Canadian Pacific Railway said it filed a formal objection with a US regulator stating Canadian National Railway’s $33.7bn rival bid for Kansas City Southern does not qualify to be exempted from tougher merger rules, Reutersreported.
Earlier, the US Surface Transportation Board granted a waiver to CP’s $29bn agreed bid for Kansas City Southern, which means the deal would not be subjected to the tougher railroad merger rules the regulator put in place in 2001. CP won the exemption based on its smaller size, and analysts and shareholders have said that STB’s ruling reduces the regulatory risk to CP’s deal.
Kansas City Southern 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 are advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher. 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. Canadian Pacific is advised by BMO Capital Markets, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Bennett Jones, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Creel Garcia-Cuellar Aiza y Enriquez, David L Meyer, Sullivan & Cromwell and Edelman. Financial advisors are advised by Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.
Illumina has asked judges to step in and halt the European Commission’s review of the proposed $8bn acquisition of Grail. Regulators in Brussels said earlier this month they would review the deal after receiving referrals from several countries, including France, Greece and Belgium.
Lawyers for San Diego-based Illumina said they were making the move because Grail had no presence or turnover in Europe. They claimed that an investigation by authorities in Brussels would delay completion of the deal and stifle the development of important medical technology.
“The commission’s actions will stifle innovation, fail patients and increase healthcare costs by needlessly delaying this transaction. The acquisition will allow Illumina to bring Grail’s life-saving testing to more patients, more quickly and at a lower cost,” Charles Dadswell, Illumina SVP and General Counsel.
Grail is advised by Morgan Stanley, Latham & Watkins, McDonald Hopkins, Proskauer Rose, Ropes & Gray and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Illumina is advised by Goldman Sachs, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Joele Frank. Goldman Sachs is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs. Johnson & Johnson is advised by Goodwin Procter.
Sonder, a tech-driven hospitality company, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Gores Metropoulos II in a $2.2bn deal. Investors in the PIPE include Fidelity Management & Research Company, BlackRock, Atreides Management, entities affiliated with Moore Capital Management, Principal Global Investors, and Senator Investment Group.
"With modernized service, we are delivering uncompromising quality with inspiring design, and offering accommodations at a price point that democratizes access to an extraordinary hospitality experience. We are incredibly excited about this transaction with Gores, which we view as a natural extension of our longstanding relationship that will enable us to accelerate our growth on the path to build the iconic 21st-century brand in hospitality," Francis Davidson, Sonder Co-Founder and CEO.
Sonder is advised by Goldman Sachs, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Blueshirt Group and Finsbury Glover Hering. Gores Metropoulos II is advised by Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Moelis & Co, Morgan Stanley, Latham & Watkins, Weil Gotshal and Manges and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Waterous Energy Fund, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a 40% stake in Osum Oil Sands, an oil and natural gas exploration firm, for $136m.
"The proposed transaction provides immediate liquidity and certainty of value to Osum shareholders after 15 years without any dividends or prospects of accessing the public markets. Osum shareholders should have confidence that fair market value for their shares has been established," Adam Waterous, WEF CEO.
Osum Oil Sands was advised by RBC Capital Markets, TD Securities, McCarthy Tetrault and Norton Rose Fulbright. Waterous Energy Fund was advised by CIBC World Markets, Scotiabank, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Stikeman Elliott and Kingsdale Advisors. Debt financing was provided by CIBC World Markets and Scotiabank.
Stone Canyon Industries, a global industrial holding company, completed the acquisition of the North and South American salt business of K+S, a German chemical company headquartered in Kassel, for $3.2bn.
"Combined with SCIH's Kissner Group Holdings, the Americas salt business offers an extensive line of products to consumers as well as governmental and commercial customers. The acquisition further enhances SCIH's long-term, growth-oriented business model," James Fordyce, SCIH Co-Chairman and Co-CEO.
Stone Canyon Industries was advised by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Bennett Jones and Morgan Stanley. K+S was advised by Deutsche Bank, RBC Capital Markets, Borden Ladner Gervais, Sullivan & Cromwell and Brunswick Group. LBBW was advised by Linklaters.
goeasy, a full-service provider of goods and alternative financial services, completed the acquisition of LendCare Holdings, a Canadian point-of-sale consumer finance and technology company, from CIVC Partners, a private equity firm, for $260m.
"The closing of the acquisition of LendCare marks a major milestone on our journey to become the leading provider of non-prime consumer credit in Canada. By widening our range of near-prime products and adding new industry verticals to our point-of-sale lending channel, we accelerate our growth and expand our addressable portion of the $200bn non-prime consumer credit market,” Jason Mullins, goeasy President & CEO.
Lendcare was advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods, National Bank Financial, Stifel, Aird & Berlis and Stikeman Elliott. goeasy was advised by BMO Capital Markets, Raymond James and Blake Cassels & Graydon. Debt financing was provided by BMO Capital Markets.
Cooper Tire & Rubber, an American company that specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of replacement automobile and truck tires, announced that its stockholders overwhelmingly voted to approve the agreement and plan of merger with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber, an American multinational tire manufacturing company, which was announced February 22, 2021. At a special meeting of Cooper stockholders, approximately 99% of votes cast were in favor of the transaction.
“This step is an important one in the process of bringing together our two companies to continue to meet the needs of customers, consumers and other stakeholders around the world while driving value for shareholders,” John Holland, Cooper Chairman.
