Canadian National, a Canadian freight railway, announced that it made an offer to merge with Kansas City Southern, a transportation holding company, in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $33.7bn, or $325 per share, trumping a rival bid by Canadian Pacific, a provider of transportation services and supply chain expertise.
“CN is ideally positioned to combine with KCS to create a company with broader reach and greater scale, and to seamlessly connect more customers to rail hubs and ports in the US, Mexico and Canada. CN and KCS have highly complementary networks with limited overlap that will enable them to accelerate growth in single-owner, single-operator, end-to-end service across North America. With safer service and better fuel efficiency on key routes from Mexico through the heartland of America, the result will be a safer, faster, cleaner and stronger railway,” JJ Ruest, CN President and CEO.
Canadian National is advised by JP Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Norton Rose Fulbright, Sidley Austin, Stikeman Elliott, Torys, Brunswick Group and Longview Communications. Kansas City is advised by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Baker & Miller, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, White & Case, WilmerHale and Joele Frank. Financial advisors of Kansas City are advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Canadian Pacific is advised by BMO Capital Markets, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Bennett Jones, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Creel Garcia-Cuellar Aiza y Enriquez, Sullivan & Cromwell and Edelman. Financial advisors of Canadian Pacific are advised by Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.
GI Partners, a private investment firm, agreed to invest in Aras, a resilient platform provider for digital industrial applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We believe the pace of digital transformation in manufacturing is just beginning to increase, and that Aras is uniquely positioned to deliver the next generation of platform-based applications for global companies. We are excited to partner with Peter and the management team to help further extend their cloud technology leadership, world-class support, and operations as the business scales. Our vision is to grow the company through investment in internal processes and innovation, both organic R&D and acquisitions," Travis Pearson, GI Partners Managing Director and Co-Head of Private Equity.
Aras is advised by Goldman Sachs, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Chris Tofalli and V2 Communications. GI Partners is advised by Evercore and Ropes & Gray.
Bank of Marin, a bank holding company, agreed to merge with American River Bankshares, a community bank, in a $135m deal.
“This merger brings together two exceptional institutions that share complementary values and disciplined fundamentals. Bank of Marin will be able to expand its franchise by delivering the same legendary service that is the hallmark of a community bank on a regional scale," Russell A. Colombo, Bank of Marin President and Chief Executive Officer.
Bank of Marin is advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods and Stuart Moore Staub. American River Bankshares is advised by Piper Sandler and Manatt Phelps & Phillips.
Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Absorb Software, a provider of cloud-based learning management system software, from Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This new investment speaks volumes to the increasing value of Absorb's platform. I'm thrilled about the momentum we established with our initial investment from Silversmith, and this new partnership with WCAS will accelerate our growth and fuel innovation as we invest heavily in our product and drive expansion throughout the entire organization," Mike Owens, Absorb's CEO.
WCAS is advised by Kirkland & Ellis. Silversmith and Absorb are advised by Shea & Co and Choate Hall & Stewart.
TPG Growth, a middle-market and growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG, agreed to invest in Implantable Provider Group, a provider of surgical cost management solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We recognize the unique and valuable platform IPG has built and see a significant opportunity for the Company to expand its presence in both existing markets and new locations across the country. Leveraging our deep experience investing across the healthcare sector, we are excited to execute on our shared mission to positively impact healthcare costs in the growing surgical care market,” Zach Ferguson, TPG Growth Partner.
TPG Growth is advised by Deutsche Bank and TripleTree. Debt financing is provided by Citizens Capital Markets.
J2 Global, an internet information and services company, agreed to spin-off into two publicly traded companies, J2 Global and Consensus, a provider of secure data exchange, through a transfer of an 80.1% stake in Consensus to J2 shareholders. The separation is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
“This is an exciting day for J2’s employees, shareholders, customers, and other key stakeholders. This transaction will create two leading independent public companies. With distinct management teams, capital structures, and strategic focus, each company should be very well positioned to create enduring value. I am also very pleased that Scott Turicchi, my long-term partner at J2, will become the CEO of Consensus at the closing of the transaction,” Vivek Shah, J2 CEO.
