Canadian Pacific Railway, a railway services operator, agreed to acquire Kansas City Southern, a transportation holding company, for $29bn.
“This transaction will be transformative for North America, providing significant positive impacts for our respective employees, customers, communities, and shareholders. This will create the first US-Mexico-Canada railroad, bringing together two railroads that have been keenly focused on providing quality service to their customers to unlock the full potential of their networks. CP and KCS have been the two best performing Class 1 railroads for the past three years on a revenue growth basis," Keith Creel, Canadian Pacific Railway President and Chief Executive Officer.
Kansas City Southern is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Baker & Miller, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, White & Case and WilmerHale. Canadian Pacific Railway is advised by BMO Capital Markets, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Bennett Jones, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Creel Garcia-Cuellar Aiza y Enriquez, David L Meyer and Sullivan & Cromwell.
AVEVA Group, a British multinational information technology company, completed the acquisition of OSIsoft, a manufacturer of application software for real-time data management, for $5bn.
"The acquisition will strengthen AVEVA's position as a global leader in industrial software, whilst a combination of the complementary product offerings of AVEVA and OSIsoft is expected to allow the Enlarged Group to accelerate growth and continue to generate significant shareholder value," Philip Aiken, AVEVA Chairman.
OSIsoft was advised by Morgan Stanley, Fenwick & West, Latham & Watkins, Slaughter & May and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Aveva was advised by JP Morgan, Numis Securities, Lazard, Ashurst, Debevoise & Plimpton and FTI Consulting. Debt financing was provided by BNP Paribas, Barclays and JP Morgan. Mitsui was advised by O'Melveny & Myers.
The Sapir Organization, a multidisciplinary real estate investor, operator and developer, and 8F Investment Partners, a global diversified group, offered to acquire Columbia Property Trust, an office buildings operator, for $2.4bn.
“We believe our proposal gives the company’s stockholders -- many of whom have already suffered through years of value erosion -- an attractive opportunity to obtain immediate liquidity at a full and fair valuation,” The investor group.
Columbia Property Trust is advised by Morgan Stanley, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Joele Frank and Innisfree M&A. The Sapir Organization is advised by Profile Advisors and Saratoga Proxy Consulting.
Oaktree Capital-backed Oaktree Specialty Lending, a specialty finance company, agreed to merge with Oaktree Strategic Income, a capital solutions provider to middle-market companies. OCSL issued approximately 1.39 shares for each OCSI share outstanding, resulting in pro forma ownership of 77.5% for current OCSL stockholders and 22.5% for current OCSI stockholders.
“With this combination, we gain greater scale, portfolio diversity and financial flexibility while maintaining our strategy to invest in opportunities that align with Oaktree’s value-driven investment style,” Armen Panossian, OCSL CEO and CIO.
Oaktree Strategic Income was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Dechert. OCSL was advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods and Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young. Oaktree Capital was advised by Proskauer Rose, Financial Profiles and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Sin Capital-backed SC Health, a special purposes acquisition company, agreed to merge with Rockley Photonic, a sensors and semiconductors manufacturer, in a $1.2bn deal. The transaction includes a fully committed $150m PIPE, with participation from top-tier institutional investors including Senvest Management and UBS O’Connor and participation from Medtronic.
The transaction will accelerate the commercial launch of Rockley’s unique sensing platform, which is positioned to revolutionize consumer health and wellness by enabling continuous, non-invasive monitoring of multi-modal biomarkers such as lactate, glucose, hydration, blood pressure, and core body temperature.
“Our partnership with SC Health positions us to accelerate our time-to-market for our compelling health and wellness solutions. Our proven sensor technology, world-class partners and a relentless focus on execution will enable Rockley to deliver life-changing benefits to an enormous number of people. We believe that bringing laboratory diagnostics to the wrist will transform patient monitoring, healthcare delivery, and overall consumer health and wellbeing," Andrew Rickman, Rockley Founder and CEO.
Rockley is advised by Cowen & Company, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Blueshirt Group and Sard Verbinnen & Co. SC Health is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Ropes & Gray.
Ready Capital, a multi-strategy real estate finance company, completed the merger with Anworth Mortgage Asset, a specialty finance REIT that focuses primarily on investments in residential mortgage-backed securities, in a $292m deal.
“The closing of the merger with Anworth will better position us to continue to grow and improve operating and cost efficiencies to establish Ready Capital as an industry-leading mortgage REIT with a diversified platform,” Thomas Capasse, Ready Capital Chairman and CEO.
