ended this week, which Azul said was a reaction to its consolidation plans.
Carl Icahn reveals he took a stake in Allstate. (FS)
Investor Carl Icahn said he’s taken a stake in insurer Allstate, an American insurance company, and endorses the company’s plan to sell coverage directly to consumers. The shares rose on the announcement.
The shares climbed as high as $140 after the report. They were up about 1% to $136.53 at 2:33 p.m. in New York, Bloomberg reported. Icahn’s Illinois-based holding is valued at about $400m and was acquired for around $90 a share.
E2open, a network-based provider of a 100% cloud-based, mission-critical, end-to-end supply chain management platform, agreed to acquire BluJay Solutions, a cloud-based, logistics execution platform, for $1.7bn.
“Combining E2open’s end-to-end platform and large trading partner network with BluJay’s leading logistics execution software, we will provide more robust capabilities and value to our customers, unlocking a greater opportunity to accelerate our long-term growth. This transformative acquisition advances our strategy and is consistent with our approach to M&A over the last 5 years,” Michael Farlekas, E2open President and CEO.
BluJay Solutions is advised by Goldman Sachs, Lazard, Latham & Watkins and Lewis. E2open is advised by Berenson & Co, Credit Suisse, Rothschild & Co, Kirkland & Ellis and WE Communications. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.
Siris Capital Group, a private equity firm focused on making control investments in data/telecommunications, technology and technology-enabled business, agreed to acquire Equiniti Group, a British-based outsourcing business, for £673m ($952m).
"EQ is a leading technology-led services and payments specialist with strong market positions in the UK and the US. The EQ Board believes that the offer from Siris represents an attractive and certain value in cash today for EQ's shareholders, reflecting the strength of EQ's high quality business and its future prospects in a still uncertain environment," Philip Yea, Equiniti Group Chairman.
Equiniti is advised by Citigroup, Rothschild & Co, Linklaters and Tulchan Communications. Siris Capital Group is advised by Goldman Sachs, Greenhill & Co, Macfarlanes, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Abernathy MacGregor Group.
Samsung Life, a South Korean multinational insurance company, agreed to acquire a 25% stake in Savills IM, the investment management business of Savills, a global real estate services provider, for £64m ($90m).
"Samsung Life is excited to invest in Savills IM, one of Europe's leading real estate asset management platforms. We are confident that Savills IM is well positioned to help us expand our real estate investment network globally and that this strategic alliance, underpinned by our capital provision, will support and accelerate Savills IM's growth over the long term," Youngmuk Jeon, Samsung Life CEO.
Tempur Sealy, an American manufacturer of mattresses and bedding products, agreed to acquire Dreams, a specialty bed retailer in the United Kingdom, from private equity firm Sun Capital Partners for $475m.
"Dreams has created a strong retailer brand and business model, known for its outstanding products and customer service. We have worked with Dreams for many years and they are one of the most talented retailers we service. They have consistently demonstrated best-in-class web marketing, customer service and sales capabilities. This acquisition better positions both organizations to service customers and bring innovative products to market. We look forward to welcoming the entire Dreams organization to the Tempur Sealy family," Scott Thompson, Tempur Sealy Chairman and CEO.
One Peak led a $125m Series B round in Paysend, the card-to-card pioneer and international payments platform, with participation from Infravia Growth Capital, Hermes GPE Innovation Fund, and Plug and Play.
"Paysend's vision is to develop the next generation integrated global payment ecosystem for consumers and SMEs. Our innovative technology is connecting 12bn cards worldwide to pay and send instantly anywhere, anyhow and any currency – we call this Money for the Future. This saves time, saves money and connects millions of people and businesses around the world," Ronnie Millar, Paysend CEO.
Marlin Equity Partners, a global investment firm, completed the investment in iBanFirst, a cloud-based, financial services provider delivering solutions across banking borders. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The pandemic has underlined the importance of digitizing payment processes, managing FX risk and improving supply chain efficiency for our customers. Marlin brings critical strategic support, as well as a deep appreciation for the strength of our value proposition, and we look forward to our future partnership,” Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier, iBanFirst CEO.
Kering sells a 5.9% stake in Puma.
Kering, a French luxury goods group, would sell a 5.9% stake in Puma, a German sportswear company, via a placement to investors, according to Reuters.
Kering said that following the sale, it expected to retain approximately 4.0% of Puma’s outstanding shares. As a result of the placement, Puma’s free float is expected to increase to about 66.7%.
Kering said proceeds from the transaction would be used for general corporate purposes and would further strengthen its finances. Last year, Kering sold a 5.9% stake in Puma for approximately $800m.
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners looking to buy Augean. (FS)
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners confirms it weighs up a move for Augean, a UK waste management services company. Following the announcement, shares in Augean shot up by almost 15% as markets opened.
Morgan Stanley has been considering a potential takeover of Augean, which has a market value of $369m. The firm, founded in 2004, offers waste management services to companies in various sectors, including oil and gas. Its shares have soared 38% on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market in the last year.
