WH Smith, which retails books, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals, agreed to acquire Marshall Retail, which operates as a specialty retailer in the casino-resort and airport marketplace, for $400m.
The acquisition of MRG is expected to broadly double the size of WH Smith's International Travel business, and significantly enhances the group's scale and growth opportunities in the attractive US airport travel retail market.
"I feel very proud to announce that we have reached an agreement with UK based retailer, WH Smith, to acquire Marshall Retail Group. WH Smith is one of the world's oldest retailers with close to 1.6k stores across the globe. This is an incredible milestone for our business and is a testament to the outstanding team at MRG. We are proud of our success, particularly our recent growth in airports, and I'm especially excited about the potential these unlock for MRG in the years to come. We very much look forward to working with such an established and successful global business, with a strong heritage, as we continue on our journey together to drive both companies forward." Michael C. Wilkins, Marshall Retail Group CEO.
Barclays, Greenhill & Co, JP Morgan, and Brunswick Group are advising WH Smith.
HGGC fund, a middle-market private equity firm, has agreed to acquire Monotype Imaging with the help of a group of lenders led by Deutsche Bank with debt financing. After attempting to attract investors for about a month, the bank had to fund a $425m loan so the deal could close, Bloomberg reported.
The buyout will bring the company’s debt load to around seven times a measure of earnings. The banks are marketing the deal with a leverage ratio of about six times after giving credit to adjustments and expected cost savings.
JP Morgan, Goodwin Procter, and Joele Frank are advising Monotype. Deutsche Bank, Kirkland & Ellis, and Stanton PRM are advising HGGC. Deutsche Bank is the debt provider to HGGC.
Fox Corporation, an American television broadcasting company, completed the acquisition of a 67% stake in Credible Labs, a consumer finance marketplace, for $265m.
"The acquisition of Credible underscores Fox Corporation's innovative digital strategy that emphasizes direct interactions with our consumers to provide services they want and expand their engagement with us across platforms. Credible, which has tremendous synergy with core brands such as FOX Business and FOX Television Stations and will benefit from our audience reach and scale, will drive strategic growth, further develop our brand verticals and deepen consumer relationships," Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corporation Executive Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer.
Herbert Smith Freehills and Kirkland & Ellis advised Fox.
Charlesbank Capital Partners agreed to acquire WolfePak Software, a provider of enterprise resource planning, operational, and regulatory compliance software. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We have been impressed with the reputation that WolfePak has built over decades for providing highly-quality solutions, seamless integration, and excellent customer support. We look forward to partnering with the leadership team to build on this legacy,” Mayur Desai, Charlesbank Principal.
Aeris Partners is advising WolfePak. Goodwin Procter is advising Charlesbank.
CIVC Partners-backed Computer Aided Technology, an engineering consultant in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, agreed to acquire Fisher Unitech, a provider of 3D design software tools and 3D printers, from The Riverside Company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We look forward to working with and supporting Fisher Unitech and their clients. Like CATI, Fisher Unitech has built its business around ensuring their customers' success. That's what makes this merger a great fit," Rich Werneth, Computer Aided Technology President.
Cornell Capital, a private investment firm, agreed to invest in Lorom, a manufacturing solutions provider focusing on specialized cable manufacturing and assembly. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"In today's technology-intensive product marketplace, supplier partners like Lorom are uniquely positioned with vertically integrated capabilities and long-term customer relationships to meet the increasing demand for specialty products. We are impressed by Lorom's founding family and management team and are confident that we can continue to execute our Firm's successful partnership-oriented investment approach in the Asian market. Working closely with the Lorom team, we look forward to accelerating the Company's financial performance and capitalizing on opportunities to drive continued growth across Asia, Europe, and North America," Henry Cornell, Cornell Capital Founder, and Senior Partner.
IDEMIA, a French multinational company, specializing in security and identity solutions, agreed to acquire Metal Payment Card Business of X Core Technologies, an electrical and electronic manufacturing. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Payment cards are the latest marketing asset for banks for customer acquisition. Acquiring X Core is entirely consistent with IDEMIA’s strategy to offer cutting-edge technology to its customers without ever compromising on security or convenience. Our new offer, Smart Metal Art, delivers the best high-end cards combined with unmatched contactless payment features, which will be a game-changer for end-users,” Amanda Gourbault, IDEMIA Executive Vice President for Financial Institutions activities.