Anworth was advised by Credit Suisse and Greenberg Traurig. Credit Suisse is advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Ready Capital is advised by Wells Fargo Securities and Alston & Bird. Wells Fargo Securities is advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell.
A-Mark Precious Metals, a fully integrated precious metals platform, completed the acquisition of 79% stake in JM Bullion, an e-commerce retailer of precious metals. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As the anchor to our multifaceted direct-to-retail strategy, JMB enables us to more effectively capitalize on the growing demand for precious metals through online and e-commerce channels,” Greg Roberts, A-Mark CEO.
JMB was advised by Duane Morris. A-Mark was advised by D.A. Davidson & Co, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel and Gateway Investor Relations.
Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Azamara Brand, a cruise ship fleet operator, from Royal Caribbean Group, a global cruise vacation company, for $201m.
"Our strategy has evolved into placing more of our resources behind three global brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, and working to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period. Even so, Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth, and Sycamore's track record demonstrates that they will be good stewards of what the Azamara team has built over the past 13 years," Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Sycamore Partners was advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Joele Frank. Royal Caribbean Cruises was advised by Perella Weinberg Partners and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Altamont Capital Partners, a priate equity firm, agreed to acquire the assets of WAVE Electronics, a distributor of connected home, audio/video, and residential security products with nine branches across the US. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to be making this investment, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Mark and the rest of the team to fuel WAVE's continued profitable growth. Together, we are confident that we will drive value for the business' customers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders in the months and years to come," Randall Eason, Altamont Managing Director.
Altamont Capital Partners is advised by Joele Frank and Kirkland & Ellis. WAVE Electronics is advised by Jefferies and McDonald Hopkins.
NewLake Capital Partners, an internally managed investment vehicle, agreed to merge with GreenAcreage Real Estate, a provider of sale-leaseback and construction financing to all companies operating in the cannabis industry, in a $325m deal.
"Both of our respective teams are excited to have completed this merger. Strategically, through this combination, the combined company has emerged as one of the largest real estate companies in the cannabis industry. Not only do we expect our merger to accelerate growth through scale, but our combined team, including myself and Anthony Coniglio, and our board of directors, including Gordon DuGan, have the experience and proven track record in the capital markets and in real estate investment to effectively execute on our strategy of growth through investment in high-quality cannabis properties strategically located throughout the United States," David Weinstein, NewLake Capital CEO.
NewLake Capital is advised by KCSA Strategic Communications.
NewSpring Capital, a private equity firm, completed an investment in Blo Blow Dry Bar, a beauty salons chain operator. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The investment from NewSpring is a testament to Blo's distinct brand reputation, our proven success and the strong growth potential in the blow dry bar category. With this partnership, we are positioned for major expansion in both existing and new markets, while we make strategic investments to bolster our brand, system and support programs," Vanessa Yakobson, Blo Blow Dry Bar CEO.
Chubb, a property and casualty insurance company, offered to acquire The Hartford, an investment and insurance company, for $23bn.
No agreement has been reached, and there can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions, and even if a transaction is agreed upon, there can be no assurances as to its terms, structure or timing.
Coatue Management, a private equity firm, led a $150m Series D round in Side, a real estate services company. Other investors in the company include Trinity Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Sapphire Ventures.
The company plans to use the funding to expand to new regions, beyond its current markets in California, Texas and Florida.
Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, completed the investment in Zenefits, a SaaS company offering a cloud-based human resource information management. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The investment would allow Zenefits to capitalize on the $30bn market for human resources software among malls and midsize businesses. Francisco sees momentum in Zenefits transitioning from its original business model to software as a service. The deal comes as Zenefits has come under increasing pressure during Covid-19.
Andreessen Horowitz-backed Pindrop Security, an identity and security services provider, completed the acquisition of Next Caller, a fraud detection technology serviceprovider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Next Caller is a true pioneer in the device verification space. The growth Next Caller has experienced has been truly impressive to witness. Operating independently as close partners, we’re thrilled to be able to now work together to provide even better solutions to our respective customers and prospects while keeping a close eye on the many growth opportunities ahead of us,” Vijay Balasubramaniyan, Pindrop CEO.
Information Resources, a big data services provider, completed the acquisition of Intelligent Shopper Solutions, a retail consumer insight provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The addition of ISS expands IRI’s platform to provide CPG clients a more complete view of consumer shopping habits across even more leading retailers. Further, the talented ISS team brings deep expertise in providing rich, loyalty-based consumer behavioral insights, which we look forward to leveraging, along with our unparalleled data assets from more than 500m loyalty cards, to deliver enhanced collaboration and growth for IRI clients," Andrew Appel, Information Resources President and CEO.
