American Industrial Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, to acquire SEACOR Holdings, a diversified holding company with interests in domestic and international transportation and logistics, for $1bn. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
AIP will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of SEACOR for $41.5 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 14% to the SEACOR’s closing stock price on December 4, 2020.
“This transaction is an exciting next step for SEACOR, delivering stockholders an immediate and meaningful premium for their shares and providing the Company with access to additional growth capital and financial flexibility. AIP is an ideal partner for SEACOR that recognizes the value of its unique, diversified platform and management looks forward to leveraging their investment and operational expertise in pursuing industry consolidation and other growth opportunities across all our businesses. AIP has demonstrated success investing in and growing industrial, services, and marine businesses, and I am confident our employees and customers will greatly benefit from this partnership,” Charles Fabrikant, SEACOR Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
SEACOR Holdings is advised by Foros, Milbank and Sard Verbinnen & Co. AIP is advised by Ropes & Gray.
ContourGlobal, a British power generation business, agreed to acquire a portfolio of natural gas-fired and combined heat and power assets from Western Generation Partners, a private equity firm, for $837m. The proposed acquisition is expected to complete in Q1 2021, subject to certain closing conditions.
"We are very pleased to announce the continued expansion of our Caribbean and Solutions businesses and the entry into the United States market with this acquisition of contracted combined heat and power and flexible natural gas assets. This transaction fits squarely into our strategic and financial approach to acquisitions, which seeks high quality growth through operationally led strategic acquisitions," Joseph C. Brandt, ContourGlobal President and CEO.
ContourGlobal is advised by Cantor Fitzgerald, Latham & Watkins and Brunswick Group.
Brynwood Partners, an operationally-focused private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Take-And-Bake Pizza business of ARYZTA, a food business based in Zurich with operations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our prior investment in the private label frozen pizza space with Richelieu Foods was very successful and we are confident in the prospects for Great Kitchens. We look forward to bringing a significant level of investment in new products and recipe innovations to our retail partners through our best-in-class facilities," Henk Hartong III, Brynwood Partners Chairman and CEO.
ARYZTA was advised by BMO Capital Markets. Brynwood Partners was advised by Winston & Strawn.
Anworth Mortgage Asset, a specialty finance REIT that focuses primarily on investments in residential mortgage-backed securities, is set to merge with Ready Capital, a multi-strategy real estate finance company. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021, subject to the respective approvals by the stockholders of Anworth and Ready Capital and other customary closing conditions.
“This merger highlights our continued focus on establishing Ready Capital as an industry-leading mortgage REIT, with the scale and financial resources to pursue compelling risk-adjusted returns across its diversified investment platform. The combined company will be in a more formidable position to execute its business plan, improve operating and cost efficiencies, and continue growth in a prudent and profitable manner,” Thomas Capasse, Ready Capital Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Ready Capital is advised by Wells Fargo Securities and Alston & Bird. Anworth Mortgage Asset is advised by Credit Suisse and Greenberg Traurig.
Frasers Group considers acquiring Debenhams.
Mike Ashley's Frasers Group said it is in negotiations to buy Debenhams, collapsed department store chain, from administrators in a rescue deal, which would further extend the retail billionaire's reach in the British high street.
Frasers, formerly Sports Direct, said that it hoped a deal could be agreed and jobs at Debenhams saved after the Covid-19 pandemic sunk its business, but cautioned that the transaction was complicated and talks needed to take place quickly.
A former shareholder in Debenhams, Ashley's Frasers Group has long-been linked to its rescue. Administrators for Debenhams said last week it would be wound-down, closing all its shops after 242 years in business and putting 12k jobs at risk.
Airbnb seeks to raise price target range for IPO.
Airbnb has plans to raise the target price range for its IPO to between $56 and $60 per share, underscoring demand for new US stocks, Reuters reported. The US home rental firm had set a price range for its IPO to sell shares at $44 and $50 apiece.
