Amazon is expected to win unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $8.5bn buy of US movie studio MGM, a move that is set to ramp up competition with streaming rivals Netflix and Disney+, Reuters reported.
Announced in May last year, the deal would also strengthen Amazon's video streaming service, drawing people to subscribe to Amazon Prime, which offers fast shipping and encourages consumers to shop more regularly.
MGM is advised by LionTree Advisors, Morgan Stanley, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Latham & Watkins, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Sidley Austin and Finsbury Glover Hering. LionTree Advisors is advised by Paul Hastings. Amazon is advised by Bank of America, Bennett Jones, Clifford Chance, Cravath Swaine & Moore and FTI Consulting. Bank of America is advised by White & Case. Anchorage is advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Clearlake Capital Group, an investment firm operating integrated businesses across private equity, credit, and other related strategies, agreed to acquire Intertape Polymer Group, a packaging products and systems company which supplies retailers and manufacturers, for $2.6bn.
"We believe this transaction is a great next step in the evolution of our business as Clearlake has strong industry knowledge in the protective packaging and e-commerce ecosystems. Clearlake provides us the operational and financial resources to accelerate our acquisition strategy, as well as organic growth opportunities such as investing in product innovation, sustainability, and market expansion," Greg Yull, IPG President and CEO.
Intertape Polymer Group is advised by Morgan Stanley, National Bank Financial, Fasken, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and LodeRock Advisors. Clearlake Capital is advised by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Kirkland & Ellis, Stikeman Elliott and Lambert & Co. Debt financing is provided by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo Securities.
Clearlake Capital, an investment firm, agreed to acquire Discovery Education, a global edtech company whose digital learning software platform supports educators and improves student achievement, from Francisco Partners, a global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and technology-enabled businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Discovery Education seeks to empower educators and inspire students worldwide through digital content delivered by our award-winning platform. Francisco Partners has been a great partner in our pursuit of this vision, and I am grateful for their support. We look forward to Clearlake's investment accelerating Discovery Education's efforts to acquire like-minded companies that complement our portfolio. In addition, this new collaboration will enhance our efforts to deepen platform distribution, earn more of educators' instructional time, and win customers. We believe Discovery Education has a bright future as part of the Clearlake family of companies," Scott Kinney, Discovery Education CEO.
Discovery Education is advised by Jefferies & Company, SVB Leerink and Kirkland & Ellis. Clearlake Capital is advised by Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Macquarie Group, Sidley Austin and Lambert & Co. Debt financing is provided by Blackstone. Francisco Partners is advised by Sloane & Company.
Newcrest Mining, an Australian-based corporation which engages in the exploration, development, mining and sale of gold and gold-copper concentrate, completed the acquisition of Pretium Resources, an intermediate gold producer, for $2.8bn.
"The acquisition of Pretivm by Newcrest is an outstanding opportunity for the Company and its shareholders, employees, First Nations partners and the local communities in northwest British Columbia. The Transaction delivers an immediate and compelling premium for Pretivm shareholders that reflects the excellent work of our employees and contractors in developing and operating the Brucejack gold mine, while also offering an opportunity to benefit from potential upside as Newcrest shareholders," Jacques Perron, Pretium President and CEO.
Pretium Resources was advised by BMO Capital Markets, Citigroup, Blake Cassels & Graydon, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Stikeman Elliott and Longview Communications. Newcrest was advised by Lazard, RBC Capital Markets, Cravath Swaine & Moore and McCarthy Tetrault.
US Federal prosecutors and securities regulators are investigating large bets that Barry Diller, Alexander von Furstenberg and David Geffen made on Activision Blizzard shares in January, days before the videogame maker agreed to be acquired by Microsoft, Reutersreported.
IAC Chairman Diller, his stepson von Furstenberg, and music mogul Geffen have an unrealized profit of about $60m on the options trade, based on the recent Activision share price of around $80.
Activision is advised by Allen & Company and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Allen & Company is advised by White & Case. Microsoft is advised by Goldman Sachs, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Weil Gotshal and Manges and Assembly Media.
