Kroger, a retail company, received a request for additional information from the US Federal Trade Commission as part of the regulatory review process for its planned $25bn merger with Albertsons, a grocery company.
The deal, announced in mid-October, has drawn fire from lawmakers and consumer groups amid concerns the tie-up of the No. 1 and 2 standalone grocers in the United States could boost already-high food prices and stifle competition, Reuters reported.
The request from FTC extends the required waiting period until 30 days after the companies have "substantially complied" with the requests. The company added it still expects to complete the deal in early 2024.
DigitalBridge, a global digital infrastructure investment firm, and IFM Investors, a provider of investment services, completed the acquisition of Switch, a company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, that develops and operates the SUPERNAP data center facilities and provides colocation, telecommunications, cloud services, and content ecosystems, for $11bn.
"Today's announcement is an important step towards our long-term vision for the growth and evolution of our company. Through this partnership we will be ideally positioned to continue to meet strong customer demand for Switch's environmentally sustainable Tier 5 data center infrastructure," Rob Roy, Switch Founder and CEO.
EU antitrust regulators proposed measures for Illumina, a US-based life sciences company, to unwind its acquisition of biotech firm Grail three months after blocking the deal on concerns that it would hurt competition.
Illumina completed the takeover of Grail on August 18, 2021, without securing European Union regulatory approval. The European Commission said in a September veto decision that the company failed to offer adequate remedies to ease its worries and opened a separate case to force Illumina to unravel the deal, Reuters reported.
The EU competition enforcer said it had sent a statement of objections to Illumina and Grail, setting out proposed measures they would have to take to restore competition in the market. The companies can ask for a closed-door hearing and also submit a written response before the EU antitrust watchdog issues a final decision in early 2023.
X-energy, a developer of commercial nuclear energy reactors, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Ares Acquisition in a $2bn deal. Ares Management, Ontario Power Generation, Segra Capital Management, Dow and Curtiss-Wright participate in the deal.
"WCraig-Hallum Capital Groupe see a significant addressable market opportunity given the rapidly growing demand to accelerate the decarbonization of power and provide greater energy security. We have assembled a world-class team that shares a deep passion for our work, and we believe X-energy's technology is distinctly positioned to support the delivery of nuclear energy at scale to meet the needs of customers, consumers, and businesses globally. The commitments from Ares and our commercial partners reflect their confidence in our business and our team. I appreciate their continued collaboration to help us achieve our objectives," J. Clay Sell, X-energy CEO.
X-energy is advised by Guggenheim Partners and Latham & Watkins. Ares Acquisition is advised by Citigroup, Moelis & Co, Ocean Tomo, UBS and Kirkland & Ellis. Financial advisors are advised by Ropes & Gray.
GHO Capital, a healthcare investment firm, agreed to invest in Sapio Sciences, a lab informatics platform company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As lab workflows become increasingly complex and the volume of data increases, the management, and interrogation of that data becomes even more vital. Over the last eighteen years, Sapio has built a uniquely flexible, scalable, unified, and easy-to-use informatics platform developed specifically to address the deficiencies of current processes. We are proud to have GHO partner with us to support our next transformational steps as a company," Kevin Cramer, Sapio Chief Scientist and CEO.
GHO Capital is advised by Alvarez & Marsal, CRS Insurance, Deloitte, AGC Partners, Ropes & Gray (led by Timothy Castelli) and Crosslake Technologies. Sapio Sciences is advised by EC M&A and Day Pitney.
NRG Energy, an American energy company, agreed to acquire Vivint Smart Home, a smart home platform company, for $5.2bn.
“Last year at our Investor Day, we presented our strategic roadmap to becoming the leading provider of essential services for homes and businesses, informed by consumer trends and underpinned by disciplined execution. The acquisition of Vivint is a transformational step in achieving our vision. Customers want simple, connected, and customized experiences that provide peace of mind. Vivint’s smart home technology strengthens our retail platform, improves our customer experience, and increases customer lifetime value. I am excited to welcome Vivint to the NRG family,” Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG President and CEO.
Vivint Smart Home is advised by JP Morgan, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Joele Frank (led by Ed Trisseland Joseph Sala). NRG Energy is advised by Goldman Sachs and White & Case. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs.
Infrared Cameras, a provider of intelligent thermal imaging platforms, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with SportsMap Tech Acquisition in a $100m deal.
"We believe ICI is poised for strong growth. The company has a strong value proposition, detecting the overheating of equipment in industrial settings. ICI also has assembled a strong management team to execute on the opportunity. We are delighted to combine our SPAC with ICI," David Gow, SportsMap CEO.
Infrared Cameras is advised by Latham & Watkins. SportsMap Tech Acquisition is advised by Craig-Hallum Capital Group, ROTH Capital Partners and ArentFox Schiff.