Cooper is advised by Goldman Sachs, Jones Day and Brunswick Group. Goldman Sachs is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell. Goodyear is advised by JP Morgan, Lazard, Covington & Burling, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Magnite, an independent sell-side advertising platform, completed the acquisition of SpotX, a video advertising platform, from RTL Group, a media company, for $1.17bn.
“Scale and reaching the largest possible audience is the name of the game when attracting the demand our CTV and video clients need. Acquiring SpotX positions us to become the world’s largest, independent source of highly-coveted CTV and video inventory. Two-thirds of our revenue is now concentrated in the fastest-growing segments of the market, and as linear TV dollars move to CTV, the greatest opportunity is still ahead of us," Michael Barrett, Magnite President & CEO.
Magnite is advised by Goldman Sachs, LUMA Partners and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Financial advisors are advised by Sullivan & Cromwell. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs. RTL Group is advised by JP Morgan and Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Viasat, an American communications company, completed the acquisition of RigNet, a provider of ultra-secure, intelligent networking solutions and specialized applications, from KKR for $222m.
"RigNet will bring extensive sector expertise, an established customer base and a global communications delivery infrastructure to help further accelerate Viasat's ability to provide high-quality, ubiquitous, affordable broadband connectivity and communications to the hardest-to-reach locations around the globe. With the close of this transaction, we look forward to integrating RigNet and its global team into the Viasat family," Rick Baldridge, Viasat President and CEO.
RigNet was advised by Lazard and Baker Botts. Viasat was advised by LionTree Advisors and Latham & Watkins. KKR was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Noble Midstream Partners announced that it expects to close the previously announced merger transaction with Chevron in mid-May. Under the terms of the merger agreement, at the closing, all of the publicly held common units representing limited partner interests in the partnership will convert into the right to receive newly issued shares of Chevron common stock.
Due to the anticipated timing of the closing of the merger, the partnership will not host an earnings call for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, nor will it release a statement regarding earnings or hold an investor presentation.
Noble Midstream is advised by Baker Botts and Janney Montgomery Scott. Chvron is advised by Citigroup and Latham & Watkins.
Fidelity Management & Research, an investment advisory firm, led a $112m Series C in Wasabi, a cloud storage company.
“With revenues tripling for each of the last 3 years and over $100m of new investment led by one of the world’s largest and most prestigious financial institutions, our customers will know that their data is in the hands of a reliable, fast-growing company with the substantial resources to meet their growing needs. Storing the world’s data in the cloud is one of the biggest opportunities in the IT industry, and we are now well-positioned to secure a leadership role in the evolution of the cloud. We will continue to invest in our proprietary software, grow our channel, enhance our brand and expand storage capacity around the world,” David Friend, Wasabi CEO & Co-Founder.
Wasabi is advised by Foley & Lardner, Lincoln International, JP Morgan and InkHouse.
Leeds Equity Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to invest in OptionMetrics, a market databases provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We were impressed with Leeds Equity's experience, expertise, and proven track record of success in working with information services providers and the academic world. We also appreciated the time they took to get to know us and our business. This partnership will be instrumental in giving us an edge as we continue to expand as a provider of critical data and information to financial market stakeholders and academic institutions," David Hait, OptionMetrics CEO.
OptionMetrics is advised by Marlin & Associates and Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton. Leeds Equity Partners is advised by Polsinelli and Clearpoint Agency.
Cox Communications, an American company that provides digital cable television, telecommunications and home automation services, agreed to acquire the commercial services business of Segra, an independent fiber infrastructure bandwidth company, from EQT. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals and is expected to close later in 2021. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"EQT has been a great partner throughout Segra's transformational journey, and we thank them for their guidance and support for nearly four years. Going forward, we are excited to work with Cox and look forward to leveraging their resources, capabilities and strategic insights to meet growing customer demand and accelerate long-term growth," Timothy Biltz, Segra CEO.
Segra is advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Bank Street Group and Goldman Sachs.
Vitol-backed Vencer Energy, an energy company, agreed to acquire the Midland Basin asset of Hunt Oil Company, an integrated oil and gas company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are delighted with this acquisition which realizes our vision for Vencer as the owner of quality, mature, producing assets with attractive development opportunities. We look forward to working with our new colleagues," Don Dotson, Vencer President and CEO.
Vencer is advised by Simmons Energy and Latham & Watkins. Hunt Oil is advised by JP Morgan.
LPL Financial, a provider of investment and business solutions for independent financial advisors, completed the acquisition of the wealth management business of Waddell & Reed Financial, an American asset management and financial planning company, for $300m.
“Waddell & Reed advisors are seasoned and well-regarded throughout the industry and are a strong cultural and strategic fit with us. We look forward to supporting them with our comprehensive platform that helps them design and operate the perfect practice for them and their clients. Waddell & Reed and Macquarie have been strong partners throughout the process, and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration,” Dan Arnold, LPL Financial President and CEO.
LPL Financial was advised by Centerview Partners and Ropes & Gray.
Diversified Gas & Oil, a gas and oil producer, agreed to acquire Cotton Valley upstream assets of Indigo Minerals, a provider of drilling services, for $135m.