J2 Global is advised by Citigroup and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
Jushi Holdings, a vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator, agreed to acquire Nature’s Remedy, a vertically-integrated single state cannabis operator in Massachusetts, for $110m. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
“We are excited to announce that we have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nature’s Remedy, a vertically integrated business operating high-quality, well-managed assets in Massachusetts. Our entrance into Massachusetts will mark the seventh state where we operate cannabis assets and the third state where we are vertically integrated. This acquisition will enable us to rapidly build scale in an important, maturing adult-use market with a defensible retail position and a solid cultivation footprint with significant opportunities to expand," Jim Cacioppo, Jushi CEO, Chairman and Founder.
Bertram Capital, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire AFC Industries, a distributor of fasteners and other C-parts. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"AFC has established itself as a real partner to customers through its high-touch and value-added distribution model, alleviating many of the pain points related to sourcing C-parts and inventory management. AFC's success reflects the company's extensive technical and industry expertise, deep domestic and international sourcing network, and vast national distribution footprint. We are honored to partner with Kevin Godin and the AFC team," Kevin Yamashita, Bertram Capital Partner.
Atos, a French multinational information technology service and consulting company, agreed to acquire Processia, a global consulting and system integrator. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Processia has impressive capabilities and an excellent reputation. They will complement the PLM and Engineering Services portfolio of the Atos Manufacturing practice extremely well. The two companies are also very complementary in terms of global footprint and customer base,” Pierre Barnabe, Atos Head of Manufacturing Industry.
CDPQ led a $147m funding round in Druva, a software company, valuing the company at $2bn. The round was joined by Neuberger Berman, Atreides Management and Viking Global.
“Druva pioneered the cloud data protection category almost a decade ago and has led the way in defining the architecture, business model, and user experience our customers now expect. This investment and our continued, rapid growth is further validation of our vision for a simple, open, and unified data protection and management platform,” Jaspreet Singh, Druva Founder and CEO.
General Motors led a $139m Series D funding round in SES, a developer and manufacturer of Li-Metal rechargeable batteries. The round was joined by SK, Temasek, Applied Ventures, Shanghai Auto and Vertex.
"This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand our technical, business and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialization of Li-Metal batteries," Qichao Hu, SES Founder and CEO.
Tiger Global led a $133m Series E funding round in Virta Health, a company developing type 2 diabetes reversal.
“The norm in diabetes care has been more medications, more weight gain, and more suffering. Diabetes reversal changes this. We have shown a path for people to live medication and diabetes-free, and this investment is about reaching even more people and taking diabetes reversal mainstream,” Sami Inkinen, Virta Health Co-Founder and CEO.
A consortium of investors, co-led by new investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global and Insight Partners, along with participation from another existing investor, Steadview Capital, led a $125m Series G round in Chargebee, a subscription billing and revenue management platform.
"As the global shift to subscription-first models continue to grow in popularity, Chargebee has an incredibly bold vision for new products for multiple market segments. After years of knowing them, I've been most impressed by their thoughtfulness and execution in building Chargebee as the emerging category leader that is reinventing the broader space," Rajeev Dham, Sapphire Ventures Partner.
Andreessen Horowitz led a Series C funding round in Clubhouse, a social media app, valuing the company at c. $4bn. The round was joined by DST Global, Tiger Global Management and Elad Gil. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The funding will allow it to scale its team, which already quadrupled in size this year, and launch programs for creators to get paid.
Zoom launches a $100m fund.
Zoom, a video conferencing company, has launched a $100m fund for companies that are building apps and integrations for its platform. The company plans to invest between $250k and $2.5m for seed and Series A startups.
“We’re looking for companies with a viable product and early market traction, and a commitment to developing on and investing in the Zoom ecosystem,” Colin Born, Zoom Head of Corporate Development.
Warburg Pincus-backed Duravant, a global engineered equipment and automation solutions provider, agreed to acquire Foodmate, a manufacturer of poultry processing equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this partnership. Foodmate is the preferred provider of processing systems in the poultry processing industry globally. Combine that with their culture of laser-focused innovation and superior engineering expertise, Foodmate is a wonderful addition to the Duravant family,” Mike Kachmer, Duravant President and CEO.
Duravant is advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and King & Spalding. Debt financing is provided by Credit Suisse, Jefferies & Company and Societe Generale.