Private equity firm Warburg Pincus agreed to invest in Softeon, a provider of supply chain software including warehouse management system, distributed order management, and warehouse execution system solutions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Softeon has been fully self-funded and profitable since its inception. This investment validates our recent performance and strengthens our commitment to offering industry-leading solutions to more customers in more verticals, with a continued focus on exceptional customer success and satisfaction. Our partnership with Warburg Pincus will accelerate such efforts, and I am thrilled to see the company enter its next growth phase,” Gana Govind, Softeon President.
Newlight Partners, a private investment firm, agreed to invest $150m in Leyline Renewable Capital, a provider of development financing across several renewable energy sectors.
"Leyline Renewable Capital has a firm track record of identifying, cultivating, and funding some of today's most talented renewable energy developers. As cost-competitive and distributed renewable technologies scale quickly, the developers of these projects are increasingly underserved by traditional financing sources. Leyline understands their needs and long-term goals and is positioned to be the go-to investor for entrepreneurial developers who are essential if cities, states, and major corporations are to achieve their ambitious renewable energy targets," Mark Longstreth, Newlight Partners Managing Director.
Pendo, the product cloud company, raised $100m in Sapphire Ventures-led Series E round, with participation from new investors General Atlantic and Tiger Global, along with existing investors Battery Ventures, Meritech Capital, FirstMark, Geodesic Capital, and Cross Creek. The round valued Pendo at $1bn.
“As our global economy continues to transform digitally, product-led companies have a clear strategic advantage. Over the last few years, software for product teams has emerged as an important new category and Pendo as a clear leader. Pendo’s business fundamentals, growth, product suite, and incredible leadership team have set the company up to be a leading SaaS business for years to come,” Rajeev Dham, Sapphire Ventures Managing Director and Pendo board member.
Next Tier Connect acquired Stafford Commerce Park & Center in Virginia. (Real Estate, FS)
Next Tier Connect, an investment partnership between Next Tier HD and RedBird Capital Partners, acquired a six-building, 268k square foot mission-critical mixed-use campus in the Stafford – Fredericksburg, VA market. This campus is the second acquisition for the partnership, which was formed to acquire, optimize, and manage a diversified portfolio of select mission-critical oriented properties. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited about this expansion into the Stafford market, particularly when it allows us to have a broad campus that offers very flexible space options for tenants needing immediate access to smaller, built out solutions, or those seeking the presence of a full building user. This property will continue to grow and support all aspects of the Defense Support Services and Cyber Security and Law Enforcement initiatives that are undertaken at Marine Base Quantico,” David Spiewak, Next Tier Managing Principal.
Barneys to sell assets to Authentic Brands and B. Riley for $271m.
Barneys, an American chain of luxury department stores, agreed to sell its assets to brand developer Authentic Brands Group and investment bank B. Riley Financial for $271m.
Reuters recently reported that Barneys, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August, citing rent hikes as a factor, was nearing a deal with Authentic Brands that could lead to Barneys shops opening in Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
WeWork owner to form a committee to choose financing lifeline.
WeWork owner, The We Company, formed a special board committee to consider proposals for a $5bn financing lifeline from its largest shareholder SoftBank Group, and its primary lender JP Morgan, Reuters reported.
The office-space sharing company is establishing the committee to ring-fence its financing deliberations from SoftBank's influence. The Japanese technology conglomerate owns about a third of WeWork, and any new equity investment could potentially give it control. WeWork is rushing to raise new capital after scrapping plans last month for an initial public offering. It could run out of cash as early as November unless it secures new financing.
WeWork reported before that the $5bn financing package led by JP Morgan is preferable.
Greene King, the UK's largest pub retailer and brewer, said that the European Commission gave the go-ahead for CK Asset, a Hong Kong-listed company founded by the territory’s richest man Li Ka-Shing, to acquire the British pub operator.
"The Greene King board is confident in the long term prospects of the business but believes this offer represents a good opportunity for shareholders to realize value for their investment at an attractive premium, while also ensuring the future success of Greene King for employees, partners, customers, and suppliers. We are, therefore, unanimously recommending it to our shareholders." Philip Yea, Chairman of Greene King.
Citigroup, Peel Hunt, Rothschild & Co, Linklaters, and Finsbury are advising Greene King. HSBC, Clifford Chance, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Brunswick Group are advising CK Asset.
