LVMH’s board met this week to discuss the fallout from the coronavirus crisis on its $16.2bn purchase of US jeweller Tiffany, the luxury goods group said, opening the door to a possible attempt to review the deal terms. LVMH, run by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, agreed to buy Tiffany in November, before the retail business was hammered by the pandemic,Reuters reported.
Arnault is now exploring ways to reopen negotiations and potentially pressure Tiffany to lower the agreed deal price of $135 per share. LVMH said it does not plan to buy shares in Tiffany on the open market.
The French conglomerate said that its board had this week discussed the potential impact of the pandemic “on the results and perspectives of Tiffany & Co with respect to the agreement that links the two groups.”
Tiffany is advised by Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs, Sullivan & Cromwell, Weil Gotshal and Manges, and Sard Verbinnen & Co. LVMH is advised by Citigroup, JP Morgan, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, White & Case, Allen & Overy, Brunswick Group, DGM Conseil, Deluxewords, Kekst CNC, Montfort Communications, Publicis Consultants, and SEC and Partners.
Charles Schwab received antitrust approval from the Department of Justice for its purchase of TD Ameritrade. Charles Schwab last November agreed to buy TD Ameritrade in an all-stock deal valued at $26bn. The merger could create a brokerage giant in a market that has been ravaged by price wars.
TD Ameritrade is advised by PJT Partners, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Shearman & Sterling and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Charles Schwab is advised by Credit Suisse, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Alston & Bird and Finsbury. TD Bank is advised by JP Morgan, TD Securities, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Carlyle Group and T&D, a Japanese insurer, completed the acquisition of a 76.6% stake in Fortitude, a composite reinsurer that focuses on managing long-dated risks, from American International Group, a global insurance company, for c. $1.8bn.
"Despite increasing uncertainty due to the Covid-19 outbreak around the globe, the successful completion of this transaction is significantly meaningful for T&D and a strategically important step towards continued growth of Fortitude Re and our future business collaboration. T&D will focus on supporting Fortitude Re by contributing our expertise in life insurance business in Japan to create synergies with our domestic life insurance business as well as to diversify our business portfolio. We look forward to working together with Fortitude Re, AIG and Carlyle in the closed block business," Hirohisa Uehara, T&D Representative Director and President.
T&D was advised by Citigroup, Appleby, King & Spalding and Nishimura & Asahi. The Carlyle Group was advised by Oliver Wyman and Debevoise & Plimpton. Fortitude was advised by Sidley Austin. AIG was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Thoma Bravo, a private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sector, agreed to acquire Exostar, a business collaboration cloud platform for the aerospace and defense, life sciences and healthcare industries. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This transaction reflects the logical next step in our company's evolution. We can leverage Thoma Bravo's deep technology and security experience to take full advantage of our unique market position. Together, we plan to accelerate time-to-market for the Exostar suite of solutions that enable global enterprises to execute their mission-critical supply chain and drug development initiatives," Richard Addi, Exostar President and CEO.
Exostar is advised by AGC Partners and Latham & Watkins. Thoma Bravo is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Finsbury.
Platinum Equity-backed Orbit Irrigation, a provider of irrigation systems and related products for the residential and commercial markets, agreed to acquire the garden business of Bond Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and garden products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We have enormous respect for what the Merritt family has built and look forward to working with Daryl and Cam on the next chapter. Combining our businesses will help diversify our product mix and customer base, opening up new growth opportunities for all of us," Stuart Eyring, Orbit CEO.
Orbit Irrigation is advised by PNC Bank and Wilkie Farr & Gallagher. Debt financing is provided by Steel City Capital Funding.
Melinta Therapeutics, an American biopharmaceutical firm, agreed to acquire Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company, for $57m.
“This transaction increases our world-class infectious disease portfolio and we are eager to build upon our synergies and leverage our collective expertise and scale to offer patients and providers battling serious bacterial infections with an additional potentially life-saving treatment option,” Jennifer Sanfilippo, Melinta Interim CEO.
Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals is advised by Janney Montgomery Scott, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Argot Partners.
HOF Village, the owner of the premier sports, entertainment and media enterprise surrounding the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, completed the acquisition of Youth Sports Management, a youth football and sports complex events company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Bringing YSM's operations entirely in-house positions HOFV to develop overall youth programming as well as attract and operate additional sporting events and activities. With the completed acquisition, HOFV continues to expand upon the popularity of football in building a leading sports and entertainment company with exclusive live youth content," Michael Crawford, HOF Village CEO.