XPO Logistics, an American freight transportation company that primarily provides less-than-truckload and truck brokerage services in 18 countries, is set to spin off its high-tech truck brokerage business.
"Our two core businesses of North American less-than-truckload and tech-enabled truck brokerage are industry-leading platforms in their own right, each with a distinct operating model and a high return on invested capital. We believe that by separating these businesses through a spin-off, we can significantly enhance value creation for our customers, employees and shareholders, as we did with our successful spin-off of GXO last year," Brad Jacobs, XPO Logistics Chairman and CEO.
XPO Logistics is advised by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Kekst CNC.
Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused exclusively on healthcare, completed the acquisition of Probo Medical, a diversified supplier of refurbished diagnostic imaging equipment, from Varsity Healthcare Partners, a healthcare services private equity investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"On behalf of Probo team members around the world, I am excited for the future of our partnership with Avista Capital. Avista shares our passion for delivering health care solutions that drive superior outcomes in an efficient and efficacious manner. With their strategic and financial support, and a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities in the US and Europe, we will continue our impressive growth trajectory while serving the market with the highest-quality diagnostic imaging equipment and services," Michael Asmer, Probo CEO.
Avista Capital Partners was advised by Ropes & Gray and Kekst CNC. Varsity Healthcare Partners was advised by Cain Brothers, Houlihan Lokey, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Prosek Partners.
Phillips 66, a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company, completed the acquisition of Phillips 66 Partners, a master limited partnership, for $3.4bn.
"We are announcing an agreement to acquire all outstanding units of Phillips 66 Partners. We believe this acquisition will allow both PSX shareholders and PSXP unitholders to participate in the value creation of the combined entities, supported by the strong financial position of Phillips 66," Greg Garland, Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO.
Phillips 66 Partners was advised by Evercore and Vinson & Elkins. Phillips 66 was advised by Bank of America, Citigroup and Latham & Watkins.
Blockdaemon, a blockchain infrastructure company, completed the acquisition of Gem, a cryptocurrency API company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“With our acquisition of Gem, Blockdaemon is welcoming to our fold the brilliant Micah Winkelspecht, Gem CEO and long-time cryptocurrency entrepreneur, along with an extremely talented team of engineers and product people. As a result, Blockdaemon will immediately generate transaction-based revenue, a key strategic business model for us going forward,” Konstantin Richter, Blockdaemon CEO and Founder.
Blockdaemon was advised by Galaxy Digital Partners, Cooley and RAISE Communications.
Lineage Logistics, a logistics solutions provider, completed the acquisition of MTC Logistics, a cold-chain provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“MTC Logistics’ strong presence at key ports along the US East and Gulf Coasts and focus on best-in-class service and innovation will help better connect our customers to the global food supply chain. We look forward to welcoming the MTC team into the One Lineage family and leveraging their expertise to fulfill our vision of becoming the world's most dynamic temperature-controlled logistics company," Greg Lehmkuhl, Lineage Logistics President and CEO.
MTC Logistics was advised by G2 Capital Advisors and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston.
Théa, an independent European pharmaceutical group, completed the acquisition of branded ophthalmic products of Akorn, a pharmaceutical company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I am pleased that we have reached this agreement with Théa. I believe they are well positioned and motivated to augment this ophthalmic franchise. Having access to our experienced and talented Sales team that will transition from Akorn to Théa is an important first step in their journey to build a strong sales platform in the US. This transaction will allow Akorn to focus on our core business of manufacturing and providing the marketplace with quality generic human and animal products. In addition, we intend to continue to invest in our facilities and pipeline," Doug Boothe, Akorn President and CEO.
Akorn was advised by Greenhill & Co and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Vertical Venture, a venture capital firm, and Future Shape, an investment and advisory firm, led a $150m Series C round in Menlo Micro, a technology company, with participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company, DBL Partners, Adage Capital Management, Standard Investments, Paladin Capital Group, Piva Capital, and PeopleFund.