“Our strategic expansion into a new producing region turns vision to reality and marks a key milestone in our development. The expansion also provides significant runway for us to replicate our success in Appalachia: reducing unit expenses, improving margins and optimizing production," Rusty Hutson, Diversified Gas & Oil CEO.
Diversified Gas & Oil is advised by Buchanan. Indigo Minerals is advised by Jefferies.
IBM, an American multinational technology company, agreed to acquire Turbonomic, a software development company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition will provide businesses with full stack application observability and management to assure performance and minimize costs using AI to optimize resources – such as containers, VMs, servers, storage, networks, and databases.
IBM is advised by Cravath Swaine & Moore. Turbonomic is advised by JP Morgan.
T. Rowe Price, a private equity firm, led a $190m Series F funding round in Cava, a restaurant chain operator. Additional investors include Equilibra Partners Management, Lighthouse Investment Partners and Declaration Partners.
The funding round would help Cava achieve its expansion goals. The latest cash infusion will also fund the brand’s consumer packaged goods line, expanding on its packaged dips and spreads sold in Whole Foods stores across the country.
Blackstone Group agreed to invest in Hotwire Communications, a provider of telecommunications services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Consumers are increasingly seeking state-of-the-art fiber connectivity to meet their growing need for connected devices in their homes, and we believe Hotwire is exceptionally well positioned to capitalize on this rising market demand. We look forward to leveraging Blackstone’s scale to turbocharge Hotwire’s growth with further investment," Jasvinder Khaira, Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Senior Managing Director.
Blackstone Group is advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Zonda, a data-driven housing solutions provider, agreed to acquire BuzzBuzzHome, a real estate portal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This is a significant milestone for Zonda and a very positive way to transform our business going forward. Bringing BuzzBuzzHome under our umbrella uniquely expands our presence in the Canadian market and we are excited about how this collaboration will continue to grow our offerings for our customers and the entire homebuilding industry,” Jeff Meyers, Zonda CEO.
Oak HC/FT, a venture and growth equity investment firm, led a $300m Series D funding round in Paxos, a financial institution and technology company. The round had participation from investors Declaration Partners, PayPal Ventures, Mithril Capital, Senator Investment Group, Liberty City Ventures, WestCap and more.
“Demand for our enterprise solutions has accelerated much faster than we could have anticipated. It validates our approach to providing the most innovative and regulated enterprise solutions to replatform the financial system and create the digital economy of the future," Charles Cascarilla, Paxos CEO and Co-Founder.
Commonwealth Group, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Blackhall Studios, a filming hub, for $120m.
“I’m an entrepreneurial opportunistic real estate developer. I’ve made my career seeing things early and executing early and exiting when the larger funds are ready for big trend opportunities,” Ryan Millsap, Blackhall Studio Founder.
Slack Technologies, an innovative enterprise communications platform, agreed to acquire Woven, a calendar startup. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We’re always on the lookout for top technical talent and are excited to welcome these individuals to Slack. We look forward to what we can accomplish together in Slack’s mission to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive," Slack.
AEA Investors considers $3bn Springs Window sale. (FS)
AEA Investors is considering a sale of Springs Window Fashions that could value the window-products maker at more than $3bn, Bloombergreported.
The private equity firm is working with advisers to explore options for the Middleton, Wisconsin-based company. Springs Window is likely to attract interest from other buyout firms and peers in the building products sector. AEA invested in Springs Window in 2018 alongside the British Columbia Investment Management.
Chesapeake seeks to sell South Texas shale assets for $2bn.
Chesapeake Energy, the once mighty shale explorer that exited bankruptcy earlier this year, is seeking to sell oil-producing assets in South Texas for as much as $2bn, Bloombergreported.
The Oklahoma City-based producer is working with a pair of advisers to offer the assets in the Eagle Ford shale. Once known for its aggressive growth through acquisitions during the shale boom, Chesapeake joined other producers in filing for bankruptcy protection last year after the pandemic devastated demand for energy. When the company exited restructuring in February, CEO Doug Lawler declared it was a new era for shale. The potential sale comes at a time when the company has announced Lawler is departing on April 30, after eight years with the company.
Plus plans Hennessy SPAC deal. (FS)
Self-driving truck startup Plus is in talks to merge with special purpose acquisition company Hennessy Capital Investment V, making it the latest autonomous vehicle maker seeking to go public via a blank-check firm, Bloombergreported.
Sequoia Capital China-backed Plus is set to have a valuation of more than $3bn and raise $500m to $600m through the deal, which includes proceeds from the SPAC and new equity raised. BlackRock - already a Hennessy investor - is discussing putting in more money through a so-called PIPE. The parties could reach an agreement as soon as next week.
Wealthsimple discussing value above $3.5bn in funding talks.
Investment-management startup Wealthsimple is in talks to raise financing at a valuation of at least $3.5bn. That would more than triple the roughly $1bn valuation the Toronto-based startup announced in October, Bloombergreported.
Several of the company’s existing investors are expected to participate in the new round that is in the early stages of coming together, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information was private. Wealthsimple is backed by Dr. Michael McCullough (EIR, Greylock Partners), TCV, Meritech Capital and Two Sigma Ventures.
Legendary Entertainment appoints LionTree on deal hunt.
Legendary Entertainment, producer of the hit 2021 film “Godzilla vs. Kong,” has been working with the investment bank LionTree on possible deals, Bloombergreported.