Newmark, a commercial real estate services firm, completed the acquisition of Knotel, a global flexible workspace platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As a global commercial real estate leader, Newmark believes that our nimble integrated platform, combined with Knotel's capabilities, will provide superior management and consulting services to corporations and owners around the world. We look forward to completing our purchase of Knotel and welcoming so many of their talented professionals to Newmark," Barry Gosin, Newmark CEO.
RedBird Capital Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire an 11% stake in Boston Red Sox, a baseball club. Separately, LeBron James has acquired around a 1% stake in the club, although without investing any new money. Financial terms were not disclosed.
With the deal for Fenway Sports, RedBird Capital has pushed private equity into US pro sports team ownership, a space the niche asset class has long sought but rarely entered. And that should provide a boon for a PE industry that touts its ability to make money during a market downturn.
Epic Games’ value may hit $28bn in the latest round. (FS)
Epic Games could be worth about $28bn based on its latest round of fundraising, propelling the company into the ranks of the world’s 10 most valuable startups, Sky News reported.
The owner of the popular game Fortnite is finalizing terms for a $1bn funding round. At that valuation, Epic would overtake startups including Rivian Automotive.
The latest raise came just seven months after Epic closed a round of capital from investors including Sony and Baillie Gifford at a valuation of $17.3bn. It recently expanded its portfolio with the purchase of the maker of “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout,” an online game that was one of the breakout hits of the pandemic.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is advising Epic Games on the latest transaction.
TA is in advanced talks to buy Advent’s Unit4 software business. (FS)
Private equity firm TA Associates is in advanced discussions to buy Unit4, the enterprise software company owned by Advent International, for more than $2bn, Bloomberg reported.
Last year, Advent revived plans to sell Netherlands-based Unit4 after receiving takeover interest from a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Any deal for Unit4 would add to $116bn of transactions already announced in the global software industry this year. That’s up 60% on the same point in 2020.
Vivid Seats said in talks to go public via Boehly’s SPAC.
Vivid Seats, a digital ticketing marketplace that competes with StubHub, is in advanced talks to go public via a merger with Horizon Acquisitio, a blank-check firm led by Todd Boehly, Bloomberg reported.
Horizon has begun discussions with investors about raising equity to support a transaction set to reduce Vivid Seats’ debt and value the combined company at about $2.5bn. Vivid Seats’ private equity backers GTCR and Vista Equity Partners are set to roll their ownership stakes into the new entity, the person said.
As with any deal that hasn’t been finalized, it’s possible terms change or talks fall apart.
Sun Life’s $116bn alternatives arm aims to lift assets by 55%. (FS)
Sun Life Financial has spent years building its SLC Management alternative-asset management arm into a C$145bn ($116bn) business through acquisitions. Now the insurer is seeking to increase SLC’s size an additional 55% to C$225bn ($180bn) in third-party assets under management by 2025, largely with the pieces it already has in place, Bloombergreported.
SLC Management President Steve Peacher said he’ll rely on organic growth and new products from existing teams, which span fixed income, real estate, infrastructure and alternative credit. Despite a recent uptick in inflation expectations and long-term interest rates, Peacher sees a lower-for-longer rate environment persisting, continuing to fuel alternatives demand from insurance, pension fund, endowment and foundation clients.
“Institutions are allocating more to alternatives because equity valuations are high and rates are really low, and these are asset classes have delivered. We’ve got the wind at our back with our existing products and then new variations of our existing capabilities,” Steve Peacher.
Former BofA executive is said to join SPAC frenzy.
Omeed Malik, the former Bank of America managing director who received a multimillion-dollar sum to settle a defamation suit against the firm, is the latest Wall Street executive seeking to raise a SPAC, Bloombergreported.
Malik, 41, who co-founded merchant bank Farvahar Partners, will be chairman and chief executive officer of the vehicle, dubbed Colombier Acquisition. The SPAC’s chief financial officer is set to be Joe Voboril, a Farvahar co-founder and former BofA executive. Colombier will seek about $200m in an initial public offering, and target companies in the consumer, media and technology sectors.
Colombier will be sponsored by principals from Farvahar and Torch Capital, as well as Mark Klein’s SuRo Capital. Its board is set to include Torch’s Jonathan Keidan; Memo founder Eddie Kim; Relativity Media founder Ryan Kavanaugh; and SuRo’s Keri Findley and Claire Councill.
Caixa expects to list its asset management unit in September.
Brazil state lender Caixa Economica Federal expects to list its asset management unit in September, Chief Executive Officer Pedro Guimaraes said.