“Today’s funding milestone underscores the confidence our investors have in Menlo Micro’s transformative technology to fuel the electrification of everything and modernize the $100bn market for RF communications, power switching and protection devices in the 21st century. It will enable us to expand our manufacturing in the US and accelerate the development of our power roadmap to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. We’re positioned to enable the upgrade of the world’s aging power grids, modernize smart buildings and factories, and eliminate many of the inefficiencies in our legacy electrical infrastructure," Russ Garcia, Menlo Micro CEO.
UKG, a global provider of human capital management, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management solutions, completed the acquisition of Ascentis, a provider of full-suite HR and workforce management solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We're thrilled to welcome the supremely talented Ascentis team into the U Krew family. Their tremendous workforce management and HCM domain expertise will be vital in the present and future success of UKG. UKG is transforming the relationship between organizations and their people by creating more empowering, inclusive, and personalized work experiences. The Ascentis team will help us continue to rapidly deliver on our vision for people-centric workplaces," Chris Todd, UKG President.
TAIT, a live event solutions company, agreed to acquire Thinkwell, a production management services provider. Financial terms are not disclosed.
“For decades, our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most engaging and dynamic experiences for brands and IPs around the world. The combination of Thinkwell’s world-class talent and extraordinary project portfolio with TAIT’s ambitious vision and shared commitment is a natural progression to expand the global footprint and broaden the reach of both companies," Joe Zenas, Thinkwell Group CEO.
L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, and RX3 Growth Partners, a growth equity firm, completed the acquisition of Taxa Outdoors, a manufacturer of lightweight, mobile habitats for outdoor adventure. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I founded Taxa eight years ago to break down the barriers between people and nature, creating innovative and rugged camping machines to enhance outdoor experiences. By leveraging L Catterton's significant consumer and operational expertise – including a strong track record of supporting experiential outdoor brands – we will be well-positioned to continue driving exceptional growth and serving our remarkable community of customers. We are excited to partner with L Catterton to expand our reach and launch new types of habitats and products to further our mission of inspiring more people to journey into nature," Garrett Finney, Taxa CEO and Founder.
Rialto, an investment management and asset management platform, led a $125m funding round in Alfred, a residential technology company, with participation from NEA, 166 2nd Financial Services and Holland Capital.
"No matter what end of the real estate spectrum you're on – owner, operator or resident – you want more for your money. More service, more income, more efficiency, more community, and you want it in one seamless experience. By acquiring RKW, we can more deeply deploy technology to learn, innovate and continually elevate the rental experience for all," Marcela Sapone, Alfred Co-Founder and CEO.
Netsurit, a managed service provider, agreed to acquire EVOKE, an award-winning digital transformation company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are very excited to have Andrew and his team join the Netsurit family. EVOKE has been building digital workplace solutions that solve significant business challenges for nearly two decades, and we're looking forward to the knowledge and experience that their team will add to Netsurit," Orrin Klopper, Netsurit CEO.
Oshkosh-backed McNeilus, a manufacturer of concrete mixers and refuse truck bodies, completed the acquisition of CartSeeker, a curbside automation product, from Eagle Vision Systems, a company that uses AI-based recognition technology for curbside waste, and Waterloo Controls, an engineering company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We put a priority on bringing our customers innovations that advance their business, and this strategic investment in autonomy boosts our product capabilities and future offerings,” Jeff Koga, McNeilus Vice President & General Manager.
Carney says Brookfield studying dozens of deals after AGL snub. (FS)
The Canada-based asset manager, which oversees more than $650bn, has at least 50 potential transactions under review across a range of industries.
Games Global in talks with Tailwind International SPAC.
Games Global is in talks to go public through a merger with a SPAC, Bloomberg reported. The companies signed a letter of intent regarding a transaction that values the combined entity at more than $3bn. Terms aren’t finalized and it’s possible talks collapse.
Founded in 2021, Games Global is led by CEO Walter Bugno, a former International Game Technology executive. The company describes itself as a supplier to the online gaming industry. It offers over 3k gaming titles made by more than 50 firms including Gameburger Studios, All41 Studios and Slingshot Studios.
Wellness Pet preps IPO to raise over $600m. (FS)
Wellness Pet, a pet-food maker backed by private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group, is preparing to go public in the US as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported.
The Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company plans to seek more than $600m in the IPO. The company could be valued at around $2.5bn in the transaction.
Bain Capital launches $560m crypto fund. (FS)
The startup-focused arm of major private equity investor Bain Capital launched a $560m fund to invest exclusively in crypto companies.
The fund closed in November, and has already invested $100m in the crypto space. Bain is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, with holdings in crypto lenders BlockFi and Compound Finance, as well as Digital Currency Group, which runs a host of different crypto companies.
The fund will invest in companies ranging from crypto startups to decentralized autonomous organizations. Bain expects to deploy the fund in the next two to three years, and will adopt a long-term approach to investment.
Stagecoach, a bus operator, agreed to a £595m ($783m) offer from DWS Infrastructure, a fiduciary infrastructure investment manager, turning away from the £470m ($619m) deal with National Express.
Stagecoach said that its directors have decided unanimously to withdraw from recommending the National Express takeover offer and opt for the DWS Infrastructure bid instead.
Stagecoach is advised by Deutsche Bank, RBC Capital Markets, Herbert Smith Freehills and Edelman. DWS is advised by Morgan Stanley, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Finsbury Glover Hering. National Express is advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bank of America, HSBC, Ashurst and Maitland.
Nigeria's Seplat Energy chairman said that the company is on track to buy Exxon Mobil's offshore shallow water business in the country for $1.58bn, Reutersreported.
"We believe the government will grant the approval based on the merit of the transaction. We have followed the process that is laid down. We followed the Nigerian rules and regulations. We have not done anything wrong," Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka Orjiako, Seplat Chairman.
Seplat Energy is advised by Citigroup, Investec, Scotiabank, Olaniwun Ajayi, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, White & Case and FTI Consulting.
EQT, an investment organization, led a $125m Series D round in Ardoq, a SaaS company reinventing enterprise architecture for digital enterprises.
“Thanks to the fantastic work of our team and our dynamic, data-driven Enterprise Architecture platform, in 2021 we continued our trajectory of 80% year-on-year ARR growth. Now we are in the perfect position to supercharge our global expansion in 2022 and beyond. We will expand the team, continue to invest in our technology platform, and double-down on commercial excellence, all whilst continuing to support the digital business execution of organizations and enterprises all across the world," Erik Bakstad, Ardoq Co-Founder and CEO.
Disruptive led a $250m Series D round in Forto, a provider of digitized freight forwarding and supply chain solutions, with participation from Softbank Vision Fund 2, G Squared, Northzone, Unbound and A.P. Moeller Holding.
"We recognize that this is an exceptionally challenging period for many of our customers. As our business remains well-funded from our previous round in 2021, this new round will simply allow us to accelerate the execution of our existing strategy, particularly on our geographic expansion," commented Wax. "It will allow us to further widen our customer offer, bring our technology platform support to customers in new markets, and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise," Michael Wax, Forto CEO and Co-Founder.
HEXPOL, a global developer and manufacturer of quality polymer compounds, agreed to acquire a 70% stake in almaak international, a specialist in high-quality recycled engineered polymer compounds based in Germany, for €70m ($76m).
"The acquisition of almaak is fully in line with our growth strategy and we welcome the almaak team to the HEXPOL Group. almaak's focus and expertise on high-quality recycled engineered compounds also fits very well into our sustainability development," Georg Brunstam, HEXPOL Group CEO.
Storskogen-backed Brenderup Group, a trailer manufacturer in Malmö, Sweden, agreed to acquire Tysse, a Norwegian manufacturer and supplier of trailers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Tysse is somewhat of an 'industrial adventure' created by owners, employees and resellers through 60 years of hard work. The Tysse family is immensely proud over what the company has achieved. To continue to grow and expand internationally, I concluded that Tysse should be part of a larger group. With Storskogen and Brenderup we have an owner with great product- and production know-how and an owner that shares the same values and goals as Tysse. An industrial owner provides us with the best opportunities to continue develop the company and secure growth and job opportunities in Tyssebotnen in the coming generations," Rune Tysse, Tysse Managing Director.