Nordson, an engineer, manufacturer of differentiated products for the healthcare industry, completed the acquisition of Fluortek, a Pennsylvania-based precision plastic extrusion manufacturer that provides custom dimensioned tubing to the medical device industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As Nordson MEDICAL continues to expand its differentiated product offerings, the acquisition of Fluortek enhances our ability to deliver critical components that enable our customers' most complex medical device innovations. This offering further supports Nordson MEDICAL's position as a leading full-service solution provider of component and device manufacturing capabilities for OEM's across the interventional, minimally invasive and surgical medical device landscape," Jeffrey Pembroke, Nordson Executive Vice President.
NetApp, a cloud data services provider, agreed to acquire Spot, a provider of computer management and cost optimization on the public clouds. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The combination of NetApp's leading shared storage platform for block, file and object and Spot's compute platform will deliver a leading solution for the continuous optimization of cost for all workloads, both cloud native and legacy. Optimized customers are happy customers and happy customers deploy more to the public clouds," Anthony Lye, NetApp Senior Vice President and General Manager of Public Cloud Services.
TCL Electronics, a partially state-owned Chinese multinational electronics company, is set to to increase its stake in SEMP TCL, a manufacturer of electronic components, to 80% for $63m.
“We are bullish on Brazil’s market. Though Covid-19 is wreaking economic havoc worldwide, it doesn’t undermine our strong faith in globalization of our business. TCL Electronics ranks in Top 2 by TV shipments in global wide and we certainly will continuously pursue of our globalization strategy. SEMP TCL is expected to enhance our presence in Brazil and afterwards, we will extend our business into other South American countries in larger sense,” Kevin Wang, TCL Electronics CEO.
Unity prepares for IPO this year.
Unity Technologies, a developer of graphics software used to design video games, is working with financial advisers to prepare for a US listing that could take place later this year, Bloomberg reported.
The San Francisco-based company is considering an IPO that could happen as early as the fall. The company tapped Goldman Sachs to lead the offering.
WeWork and Softbank sued for investor fraud over collapsed IPO. (FS)
In the latest lawsuit over WeWork's scuttled IPO, investors say the company hoodwinked them by promoting a transformation of the concept of workspace to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock.
The complaint was filed as a class action on behalf of investors who bought shares in the privately held company for 2.5 years before the IPO was cancelled in September and the value of WeWork plummeted. They allege that WeWork executives and board members overhyped the business plan and downplayed its losses as "strategic investment spending that would lay the foundation for profitability.
As would later be revealed, WeWork was engaged in profligate spending in a reckless bid for growth at all costs - not in a manner designed to sustainably grow its business, but rather to induce capital raises from investors at ever-higher valuations.
Meritech Capital Partners raised $800m for an investment fund. (FS)
Meritech Capital Partners, an American venture capital firm that invested in Datadog and Salesforce before they went public, raised $800m for its seventh fund.
The firm, which got its start in 1999 prior to the 2001 dot-com bust, is poised to invest in both boom times and downtimes.
Servier, an international pharmaceutical company, completed the acquisition of Symphogen, a privately-owned biotech company focused on oncology and immuno-oncology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The completion of this acquisition enables Servier to boost its antibody capabilities in oncology and its other therapeutic areas. The efficient antibody discovery and research platform of Symphogen will strengthen our R&D capabilities and pipeline in line with our aim of making life-saving treatments available to more patients across the world," Claude Bertrand, Servier Executive Vice-President Research & Development.
Symphogen was advised by Rothschild & Co, Perkins Coie and Plesner. Servier was advised by Lazard, Gorrissen Federspiel and McDermott Will & Emery.
Intesa Sanpaolo’s takeover offer for UBI Banca can not be accepted with current terms, an UBI shareholder said. Intesa announced in mid-February an all-paper exchange offer for UBI to create the euro zone’s seventh-largest banking group, Reutersreported.
“If it will be proved that the exchange offer is in public interest we will accept it, but not with current terms,” Giandomenico Genta, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo Chairman.
Genta said UBI was already considering deals to create Italy’s largest banking group before the offer by Intesa was made - including one with Bper Banca - and that it would likely resume its consolidation plans if the Intesa offer fell through.
Intesa Sanpaolo is advised by Pedersoli Studio Legale, Equita SIM, JP Morgan, Mediobanca, Morgan Stanley and UBS.
Algeco Group, a modular space leasing business in Europe and Asia Pacific, agreed to acquire Wexus Group, a provider of modular building solutions in the Nordic region from Norvestor Equity, a private equity firm focusing on lower mid-market control investments in the Nordic region. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"High quality acquisitions are a key component of our strategy, complementing our focus on organic growth and operational performance. This transaction further builds on Algeco's leading position in the highly attractive Nordic modular space market. I am delighted to welcome a very experienced management team into the Algeco Group, and I'm excited that they will continue to lead this business and build on a robust track record of value creation going forward." Mark Higson, Algeco CEO.
Algeco Group is advised by Tulchan Communications.