The Dutch government raised concerns with Hungarian officials after a decision in Budapest to block the sale of Aegon’s local unit to Vienna Insurance Group, Bloomberg reported.
Hungary this month refused to approve the crucial part of a $1bn of Aegon’s central and eastern European operations to Vienna Insurance. While governments across Europe routinely block deals to prevent market monopolies, save jobs or for national-security reasons, the Orban administration’s intervention raised concern because it didn’t seem to match those categories.
Aegon is advised by JP Morgan. Vienna Insurance is advised by Deloitte, HSBC, NautaDutilh and Wolf Theiss.
Inflexion-backed Autofutura, a retail software supplier, agreed to merge with GForces, a supplier of e-commerce technology and software to the automotive industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The combination of Autofutura with GForces unlocks a unique and highly relevant technology proposition for the automotive retail industry, against a backdrop of accelerating change and disruption for dealers and OEMs. We are delighted to be backing this team to create such an exciting auto tech group, by merging two outstanding private businesses with a long track record of growth," Simon Turner, Inflexion Managing Partner.
Autofutura is advised by GCA Altium, Headpoint Advisors, Higgs & Sons and Taylor Wessing.
NB Renaissance Partners, a private equity general partner firm, offered to acquire Sicit Group, a chemicals company, from Intesa Sanpaolo, an Italian international banking group, for €362m.
Sicit was listed on the Aim Italia segment in May 2019 following the business combination with Spac SprintItaly, and then moved to the MTA segment in June 2020. Today it is controlled 43.4% by Intesa Holding,
NB Renaissance is advised by Legance. Intesa is advised by Chiomenti.
The CMA has provisionally has cleared EG Group, a petrol station company, to acquire Asda, a supermarket chain, if they address concerns about a possible loss of competition in 36 local areas.
"Our job is to protect consumers by making sure there continues to be strong competition between petrol stations, which leads to lower prices at the pump. These are two key players in the market, and it's important that we thoroughly analyze the deal to make sure that people don't end up paying over the odds. Right now, we're concerned the merger could lead to higher prices for motorists in certain parts of the UK. However, if the companies can provide a clear-cut solution to address our concerns, we won't carry out an in-depth Phase 2 investigation," Joel Bamford, CMA Senior Director of Mergers.
Terra Firma, a European private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Kier Living, a home construction company, for £110m.
“Post-Covid, more and more people are thinking again about where they want to live, with a focus on having their own space, including more bedrooms and outdoor living areas. We believe the business, under a new, refreshed brand, has significant growth potential, and can play a critical role in delivering much-needed housing in communities across the UK,” Guy Hands, Terra Firma Chairman and Chief Investment Officer.
US International Development Finance Corporation, the US government's development finance institution, Lansdowne Partners, an investment institution, and Mercuria, a global energy trading company, led a $120m financing round in TechMet,a private company building projects that produce, process and re-cycle "technology metals" critical to EVs, renewable energy systems and energy storage.
"The closure of this funding round marks a significant milestone for TechMet and its oversubscription is a clear reflection of our great projects and of the value the team has created in a short time. These funds give us a significant amount of firepower to expand our operations and add to our portfolio," Brian Menell, TechMet Founder, Chairman and CEO.
UEFA considers a $7bn deal with Centricus Asset Management. (FS)
UEFA, a governing group of European football, is in discussions with Centricus Asset, an investment firm, over a $7.2bn financing package to fund a new-look UEFA Champions League tournament, Bloomberg reported.
It comes as UEFA prepares to battle with a new Super League that could mark the most significant change of European soccer since the 1950s and end the Champions League's decades-long reign as the world's premier club contest.
JP Morgan backs Super Soccer League with $4.8bn investment.
JP Morgan agreed to underwrite an initial $4.8bn investment to help a group of the world's richest soccer clubs set up a top-tier Super League.
The investment, currently financed by JP Morgan, may be offered to investors at a later date. The financing from JPMorgan has been set at an interest rate of between 2% and 3%, and set over a 23-year time frame, Bloomberg reported.
Six teams from England, three from Italy and three from Spain have signed up so far to play each other midweek in the new league in a direct challenge to the prestigious UEFA Champions League.
DWS and CDPQ near a $3.6bn acquisition of Ermewa. (FS)
DWS Group, an asset manager, and CDPQ are nearing a deal to acquire Ermewa Group, a leasing unit of SNCF, a French state railway company, Bloomberg reported.