Guimaraes also said he intends to list its digital banking unit Caixa Tem by the end of the year or by early 2022, adding he wants an IPO abroad, Reuters reported.
Parkland eyes high-yield bond sales in M&A, refinancing push.
Parkland, a Canadian fuel distributor expanding in the US, is monitoring the high-yield bond market to refinance existing bonds and fund its pipeline of acquisitions, CFO Marcel Teunissen said.
The Calgary-based firm is considering refinancing $160m of 2025 bonds and $500m of 2026 securities which have “relatively high coupons,” Teunissen said in an interview. That’s at a time when the company also plans to continue moving ahead with “a full pipeline” of acquisitions, Bloombergreported.
“My number one priority - other than just managing our existing business - is to grow the Parkland business and we see a lot of opportunity both through acquisition as well as through organic. We look partly to refinancing but of course also partly for our growth that we are pursuing,” Marcel Teunissen.
KKR-backed KnowBe4 files for US IPO. (FS)
KnowBe4, a cybersecurity awareness training provider backed by Goldman Sachs and KKR & Co, is looking to raise up to $100m through an IPO in the United States, Reutersreported.
Founded in 2010 by CEO Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 had 37k customers globally and a nearly $15bn total addressable market, as of December 31, 2020. The company posted a net loss of $2.4m on net revenue of $174.9m for the year ended December 31.
TSG Consumer-backed Duckhorn rises after $300m IPO. (FS)
Duckhorn Portfolio, a California wine producer backed by TSG Consumer Partners, rose 15% in its trading debut after a $300m IPO, Bloombergreported.
Duckhorn, based in St. Helena at the center of the Napa Valley wine region, sold 20m shares for $15 apiece after marketing them for $14 and $16 each. The shares, which rose as much as 29%, closed at $17.18 in New York trading, giving the company a market value of $1.98bn.
Disruptive Acquisition I to raise $250m in a US IPO. (FS)
A blank-check firm that counts athletes Patrick Mahomes, Naomi Osaka, and Robert Lewandowski among its advisers is looking to raise $250m through a US initial public offering, Reuters reported.
Disruptive Acquisition I said it planned to sell 25m units, composed of shares and warrants, priced at $10 per unit, on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
The special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, is sponsored by an affiliate of Los Angeles-based merchant bank Disruptive, whose Chief Executive Officer Alexander Davis will be leading the blank-check firm.
MDA prepares for an IPO. (FS)
Canadian space robotics firm MDA is preparing to file papers in the coming days to pursue an IPO, Bloombergreported.
Controlling shareholder Northern Private Capital wants to list the Brampton, Ontario-based company on the Toronto Stock Exchange to raise money to pay down debt and bid on new projects.
The sale is expected to raise several hundred million dollars. Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia and Morgan Stanley are leading a group of banks on the IPO.
888 CEO weighs public listing to tap US market.
Online gambling operator 888 expects to explore ways to tap US investors and the attractive valuations they bring, including a potential IPO, as the market becomes more important for the London-listed company, Bloomberg reported.
“There might be opportunities like that, to float, to re-float, to split out — there are many different structures. I assume down the line, we will consider different options as the US becomes more meaningful, and definitely if it continues to trade at these kinds of multiples,” Itai Pazner, 888 CEO.
888 is also looking for media and brand deals that could boost its US presence, and the company would consider joining up with European operators as well as any takeover approaches it might receive, Pazner said.
Lexington Partners banks $3.2bn for fifth co-investment fund. (FS)
Secondary investing giant Lexington Partners has blown past the target for its latest co-investment fund, WSJreported.
The New York-based firm has closed its Lexington Co-Investment Partners V fund with $3.2bn, surpassing its initial $2.5bn target. The new vehicle is more than 33% larger than its predecessor, which closed on about $2.36bn in 2017.
Lexington has acquired over 3.4k secondary and co-investment interests through more than 900 transactions with a total value in excess of $62bn, including $15bn of syndications.
Ardian and Global Infrastructure Partners proposed a solution to facilitate the emergence of a positive outcome between Suez and Veolia by making a $18.8bn offer for Suez.
In order to facilitate a negotiated solution following Veolia’s public offer for the whole business, Suez has invited Ardian and GIP to submit an offer based on a scope of its activities, combining all of Suez' water and waste assets in France, balanced with broader water activities globally which would ensure new Suez international presence and influence. This would maintain the company’s industrial coherence, secure its future and drive its international development.