Naviga, a provider of software and services powering media-rich industries, completed the acquisition of Abacus, a SaaS digital subscription and audience insight supplier. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are happy to announce the addition of Abacus to the Naviga family. Abacus brings award winning software that has been proven to help brands and communities grow engagement and revenue with personalized digital experiences. Combining this functionality with Naviga’s existing Content Engagement Platform will provide our customers with exceptional opportunities to provide targeted offers and relevant content driven by data insights across multiple channels," Scott Roessler, Naviga CEO.
World Freight’s up to $2bn sale halted by Ukraine war. (FS)
PAI Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia are halting a sale of World Freight Company due to market volatility caused by the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported.
The planned disposal of WFC was put on hold after the buyout firms narrowed the list of bidders at the start of this year. A sale could have valued the airline cargo management firm at $1.5bn to $2bn.
Jamie Reuben considers bid for Chelsea Football Club.
Jamie Reuben, the son of billionaire property investor David Reuben, is exploring a bid for Chelsea Football Club, the storied London franchise put up for sale by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, Bloomberg reported.
Reuben is considering bidding on a personal basis, although he may use some of his family’s wealth. Reuben brothers Simon and David own about 10% of Newcastle United, the Premier League football club that was recently bought for $400m by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The brothers each have a net worth of about $7bn.
Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive of crypto exchange Binance, also discussed buying Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's Premier League soccer club Chelsea but has ruled out any such deal, Reuters reported.
Changpeng Zhao spoke with the Raine Group, the US investment bank representing Chelsea on the sale, but declined to pursue it as owning a soccer club is not one of his priorities.
Spectris explores sale of Omega Engineering unit.
Spectris, a UK maker of precision and testing equipment, is exploring the sale of its Omega Engineering unit, Bloomberg reported.
The British company is working with an adviser on the sale of the US process measurement and control instrumentation business, which it considers non-core. First-round bids for Omega are due in the coming weeks.
Italy's state TV to hold at least 30% stake in towers unit.
Italy has ruled that state broadcaster RAI should retain a stake of at least 30% in its towers unit Rai Way, Reuters reported.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed off on a decree allowing RAI to cut its 65% holding in Rai Way below 51%, in a move expected to trigger sector consolidation.
The decree could pave the way for merger talks between Rai Way and rival EI Towers, a long-mooted tie-up that would create a group worth more than $2.2bn in the television and radio mast sector.
Aurora Mobile, a mobile development service provider, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Wuhan SendCloud, an email API platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“I am very pleased to welcome SendCloud to the Aurora Mobile family. We are a pioneer in the field of customer engagement, including mobile app push notifications, SMS, WeChat official accounts, WeChat mini-programs, Alipay mini-programs, DingTalk, and enterprise WeChat, and SendCloud has a leading position in email sending services. Together, we will have the joint advantages to provide a reliable and effective customer engagement platform for different industry verticals. Customers today are more and more dependent on flexible omni-channel strategies as the need for user engagement intensifies. With the combined expertise of our teams, we are very confident in our ability to expedite our mission to create a one-stop integrated platform for customer engagement solutions," Weidong Luo, Aurora Mobile Chairman and CEO.
Cerberus Capital Management, a US-based private equity company, agreed to acquire the Hanjin shipyard, which is strategically located in Subic Bay in the Philippines and also the subject of investor interest from China, for $300m.
The deal is expected to revive the strategic shipyard, which was a major employer in the Philippines before it filed for bankruptcy protection in early 2019. The shipbuilder sank into financial trouble amid an industry-wide oversupply of cargo vessels, and defaulted on $1.3bn in loans, including $400m from Philippine banks.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency investment platform Cake DeFi has launched a $100m venture capital arm to invest in web3, gaming, and fintech companies with links to the metaverse, non-fungible tokens, blockchain and e-sports, DealStreetAsia reported.
Cake DeFi plant to deploy the $100m capital in two years. Its first investment is in US-based NFT media company, The Edge Of Company.
Founded in 2019 by Julian Hosp and U-Zyn Chua, Cake DeFi allows users to stake, lend and mine cryptocurrencies.
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