The company, a unit of China’s Dalian Wanda Group, has had talks about merging with a special purpose acquisition company, making acquisitions or finding other partners. Legendary, which is profitable on its own, may decide not to do anything.
The boom in SPACs have become an intriguing option for many businesses in media and technology. Such deals exploded in 2020 and are setting records this year.
Donerail pushes gaming headset maker Turtle Beach to explore a sale. (FS)
Donerail Group, an investment firm led by former activist hedge fund Starboard Value executive Will Wyatt, has amassed a stake in Turtle Beach and is pushing the maker of gaming headsets to explore a sale, Reuters reported.
The move represents a bet that Turtle Beach could attract acquisition interest from peers such as Corsair Gaming and GN Store Nord, as the video game market continues to benefit from people looking for entertainment options at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no certainty that Turtle Beach will agree to a sale.
Forbes pursues SPAC talks amid new takeover interest.
Business news and information publisher Forbes Media is in talks to go public through a merger with a SPAC as it attracts new acquisition interest, Reuters reported.
The Borderless Services bid has a debt financing commitment from private equity firm Ares Management. Were it to acquire Forbes, Borderless Services would install a new management team and introduce cryptocurrency products such as a Forbes digital wallet, where users could manage digital currencies.
Forbes’ owner is also fielding offers from bidders including investment vehicle Borderless Services, which has bid $700m, and from a consortium led by tech investor Michael Moe. Both of these bids would result in Forbes remaining a privately held company. A deal could result in Forbes’ ownership changing hands seven years after Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media Investments purchased 95% of the company. The remainder of Forbes is owned by the Forbes family.
UFC owner Endeavor makes NYSE debut at the second attempt.
Endeavor Group, the US entertainment and events company led by Hollywood power broker Ari Emanuel, saw its shares edge higher on their New York Stock Exchange debut, valuing the company at $10.8bn, Reutersreported.
The debut by Endeavor, the parent company of the popular UFC mixed martial arts organization, was its second attempt to go public after it abandoned plans to float its shares just a day before a planned 2019 IPO due to lackluster demand.
“We re-engaged, strategized and re-segmented the company, and I think we have a cleaner and simpler narrative driven by an incredible roster of institutional investors who are extremely strategic,” Mark Shapiro, Endeavor President.
Vista-backed Allvue plans IPO at up to $3bn value. (FS)
Allvue Systems, a software maker serving private capital fund managers and family offices, is planning an IPO this year, Bloombergreported.
The listing could value the company, backed by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, at $2bn to $3bn. Allvue is also considering a sale and has reached out to potential buyers.
Goldman Sachs is advising Allvue on its plans. Allvue hasn’t decided which course to pursue and its plans could change.
BlackRock announces the final close of €509m in the BlackRock Private Equity Opportunities ELTIF. (FS)
BlackRock Private Equity Partners has successfully closed of the BlackRock Private Equity Opportunities ELTIF, an investment strategy offering access to global private equity direct co-investment opportunities with a focus on Europe.
The Fund secured total commitments of €509m ($611m), exceeding its initial target and becoming one of the largest European Long-Term Investment Funds raised in Europe.
“This fund is intended to provide both Wealth and Institutional clients the opportunity to invest in the real economy, supporting sustainable growth in Europe. This successful close demonstrates the strength of the BlackRock Alternative Investors ecosystem, in which clients benefit from differentiated sourcing and diverse deal flow, a strong investment and risk culture, alongside market leading data insights and a fully integrated ESG strategy,” Russ Steenberg, BlackRock Managing Director and Global Head of Private Equity Partners.
Resurgens Technology Partners targets $350m for its second fund. (FS)
Resurgens Technology Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm focused on investing in North American-based, lower middle-market software and tech-enabled services businesses, is targeting as much as $350m for its second fund, WSJreported.
The technology-focused firm raised about $212m for its first fund after its 2017 founding. If the Atlanta firm reaches its target, the fund would be 65% larger than its debut Resurgens Technology Partners fund. Resurgens said in January 2019 that its first fund wrapped up with $212m in total commitments.
Vista Equity lays out plans to raise new flagship fund. (FS)
Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners has notified investors it’s planning to raise a new flagship fund later this year, Bloombergreported.
The firm, led by billionaire Robert F. Smith, has yet to set a target for the fund. Formal fundraising efforts may begin toward the end of this year.
Competition and Markets Authority, the UK's competitive watchdog, said it would look into the sale and review any potential national security implications. The Authority will investigate if Arm plans to raise prices or otherwise hurt licensing services to Nvidia rivals. They will make a report by July 30 revealing their findings.
The intervention notice issued last week will kick off a phase one investigation by UK authorities, designed to ensure all aspects of the deal have been examined. If concerns are raised, the deal could be blocked as part of a phase two investigation. If no concerns are found on public interest or competition grounds, the deal will be able to proceed.
"Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of ARM, I have today issued an intervention notice on national security grounds. We want to support our thriving UK tech industry and welcome foreign investment, but it is appropriate that we properly consider the national security implications of a transaction like this," Oliver Dowden, UK digital secretary.
Arm Holdings is advised by Hogan Lovells. Nvidia is advised by Morgan Stanley, AZB & Partners, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Latham & Watkins and Brunswick Group. SoftBank is advised by Goldman Sachs, The Raine Group, Zaoui & Co, Morrison & Foerster, Kekst CNC and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Financial advisors are advised by White & Case.