A deal could value Ermewa at more than $3.6bn. The company leases railcars and other bulk container tanks for the movement of industrial and agricultural products.
France tightens grip on Air France-KLM with a 29% stake.
The French government increased its hold over Air France-KLM, using a new share issue to boost its stake to more than three times that of the Netherlands, Bloomberg reported.
The airline raised $1.25bn from investors, taking France's holding to 28.6%. The new shares were sold at $5.81 apiece, with existing investors taking up about three-quarters of the issue.
The proceeds from the latest share sale will strengthen the French arm, while economic, financial, and environmental commitments that are conditions of a state loan have been reiterated.
Blackstone-backed Oatly files for US IPO. (FS)
Blackstone-backed Oatly Group, a company offering liquid oat foods and various organic products, formally filed paperwork for a US IPO, WSJ reported.
One United Properties, a developer of high-end residential projects in Romania, is preparing an IPO in early June. The company will start meeting institutional investors as early as this week and is working on the IPO prospectus, Bloomberg reported.
"The Romanian capital market has good growth potential. We want to contribute to the development of a strong and sustainable market.We will invest the proceeds from the offering in developing new residential or mixed project, with a focus on clients with average and above-average income, where we see a large growth potential," Victor Capitanu, One United Properties Managing Director.
IK Investment Partners raised $1.4bn for the third Small Cap fund. (FS)
IK Investment Partners, a private equity firm, closed its IK Small Cap III Fund at its hard cap with commitments of $1.4bn. The fund was oversubscribed and allocated exclusively to existing IK platform investors in just three months.
IK Small Cap III will be focused on growing businesses across IK’s core sectors of business services, healthcare, consumer and industrials and will make investments in companies with enterprise values of between $60m and $180m.
IK Investment was advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Maitland.
BentallGreenOak, a real estate investment firm, has reached its target for its third European value-add fundraise by pulling in more than $2.3bn across the leading vehicle and co-investment capital.
BGO exceeded $1.2bn fund goal and has already deployed more than half of Fund III’s capital through 27 investments across the continent focusing on sectors benefitting from structural growth in demand, including cold storage, urban logistics, life sciences and data centres.
Forbion announced the closing of Forbion Growth I at a $428m harp cap. (FS)
Forbion, a European life sciences venture capital firm, closed its Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund I at the hard cap with $428m commitments. The fund is focused on investing in late-stage European life sciences companies that develop novel therapies for areas of high medical need.
Among investors are Pantheon, Eli Lilly, Horizon Therapeutics, New Waves Investments, Wealth Management Partners, KfW Capital, and the European Investment Fund.
Forbion was advised by Moelis & Co and Instinctif Partners.
AURELIUS closed a $420m European opportunities fund. (FS)
AURELIUS, an alternative lender providing capital to European companies, closed its fourth European opportunities fund with $420m commitments.
AURELIUS European Opportunities IV, will target corporate carve-outs and operational transformation in the European mid-market, focusing on equity tickets of up to $100m.
“Raising a new private equity fund during this pandemic without being able to physically meet investors provided us with a complex challenge. The pandemic as well as evolving global economic and political fault lines have created a unique market opportunity for complex, operationally intensive transactions. This new fund will enable us to capitalize on these opportunities, and we look forward to delivering superior returns to our investors," Dirk Markus, AURELIUS Founding Partner.
Toshiba, a producer of consumer and industrial electric and electronic products, stated that a potential acquisition offer from CVC Capital Partners has stalled after the firm submitted a new proposal that lacks sufficient information for evaluation, Bloomberg reported.
The letter from CVC included "no specific and detailed information capable of detailed evaluation."
"It merely stated that CVC would step aside to await our guidance as to whether a privatization of Toshiba would suit management's and the Board of Directors’ strategic objectives. As this preliminary proposal lacks the required information the Board has concluded it is not possible to evaluate it," Toshiba.
Farallon Capital is advised by ASC Advisors and Propeller Project Labo.
DBS Bank, a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services corporation, agreed to acquire a 13% stake in Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank, a commercial bank, for $814m.