Airbnb could communicate the upwardly revised price range to investors in a public filing on Monday. At the upper end of the new range, Airbnb would sell $3.1bn in stock and have a fully diluted valuation, which includes securities such as options and restricted stock units, of $41.8bn.
This is well above the $18bn Airbnb was worth in an April private fundraising round in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, and above the $31bn in its last pre-Covid-19 fundraising in 2017.
Walmart picks Goldman Sachs to examine $10bn Flipkart IPO in the US.
Walmart has hired Goldman Sachs to explore an initial share sale of its Flipkart unit in the US to raise around $10bn, DealStreetAsia reported.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart is planning to sell around 25% in India's largest online retailer. Work on the IPO is on in full swing and the advent of the pandemic has only hastened the process, given the spectacular surge in demand on e-commerce platforms.
The pandemic has pushed millions of new customers from small towns and cities to switch to online platforms, boosting valuations of e-commerce companies. Flipkart, which is based in Bengaluru and registered in Singapore, competes with Amazon's India unit and Reliance Industries, which is ramping up its JioMart e-commerce business to challenge its rivals in the online space.
Blackstone and CVC-backed Paysafe Group, an integrated payments platform, agreed to merge with Foley Trasimene Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, at a $9bn valuation.
Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Foley Trasimene stockholders, the effectiveness of a registration statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021.
“Today’s announcement begins an exciting new chapter in our company’s history and we’re excited about the partnership with Foley Trasimene, Blackstone and CVC. Today, more than ever, businesses and consumers need to connect and seamlessly transact via digital commerce. This is what Paysafe does best through our industry-leading payment processing, digital wallet, and online cash solutions. This transaction will allow us to accelerate our growth opportunities across the business, particularly in fast growth sectors such as iGaming where we are the payments partner of choice," Philip McHugh, Paysafe CEO.
Paysafe Group is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse,
JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Proton Partners, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and ICR. Foley Trasimene Acquisition is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, Weil Gotshal and Manges and Solebury Trout.
Patrick Drahi’s effort to take his European telecoms empire private faces obstacles after Winterbrook Capital, a London hedge fund, launched legal filings in the US to force the company’s advisers and an executive to issue documents about the deal ahead of formal litigation.
French billionaire Drahi, who already owns almost 78% of the Altice’s stock, offered $4.8 a share to buy out minority investors which was pitched as a 24% premium to the Altice stock price, FT reported.
The board recommended the offer, but the take private has attracted the anger of hedge funds holding Altice shares, including Lucerne and now Winterbrook, which are intending to launch court action in Amsterdam.
The funds argue that Drahi has tried to exploit a decline in the value of European telecoms stocks on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic at the expense of minority shareholders with an offer that undervalues the real value of its assets.
Altice Europe is advised by Lazard, LionTree Advisors, Allen & Overy and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. Next Private is advised by BNP Paribas, Luther, Mayer Brown, NautaDutilh and Ropes & Gray. Lucerne Capital is advised by ASC Advisors.
Moncler, an Italian luxury fashion brand, agreed to acquire Stone Island, a maker of high-end sportswear, for $1.39bn. The deal is expected to close by the first half of 2021.
Moncler will acquire 50% from owner and Chief Executive Carlo Rivetti and a further 19.9% from other members of his family. Carlo Rivetti and his family will subscribe for an amount equal to 50% of the consideration, or 10.7m new Moncler shares, at a set price of $44 per share. Moncler then will acquire the further 30% from Temasek, a Singapore’s state investor.
Stone Island is advised by Rothschild & Co and Pedersoli Studio Legale. Moncler is advised by Ludovici Piccone & Partners, Gatti Pavesi Bianchi, Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato, Cornelli Gabelli e Associati, Brunswick Group,Citigroup and KPMG.