Private equity firm Sun European Partners agreed to acquire Vetrerie Riunite, a producer of special glass and refractory rollers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“VR Group is a world leader within highly attractive markets. Vetrerie Riunite’s advanced technology, newly renovated production facilities, highly efficient propriety processes, and best in class product offerings have allowed the business to build a highly attractive position within its core markets. Vetrerie Riunite has deep, longstanding, and collaborative relationships with all its key clients and is positioned well for future success. We look forward to working with the excellent management team to accelerate the Company’s profitable growth,” Mark Corbidge, Sun European Partners Managing Director.
PwC, Giliberti Triscornia e Associati and Kirkland & Ellis are advising Sun European Partners. Alantra, Studio Poggi & Associati and NCTM are advising Vetrerie Riunite.
Growthpoint, a South African real estate group, and Capital & Regional, a debt-laden shopping center landlord, agreed on their deal terms. Growthpoint will buy 30% of London-listed Capital & Regional’s existing share capital for £72m ($92m). This represents a 55% premium to the latest closing share price.
"The Capital & Regional Board is unanimously recommending the Proposed Transaction as we firmly believe it provides a transformational catalyst for the future growth of Capital & Regional to the benefit of all shareholders. Not only does it provide a liquidity event for shareholders at a significant premium to the Company's share price prior to this announcement, but it also delivers a cash injection of approximately £78m ($100m) that de-risks the business and provides a long-term foundation for growth. This puts Capital & Regional on the front foot by reducing leverage and allowing our strong management team to focus its full attention on executing its strategy and implementing the rollout of its community center asset management plan," Hugh Scott-Barrett, Capital & Regional Chairman.
JP Morgan, Numis Securities, and FTI Consulting are advising Capital & Regional. Goldman Sachs is advising Growthpoint.
Endless, a British private equity firm, completed its acquisition of Victoria Plum, which retails predominantly its own-brand bathroom products, which include suites, furniture, and accessories, from TPG Capital, a US private equity. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We thank TPG for their partnership over the last few years. Endless recognize that they have acquired a well-invested and well-managed business, with customers at our heart and critical areas of differentiation. We believe this is a business with fantastic potential, and we're delighted to be working with Endless to accelerate our strategy for growth and continue to find ways to differentiate. We look forward to an exciting future together." Paul McClenaghan, Victoria Plum CEO.
Squire Patton Boggs and Grant Thornton advised Endless. Jefferies & Company advised TPG.
Megadyne, which develops and manufactures rubber and plastic products, agreed to acquire SATI, which specializes in production and distribution of power transmission products for industrial use. Financial terms were not disclosed.
For SATI, the operation aims to exploit the industrial potential and business synergies of its companies and to establish itself more and more internationally. Megadyne, on the other hand, aims to include in its range of products those of SATI, integrating its offer.
"This is another decisive moment in SATI's 45-year journey. With renewed enthusiasm, we will continue with development. As part of a larger group, which benefits from greater financial and commercial strengths, this will allow Sati and its employees to grow further and expand internationally," Ames Rambaldi, SATI CEO.
Accenture, a global professional services company, agreed to acquire Happen, a privately owned innovation firm that uses proprietary methods, frameworks, and digital tools to help clients generate new ideas, products, and services that drive business growth. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Happen underscores our commitment to innovation. We continue to invest in the UK and Europe to grow our talent, creating new opportunities to work on transformative and disruptive projects and to help our clients apply the latest digital technologies to drive their product innovation and growth agendas,” Matt Prebble, Accenture Managing Director and head of its Products practice in the UK and Ireland.
Britain's competition regulator said it had launched a formal investigation into Amazon's investment in Deliveroo, an online food delivery company. The Competition and Markets Authority said it was looking into whether Amazon's investment in May, when it led a $575m fundraising, could result in a "substantial lessening of competition" within the United Kingdom.
Cancom, an IT service management company, agreed to acquire Novosco Group, an IT service provider based in Belfast, United Kingdom, for £70m ($88m).
"Novosco's product portfolio extends our capabilities tremendously, and the customers we serve to complement each other perfectly. Virtually all Novosco customers have no business connection to us yet. In addition, the transaction gives us direct market access in Ireland for the first time, and around 300 specialist staff and highly profitable businesses will join Cancom. We are very excited about this acquisition," Thomas Volk, Cancom CEO.
Saudi Aramco delays its IPO.