"The Suez board of directors has confirmed its willingness to find a negotiated solution with Veolia that is in the interest of its employees, customers, and shareholders. We now have a solution, supported by a new proposal from Ardian – GIP, which would enable the two companies to finalize an agreement in the interest of all the stakeholders, and that also meets the objectives set by the French State. The board of directors is ready to begin negotiations on this basis immediately," Philippe Varin, Suez Chairman.
Suez Group is advised by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Rothschild & Co, Societe Generale, Bredin Prat, Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, Sullivan & Cromwell and Brunswick Group. Ardian is advised by Linklaters and Headland Consultancy. Veolia is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Agricole, HSBC, Messier Maris & Associes, Morgan Stanley, Perella Weinberg Partners, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Flichy Grange Avocats, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Hogan Lovells, Patrice Gassenbach, Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associes, Xavier Boucobza and Image Sept. Engie is advised by BNP Paribas, Centerview Partners, Credit Suisse, Lazard, d'Angelin & Co, Weil Gotshal and Manges, Estudio de Comunicacion and Havas Paris.
Thomson Reuters and some members of Refinitiv's management have sold 10.4m voting shares in London Stock Exchange Group for roughly $1.04bn. The sales come weeks after LSE completed its $27bn purchase of data and analytics business Refinitiv.
The major shareholders sold the voting shares in the London-bourse owner at a price of $99.3 per share. The shares were sold by some fund managers on behalf of Thomson Reuters and the Refinitiv management members. After the sale is completed the sellers together will own about 30% economic interest and 22% voting interest in LSE, Reuters reported.
Refinitiv was advised by Canson Capital Partners, Evercore, Jefferies & Company, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Eterna Partners. LSEG was advised by RBC Capital Markets, Oliver Wyman, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Robey Warshaw, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Teneo. Financial advisors were advised by Herbert Smith Freehills. CPPIB was advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges. Thomson Reuters was advised by Allen & Overy.
German retailer Schwarz Group has offered to sell assets to address EU competition concerns about its $1.3bn bid for Suez Group's recycling and recovery business.
Schwarz, whose PreZero environmental division is making the acquisition, put in its offer to the European Commission. The Commission is scheduled to decide by April 14 whether to accept the concessions, demand more or open a four-month long investigation of the deal.
Schwarz and PreZero are advised by KPMG, Noerr, NautaDutilh, Jeantet and Vinge. Suez is advised by JP Morgan, Rothschild & Co, Jones Day, Wardynski & Partners and Brunswick Group.
CIIG Merger, a special purpose acquisition company, announced its stockholder approval for the $5.4bn merger with Arrival, an EV company.
The closing of the business combination is anticipated to take place on March 24, 2021. Following this, the combined company will be renamed Arrival and its ordinary shares and warrants will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market beginning on March 25, 2021 under the ticker symbols “ARVL” and “ARVLW” respectively.
Arrival is advised by Cowen & Company, JP Morgan, Greenberg Traurig, Blueshirt Group and Milltown Partners. CIIG Merger is advised by Barclays, UBS and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Hyundai is advised by Latham & Watkins.
Dye & Durham, a cloud-based software solutions provider, withdraws its $480m offer for Idox, a specialist software solutions provider.
"Following Dye & Durham's well established and customary due diligence review process, the company has come to the conclusion that it cannot support an acquisition of Idox at a price consistent with those originally contemplated," Dye & Durham.
DBAY Advisors, an asset management firm, offered to acquire Telit Communications, an IoT enablement provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
DBAY is also considering offering a partial non-voting preference share alternative to allow shareholders to roll-over some of their investment and retain an interest in the company's future should they choose to do so.
Telit is advised by finnCap, Rothschild & Co and FinElk. DBAY is advised by Investec.
Blackstone agreed to acquire DESOTEC, a provider of mobile filtration technology, from EQT Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Over the past four years we have been on an exciting and transformational journey, supported by EQT who has significantly contributed to helping us transform the business and accelerate growth by making substantial investments. We would like to thank Bert and the EQT team, as well as the DESOTEC supervisory board, for their continued support and we look forward to continuing to develop our business together with Blackstone," Mario Hertegonne, DESOTEC CEO.
EQT is advised by Rothschild & Co and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Blackstone is advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
INEOS Energy, a chemical and energy group, agreed to acquire HESS Denmark, a Danish oil field operation of energy company HESS, for $150m.
As part of the deal INEOS will acquire 61.5% of the Syd Arne oil field, currently operated by HESS, which complements the 36.8% share INEOS already holds in the field. INEOS will also acquire 4.8% of the Solsort field, which is already operated by INEOS.