Wipro, an information technology, consulting and business process services company, completed the acquisition of Capco, a global management and technology consultancy providing digital, consulting and technology services to financial institutions, from Clayton Dubilier & Rice for $1.45bn.
"Together, we will offer bespoke transformational end-to-end solutions, now powered by innovative technology at scale, to create a new leading partner to the financial services industry. We look forward to leveraging the complementary capabilities and similar cultures of both companies to drive industry change and offer exciting opportunities for both our clients, and our people,” Lance Levy, Capco CEO.
Capco was advised by HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Debevoise & Plimpton. Wipro was advised by DLA Piper, Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Vischer.
Pollen Street Capital, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Proactis Holdings, a software developer, for $99m.
"We believe Proactis would strongly benefit from a return to private ownership with the support of a growth-focused shareholder, which would enable Proactis to accelerate its plans to capitalise on a clear market opportunity. Pollen Street Capital has strong heritage in supporting companies with the potential to be market leaders in the financial and business services sectors, and we are excited by the opportunity to work with Proactis and its team in achieving its ambitious goals," Matthew Potter, Pollen Street Capital Partner.
Proactis is advised by finnCap, Walker Morris and Alma PR. Pollen Street Capital is advised by Houlihan Lokey, Slaughter & May and Stand Agency.
Private equity firm Arcus Infrastructure Partners and real estate developer GLIL Infrastructure, agreed to acquire Smart Meter Assets 1, a manufacturer of energy infrastructure assets, from BUUK Infrastructure, an independent provider of utility networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Having reviewed the European smart metering landscape since 2015, we are extremely pleased to acquire SMA, our second investment in this sector. SMA is one of the largest MAPs in the UK smart metering market, with a complementary opportunity set to Horizon Energy Infrastructure. We look forward to working with both businesses as they play a leading role in the evolving UK energy landscape," Stefano Brugnolo, Arcus Partner.
GLIL and Arcus are advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jefferies & Company and Pinsent Masons. GLIL is advised by Citypress PR. Arcus is advised by Spreng Thomson. Brookfield is advised by HSBC.
Silver Lake-backed Zoopla Property Group, which owns several popular real estate and comparison sites, completed the acquisition of Penguin Portals, an operator of online comparison portals, from Admiral Group, the one of the largest car insurance providers in the UK for £508m ($678m).
"This is a win for our brands, our teams and most importantly our customers, bringing together best in class sector experience in home services and insurance. We now have the opportunity to empower millions more consumers to find the right deal for their needs, across the UK, Europe and beyond. With world class expertise and a strong shared vision, I'm incredibly excited to see the opportunities that we can create together," Tariq Syed, RVU CEO.
Zoopla was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Admiral Group was advised by Houlihan Lokey, KPMG, Clifford Chance and FTI Consulting.
Digital Turbine, a provider mobile communication products, completed the acquisition of AdColony Holding, a mobile advertising platform, from Otello, an internet company, for $400m.
"We look forward to welcoming the AdColony team to the Digital Turbine family and believe that this strategic transaction accelerates our growth and is a positive for our partners, advertisers, employees and shareholders. AdColony saw the secular tailwinds toward mobile, video and high-speed networks like 5G before most and has been able to capitalize on its vision,” Bill Stone, Digital Turbine CEO.
AdColony was advised by Blast PR. Digital Turbine was advised by Houlihan Lokey. Otello was advised by LUMA Partners and Hogan Lovells.
Storskogen, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire the cable support business of Schneider Electric, a manufacturer of electrical power products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
”Schneider’s Cable Support business is a well-managed entity with premium products, an excellent management team and very skilled staff. The business rests on some strong underlying macro trends such as digitalization, electrification, urbanisation and renewable energy that I believe will benefit Cable Support going forward,” Fredrik Bergegård, Storskogen EVP and Head of Industry.
Storskogen is advised by DLA Piper. Schneider Electric is advised by SEB Corporate Finance.
Atlantia will ask shareholders on May 31 to assess an improved offer for its motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia presented by state investor CDP and its partners, Reutersreported.
Negotiations between Atlantia and a consortium comprising CDP, Macquarie and Blackstone are part of protracted efforts to end a dispute over the future of the group’s Autostrade per l’Italia unit following a deadly bridge disaster.
One Equity Partners-backed Walki Group, a packaging company, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Plasbel Plasticos, a manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited to become part of Walki’s family and enter into this new phase of growth, with the aim to consolidate our leadership in Spain and further expand Plasbel’s geographical reach. In addition, the complementary R&D capabilities will help the combined entity to become a leading biofilm converter with attractive expansion opportunities across Europe," Antonio Beltran, Plasbel CEO.
Eastman, a global specialty materials company, completed its acquisition of 3F Feed & Food, a company specializing in the technical and commercial development of feed and food products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the acquisition of 3F Feed & Food, Eastman adds a respected producer that is well-established in one of the leading European markets. Their proven track record of providing value-added solutions to the market, combined with Eastman's unique technology capabilities and global footprint, will accelerate development of next-generation solutions and strengthen our ability to better serve our customers all over the world," Sabine Ketsman, Eastman Vice President.