Apollo Global-backed Gamenet Group, a gaming company, agreed to acquire Lottomatica Videolot Rete, a provider of gaming services, and Lottomatica Scommesse, which offers lottery, gaming solutions, and commercial services, from International Game Technology, a multinational gaming company, for €950m ($1.15bn).
"The transaction enables IGT to monetize its leadership positions in the Italian B2C gaming machine, sports betting, and digital spaces at an attractive multiple to comparable Italian transactions, providing us with enhanced financial flexibility. Aligning with our recent reorganization, the favorable rebalancing of our business and geographic mix reframes and simplifies our priorities while improving the Company's future profit margin, cash flow generation, and debt profile," Marco Sala, IGT CEO.
Apollo Global and Gamenet Group are advised by Mediobanca, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Latham & Watkins and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.
Elementis, a UK specialty chemicals company, has rejected a third approach from US rival Mineral Technologies, saying the latest offer of £1.3 ($1.74) per share "falls significantly short of value that would merit engagement," Bloomberg reported.
The board unanimously rejected the proposal, which would value the company at £755m ($1.01bn), as it fails to recognize Elementis' assets and its future prospects. Elementis called the offer "highly opportunistic" because it comes "at a low point of earnings and value."
Elementis rejected Mineral’s first offer at £1.07 ($1.44) per share, as well as the second proposal at £1.17 ($1.57) pence per share in November.
Connells, a real estate agent, has upped its offer for rival Countrywide, intensifying a battle for control of one of the UK’s property chains. Countrywide, which appointed former William Hill boss Philip Bowcock as interim chief executive in November, is considering rescue options.
In October, UK private equity firm Alchemy Partners, an existing shareholder, launched a takeover bid at £1.35 ($1.81) a share. It also proposed a £90m ($121m) cash injection. After Connells disclosed an interest in early November, Alchemy Partners increased its offer to £2.5 ($3.35) a share.
The new offer from Connells of £3.25 ($4.36) a share, a 27% premium to Monday’s opening price, values the company at roughly £112m ($150m).
Connells Group is advised by Evercore, Clifford Chance and MHP Communications.
PAI Partners, a private equity firm, to acquire Apleona, a European facility management services provider, from EQT's fund EQT VII for $1.88bn. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals and is expected to close early Q2 2021.
"Today, Apleona is the market leader in the technical and integrated facilities management space. It has a strong platform to continue to drive market consolidation and further key account wins as the partner of choice for its blue-chip clients. We would like to thank Apleona's CEO, Jochen Keysberg, the broader management team, the supervisory board and the advisory committee, as well as all employees for supporting EQT and Apleona along our joint journey," Andreas Aschenbrenner, EQT Partners Partner.
EQT is advised by Deutsche Bank. PAI Partners is advised by Hengeler Mueller and Greenbrook Communications.
Cisco, a multinational technology conglomerate, agreed to acquire IMImobile, a provider of cloud communications software and services, for $730m. Cisco will pay $0.77 per share in exchange for each share of IMImobile. The acquisition of IMImobile is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2021.
"We are excited to join Cisco and become part of one of the world's leading technology companies as they seek to enable great customer experiences. We believe there will be a world of dynamic, always-on connections between global businesses and their customers and the combination of our respective technologies will enable to us make every interaction matter more for our clients," Jay Patel, IMImobile CEO.
IMImobile is advised by Alma PR. Cisco is advised by Barclays.
Permira, a global investment firm, agreed to invest €150m ($181m) in Catawiki, a provider of online catalogue of collectables. Existing shareholder Accel also participated in the round. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the next months.
“Our mission is to become the most popular destination for special objects across the globe, starting with Europe. This investment is the latest confirmation that we are delivering on this mission. It’s also a strong recognition of the hard work of our team,” Ravi Vora, Catawiki CEO.
Catawiki is advised by Arma Partners. Permira is advised by JP Morgan.
NortonLifeLock, an American software company, agreed to acquire Avira, a Germany-headquartered, global cybersecurity software solutions firm, from Investcorp, a global investment manager, for $360m.