Saudi Aramco delayed the planned launch of its initial public offering of a 1-2% stake on the kingdom’s Tadawul market. Saudi Aramco wanted to wait until it could provide clarity on its most recent quarterly earnings following attacks on Saudi infrastructure last month that temporarily halved production, the FT reported.
The state-owned oil giant, which had been preparing for an Oct. 20 official launch of the share sale, is currently looking at pushing back the IPO until December or January.
HNA drops plan to divest Avolon Holdings for $8.5bn.
HNA Group stopped an attempt to divest Avolon Holdings, what could have been one of the indebted Chinese conglomerate's most significant sales to date as it unwinds a global deal spree, Bloomberg reported.
HNA reached out to Orix in the past few months to gauge the Japanese financial group's interest in buying its remaining 70% stake in Avolon. Orix decided in the end that it was not interested in pursuing a deal.
Nestlé to return $20bn to shareholders.
FT reported that Nestlé, the world’s biggest food and drinks maker, pledged to return $20.2bn to shareholders over the next three years after completing the sale of its skin health business. The share buybacks or special dividends announced alongside in-line third-quarter sales are the latest sign of how the turnaround effort by Chief Executive Mark Schneider at Nestlé is gathering pace.
The German executive’s plan aims to raise sales growth and profit margins at the maker of Nescafé, KitKat chocolate, and Gerber baby food.
Zimbabwe cancels the deal with Transnet.
Zimbabwe is canceling a deal struck with South African logistics group Transnet to recapitalize National Railways of Zimbabwe, blaming the consortium for not providing a viable funding plan, Reuters reported.
A joint venture between Transnet and Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group, a consortium of Zimbabwean investors living abroad, won the bid to recapitalize the financially struggling NRZ with $400m in August 2017.
"The government indulged the consortium by working with them outside the framework agreement. Regardless, they failed to present a common position," Nick Mangwana, Zimbabwe's information ministry Permanent Secretary.
Centrica hired Goldman Sachs to advise on a $2bn Spirit Energy sale.
Centrica, a British multinational energy and services company with its headquarters in Windsor, picked Goldman Sachs to advise on the potential sale of its controlling stake in exploration and production unit Spirit Energy.
A deal could value the business at more than $2bn.
Ferretti canceled its IPO.
Reuters reported that Italian luxury yacht maker Ferretti had decided to pull its initial stock offering because it is not satisfied with the price at which the books were covered. Ferretti had only managed to cover the books at €2 ($2.2) per share, the low end of a price range that it had already been forced to cut.
At that price, Ferretti would have been worth €580m ($640m) after a proposed capital increase, just over half the €1.1bn ($1.2bn) the company and its shareholders were originally hoping to fetch.
PPF close to striking a deal with AT&T to buy CME.
Czech investment group PPF is close to concluding talks on buying a majority stake in Central European Media Enterprises, a publicly-traded media, and entertainment company, from AT&T, which holds 64% of CME’s common stock but effectively controls 75% of the company through preferred shares.
CME, which operates TV stations in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, has a market capitalization of $1.1bn.
United group considers buying Vivacom. (FS)
BC Partners financed United Group, a cable company, is considering buying Vivacom, Bulgaria's largest telecoms group, FT reported.
Vivacom is expected to be valued around €1.2bn ($1.5bn) based on recent deals in the region for telecom assets. A deal would mark the latest step by United Group's owners for expanding the business through add-on acquisitions after the company agreed to buy Tele2 Croatia for €220m in May.
Permira, Apax and Hellman & Friedman shortlisted to bid for Scout24's Autoscout unit. (FS)
German classifieds group Scout24 picked Permira, Apax and Hellman & Friedman for the second round of bidding for its autos unit AutoScout24. The auction values the unit at approximately $2.5bn.
Reuters reported that Alitalia’s rescue hopes received a boost after Lufthansa said it could take a stake in the Italian carrier and Rome agreeing to a $389m bridging loan to ease immediate cash worries.
Loss-making Alitalia has been run by special administrators since May 2017 and talks led by state-owned railway group Ferrovie dello Stato to put together a consortium of rescuers that have been going on for a year without coming close to a deal.
Baladna to raise near $392m in IPO.
Baladna, Qatar's largest dairy and beverage company, will launch an initial public offering this month that could raise SAR1.4bn ($392m).
"BFI already enjoys an unparalleled position in Qatar as a market leader with growing exports and increasing economies of scale," Kamel Abdallah, Baladna Chief Executive Officer.