Wendel-backed Constantia Flexibles, a manufacturer of flexible packaging, agreed to acquire Propak, a player in the European packaging industry for the snacks market. The transaction is expected to be completed in Q2 2021, pending regulatory approvals. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Propak fits perfectly in our Vision 2025 growth strategy and brings Constantia Flexibles a good platform in the growing European snacks market. It will also give us the opportunity to accelerate our more sustainable EcoLam Mono-PE innovation for the salty snacks market,” Pim Vervaat, Constantia Flexibles CEO.
ShiftPixy backs 4 staffing-related SPACs seeking c.$1.25bn through IPOs. (FS)
ShiftPixy is sponsoring the IPOs of four staffing-focused SPACs, according to a filing with the US SEC. Miami-based ShiftPixy provides an on-demand staffing platform primarily serving the restaurant and hospitality industries. However, the firm also signed a nurse staffing client in August 2020, Reutersreported.
ShiftPixy is looking to raise a total of $1.25bn through the four blank-check firms. The companies looking to file IPOs are TechStackery, Vital Human Capital and Industrial Human Capital, which seek to raise $250m each through the sale of 25m shares at $10 each on the New York Stock Exchange, and Insurity Capital, which plans to raise about $500m.
Enel approves CDP's acquisition of a 10% acquisition of Open Fiber. (FS)
Italian utility Enel agreed to sell an extra 10% holding in Open Fiber, handing control of the broadband network firm to state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, in a move that would raise the Italian state lender's stake in the broadband infrastructure firm to 60%.
CDP, which like utility Enel currently owns 50% of Open Fiber, also said it was committed to bringing in "new resources" before the closing of the deal to help speed up broadband network development. Under a proposed scheme, CDP and Enel will each inject cash into Open Fiber to boost its finances.
CDP will pay $640m for 10% of Open Fiber, a price Enel said had been set based on the $3.2bn valuation.
BC Partners starts $1.8bn Pharmathen sale with Jefferies hire. (FS)
BC Partners has begun the sale of Greek drugmaker Pharmathen, one of two healthcare divestments worth more than $3.6bn that the buyout firm wants to complete this year, with the hiring of investment bank Jefferies, Reuters reported.
Pharmathen focuses on developing, manufacturing and out-licensing complex generic drugs and could be valued at about $1.8bn.
The private equity firm bought Pharmathen in 2015 from the founding Katsos family in a c.$573.5m deal. The Greek business is now expected to fetch more than 17 times its core earnings of about c.$108m.
Investindustrial gears up for possible $1.2bn Lifebrain sale. (FS)
Private equity firm Investindustrial is working with banks on a possible sale of Italian laboratory diagnostics firm Lifebrain in a deal that could value the Covid-19 test supplier at more than €1bn ($1.2bn), Reutersreported.
Investindustrial, advised by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, has been approached by interested parties in recent months and could decide to launch an auction process as soon as May. Rome-based Lifebrain focuses on routine and speciality laboratory tests, including Covid-19 ones, and operates through about 360 laboratories in Italy.
Private equity firm EQT, which controls French medical laboratory services operator Cerba HealthCare, is among a series of investors expected to submit an offer when the auction starts.
South Africa close to finding an investor in South African Airways.
South Africa is in the final stage of negotiations with a potential investor for its grounded flag carrier, South African Airways, a move that would give the airline a boost just as it emerges from bankruptcy protection, Bloombergreported.
The deal will bring capital and much-needed technical and commercial expertise to South African Airways, the Department of Public Enterprises said. The agreement should be signed in the next few weeks.
The comments indicate a significant stride forward in a search that has dragged on for several months and taken place during the worst crisis in aviation history. SAA has been grounded since South African borders were temporarily closed in March last year to contain the coronavirus, and was awarded the latest in a series of state bailouts in October.
Solus-backed TerreStar weighs options for Spectrum Holdings. (FS)
TerreStar has hired a financial adviser to explore strategic alternatives for the 5G airwaves within its medical division, Bloombergreported.
The company, majority-owned by Solus Alternative Asset Management, is weighing options to monetize the spectrum, either by refinancing debt or going public through a merger with a SPAC. It could also seek investment from a private equity firm or a large telecommunications company.
TerreStar got permission from the US FCC last year to use its wireless airwaves in medical facilities, and potentially to deploy that spectrum in other industries if it meets certain conditions. This increased the value of the licenses, which could now fetch more than $1bn.
Eni to shed retail-renewable energy stake.
Italian energy group Eni is planning to spin off a minority stake in its new retail and renewable business next year, it said on Friday, after announcing first quarter profits that missed expectations, Reutersreported.
Several European energy companies, including Spain's Repsol, aim to divest parts of their renewables business to raise money to reduce debt and pay for the shift away from oil and gas.
Eni said it planned to list or sell a minority stake in the business that includes renewable energy and retail energy sales next year.
Three private equity firms circle Valeo. (FS)
Bidders vying to buy Dublin-based Valeo Foods, the owner of brands from Jacobs biscuits to Batchelors baked beans which is on the market for more than €1.7bn ($2bn), have been whittled down to a shortlist of three private-equity firms, The Irish Times reported.
Paris-based PAI Partners, London-headquartered Cinven and Bain Capital, the Boston outfit co-founded by former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have been given until the end of May to submit final bids for Valeo.
Valeo’s controlling shareholder CapVest, co-founded by Cavan financier Seamus Fitzpatrick, hired Goldman Sachs earlier this year to find a buyer for the business, which also includes Odlums, Kettle Chips and Kelkin gluten-free products in its stable of ambient food brands.