"I am delighted to welcome Avira to the Norton family. We strive to bring Cyber Safety to everyone, and acquiring Avira adds a growing business to our portfolio, accelerates our international growth and expands our go-to-market model with a leading freemium solution. Culturally, we are a great match. We share a relentless focus on delivering innovative products to customers and we always think customer-first. We cannot wait to get started with Avira," Vincent Pilette, NortonLifeLock CEO.
Duff & Phelps, a provider of governance, risk and transparency solutions, agreed to acquire Blackrock Expert Services Group, a London-headquartered disputes and expert advisory specialist firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Organizations are facing growing complexity and regulation that requires global expert advisory services. We will also help the Duff & Phelps team strengthen their disputes capabilities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We see many areas of opportunity for collaboration, leveraging Kroll’s cyber risk, investigations and compliance expertise, and Duff & Phelps’ M&A, debt advisory and valuation services, to bring new capabilities to our clients. Duff & Phelps shares our core values of professionalism, quality, independence and integrity to provide best-in-class solutions to clients facing complex challenges, risk and uncertainty in their businesses, and we are excited to be part of the team,” Giles Derry, Blackrock Expert Services CEO.
PAI Partners-backed M Group Services, a provider of services to essential infrastructure markets in the UK, agreed to acquire infrastructure services business of Skanska for £50m ($67m). The divestment is anticipated to be completed, and the transaction expected to be recognized, by the end of the first quarter 2021.
“Strategic acquisitions are a core part of our strategy as we continue to enhance the scope of capability across our sector focused divisions. Skanska’s infrastructure services business has earned a strong reputation within the transport sector due to its consistent, quality delivery and innovative solutions which has led to strong and longstanding relationships being established with many local authority clients including Hampshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Devon County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council in addition to the likes of Transport for London,” Jim Arnold, M Group Services Chief Executive.
Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord, France’s third-biggest listed lender, agreed to merge their retail banking operations. Financial terms are not disclosed.
The Boards of Directors of Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord have approved the merger of the Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord brands in order to combine the strength of human expertise and of digital technology to bolster customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and commercial ambition.
The transaction will help to achieve a net cost base reduction of more than €350m ($424m) in 2024 and about €450m ($546m) in 2025 compared with 2019, with project costs estimated at between €700-800m ($849-970m) (of which approximately 70% in 2021).
Highland Europe raises €700m for fourth fund. (FS)
Venture capital group Highland Europe said it had raised €700m ($851m) for its fourth fund, its largest to date, and reinforced its team investing in European software and internet startups, Reuters reported.
The new fund brings the total raised by Highland Europe to €1.8bn ($2.2bn) since it was carved out from US-based Highland Capital Partners in 2012 as a standalone investor with offices in London and Geneva.
“During 2020 we have seen 10-year trends in tech adoption compressed into one year across both consumer and business segments,” Fergal Mullen, Highland Europe Co-founder and Partner.
Highland Europe was advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Italy wants the court to postpone a decision on Vivendi's Mediaset stake.
Italy has asked an administrative court to postpone a decision over whether to unfreeze French media group Vivendi's stake in Italy's top commercial broadcaster Mediaset.
The move follows the approval of a bill which forces the communications watchdog AGCOM to start a new probe into Vivendi's interests in the Italian media and telecoms sector. Vivendi, which is also the top investor in Telecom Italia with a 24% stake, had requested the court the remove restrictions on its 29% Mediaset holding.
A postponement of the court’s decision might help Mediaset, controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in a long-running legal battle against its second-largest shareholder Vivendi.
SS&C Technologies Holdings, a Connecticut-based financial technology company, proposed $2.24bn to acquire Link Administration, a US software provider. SS&C gave a non-binding offer of $4.05 a share, which is 4.6% higher than the sweetened $3.8 per share offer Link received from Carlyle and Pacific Equity Partners, private equity firms.