Aurora Capital Partners-backed Grace Hill, an innovator of talent and customer management solutions for commercial and multi-family real estate, completed the acquisition of Edge2Learn and Ellis Partners in Management Solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Edge2Learn and Ellis share our commitment to developing best-in-class training, mystery shopping and management solutions to help leading real estate operators and owners increase property performance, reduce operating risk and grow and develop employees. By bringing our resources together, we will create a clear leader in the industry, enabling us to further deliver on our mission to improve employee performance and development while delivering important insights to owners and operators. I look forward to working with Joanna, Francis and the rest of the Edge2Learn and Ellis teams to continue advancing the innovative tools we offer the multi-family and commercial real estate industries," Kendall Pretzer, Grace Hill CEO.
Grace Hill was advised by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Massumi + Consoli and LinnellTaylor Marketing (led by Darcey Leach). Aurora Capital Partners was advised by ASC Advisors (led by Taylor Ingraham and Harriet Hartman).
Tigo Energy, a provider of intelligent solar and energy storage solutions, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Roth CH Acquisition IV in a $600m deal.
Tigo combines its Flex MLPE and solar optimizer technology with its cloud-based Energy Intelligence platform for advanced energy monitoring and control for the commercial, industrial, and utility solar market segments. For the residential solar and solar-plus-storage market segments, Tigo develops and manufactures MLPE devices, inverters, battery storage systems, and related energy management hardware under the EI residential brand.
Tigo Energy is advised by White & Case. Roth CH Acquisition IV is advised by DLA Piper and Loeb & Loeb.
Investcorp, a global alternative investment firm, agreed to acquire a majority stake in CrossCountry Consulting, a business advisory firm, with participation from Public Sector Pension Investment Board. RLH Equity Partners will continue as an investor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to partner with the CrossCountry team who have driven strong organic growth and profitability since inception. CrossCountry's relentless focus on exceptional client service has enabled this sustained track record of growth. There are several macro themes driving continued opportunity in accounting advisory, including the rise of outsourcing and the evolving role of the finance function to involve technology as businesses digitize their operations. We believe that our long history of working with professional services companies, and the potential synergies across our current portfolio in this space, will help CrossCountry achieve its next phase of growth," Dave Tayeh, Investcorp Head of Private Equity – North America.
Investcorp and PSPIB are advised by Houlihan Lokey. RLH Equity Partners is advised by Clearsight Advisors. CrossCountry Consulting is advised by Guggenheim Partners.
Medical Mutual of Ohio, an American mutual health insurance company, completed the acquisition of Reserve National, a provider of accident and health insurance, from Kemper, an American insurance provider, for $90m.
"This transaction aligns with Kemper's strategic intent and is a great fit for Medical Mutual of Ohio. It will allow Kemper to increase our focus and invest additional resources in the P&C and life insurance businesses that are providing sustainable, competitive advantages to better deliver value to all our stakeholders. Kemper expects to record a gain upon completion of the transaction," Joseph P. Lacher, Jr., Kemper President, CEO and Chairman.
Medical Mutual of Ohio was advised by Sherman & Company. Kemper was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (led by Patrick Lewis).
Air Pros USA, a committed AC installer, repair & preventive maintenance company, completed the acquisition of ECM Air Conditioning, an air conditioning, plumbing and electric company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I started ECM Air Conditioning with the focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty. In joining Air Pros USA, our team can continue building upon the quality service, high standards, and values that we started with in 1985," Jose Ramirez, ECM Air Conditioning President and CEO.
Magnetar Capital, a multi-strategy alternative investment manager, completed the $100m investment in CoreWeave, a specialized cloud provider.
“CoreWeave is a strong partner with demonstrated best-in-class infrastructure to facilitate complex, high-end computing and navigate the intricate AI ecosystem. As AI becomes increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, we believe CoreWeave is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the AI trend by allowing companies to develop meaningful AI products via access to its robust computing framework, including the new NVIDIA GPUs. Magnetar is proud to support CoreWeave as it continues to gain market share from legacy cloud providers and compete at a larger scale," Ernie Rogers, Magnetar COO and CFO.
Qualcomm Ventures, Qualcomm's venture arm, led a $100m Series C funding round in Frore Systems, an operator of an engineering company intended to offer flexible microelectromechanical systems, with participation from Mayfield, Addition and Clear Ventures.
"The pandemic has increased the value proposition for AirJet. The world has become increasingly mobile and reliant on devices to stay connected in both the workplace and at home. We do not anticipate the broader slowdown in tech will adversely impact Frore. Even if demand for consumer devices slows, in a market where manufacturers are fiercely competing for the consumer spending and market share, the ability to differentiate their devices by offering superior processor performance will ensure demand for the AirJet product. This is being reflected in customer interest in and demand for AirJet," Seshagiri Madhavapeddy, Frore Systems Co-Founder and CEO.
Square Peg, a venture capital fund, and Wellington Management, an investment management company, led a funding round in Rokt, a provider of marketing services intended to transform the customer buying experience by bringing marketing to e-commerce, at $2.4bn valuation.
