T-Mobile announced that it is financially prepared to close its planned merger with Sprint, based on its previously secured commitments for bridge financing and senior credit facility financing.
The company has been in communication with all sixteen banks and has not received any notification that any of the banks are unprepared to fund their commitments to support the closing of the merger transaction. The companies continue to drive forward toward closing the merger as soon as possible.
“I’m pleased that right now we have broad support from the banks to finance the closing of this merger - we are very close to unleashing the capabilities of the New T-Mobile, and that is even more important for consumers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our nation is more dependent than ever on connectivity, and we will continue to deliver our essential wireless service today and when we merge with Sprint, with a Nationwide 5G service that is broader and more robust than anything else in America. We can see the finish line and are prepared to close the merger very soon so our teams can get to work building a supercharged Un-carrier,” John Legere, T-Mobile CEO.
Sprint is advised by Centerview Partners, JP Morgan, Mizuho, SMBC, The Raine Group, Morrison & Foerster, Potter Anderson & Corroon, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. SoftBank is advised by Morrison & Foerster. Deutsche Telecom is advised by Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, PJT Partners, Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins, Richards Layton and Finger, and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
French luxury goods maker LVMH, which last year agreed to buy Tiffany for $16.2bn, is considering buying shares of the US jeweller for less on the open market. LVMH is yet to make a decision on the transaction and is discussing potential legal hurdles to the idea.
LVMH has discussed the plan with Tiffany's board, which could give the potential transaction a green signal after reporting quarterly results, Bloomberg reported.
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.
Danaher announced that the US Federal Trade Commission accepted the $21bn acquisition of the biopharma business of General Electric Life Sciences.
The acceptance by the FTC satisfies all required antitrust clearances needed to be obtained for the acquisition. In addition to the FTC, the transaction has also been cleared by the European Commission and the Brazilian, Chinese, Israeli, Japanese, Korean and Russian antitrust authorities. The closing of the acquisition remains subject to other customary closing conditions set forth in the purchase agreement. Danaher currently expects that the acquisition will be completed on March 31, 2020.
Danaher is advised by Barclays, Kirkland & Ellis, and Sard Verbinnen & Co. General Electric is advised by Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, PJT Partners, Clifford Chance, and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.
Aflac, a supplemental insurer, through its subsidiaries Aflac of Columbus and Aflac of New York, agreed to acquire Zurich North America's Group Benefits business, consisting of group life, disability and absence management products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are very excited to acquire the Group Benefits platform of Zurich North America. This strategic transaction further enhances our value proposition to brokers and employers and aligns with our vision of being the number one distributor of benefit solutions to the US workforce," Teresa L. White, Aflac US President.
Zurich North America is advised by Piper Sandler and Sidley Austin. Aflac is advised by Barclays and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Scopely, a mobile game developer and publisher, raised $400m in an Advance- and TCG-led Series D funding round.
The new funding doubles the size of the original $200m Series D round Scopely announced last fall and brings the company to over $650m raised to date. The upsized round brings Scopely's Series D post-money valuation to $1.9bn.
DuBois Chemicals, a full-service provider of customized specialty chemical solutions, agreed to acquire Hillenbrand's Cimcool business for $224m in cash, and $26m in contingent purchase price upon a future sale of the combined DuBois and Cimcool businesses. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close on March 30, 2020.
"The divestiture of Cimcool aligns with our previously disclosed intent to seek strategic alternatives for the business and allows us to remain focused on the continued integration of the Milacron APPT and MDCS businesses with Hillenbrand. The proceeds from the sale will be used for de-leveraging activities, strengthening our financial position as we seek to enhance our leadership positions in the industrial platforms that represent our most compelling opportunities for profitable growth," Joe Raver, Hillenbrand President and CEO.
Ultra Defense, a defense logistics specialist, completed the acquisition of MAST Technology, a military ammunition manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I am unbelievably excited for future opportunities. Matt's experience, knowledge, and integrity are well established in the defense community. Matt and I together are going to be a very formidable combination. I believe we can multiply our capabilities and obtain exponential growth," Jay Bell, MAST former CEO.