The offer price assumes that no further dividends, distributions or reductions in the capital would be paid from the date of the SS&C Proposal. Link, which also provides services to fund managers and trading firms, added it would consider the offer from SS&C and asked shareholders not to take any action yet.
Link is advised by Macquarie Group, UBS, Herbert Smith Freehills and GRACosway. Carlyle is advised by Gilbert + Tobin.
Sino Biopharmaceutical, an innovative research and development driven pharmaceutical conglomerate, completed the acquisition of a 15% stake in Sinovac Life Sciences from Sinovac Biotech, a provider of biopharmaceutical products, for $500m.
“We have made significant progress in the development of our Covid-19 vaccine candidate CoronaVac, which has reached critical milestones in clinical trials in Asia and Latin America. In addition to funding the CoronaVac, this new strategic partnership with Sino Biopharmaceutical Limited further enables us to improve our vaccine sales capabilities, expand in Asia markets, develop and access new technologies, and most importantly, accelerate our efforts to help combat the global pandemic,” Weidong Yin, Chairman, Sinovac President and CEO.
Sinovac Biotech was advised by Houlihan Lokey, Han Kun Law Offices,
Latham & Watkins, Abernathy MacGregor Group and ICR.
Thedocyard, an end-to-end deal management platform, completed the acquisition of Ansarada, a global provider of cloud-based SaaS platform for secure end-to-end document and process management and supporting transactions, for c. A$100m ($71.8m).
"With this transaction, our reach will be greater, our opportunity to solve more of our customers problems enhanced, and our vision to be the trusted technology partner to corporates, advisors and funds is accelerated. The combination of our workflow, deal and board management solutions, with Ansarada’s trusted brand and position in the transaction dataroom market is set to make the merged business a global force in the information governance technology market," Stuart Clout, thedocyard Founder and CEO.
Thedocyard is advised by Morgans Corporate and Herbert Smith Freehills. Ansarada is advised by Moelis & Co and Jones Day.
CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a 49% stake in I.T, a Hong Kong-based fashion retailer, for $168m. The deal is still subject to shareholder approval.
The offer will equate to roughly $0.4 per share, marking a 54% premium over its last closing price at $0.25 right before I.T suspended trading on November 30. If the deal goes through, CEO’s stake in the group will drop from 63.31% to 50.65%, giving CVC the remaining 49.35%.
Orchid Asia, an investment group, completed the $120m Series E investment round in Snowball, a social network and information portal for investors in China.
The funding proceeds from the fresh round will be allocated to upgrade its services, and also for its wealth management platform and talent recruitment.
Debt financing was provided by UBS.
Blackstone to acquire $1bn Japan portfolio from PAG. (FS, RE)
Blackstone has made its fourth major real estate acquisition in Japan this year, bringing its combined spending on property assets in the country to more than JPY540bn ($5.2bn).
The US private equity giant has spent about JPY110bn ($1bn) to buy a portfolio of commercial and residential properties, primarily in Tokyo and Osaka, from Hong Kong-based fund manager PAG.
Actis in talks to acquire Ashoka Concessions. (FS)
Actis, a private-equity firm, is in talks for a potential buyout of Ashoka Concessions' roads portfolio, in a deal that could imply an equity value of about $350m, Bloomberg reported.
Actis is looking to buy the entire portfolio, which is made up of 15 assets, including six operational BOT toll projects, one operational BOT annuity project and eight under-construction hybrid annuity projects. The deal could potentially have an enterprise value of about $1.2bn.
Kingspan and Standard Industries among final bidders for Bridgestone unit. (FS)
Kingspan Group of Ireland and Standard Industries are among the final bidders competing for a unit being sold by Japanese conglomerate Bridgestone, Bloomberg reported.
Carlisle has also been considering an acquisition of Firestone Building Products. A winner could be selected in the coming weeks.
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