Livingbridge raised $427m for its third fund. (FS)
UK mid-market private equity investor Livingbridge closed the Livingbridge Enterprise 3 fund with total capital commitments of $427m, an increase of 50% on its predecessor fund, Livingbridge Enterprise 2.
“We’re delighted that Enterprise 3 has closed with a significant increase in capital. In the current market, it outlines the strength of our 20-year track record and the strong relationships we have built with our investors. We look forward to continuing to back high-caliber, fast-growth SMEs, which fuel the growth of the UK economy,” Wol Kolade, Livingbridge Managing Partner.
Idinvest Partners closed its latest fund at $387m. (FS)
Idinvest Partners, an investor in SMEs across Europe, closed its third digital fund at $387m, having surpassed its initial fundraising target of $331m.
“At Idinvest, we continue to place long-term importance on cultivating a dedicated ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Therefore we are extremely pleased with the fundraising efforts of the team. The close demonstrates our expertise across the digital sector and shows the confidence that our institutional and corporate investors, leaders in Europe and internationally, have in our activities,” Benoist Grossmann, Idinvest Partners Managing Partner.
Sofinnova Partners raised $368m for its latest fund. (FS)
European venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners closed its latest early-stage healthcare fund Sofinnova Capital IX, oversubscribed at $368m.
“Our experienced team, stable strategy, and exit track record resonated well with investors, hence the success of our fundraising for this latest Capital fund. Over the last three years, we have completed nine remarkable exits in the portfolio for a total enterprise value of almost $4.4bn,” Antoine Papiernik, Sofinnova Partners Managing Partner, and Chairman.
Reuters reported that Elliott Management, Unizo's largest shareholder, urged the Japan hotel operator to accept the $1.6bn tender offer from Blackstone Group, warning it would take “all available measures” if it fails to do its “fiduciary duty.”
“We strongly urge you to consider in good faith, and not unduly obstruct, the Blackstone proposal,” Elliott, which owns 13% in Unizo, said in a statement.
SoftBank Group’s Fortress Group, which is also bidding for Unizo, said it would extend its tender-offer period for the Japanese hotel operator.
Benedi Consulting, KPMG, ZECOO Partners, Daiwa Securities, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Nishimura & Asahi, TMI Associates, Horwath HTL Asia Pacific, Hospitality Capital Management and EY are advising Unizo.
SMS Group, a German metallurgical equipment supplier, and Australia's Neometals, which explores and develops mineral projects, agreed to form a joint venture to commercialize the miner’s lithium-ion battery recycling technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“SMS is a very well-respected name, particularly in Europe, which is expected to become home to half the world’s battery mega factories outside of China. Having a brand name partner with best-in-class expertise on large-scale design, operation, and plant maintenance will provide confidence to our prospective feedstock supply partners – the cell and carmakers who ultimately have the responsibility for end-of-life recycling,” Chris Reed, Neometals Managing Director.
Freshworks in talks to raise funds at $3bn valuation. (FS)
Freshworks, which provides organizations of all sizes with SaaS customer engagement solutions, is in preliminary talks with investors (both new and existing) to raise a fresh round of capital at a valuation of $2.5-3bn. Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global Management, who are its existing investors, are interested in taking part in the fundraising.
Freshworks’s most recent investment was closed in 2018 when it raised $100m in a round, led by Accel and Sequoia.
Blackstone and K Raheja hire banks for the upcoming IPO. (FS)
Bloomberg reported that Blackstone Group and Indian developer K Raheja Group selected more banks for an initial public offering of their joint commercial property portfolio.
Citigroup, Kotak Mahindra Capital and Axis Capital were picked to join Morgan Stanley to arrange the listing of the assets as real estate investment trust in Mumbai.
Insignia Ventures Partners raised $200m for the second fund. (FS)
Singapore-based venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners closed its second fund at the hard cap of $200m. The fund, which was “heavily oversubscribed,” raised capital from limited partners who include sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, foundations and family offices from Asia, Europe, and North America. Insignia Ventures Fund II will focus on early-stage technology investments in Southeast Asia.
IOOF to purchase ANZ pension assets at a lower price.
IOOF Holdings, an Australian financial services company, agreed on a lower purchase price for ANZ, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s pension assets, giving its shareholders another reason to celebrate after a landmark court case win last month.
IOOF, among the worst affected by the Royal Commission inquiry, posted a sharp fall in annual profit in August after compensating aggrieved customers.
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