Erste Group resumes M&A hunt.
Austria’s largest bank Erste Group said it was actively looking again for acquisition targets as a recovery in central and eastern Europe economies allowed it to reduce risk provisions and free up cash, Reuters reported.
Erste, which operates in eastern Europe and its home market of Austria, had started looking for smaller companies to snap up in its existing regions and in Poland just before the coronavirus crisis forced it to multiply provisions for loan losses.
Most countries in which it operates in have recorded declines in infection rates throughout April.
“We firmly believe 2021 will be a year of recovery in which corona will still play a role, but hopefully not dominate economies,” Bernd Spalt, Erste Group Chief Executive.
Goldman Sachs in talks to invest £250m into OVO. (FS)
An arm of Goldman Sachs is in talks to invest £250m OVO Energy, one of Britain's biggest domestic gas and electricity suppliers, Sky News reported.
That a private investment division of Goldman's asset management business is in advanced negotiations to inject the capital into the group.
The deal was subject to being finalised by Goldman executives but that it could be announced within weeks.
Bordeaux Club’s suitors seek a $120m investment. (FS)
FC Girondins de Bordeaux will require at least $121m of fresh investment if it’s to survive financial collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bloombergreported.
The club is looking for new owners after being placed in the hands of administrators and potential buyers have been told they will need to pay this initial amount to cover debts as well as projected losses for the next two years.
Bordeaux President Frederic Longuepee last week put the club under the protection of the City’s commercial court until a sustainable solution can be found. Court administrators have hired Rothschild to advise on a sale process.
UK watchdog weighs SPAC rule-changes to ramp up London listings.
The UK’s markets regulator has laid out proposed changes to its listing rules for SPACs as London looks to grab a greater share of the booming market, Bloombergreported.
Those blank-check firms that raise at least $278m and include an option for redemption may no longer be subject to suspended trading when the vehicle identifies an acquisition target, the Financial Conduct Authority. UK markets have been stymied by rules requiring the cash shells to pause trading in such an event to shield investors from price jolts while a deal is being completed.
“‘We are consulting on a set of clear conditions based on which we will not look to suspend the listing of a SPAC,” Clare Cole, FCA Director of market oversight.
Federer-backed ON Running targets autumn IPO.
Shoe firm ON Running, backed by Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, is preparing for a US stock market listing as early as this autumn in a deal valuing the firm at about $5bn, Reutersreported.
Running-shoe makers have seen sales spike in the Covid-19 pandemic as people turn to running, with gyms closed and team sport activities banned.
The company is working with JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on the initial public offering with Credit Suisse and other banks in further roles. ON is expected to officially announce the IPO in September or October, which could value the company at $4bn-$6bn.
Porsche-backed WayRay said to consider listing via SPAC.
WayRay, a developer of holographic car displays that’s backed by Porsche and Alibaba Group, is considering a listing through a blank-check firm, Bloombergreported.
The Swiss company is working with advisers to explore a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. WayRay is considering seeking a valuation of about $2bn in any deal.
WayRay has raised more than $100m in funding since being founded in 2012. The company has previously said that it aims to become a unicorn - achieving a valuation of $1bn or more - by the end of 2019. Its investors include luxury carmaker Porsche, which has teamed up with WayRay on automotive innovation, as well as Chinese e-commerce operator Alibaba, South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor, China Merchants Capital and a consortium of sovereign wealth funds.
Tikehau joins SPACs Boom with $605m raised for Pegasus. (FS)
Pegasus Europe raised around $605m in its listing on Euronext Amsterdam, making it among the largest European SPACs in the year’s crop of the vehicles. SPACs list on stock markets and then hunt for acquisition targets to take public, FTreported.
The deal reflects European efforts to mimic the explosive growth in Spacs in the US. “We have a lot of SMEs in Europe which need gross capital to grow. The SPAC is an important and good instrument for Europe,” Jean Pierre Mustier, former UniCredit Italy CEO.
The listing was sponsored by Paris-based asset manager Tikehau Capital, Financière Agache, a holding company controlled by Arnault and Mustier’s business group, and former Bank of America dealmaker Diego De Giorgi.
Ascendent Capital-backed Kidedu Holdings agreed to take Tarena International, a provider of professional education and K-12 education services in China, private in a $230.6m deal. The merger is currently expected to close during the third quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the agreement by the affirmative vote of shareholders representing at least two-thirds of the voting power of the outstanding shares present.
Kidedu is advised by Walkers, Duff & Phelps, Conyers Dill & Pearman, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Han Kun Law Offices and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Ascendent Capital is advised by Appleby, Morrison & Foerster and Zhong Lun Law Firm. KKR is advised by Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.
Infratil, an infrastructure investment company, agreed to acquire a 50.1% stake in Pacific Radiology Group, an operator of radiology clinics, for $211m, with options to increase the stake to 60% stake at $252m.
"The Doctor shareholders in Pacific Radiology are delighted to partner with such a capable long term investor as Infratil, who will add real value as Pacific Radiology continues to grow and expand our high quality services to patients, referrers and funders across New Zealand,” Adrian Balasingam, Pacific Radiology Group Chairman.
SK E&S, an energy company, to acquire a 25% stake in gas facilities Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG from Santos, an Australian energy company, for $186m.
