Twitter said Elon Musk’s latest move to cancel his agreement to buy the social network is invalid after the billionaire said the company’s treatment of a whistle-blower gave him another reason to walk away from the $44bn deal, Bloomberg reported.
Musk’s latest move to terminate the deal is “invalid and wrongful” and “Twitter has breached none of its representations or obligations,” Twitter’s lawyers said.
Zendesk's investor Light Street Capital Management reaffirmed its decision to vote against the software firm's $10.2bn go-private deal with investment firms Hellman & Friedman and Permira.
Light Street also asked it to postpone the voting on the deal, which is due September 19. Light Street in August had proposed a recapitalization of Zendesk, with a $2bn preferred equity investment arranged by the investment firm and a $2bn incremental debt facility.
Light Street also suggested that the software maker issue a $5bn tender offer at $82.5 per share for those who would like to sell their shares, and expand its board to 10 seats, including five directors from Light Street and other preferred equity shareholders, Reuters reported.
Zendesk is advised by Goldman Sachs, Qatalyst Partners, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Financial advisors to Zendesk are advised by Morrison & Foerster and Sullivan & Cromwell. GIC is advised by Dechert. Hellman & Friedman is advised by Morgan Stanley, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Kirkland & Ellis, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Finsbury Glover Hering. Permira is advised by Sard Verbinnen & Co. Debt provider is advised by Latham & Watkins.
Avast, a provider of security software to the consumer market as measured by the number of users, completed the merger with NortonLifeLock, a firm that sells cybersecurity and identity protection for individual consumers, in an $8.6bn deal.
"We believe that everyone deserves the freedom to live their digital lives to the fullest. Half a billion users trust us to protect and empower their digital lives, and now that NortonLifeLock and Avast have come together, we plan to redefine and reimagine Cyber Safety for consumers and small businesses around the world," Vincent Pilette, NortonLifeLock CEO.
NortonLifeLock was advised by Deloitte, Evercore, Kirkland & Ellis, Macfarlanes and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Financial advisors was advised by Ashurst and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. Debt financing was provided by Bank of America and Wells Fargo Securities. Avast was advised by JP Morgan, UBS, White & Case and Finsbury Glover Hering.
Clearlake Capital and Siris Capital-backed Newfold Digital, a web and commerce technology company, agreed to acquire MarkMonitor, an enterprise-level provider of domain management solutions, from Clarivate, an information services and analytics company, for $302m.
"As web presence needs continue to grow and evolve, domain management and protection is becoming more important. Companies need reliable partners and solutions that deliver results, and MarkMonitor is well-known for its expertise in serving the domain portfolio needs of some of the most sophisticated digital companies in the world, making it a natural fit for our family of web technology brands," Sharon Rowlands, Newfold Digital CEO.
Newfold Digital is advised by BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Mizuho Securities, RBC Capital Markets, UBS and Sidley Austin. Clarivate is advised by Evercore and Blank Rome.
Nauticus Robotics, a developer of robots, software, and associated services, went public via a SPAC merger with CleanTech Acquisition, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, in a $561m deal.
“We are pleased with this outcome that takes Nauticus public and allows them to further their mission of positively impacting the cost and emission profiles of the massive ocean economy. I continue to believe Nauticus’ Robotics-as-a-Service business model will be appealing to public markets investors and have confidence in their long-term growth trajectory," Eli Spiro, CLAQ CEO.
Nauticus Robotics was advised by Winston & Strawn. CleanTech Acquisition was advised by Chardan, Duff & Phelps, Lake Street, ROTH Capital Partners, Loeb & Loeb and Gateway Investor Relations. Financial advisors are advised by Sullivan & Cromwell.
Google, an American multinational technology company, completed the acquisition of Mandiant, a pure-play cybersecurity firm, for $5.4bn.
“The Mandiant brand is synonymous with unmatched insights for organizations seeking to keep themselves secure in a constantly changing environment. This is an opportunity to deliver an end-to-end security operations suite and extend one of the best consulting organizations in the world. Together we can make a profound impact in securing the cloud, accelerating the adoption of cloud computing, and ultimately make the world safer," Thomas Kurian, Google CEO.