The Jordan Company, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Transportation Impact, a provider of technology-enabled parcel optimization, parcel auditing, and transportation management services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to have TJC as our new equity partner. TJC brings an impressive track record of expanding tech-enabled logistics businesses. The partnership with TJC, combined with the strong TI team and our innovative technology, positions the company well for the next steps in its evolution," Berkley Stafford, TI CEO.
Thomson Reuters completed the acquisition of Pondera Solutions, a provider of technology and advanced analytics to combat fraud, waste and abuse in healthcare and large government programs. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Thomson Reuters and Pondera share a commitment to serve customers with solutions that reduce fraud by individuals targeting government programs. Pondera will be a key component to the suite of tools available to government customers that use technology, data and human analysis to support their mission and benefit their communities," Steve Rubley, Thomson Reuters President of the Government Business.
Bill Ackman buys shares of Blackstone. (FS)
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is purchasing shares of Blackstone Group, as the growing coronavirus pandemic roils markets, Bloomberg reported.
Blackstone fell 1.6% on March 18 and has declined 34% over the past month. Competitors, including Brookfield Asset Management and Apollo Global Management, recorded similar declines.
Activist Blackwells settles with Colony. (FS)
Colony Capital, a real estate and investment firm, reached a settlement with investment management firm Blackwells Capital, which hands the activist investor a fourth board seat and creates a new vehicle to acquire Colony stock on the open market.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement, and appreciate that Blackwells has affirmed its support of our strategy, Board and management team," Nancy Curtin, Colony Capital Lead Independent Director.
Airbnb receives interest from investors. (FS)
Airbnb received inquiries from potential investors who want to acquire a stake in the US home rental company in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The discussions with venture capital investors and sovereign wealth funds are at a very early stage and may not result in a transaction, Reuters reported.
XPO Logistics cancels break-up amid the economic downturn.
Reuters reported that XPO Logistics abandoned plans to break up the warehousing and delivery company through a sale or spin-off, citing "market conditions."
XPO lost more than half its market value since January as consumers and businesses cut spending in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
SoftBank-backed Getaround looks for a buyer as demand evaporates. (FS)
Getaround, a car-sharing company, is actively exploring a sale as the coronavirus outbreak has sent demand falling and left the startup severely short on cash, Bloomberg reported.
The startup, whose backers include SoftBank's $100bn Vision Fund, has been one of the two front runners in the peer-to-peer car-sharing industry, where people can rent out their private vehicles online for hours or days.
J. Crew suspends Madewell IPO.
J. Crew Group is suspending the IPO of its Madewell brand after it failed to reach a deal with creditors, Bloomberg reported.
Negotiators couldn't agree on terms, and J. Crew is no longer considering taking its most profitable brand public soon. J. Crew could reverse the decision and offer a revised proposal if market conditions improve.
EU antitrust regulators are focusing on the impact of Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica's $7.7bn bid for Dutch opticians group GrandVision in Italy and Britain, Reuters reported.
The European Commission is concerned that the deal could push up prices or reduce choice for consumers. In a questionnaire sent to independent opticians, the EU watchdog wanted to know how they compete with EssilorLuxottica and GrandVision in Italy and Britain in terms of competitive prices, portfolio of eyewear, location and their positioning in terms of price and quality.
GrandVision is advised by ING Bank, Bredin Prat, and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. EssilorLuxottica is advised by BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, BonelliErede, Latham & Watkins, Stibbe, Sullivan & Cromwell, Hogan Lovells, Brunswick Group, and Community Group. HAL Holding is advised by NautaDutilh. Debt financing is provided by Credit Agricole and HSBC.
The $18.7bn sale of Thyssenkrupp’s prized elevator unit to a consortium led by Advent and Cinven is not under threat from the coronavirus crisis, the conglomerate’s CEO said in an internal staff letter, Reuters reported.
"To be absolutely clear: the transaction is not in doubt. The buyers do not have the right to withdraw. The financing of the transaction stands on the buyers’ side and is secured contractually by the participating equity providers and lenders," Martina Merz, Thyssenkrupp CEO.