"I am delighted to formally welcome Barossa joint venture partner SK E&S as a partner in Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG. The sell-down to SK E&S is in-line with our strategy of disciplined growth while maintaining a strong balance sheet by managing equity levels in our growth projects consistent with disciplined capital management," Kevin Gallagher, Managing Director and CEO.
Bilibili, an online entertainment platform, agreed to acquire a 7.2% stake in CMGE Technology Group, a mobile game developer and publisher, for $84m.
Bilibili will be given priority rights to operate certain games developed or licensed by CMGE exclusively for three years after the completion of the deal.
CCI okays Tata Group's $1.2bn acquisition of BigBasket. (FS)
The Competition Commission of India said it has approved the acquisition by Tata Digital of up to 64.3% of Supermarket Grocery Supplies and its sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts, the company that runs BigBasket.
The size of the deal is pegged at over $1.2bn and is a mix of primary and secondary sale, giving an exit to two of BigBasket's investors- Alibaba and Actis-backed Abraaj Group.
The transaction, which marks one of the largest acquisition deals in India’s digital sector, will put the Tata group in direct competition with Reliance’s Jio Mart, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, apart from SoftBank Vision Fund-backed Grofers.
HNA group assets attract interest from Fosun, JD. (FS)
Fosun Group and an arm of JD.com are among suitors considering investing in domestic operations of HNA Group as the indebted Chinese conglomerate is reorganized after being placed under government control, Bloombergreported.
Ping An Insurance Group, Juneyao Airlines and Air China have also been studying HNA’s assets. Any deal could raise billions of dollars. The once high-flying conglomerate plowed more than $40bn into a raft of trophy assets around the world before being reined in by the government, which started taking control just over a year ago as the pandemic hit HNA’s remaining businesses.
The company still owns airlines, airports and retail assets in China. Some bidders could team up for an investment, and the structure of any potential transaction has not been finalized.
Ping An in talks for partial stake in Founder Technology Group.
Ping An Insurance Group has agreed to acquire a majority stake in the newly-established Founder Group for as much as $7.9bn, Bloombergreported.
The Chinese insurer plans to buy a 51.1% to 70% stake in the new Founder Group, whose assets include Founder Securities, Founder Technology Group and China Hi-Tech Group. The size of the deal could range from $5.7bn to $7.8bn.
Peking University Founder Group has been in court-led restructuring proceedings since early last year and has defaulted $3bn of dollar bonds and $5.3bn of onshore bonds. In January, Ping An Insurance was introduced as one of the investors as Founder Group continues with its restructuring plans.
Singapore tycoon raises stake in Raffles Education.
Oei, the second biggest shareholder of the education provider, bought about 6.4m shares to boost his holdings to 14% of company’s voting shares. He held 13.5% of the company before the purchase.
Raffles Education’s shares rallied as much as 31% on Friday, prompting the exchange to send a query to the company regarding the trading activity. The stock closed at its highest since April 2018, Bloombergreported.
Oei has had a tumultuous relationship with Raffles Education for more than three years after a placement diluted his shareholding. He and his firm Oei Hong Leong Art Museum failed in attempts to oust the company’s chairman and founder Chew Hua Seng in 2017 and 2020. He also sued Raffles Education last year over a plan to raise its stake in a Chinese property firm.
Getir seeks funds at a minimum $7bn valuation. (FS)
Turkish retail delivery app Getir is in talks to raise new funds with a valuation of at least $7bn,Bloombergreported.
Getir is seeking to raise at least $500m. The funds will be used to expand in the US. The company aims to close the deal by next month, and pursue an IPO in New York after two years.
UBS seeking to boost stake in its China JV.
UBS wants to boost its stake in its securities joint venture in China, Chief Executive Ralph Hamers told, as the world’s biggest wealth manager looks to Asia for growth, Reutersreported.
“If you want to grow faster in Asia, for example, China plays an important role. We want to increase our share in the UBS Securities joint venture there. We also want to launch a more digitally driven wealth manager in China, but we are still waiting for the license,” Ralph Hamers.
Hamers, who took over from long-time UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti in November, announced several strategic initiatives following the bank’s results on Tuesday, centered around making UBS a faster and more client-driven digital native firm. He also set its sights on capturing a bigger piece of Asia’s fast-growing wealth.
Pertamina Hulu Energi mulls $3bn Jakarta IPO.
PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company, is weighing an initial public offering of its exploration unit that could be the biggest first-time share sale in Southeast Asia in more than a decade, Bloombergreported.
The potential listing of PT Pertamina Hulu Energi could raise at least $3bn. Pertamina has picked advisers and is targeting holding the Jakarta offering as soon as next year.
Tata Power mulling $473m renewable energy unit IPO.
Tata Power, controlled by India’s largest conglomerate Tata Group, is weighing an IPO for its renewable energy business that could raise about $473m, Bloombergreported.
The power company has abandoned earlier plans to seek a partner to invest in its green assets via an investment trust. Tata Power will seek approval for the IPO plan from its board. If they approve, the proposed listing in Mumbai could take place as soon as this year.
Tata Power’s plan to list its green power business comes as India’s renewables sector is forecast to expand rapidly, driven by increasing power demand and decarbonization efforts. The country is working to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target to multiply its renewable power capacity almost five times over the next decade.
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