Mandiant was advised by Goldman Sachs, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Sullivan & Cromwell. Google was advised by Lazard, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and King & Wood Mallesons.
Equistone-backed Acuity Knowledge Partners, a provider of high-value research, analytics and business intelligence to the financial services sector, completed the acquisition of Cians Analytics, a provider of high-quality, cost-effective research and analytical support for financial institutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Cians Analytics has proven, throughout the years, that they have a dedication to quality work and best-in-class service to all of their clients. Given our shared cultures and service offerings, the opportunity to combine our teams and provide high-quality services to a larger client base was a compelling one. Post-transaction Acuity will support over 500 banking and financial services firms worldwide. This deal also supports the significant growth we have seen, and continue to target, in key markets such as the US,” Robert King, Acuity Knowledge Partners CEO.
Cians Analytics was advised by Grant Thornton, Mayer Brown and Phoenix Legal. Acuity Knowledge Partners was advised by BDA Partners, AZB & Partners, Baker Hostetler and Latham & Watkins.
ARKO, a convenience store operator and fuel wholesaler, agreed to acquire Transit Energy Group, a fuel services provider, from Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm, for $450m.
“We believe this significant, accretive acquisition will drive strategic growth with the addition of an exceptional team, well-known stores and other assets to our Family of Community Brands. A deal of this magnitude complements our core capabilities and will create long-term value for ARKO stockholders and valuable synergies given our existing footprint and proven strategy of adding value to strong local brands while keeping jobs in place," Arie Kotler, ARKO President, Chairman and CEO.
Transit Energy Group is advised by Bank of America, Latham & Watkins and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. ARKO is advised by Greenberg Traurig, Schwarz and L’Altrelli and Matter Communications.
Igneo Infrastructure Partners, a global infrastructure investment manager, agreed to acquire US Signal, a data center and network solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Over the past two decades, US Signal has built an outstanding reputation for its client service and responsiveness, attracting customers in the healthcare, finance and telecommunications sectors that require a high degree of data security and reliability. We believe US Signal has substantial growth opportunities and is a great fit for our investment portfolio, which focuses on high-quality, mid-market, core infrastructure businesses and geographic and sector diversification," John Ma, Igneo in North America Partner and Co-head.
US Signal is advised by Bank Street Group and Dickinson Wright. Igneo Infrastructure Partners is advised by KeyBanc Capital Markets, Mayer Brown and Newton Park PR.
CIM Group, a community-focused real estate and infrastructure owner, operator, lender and developer, completed the acquisition of RNG development platform from MAS Energy, an energy project development company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“CIM Group’s acquisition of Terreva represents a marquee transaction in the RNG sector that came about as a result of our long-standing commitment to and experience in renewable energy, and our strong, established relationship with MAS Energy. We continue to believe RNG is a crucial component of the global energy transition and are excited to contribute as a leader in decarbonization,” Avi Shemesh, CIM Group Co-Founder and Principal.
CIM Group was advised by Baker Botts and Diehl Communications. MAS Energy was advised by Cantor Fitzgerald and Kirkland & Ellis.
XL Fleet, a provider of hybrid and plug-in hybrid electrification solutions for fleets, completed the acquisition of Spruce Power, a private owner and operator of residential distributed energy resources, for $58m.
“Earlier this year, we communicated our intent to transform the company and create shareholder value through strategic M&A. The acquisition of Spruce Power is a critical first step in that transformation and will be the cornerstone of our new strategy to provide subscription-based solutions for rooftop solar, battery storage and EV charging to homeowners and small businesses,” Eric Tech, XL Fleet CEO.
XL Fleet was advised by Guggenheim Partners, WilmerHale and ICR.