EU is too soft on Big Tech, said France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Germany, France and the Netherlands have complained that the European Union is not tough on Big Tech and called on regulators to make it harder, according to FT.
The countries also called on the European Commission to hand them more power to legislate and enforce tech policy at a country level, just days after Germany opened antitrust cases against Amazon and Google.
As the Digital Markets Act passes through the European parliament, the countries want to see "clear and legally certain" thresholds for M&A, which would force scrutiny of takeovers by Big Tech companies, where their targets have little revenue but potentially valuable technology.
Green Hydrogen Systems to raise $164m in IPO.
Green Hydrogen Systems plans to raise about $164m in an IPO that will help the Danish startup expand its production of electrolyzers, the machines that split hydrogen from water.
It’s a pivotal moment for Green Hydrogen Systems as it moves to scale up its operations just as some of the world’s biggest economies and energy companies turn to hydrogen to cut climate-warming emissions, Bloomberg reported.
Green hydrogen is one of the hottest topics in the global shift away from fossil fuels. The clean-burning gas could help cut emissions from an array of polluting industries such as chemical production, steel making and shipping. The European Union plans to pump as much as $573bn of public and private investment into hydrogen in the coming decades.
Novo and Vivo Capital led a $200m Series A round in Esco Lifesciences Group, a provider of life sciences tools and services, with participation from EDBI.
The financing will enable Esco to strengthen its position through organic and external growth and transformation, as well as invest in China, thus addressing some of the most dynamic market segments and geographies.
Yum! Brands, an American fast food corporation, agreed to acquire Dragontail Systems, an innovative provider of technology solutions for the food industry, for $73m.
"With Dragontail, we expect to tap into the power of AI to accelerate and further enhance our delivery technology capabilities, especially at Pizza Hut, and optimize the end-to-end food preparation process," Chris Turner, Yum! Brands CFO.
Accenture, an Irish-domiciled multinational company that provides consulting and processing services, agreed to acquire Industrie&Co, a technology consultancy that designs and creates cloud native solutions for enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition expands Accenture's Cloud First capabilities in delivering cloud-native services for clients, particularly within financial services, as they increasingly transform into digital businesses and build new digital products and services.
Mekari, an Indonesia-based SaaS platform for human resource and finance management, completed the acquisition of Qontak, a startup that provides Customer Relationship Management and omnichannel communications platforms. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Qontak’s CRM and omnichannel communication solutions will provide an added value for their customers in increasing revenue, providing a better customer support experience, and increasing productivity of sales and support teams," Suwandi Soh, Mekari CEO.
Sequoia Capital India led Series B funding round in Lemonilo, a Jakarta-based healthy food brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Lemonilo will use the fresh funding to expand and strengthen its product distribution network in Indonesia. The company plans to launch more consumer goods products for both online and offline markets.
Foxconn in talks to buy stake in DNeX.
Foxconn Technology Group is in talks to buy a stake in Dagang NeXchange, a Malaysian technology firm. The main assembler of Apple iPhones could take a minority stake in DNeX and help to expand the business of its chipmaker SilTerra Malaysia. DNeX landed the winning offer in the sale of SilTerra in February, outbidding Foxconn.
Talks are ongoing and could fall apart, and there is no certainty that a deal will materialize. Shares in DNeX rose as much as 13.6% in Kuala Lumpur, according to Bloomberg. Their highest intraday level in more than a month, giving the company a market value of about $474m.
Paytm targets a $3bn IPO. (FS)
Paytm, an Indian digital payments provider, aims to raise about $3bn in IPO late this year, which could be the country’s largest debut ever, Bloomberg reported.
The startup, backed by investors including Berkshire Hathaway, SoftBank and Ant Group, plans to list in India around November and its offering could coincide with the Diwali festival season. Paytm, formally called One97 Communications, targets a valuation of around $25bn to $30bn.
Banks shortlisted to run the Paytm offering include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and JPMorgan, with Morgan Stanley the leading contender. The process is expected to get rolling in late June or early July.
Pathway Capital Management closes on $400m custom funds of funds for Asia-based investor. (FS)
Pathway, a private equity firm, has closed on a $400m customized fund of funds for an Asia-based institutional investor.
The fund will seek to build a diversified portfolio of primary fund investments and co-investments in both the small and middle markets globally.
The fund represents a continuation of Pathway’s successful 30-year history of investing in private markets, which totals more than $95bn in commitments.
500 Startups Vietnam partners launched their own VC firm. (FS)
Eddie Thai and Bihn Tran, partners at 500 Startups Vietnam, an early-stage VC fund and seed accelerator, are launching their own VC firm to invest in the country's startup ecosystem.
"We're launching a new firm to invest larger cheques and to provide more support for a more concentrated portfolio of companies. We remain committed to 500 Startups Vietnam. We have a dedicated team to help us support our companies as they continue to scale and to maximize returns for our earliest supporters, our LPs," Eddie Thai and Bihn Tran.
Under their leadership, 500 Startups Vietnam raised $14m in 2018 and invested in over 76 companies, of which 15 transactions were clocked in 2020. The fund has been completely deployed.
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