“This deal represents a major step in reshaping our energy business. HESS was one of the earliest pioneers in developing this basin. This deal will open up future growth prospects that can be developed in Denmark’s offshore oil and gas sector, supported by a very promising carbon storage project helping to deal with future emissions," Brian Gilvary, INEOS Chairman.
INEOS is advised by Media Zoo and Slaughter & May.
Hapag-Lloyd, a German international shipping and container transportation company, agreed to acquire NileDutch, a container shipping company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Africa is an important strategic growth market for Hapag-Lloyd. The acquisition of NileDutch strengthens our position in West Africa and will be an excellent addition to our existing activities on the continent. Our combined customer base will benefit from a denser network from and to Africa as well as from a much higher frequency of sailings. We welcome the new colleagues from NileDutch and hope that together we can further develop our business in Africa in the years to come,” Rolf Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd CEO.
Hapag-Lloyd is advised by De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Hengeler Mueller.
Paine Schwartz Partners, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Kynetec, a market research company, from Inflexion, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are investing in Kynetec at a time when the use of data and the ability to analyze it is becoming more critical as companies across the value chain increasingly rely on it to implement efficient and sustainable practices. Kynetec has a strong foundation and the ability to grow by moving to new markets, deepening its offerings, enhancing its technology and pursuing complementary bolt-on acquisitions. In particular, key opportunities include expanding in the machinery segment, growing animal health offerings and delivering solutions that support agricultural sustainability," Kevin Schwartz, Paine Schwartz CEO.
Paine Schwartz Partners was advised by Rothschild & Co and Joele Frank.
Ferd, a holding company, agreed to acquire Norkart, a software developer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Norkart is an important company that fits well with Ferd's strategy and vision. Norkart contributes to creating a better and more efficient society through digitization and increased use of data. We at Ferd look forward to contributing our expertise and capital to further develop this socially beneficial business," Morten Borge, Ferd CEO.
Lyreco, a distributor of workplace products and solutions in Europe, agreed to acquire European business units from Ceberus-backed Staples Solutions, a provider of a range of stationery & office products. The intended sale is subject to the completion of certain employee consultation and regulatory procedures. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Staples Solutions has been on a remarkable journey after separating from its US parent more than four years ago. We put the customer at the core of our decision-making, we broadened our workspace solutions, we localized and simplified our operations; returning to profitability at the end of last year. We have become a better business, and reached a natural point in our journey for this transaction," Dolph Westerbos, Staples Solutions CEO.
Rexel, a provider of the multichannel distribution of products and services for the energy world, completed the acquisition of a 25% stake in Trace Software International, a software developer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
This minority stake goes along with a commercial partnership to accelerate the transformation of the group’s sales force towards selling more software and recurring services. With this investment, Rexel enriches its agnostic value proposition to help customers be more efficient and reinforces the non-residential building offering, alongside an already complete residential offering with software such as Esabora and Comtech.
Rexel was advised by Brunswick Group.
PPF Group considers an $8bn telecom unit sale.
PPF Group will probably decide this spring whether to sell a minority stake in its telecommunication infrastructure unit Cetin Group, either directly or through the stock market, Bloombergreported.
Czech billionaire Petr Kellner’s PPF is reviewing options for Cetin and the recent pricing of similar assets would imply that the owners could seek a deal that may value the company at more than €6.7bn ($8bn).
Toennies reportedly is seeking buyers.
Germany’s largest meat processor Toennies is growing and expanding as the next generation of the family is taking over, managing partners of it said, declining to comment on a report that the group was seeking a buyer, Reuters reported. Clemens Toennies owns around 45% of the stock, his nephew Robert Toennies around 50% and Clemens’ son Maximilian around 5%.
“We do not comment on market rumours. After all, it is we who create the market and push for expansion. With Maximilian, the next generation is active in management, our international expansion is progressing step by step,” Clemens Toennies and Maximilian Toennies
The family owners were seeking buyers for the 50-year-old firm and that a deal could value it at $4.8bn.
SSE, Equinor to start the wind farm stake sale.
SSE and Equinor plan to put a stake up for sale in what will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of the UK. The utilities have appointed Rothschild to lead the equity sale and are in the process of raising the debt, Jim Smith, the managing director SSE Renewables, Bloomberg reported.
The 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank wind farm will use turbines the size of skyscrapers from General Electric Co. It will provide enough power for 6m UK homes when the project is completed later this decade. The companies have divided the project into three 1.2-gigawatt sections. The current sale will be for a stake in the final 1.2-gigawatt area known as Dogger Bank C.
Wise considers £4bn introduction to LSE.