The Aspen Group, one of the largest and fastest growing consumer healthcare support companies in the US, completed the acquisition of AZPetVet, a network of 22 animal hospitals in the greater Phoenix area. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We've proven and refined the model with Aspen Dental and built the only national dental brand. We've now applied it to three other consumer healthcare brands in ClearChoice, WellNow and Chapter and we couldn't be more excited to partner with AZPetVet," Bob Fontana, TAG Chairman and CEO.
AZPetVet was advised by Raymond James. TAG was advised by JP Morgan.
Ra Medical Systems, a medical device company, agreed to merge with Catheter Precision, an innovative US-based medical device company. Catheter Precision stakeholders are expected to own approximately 80% of the combined company, and pre-merger Ra Medical equity holders are expected to own approximately 20% of the combined company.
“After undertaking a comprehensive process with external advisors to explore and evaluate a range of strategic options, our board and management team believe this transaction with Catheter Precision is the best strategic alternative for Ra Medical and represents an opportunity to create substantial value for our stockholders. This business combination, if completed, will result in Ra Medical investors having an equity stake in a company that is focused on developing and commercializing novel technologies and solutions to improve the lives of patients with cardiac arrhythmias under the leadership of a world-class team with decades of medical device industry experience,” Will McGuire, Ra Medical CEO.
Ra Medical Systems is advised by LHA Investor Relations and Ladenburg Thalmann.
Bernhard Capital, a private equity firm, completed an investment in Grace Hebert Curtis Architecture, an architectural consultant. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We continue to see a number of tailwinds within the broader AEC market as businesses, institutions, and local and federal governments dedicate more resources to the development of critical and civic infrastructure, particularly K-12 schools and healthcare. GHC has established a reputation for delivering the highest quality architecture and design services to bring new, sustainable properties to life and will be well positioned for long-term success. We look forward to building a platform that will serve as a one-stop offering for customers across the country," Jeff Koonce, Bernhard Capital Partner.
ARCH Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, and Mubadala Capital, a global ventures platform, led a $72m Series A funding round in Pretzel Therapeutics, a biotechnology company harnessing the intricacies of mitochondrial biology to develop groundbreaking therapies, with participation from HealthCap, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Enterprise, Angelini Ventures, GV, Invus, Eir Ventures, GU Ventures, and Karolinska Institutet Holding.
“We are excited to pioneer a new era in the treatment of diseases related to mitochondrial dysfunction. The expertise we have assembled and the platform technologies we have created will allow new inroads into treating both rare genetic diseases as well as common diseases of aging. We’re proud to be backed by an outstanding investor syndicate, with a Series A financing that will allow us to prosecute preclinical development across our pipeline and continue to build out our talented team,” Jay Parrish, Pretzel Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
Pretzel Therapeutics was advised by Ten Bridge Communications.
Drive Capital, a venture capital firm, and Aisling Capital, an investment firm, led a $90m Series C funding round in Forge Biologics.
“Forge has grown tremendously over the last two years, hiring experienced talent and scaling the facility, technology, and client offerings according to their unique hybrid business model. We believe that Forge is becoming an established leader in gene therapy manufacturing, consistent with Drive Capital’s focus to build and support market-defining companies,” Molly Bonakdarpour, Drive Capital General Partner.
JP Morgan, a company across banking, markets and securities services, agreed to acquire Renovite Technologies, a company which develops and delivers the next generation of consumer payments solution for banks, processors, and merchants. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited to acquire Renovite and accelerate our roadmap for helping our clients stay at the cutting-edge of payments innovation. This acquisition will help us achieve our goal to develop the next-generation payments processing platform globally,” Max Neukirchen, JP Morgan Global Head of Payments & Commerce Solutions.
Sercel, a designer and manufacturer of high-tech solutions for subsurface exploration, completed the acquisition of the software business of ION Geophysical, a provider of acquisition equipment, software, planning and seismic processing services, and seismic data libraries to the global oil & gas industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are delighted to bring ION’s software technology and expertise onboard and welcome the teams to Sercel. This acquisition is an excellent opportunity for Sercel to broaden its offering and to continue to expand its diversification opportunities with value proven products such as Marlin. The software team also brings significant experience in designing, developing, supporting and selling software services and solutions, which Sercel can further leverage across its various other solution offerings," Emmanuelle Dubu, Sercel CEO.