PIB Group, an insurance intermediary group, agreed to acquire Marx Re-Insurance, a reinsurance and insurance broking company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This has been a unique opportunity to acquire an international operation driven by an outstanding individual and team. Their services will complement PIB’s existing offering while also broadening our proposition into reinsurance. I am looking forward to working with Oliver and the team to enable them to achieve their significant growth opportunities in highly specialist growth areas, into which we can invest further,” Brendan McManus, PIB Group CEO.
Royal London, a mutual insurer in the United Kingdom, agreed to acquire The Police Mutual Group, a provider of financial services exclusively for serving or retired police officers, staff and families. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
"Royal London and Police Mutual have complementary values and culture. Both are mutual and are committed to delivering the best value for their customers and members. Police Mutual plays a vital role in providing financial services and products to police officers and the armed forces. We are pleased to be able to provide the company with a secure future," Barry O'Dwyer, Royal London CEO.
MVM joins bidding for E.ON's Czech retail operations.
MVM, a Hungary-owned energy group, submitted the final bid to acquire Czech retail operations of Innogy, an energy company, from E.ON, a German electric utility firm, Reutersreported. MVM will be competing with Czech energy and investment groups such as EPH, KKCG and Sev.en Energy.
"We see ourselves as a prospective buyer for the entire retail segment, and we submitted our bid with this in mind as expansion and the strengthening of market positions are key for us," György Kóbor, MVM President and CEO.
PGNiG considers takeover opportunities in Norway.
PGNiG, Poland's dominant gas company, hopes that it can take advantage of new acquisition opportunities in Norway that may come up due to the global crisis, the company's Chief Executive Jerzy Kwiecinski said.
Kwiecinski added that PGNiG may increase its own gas production in Norway to 0.7bcm next year from 0.5bcm now.
"Orange is not contemplating a counter-offer for MasMovil group. Orange has a privileged position in the telco sector in Spain and has the support of the Orange group to continue growing organically in the country" Orange.
BP considers divestment of $1bn stake in Oman gas project.
BP is in early-stage discussions to sell about a 10% stake in a gas field in Oman as part of the energy giant's plans to cut debt, Bloombergreported. London-based BP is talking with interested parties about cutting part of its 60% holding in the Khazzan natural gas field. The 10% stake is likely to fetch more than $1bn and is drawing interest from other large energy companies.
A stake sale would help BP deliver on its goal to achieve $15bn in divestments by mid-2021 - crucial for easing its debt burden. The company has bolstered its financial reserves as the double impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and a crash in oil prices hit profits in the first quarter. In April, BP confirmed its commitment to completing the sale of its Alaska business to Hilcorp Energy on revised terms.
Qudian, an online consumer finance platform, agreed to acquire a 28.9% stake in Secoo, an online integrated upscale products and services platform, for c. $100m.
"This strategic partnership leverages both companies' resources, capabilities, industry expertise and market presence, while fostering collaboration in supply chain management, user acquisition and retention, quality appraisals, post-sales services, and financing solutions. Our partnership will bring value to both Secoo and our Wanlimu platform, launched earlier this year, and also establish a good foundation for a better user experience for our customers. We believe this strategic investment in Secoo will fuel opportunities for expansion and success on both platforms," Min Luo, Qudian Founder, Chairman and CEO.
EU antitrust regulators restarted their investigation into global shipbuilding group Hyundai Heavy Industries’ $1.8bn merger with Daewoo with a decision due by September 3, 2020, Reuters reported.
The European Commission, which warned in December that the deal to create a company with a 21% market share could push up prices, halted its probe on March 31 while waiting for the companies to provide information.
The EU competition enforcer had said then that European shipping companies, among the two shipbuilders’ biggest customers, may be affected by the deal.
Amazon considers $2bn investment in Bharti Airtel.
Amazon is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in number 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel for at least $2bn, joining Facebook and other US giants in betting on one of the world's fastest-growing internet arenas.
The US online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti's 300m subscribers - a user base akin to the entire US population.
AirAsia seeks fundraising, JV among options.
AirAsia Group, Malaysia's flagship budget carrier, is evaluating proposals for raising capital to strengthen its equity base and liquidity. AirAsia said it had been presented with proposals from investment bankers, lenders and potential investors to help the airline "weather the storm" caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.
It also has ongoing deliberations with several parties for joint-ventures and collaborations that may result in additional investments in specific segments of the group's business.
Aeris to acquire Evolution's Cracow gold mine.
Aeris Resources, an Australian copper producer, offered to buy the Cracow gold project from Evolution Mining for up to $87m to diversify its portfolio.
Aeris has budgeted $9m over the next two years for exploration at the Queensland-based mine, from which the company expects to generate pro forma core earnings of $188m to $195m for the period.
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