Wise, the payments group which ranks among Britain's most valuable fintech companies, is considering a direct listing on the London stock market that would bypass a more conventional IPO process, Sky News reported.
Wise - which until last month was called TransferWise - is in talks with its advisers about going public this year without raising money from the sale of new shares. A direct listing, or introduction as it is often called in the London market, remains comparatively rare for capital-hungry technology companies which routinely use IPOs as a way of strengthening their balance sheets.
NatWest to cut UK government stake with $1.5bn buyback.
NatWest will buy back $1.5bn of its shares from the British government, edging the state-backed lender further towards private hands as the government pushes to fully sell off banks bailed out in the financial crisis, Reuters reported.
The sale crystallises a further loss of around £1.8bn ($2.5bn)for the government on its £45bn ($62bn) rescue of NatWest. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in March the government would make an overall loss of about £39bn ($54bn) on the bailout once finance costs were factored in. NatWest, formerly Royal Bank of Scotland, will be 59.8% government-owned after the deal, down from 62% previously.
Porsche CEO says IPO is an option.
Porshe CEO Blume signaled he’d be open to considering an IPO of the German sports-car maker if parent Volkswagen decides to pursue one, Reutersreported.
“I think Porsche could be an interesting part for thinking about an IPO. We have to hand it to Volkswagen and they have nothing decided,” Blume.
Listing the coveted car division has long been touted as a way to bolster VW’s stock-market valuation and help it catch up to the likes of Toyota Motor or Tesla. VW is speaking with advisers to study the merits of a potential Porsche IPO.
Saudia raises $3bn to fund aircraft orders. (FS)
State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines has signed a financing agreement worth $3bn to partially finance requirements for aircraft it has ordered, Reuters reported.
The amount covers the airline’s aircraft financing requirements until mid-2024, helping finance the purchases of 73 aircraft, previously ordered.
The agreements were signed with Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi British Bank (SABB), Arab National Bank, Samba Bank, Bank Aljazira and Bank Albilad, while HSBC Saudi Arabia advised on the deal.
Signal Capital raises €900m for European credit and real estate fund. (FS)
The London-based private asset management firm said the fund has been backed by investors including pension funds, insurance companies, financial institutions and single-family offices across EMEA and North America.
“Since Signal was founded in 2015 the business has gone from strength to strength and our latest fund is testament to the quality of our investment team and ability to deliver the compelling, risk-adjusted returns which investors have struggled to obtain from traditional asset classes," Elad Shraga, Signal Capital CIO.
British Airways considers selling its headquarters. (Real Estate)
British Airways said it was considering selling its headquarters building because of a switch to homeworking during the pandemic means it may no longer need so much office space, Reuters reported.
The potential sale of the building, first reported by the Financial Times, could boost the airline’s finances which have been hammered by Covid-19. The building was completed in 1998 at a cost of $279m. The BA complex, Waterside, is near Heathrow Airport, west of London, and is also the headquarters of British Airways parent company, IAG.
The shift to homeworking over the last year has already prompted some of Britain’s biggest companies to make changes to their office footprints. Banking giant Lloyds said it would cut office space by 20% within three years, with HSBC aiming for a 40% reduction.
Deutsche Bank global co-head of SWFs is said to leave. (People)
Ashok Pandit, a global co-head of sovereign wealth funds at Deutsche Bank, is leaving the German bank after more than 15 years to join the corporate sector, Bloomberg reported.
Pandit’s resignation has been announced internally, said the people, who asked not to be named as the information is private. He will be joining IHH Healthcare as a senior executive.
The Singapore-based managing director, who is also Deutsche Bank’s Asia Pacific head of sponsors, joined the lender in 2005. He has over 27 years of investment banking experience in the region, helping global institutions and corporates on capital raising in both equity and debt, as well as M&A and capital restructuring deals worth over $100bn.
BAML names new head of private capital markets in Europe. (People)
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has named a new head of private capital markets in Europe, the latest change at the top of the bank's equity advisory team amid a boom in revenues in the sector, FNreported.
Aga Masud has been named head of private capital markets for Europe the Middle East and Africa at the US bank. She will also retain her current role overseeing clients within the Germany, Austria and Switzerland regions.
China Distance Education, a provider of online education and value-added services for professionals and corporate clients in China, completed the merger with Champion Distance Education Investments.
All outstanding ordinary shares of the China Distance Education, including ordinary shares represented by American depositary shares, each representing four ordinary shares, other than excluded shares and ADSs representing excluded shares, were cancelled in exchange for the right of the holders thereof to receive $2.45 in cash per ordinary share or $9.8 in cash per ADS.