American Real Estate Partners, an institutional fund manager and operating partner focused on data center, residential, industrial, and office assets, completed the acquisition of 1101 King Street, a redeveloped 200k square foot building. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled with the acquisition of 1101 King. It sits in the very center of historic Old Town Alexandria and rises four stories above the buildings around it with views of the entire city. The balconies on each level are more like terraces, with many 10 to 20 feet in depth. It is a one-of-a-kind asset that can never be replicated. This asset illustrates AREP’s strategy of looking for special properties in vibrant and emerging locations that can be repurposed for residential use,” Doug Fleit, AREP Co-Founder & CEO.
Dan Loeb backs off from pushing Disney to sell ESPN.
Activist investor Dan Loeb signaled that he is backing off his push to persuade Walt Disney to spin off its popular sports television network ESPN.
The change of heart comes after Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek said that he has plans for ESPN to be a big growth engine and a large part of the company’s entertainment offerings.
Last month, Mr. Loeb’s hedge fund, Third Point, said it had renewed its stake in Disney stock after having liquidated one earlier this year. He sent a letter to Mr. Chapek asking for major changes to Disney’s business, including spinning off ESPN, refreshing Disney’s board and cutting spending, WSJ reported.
KKR seeks advisers to sell its stake in Avendus Capital. (FS)
KKR is in talks with advisers to sell its stake in Avendus Capital, valuing the financial services provider at more than $500m, Bloomberg reported.
The private equity titan is close to appointing two banks to manage the formal process for the transaction. Other investors in the Mumbai-based firm might also join KKR in the deal, taking the stake for sale to about 80% of the company.
Texas Teachers allocates an additional $685m to private markets. (FS)
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Texas has made an additional private markets' allocation totaling $685m to range of funds including commitments to private equity, energy and natural resources, as well as a digital assets venture capital fund, AlternativesWatch reported.
The lion's share of the new commitments have been made to private equity and venture capital with $620m going to a variety of strategies including: Apollo Investment Fund X ($400m); Eighth Cinven Fund No. 1 ($200m); and CoinFund Ventures I Onshore ($20m), an early stage VC fund that closed last month at $300m with a focus on backing ambitious founders across blockchain sub-sectors.
Shareholders of Euromoney Institutional Investor have voted in favour of a £1.6bn ($1.8bn) bid by Astorg Asset Management and London-based private equity firm Epiris to acquire the business.
The deal for the London-based global B2B information services business needed that backing of 75% of shareholders for it to go ahead. The scheme still remains to be sanctioned by the court at a hearing expected to take place in the Q4 202, with the deal executed to become effective by year end.
Euromoney is advised by Numis Securities, Goldman Sachs, UBS,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and FTI Consulting. Epiris Managers is advised by Bank of America, Raymond James, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose Fulbright and Greenbrook.
The Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns over a potential loss of competition in a small number of areas in relation to Morrisons' acquisition of McColl's Retail Group out of administration. However, it said overall the deal "would not harm the vast majority of shoppers or other businesses".
The CMA launched an inquiry into the deal in July to examine whether the deal has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the UK.
Following its Phase 1 investigation, the regulator has found that the merger between Morrisons and McColl's raises competition concerns in 35 areas, where McColl's or MFG convenience stores will face reduced competition.
McColl is advised by Hogan Lovells. Morrisons is advised by Houlihan Lokey and Ashurst.
VK, a Russian technology company, completed the acquisition of Zen and News from Yandex, a search engine and web portal.