Advent International, Cinven, and RAG-Stiftung are advised by Ernst & Young, Rothschild & Co, UBS, Kirkland & Ellis, NautaDutilh, and Hering Schuppener. Alfried Krupp is advised by Mutter & Kruchen. Thyssenkrupp is advised by Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Nomura, and Linklaters.
Ardian completed the acquisition of Audiotonix, a UK-based manufacturer and distributor of audio consoles, from Astorg Partners for $1.1bn.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to partner with Ardian to enable further growth, and it represents a significant step in the future development of Audiotonix. Ardian’s financial support and advice, combined with Astorg’s, who are also remaining as an investor for this next phase, will help expand our brands and product portfolio even further,” James Gordon, Audiotonix CEO.
Audiotonix was advised by Macfarlanes. Ardian was advised by KPMG, McKinsey & Company, and Allen & Overy. Astorg was advised by Latham & Watkins.
Italy's banking group Intesa Sanpaolo said it was ready to accept a lower price in a deal with BPER Banca to address possible antitrust issues in a proposed takeover of rival UBI Banca, Reuters reported.
In a surprise all-share bid for UBI, Intesa last month offered 1.7 new shares for each UBI share tendered. At the time, Intesa’s bid valued UBI at $5.3bn, a figure which has now shrunk to $3bn compared with UBI’s current market value of $2.7bn.
Intesa Sanpaolo is advised by Pedersoli Studio Legale.
Global Resale, a global provider of aftermarket services and reverse logistics, completed the acquisition of CFA Trading, a technology refurbishing company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to partner with CFA to expand our refurbishment capabilities globally and increase our processing capacity. Our team has worked with CFA co-owners Leon Lindblad and Jo Seager for more than 15 years and know first-hand they live up to their motto of 'Innovative Refurbishment' by focusing on the quality of their systems for repairing and upgrading equipment, and thinking of every important detail when serving customers," Jeff Zeigler, Global Resale CEO.
Casino to sell Leader Price assets to Aldi.
Debt-laden French retailer Groupe Casino agreed to sell 567 Leader Price stores in France, plus three warehouses, to German discount rival ALDI in a deal with an enterprise value of $792m, Reuters reported.
The sale of discount chain Leader Price marks the latest in a series of disposals by Groupe Casino as part of plans to cut debt and improve its financial position, and its shares were up nearly 3%.
Groupe Casino has struggled in the competitive domestic French market, where a price war among supermarkets has dented retailers’ profit margins.
London's $500m Nova property sale collapses in virus havoc. (FS, RE)
The CPP Investments' planned sale of its 50% stake in the $1.05bn Nova development in London's Victoria district collapsed as coronavirus roils global real estate markets. Singapore-based ARA Asset Management, which was lined up to purchase the pension fund's half of Nova, will no longer carry out the deal, Bloomberg reported.
Nova is a complex of offices, restaurants and stores in London's Victoria district that CPP Investments owns in a venture with Land Securities Group. Coronavirus has hit markets from equities to leveraged loans, and the property is no exception.
Almaviva-led consortium is interested in Alitalia.
Almaviva, an Italian information and communications technology group, along with a group of other IT service companies, expressed interest in struggling airline Alitalia, Reuters reported.
The loss-making carrier has been run by state-appointed administrators since May 2017 and is looking for new investors to buy it and restructure the business.
The consortium expressed interest for the whole airline, an Almaviva spokeswoman said, adding that the group of investors would now analyze the airline's data to prepare an offer.
Newlat in talks to acquire Centrale del Latte d'Italia.
Newlat, an Italian food group, entered discussions to acquire a majority stake in dairy group Centrale del Latte d'Italia, as the coronavirus outbreak was boosting its food sales, Reuters reported.
Newlat, which produces pasta, bakery products and baby food, stated that the acquisition of Centrale del Latte d'Italia would boost its revenue to $533m.
"The strategic rational is combining the two companies' production capacity to become one of the leaders for dairy production in Italy," Giuseppe Mastrolia, Newlat Chief Executive.
Octopus Renewables completed the acquisition of UK solar PV assets.
Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust completed the acquisition of a 100% stake in a portfolio of solar PV assets located throughout the UK for £144m ($177m) in cash. The portfolio consists of 8 fully operational solar PV assets, with a capacity of 123MW, that qualify under the Renewable Obligation Certificate regime.