CDE was advised by Duff & Phelps, Conyers Dill & Pearman, Goulston & Storrs, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and The Piacente Group. Champion Distance Education Investments was advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell and Maples Group.
Future Group has decided to challenge the Delhi high court (HC) order directing detention of its founder Kishore Biyani and attachment of his assets, while restraining the debt-laden group from taking any step towards its proposed $3.4bn asset sale deal with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries.
“Future Group feels that the Delhi HC seems to have gone beyond its scope by passing certain orders that were never a part of the prayer or any appeal filed by Amazon or any other party. Imposing monetary penalty for allegedly breaching an arbitration order; ordering attachment of assets and urging detention of Biyani are additional areas that have been entered by the single-judge bench without any such prayer by the appellant before the Delhi HC,” Future Group.
Reliance Retail is advised by Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Citigroup and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Reliance Industries is advised by Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Khaitan & Co.
SAIC Motor, Toyota Motor, and Bosch led a $500m Series C funding round in Momenta, a Chinese autonomous driving startup. Other investors include YF Capital, Tencent Holdings, Temasek Holdings, Shunwei Capital, Mercedes Benz, Daimler, and Cathay Capital.
The investment marks an important step toward the firm's international expansion.
JP Morgan Asset Management, agreed to acquire a 10% stake in CMB Wealth Management, an asset manager, from China Merchant Bank, a Chinese commercial bank, for $410m.
Under the agreement, the two firms will design asset management products - including fixed income, multiasset and target-date funds - for Chinese investors.
“Rather than formulating a separate new joint venture entity with CMBWM, this strategic investment uniquely and directly connects us to accelerating our co-operation with CMBWM’s already established product and distribution momentum. We are honoured to participate in and support China’s financial market growth in collaboration with one of the top banks in this market,” Dan Watkins, JP Morgan Asset Management CEO.
Mitsubishi, a multinational industrial conglomerate, agreed to acquire a 30% stake in Aurukun Bauxite Project, an Australian bauxite mine, from Glencore, a mining firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Through the acquisition and development of the Project together with other business activities, Mitsubishi will continuously secure competitive assets that contribute to a stable, global supply of a resource, and also to strive for sustainable growth by simultaneously generating economic, societal, and environmental values.
Didi plans valuation above $62bn in an IPO.
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is accelerating plans for an IPO to as early as next quarter to capitalize on a post-pandemic turnaround, Bloomberg reported.
Didi, the largest investment in SoftBank Group’s portfolio, is targeting a valuation above the $62 billion it secured during its last funding round. The company moved up plans from a previous target of late 2021 after its Uber-like car-hailing business bounced back with China’s success in bringing Covid-19 under control.
Based on a common 15% float for mega IPOs in Hong Kong, one potential venue, Didi could raise roughly $9bn in what would be one of the largest tech debuts globally in 2021. The company hasn’t made a final decision on the listing location. Didi’s plans remain preliminary and the timing could still slip till later in the year depending on negotiations.
Foxconn and VinFast explore partnership.
Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup said its car unit was in early stage talks with Taiwan’s Foxconn about working together and that any partnership formed would focus on developing batteries and electric car parts, Reuters reported.
Foxconn has proposed acquiring EV production lines owned by the unit VinFast. But VinFast prefers a partnership as it is keen to brand itself as an eco-friendly automaker and wants to retain its EV business.
“Vingroup has received proposals from Foxconn but nothing is concrete yet. The partnership, if any, will focus on developing the batteries and electric car parts,” Vingroup.
Piramal to sell record bonds after M&A win.
The financial unit of Indian billionaire Ajay Piramal’s conglomerate is set to sell its biggest-ever bond, and will use the money to partly fund the takeover of failed shadow bank Dewan Housing Finance, Bloomberg reported.
Piramal Capital & Housing Finance will raise $283m by selling five-year notes at a coupon of 9.25%. A part of the proceeds will be used to pay for Piramal’s acquisition of mortgage lender Dewan Housing.
Piramal won a bidding war for the shadow bank in January, beating out rivals including US alternative investments manager Oaktree Capital. It is seeking to expand its Indian lending operations by winning over more individual customers and diversifying its real estate loan book.
Ant Group-backed Zomato explores a $650m IPO. (FS)
Ant Group-backed Zomato, an Indian food delivery startup backed by Jack Ma’s Ant Group, is planning to file the draft prospectus by April for its initial public offering that could raise about $650m, Economic Times reported.
The company could complete the listing in Mumbai before the end of September. Deliberations are ongoing and details of the offering such as size and timeline could change.
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