"Creation and development of convenient content services for users is among VK’s top strategic priorities. While Zen is a unique platform popular with millions of users, already holding a leading market position but with also major development potential. Integration with VK will open up access for Zen’s content creators to new users as well as new formats. In the meantime, users will be able to enjoy even more quality content from education to entertainment. We highly appreciate the results achieved by the Zen team, and consider it right to give the team the opportunity to continue to develop independently, enabling the service to bring new content and evolve existing products faster and more efficiently, while further expanding its audience," Vladimir Kirienko, VK CEO.
Vitruvian Partners-backed KCAS, a company that provides comprehensive GLP compliant development services from early discovery support through product registration and beyond, completed the acquisition of Active Biomarkers, an integrated bioanalytical laboratory. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Our entire team is thrilled about the new partnership with KCAS and the combined organizations’ outlook. This combination will allow us to provide even more comprehensive, best-in-class services for the biopharma and life sciences sector. The KCAS’ alliance, backed by a leading world-class growth investor, will provide us with the support and growth to expand our technological expertise, capacity, and geographical footprint,” Marc Essodaigui, Active Biomarkers CEO.
Ubisoft CEO says still open to other partners after Tencent deal.
Ubisoft, a video games maker, is still open to other partners after a deal in which Tencent will raise its stake in the company, its co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot said, Reuters reported.
The group has long been seen as a takeover target as the Guillemots hold a minority stake in the group. Still, the Guillemot brothers managed to fend off a raid by French tycoon Vincent Bollore via his media group Vivendi.
Simpler IPO rules will help lift London market.
The UK should streamline its regulatory regime to attract more startups and foreign issuers to London’s beleaguered initial public offering market, Bloomberg reported.
The UK market watchdog is looking to scrap London’s two-tier market system in favor of a simplified single listing regime. This could pave the way for tech companies with unequal voting rights to be included in FTSE Russell indexes, which currently only accept stocks trading on the premium segment of the stock exchange.
Sony Pictures Networks India and India's Zee Entertainment have proposed offering concessions such as pricing discounts to help ease concerns of the country's antitrust regulator over their merger, which will create a $10bn TV behemoth.
The concessions are a bid to iron out antitrust worries of the Competition Commission of India, which in an August 3 notice warned the companies of further scrutiny, saying their "humongous market position" would allow them to enjoy "un-paralleled bargaining power" with 92 channels in India's massive media and entertainment market. In particular, the CCI was concerned over how big an impact on competition the merged entity would have in terms of advertising and channel pricing, particularly in the popular Hindi language segment. Legal experts and former CCI officials said such scrutiny was set to delay the deal approval process.
Last week, Sony-Zee submitted "voluntary remedies" to the deal in writing to assuage the watchdog's concerns, though that did not include structural changes such as the sale of certain channels to reduce the threat of competition, Reuters reported.
Sony Pictures India is advised by KPMG, Morgan Stanley and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Invesco is advised by Jefferies & Company. Zee is advised by Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan, KPMG, Trilegal and Brunswick Group.
Magna International, a Canadian parts manufacturer for automakers, led a $82m Series B funding round in Yulu, a technology-driven mobility platform.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Magna to contribute to a sustainable future in urban mobility through this investment in Yulu. Micro mobility presents a great opportunity for additional growth for Magna, and joining forces with Yulu helps us expand our business into this rapidly growing sector,” Matteo Del Sorbo, Magna International executive vice president and Magna New Mobility global lead.
CALB starts gauging demand for $2bn Hong Kong IPO.
Chinese battery maker CALB has started gauging investor demand for its $2bn Hong Kong initial public offering, Bloomberg reported.
The Jiangsu-based lithium battery maker, a competitor for bellwethers Contemporary Amperex Technology and BYD, will assess demand for its shares from September 12 to September 22.
Bain Capital said to prep sale of Japan’s Works Human Intelligence at up to $2bn valuation. (FS)
Bain Capital is reportedly prepping a sale of Japanese human resources software business Works Human Intelligence which could value it at up to $2bn, AltAssets reported.
The buyout house picked up Works three years ago, when it was known as Works Applications. Bain is working with an advisor and has reached out to prospective buyers. The firm is considering a full or partial stake sale.
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