“We are excited to be the largest shareholder of Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank and have the opportunity to build a unique value proposition with SZRCB in the Greater Bay Area and beyond. We see this as a highly complementary strategic partnership that will allow us to double down on the GBA and leverage on SZRCB’s local network and know-how to deepen DBS’ GBA strategy. At the same time, we would be able to support the continued growth and digital transformation of SZRCB through our regional presence and digital capabilities. Our ability to execute another strategic transaction shortly after amalgamating LVB in India, is testament to our ability to be nimble and grow, as we leverage on our strong capital position,” Piyush Gupta, DBS CEO.
Woolworths, a retail company, agreed to acquire an additional 28% stake in Quantium, a data science and AI solution provider, for $173m. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of FY2021.
“Advanced analytics is key to improving the experiences, ranges and services we provide to our customers and the support we provide to our teams and suppliers. The way we gather data, interpret it and protect it, is becoming ever more important. By working better together, we aim to transform the rapidly evolving retail sector, helping us better service our customers and support our team and supplier partners," Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO.
SPX, a supplier of highly engineered products and technologies, completed the acquisition of Sealite, which designs and manufactures aids to navigation equipment including for marine and aviation applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This acquisition further expands and strengthens SPX’s position in engineered specialty lighting by adding another leading designer and manufacturer of AtoN solutions. We believe that Sealite’s high-value marine and airfield lighting applications and strong position in the Asia Pacific region are an excellent strategic fit with SPX’s existing portfolio of terrestrial and marine obstruction solutions, and strong position in Europe and the Americas,” Gene Lowe, SPX President and CEO.
Yunfeng Capital, a private equity firm, led a $600m Series C2 funding round in Xingyun Group, a consumer goods digital supply chain service platform. The round was joined by Kaixin Capital, Harvest Investment, Skywalker Capital, Dahua, Jingwei China, Taikang Life Insurance, Wuyuan Capital and Honghui Capital.
"I would like to thank the C2 round investment institutions and old shareholders for their continuous recognition of Xingyun group. After more than ten years of development, the e-commerce industry has formed a fragmented ecosystem of tens of millions of online small and medium-sized retailers, and millions of SKUs can be sold online," Billy Wang, Xingyun Founder.
Several banks weigh bids for Citigroup's consumer business in Asia.
Banks including DBS Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, OCBC and Standard Chartered are set to bid for Citigroup's consumer business in Asia, Reuters reported.
The sale process will start within a couple of weeks. The move comes after Citi said it would exit from its consumer franchises in 13 markets, 10 of which are in Asia, as it refocuses on its more lucrative institutional and wealth management businesses in these markets.
Potential bids from the regional banks and StanChart underscores their growing appetite for credit cards and mortgage businesses in a push to lock in long-term income growth.
Tencent-backed Meituan raised $10bn in a stock and convertible bonds sale.
Tencent-backed Meituan, a Chinese food delivery behemoth, raised $10bn in a stock and convertible bonds sale. With a market valuation of $220bn, the firm plans to use its new opportunities to invest in autonomous delivery vehicles, delivery drones, and other cutting-edge technology, Reuters reported.
Meituan sold $6.6bn in shares and gained roughly $3bn in two-tranche convertible bonds. Another $400m was raised by selling more shares to Tencent Holdings. Most demand came from global long-only funds, hedge funds, and Chinese investors.
Afterpay examines US listing.
Afterpay, an Australian buy-now-pay-later explores a US listing as North America became its biggest market. The company offers global investors an easier path to owning a stock that has boomed through the pandemic. The firm was last valued at nearly $28.7bn, DealStreetAsia reported.
“The prioritization on exploring a US listing is purely around does it provide the business more operating leverage from the perspective of being present in the market that is now the greatest contributing segment and provide us the right investor base,” Nick Molnar, Afterpay Co-CEO and Founder.
Afterpay has appointed Goldman Sachs to advise on the listing.
Rajawali-backed PT Archi postpones its $500m IPO.
Rajawali-backed PT Archi Indonesia, a gold miner, has postponed its $500m IPO because of weak gold prices and falling stocks. The deal could be revived if the markets improve, Bloomberg reported.
Gold has fallen 14% from a record high in August amid optimism that coronavirus vaccines will fuel a global economic recovery. Other companies in the region have also seen their listing plans put on hold because of the market turmoil.
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