"I am delighted to announce the acquisition of this portfolio of ROC subsidised UK solar farms. This investment marks a significant step towards building a diversified portfolio of renewable energy assets aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change. This particular investment is expected to produce enough electricity each year to service the equivalent of 38k UK homes," Phil Austin, Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust Chairman.
GRID to purchase a 50MW battery project.
Gresham House Energy Storage Fund, a fund that invests in utility-scale energy storage systems, conditionally agreed to acquire a 50MW battery project located near Thurcroft, to the east of Rotherham. The project will be GRID's largest project to date, and part of the exclusivity pipeline identified in the company's October 2018 IPO prospectus.
The project is a battery-only site with a 50MW export/import capacity, and commissioning is expected in Q2 2020. The project is expected to generate revenues primarily from asset optimisation.
Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group said that it's $1.6bn tender offer for real estate and hotel group Unizo Holdings ended in failure.
Applications to sell Unizo shares to Fortress fell short of the minimum requirement during the tender offer period that ended on March 18. The firm said it will suspend attempts to acquire Unizo, but added that it will continue discussions with the hotel operator on cooperation in the hotel business, Nippon reported.
Unizo is advised by 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 Ernst & Young.
Golden Lincoln Holdings, an entity formed by Li & Fung’s controlling shareholders and Singaporean warehousing and logistics firm GLP, is set to acquire Li & Fung, a logistics group, for $931m.
Golden Lincoln is ultimately controlled by the Fung family holding 60% of voting shares, with GLP holding the remaining 40% of voting shares and 100% of non-voting shares. GLP has effective economic ownership of 67.67% of the buyer as a result.
Li & Fung is advised by Citigroup and Davis Polk & Wardwell. Golden Lincoln is advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Kirkland & Ellis. Morgan Stanley is advised by Slaughter & May.
Private equity-backed IndInfravit Trust, an infrastructure development trust, completed the acquisition of nine operational road assets from Sadbhav Infrastructure Project, an infrastructure development firm, for $890m.
“InvIT, as a structure has facilitated a new investor class with a keen interest to allocate large capital towards infrastructure landscape. InvITs, backed by marquee overseas investors, create the necessary ecosystem to support the government’s ambitious plan to develop high-quality infrastructure in the country," J Subramanian, L&T IDPL CEO.
IndInfravit was advised by Ambit. SIPL was advised by Morgan Stanley.
Tencent-backed Yuanfudao to close its fundraising at $7.5bn valuation. (FS)
Tencent-backed Yuanfudao, a Chinese online education platform, is not far from closing a financing round that would value it at c. $7.5bn.
Yuanfudao's focus on online learning puts it in one of the few sectors that have seen a surge in investor interest as the coronavirus and school closures force students in China to attend classes via the internet.
The financing round is led by Tencent and Hillhouse Capital Management.
SoftBank to raise $10bn to support Vision Fund companies. (FS)
SoftBank Group is seeking to raise an additional $10bn, so its Vision Fund can support portfolio companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic. SoftBank Group is in discussions with outside investors to provide $5bn, which will be matched by a $5bn contribution from the Japanese conglomerate.
Nevertheless, SoftBank Group may have some difficulties securing the needed commitments from investors, in part due to Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds being rocked by the steep decline in the price of oil.
Thai Life Insurance explores bank pitches for $700m IPO plan.
Thai Life Insurance requested pitches from banks for an IPO that could raise up to $700m on the stock exchange of Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy, Bloomberg reported.
Thailand's third-largest life insurer by assets met last month with potential advisers on the intended share sale. While the company is targeting a listing before the end of this year, it hasn't picked any advisers as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus could lead to possible delays. Weak market sentiment and a dimmer economic outlook could also weigh on the plan.
KKR's Lucian Schoenefelder moves to Asia Pacific role. (People, FS)
KKR appointed Lucian Schoenefelder as head of technology in the Asia Pacific, as the firm expands its presence in the region, PE News reported.
Schoenefelder has been part of the European technology, media and telecommunications team at KKR, focusing on growth equity and tech private equity investments in Europe and Israel.
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