"Despite broader market declines in valuations, we continue to see rapid growth in Rokt, driven by new e-commerce partners and an uplift from advertisers. This has further propelled Rokt's growth and we're pleased to see this expression of support from existing investors as Rokt looks towards an IPO," Bruce Buchanan, Rokt CEO.
Avellino Lab USA, an operator of a biotech company intended to leverage genetic data, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Senior Connect Acquisition I. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The primary driver of its business is the aggregation, curation, and deep analysis of vast amounts of genetic data to provide solutions for the early detection of disease states in ophthalmology, oncology, and infectious disease. Avellino's business has a strong track record of diagnosing genetic conditions, initially focused on corneal dystrophies and other inherited diseases in ophthalmology.
Specialty Program Group, a fully licensed holding company, established to acquire and scale best-in-class insurance underwriting facilities and specialty businesses, completed the acquisition of Business Underwriters Associates, a brokerage general agent and wholesaler specializing in life, annuities, disability income, and health insurance. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I've known Jason and his team for many years and have watched BSMG innovate and grow. We're excited to join the SPG family and this outstanding team. Together, we can leverage our collective expertise and services to deliver best-in-class solutions to the marketplace. Becoming part of the broader SPG business presents a tremendous opportunity," Jack Wright, BUA CEO.
Blue chips front the money for buyers of their unwanted assets. (FS)
Blue chip companies are fronting the money for private equity funds to buy their unwanted assets, smoothing the way for sales in an increasingly difficult dealmaking environment.
Emerson Electric, an engineering services provider, kicked off the trend in October, loaning money for Blackstone’s takeover of its $14bn climate technologies unit. Last month, major Swedish landlord SBB offered cheap financing to a newly-formed joint venture with Brookfield Asset Management that will absorb its roughly $4bn education portfolio.
Goldman Sachs is on hunt for bargain crypto firms after FTX fiasco.
Goldman Sachs plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to buy or invest in crypto companies after the collapse of the FTX exchange hit valuations and dampened investor interest, Reuters reported.
FTX's implosion has heightened the need for more trustworthy, regulated cryptocurrency players, and big banks see an opportunity to pick up business, said Mathew McDermott, Goldman's head of digital assets.
Brookfield demands more details from AEL about Josh Harris deal. (FS)
Brookfield Asset Management cranked up the pressure in its dispute with American Equity Investment Life, calling for the firm to publicly release details about its partnership with Josh Harris’s 26North Partners.
Brookfield also demanded to know whether American Equity considered a sale before releasing its own financial targets earlier this year, Bloomberg reported.
MassPRIM allocates an additional $785m to private equity. (FS)
The Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Management Board has approved an additional allocation of up to $785m to new private equity and real estate debt investments.
The new commitments include up to $150m to Lovell Minnick Partners; up to €150m ($156m) to Waterland Private Equity. In addition, WestView Capital Partners is set to receive up to $125m, while €100m ($104m) has been allocated to Altor Equity Partners.
KKR & Co agreed to acquire Clinisupplies, a manufacturer of medical supplies and nursing services, from Healthium, a manufacturer of medical devices and consumable products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to form this strategic partnership with KKR and to be welcoming Claus and Douglas to our Board. This transaction presents a pivotal growth opportunity for the business, and to be able to leverage their collective skills and expertise will be invaluable as we position the business for the future. With KKR's global network and market knowledge, and with this strong suite of industry advisors, we will be able to expand into new products and geographies, helping to support more and more people and bringing us one step closer to our goal of becoming an international leader in the chronic care market," Paul Cook, Clinisupplies CEO.
KKR & Co is advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston Consulting Group, Houlihan Lokey, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and FGS Global (led by Alastair Elwen).
Suez, a French-based utility company, completed the acquisition of Suez's UK waste business from Veolia, a provider of solutions for ecological transformation, for £2bn ($2.4bn).
"The progress of the merger with Suez, which began last January, continues to demonstrate the relevance and value-creation capacity of our project to create the global champion of ecological transformation in the context of a strong climate and ecological emergency. The cash proceeds from the antitrust divestments will allow us to reduce the debt leverage and will provide Veolia with additional capacity to finance growth in high-value-added markets. We are satisfied that this disposal addresses the main concerns of the UK competition authority. The UK will remain an important region for Veolia where we will continue to implement sustainable and competitive ecological transformation solutions as a leading player in the local waste management market with revenues of €2bn ($2bn)," Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia CEO.
Intertoll, an independent infrastructure developer, operator & maintenance provider, agreed to acquire Bombela Concession Company, a firm engaged in the design, construction, commissioning, partial financing, operation, and maintenance of the Gautrain Rapid Rail system, from Murray & Roberts, an investment holding company, for $80m.
The proceeds from the transaction will be utilised to reduce debt in South Africa and will assist the croup in addressing its working capital needs. The group's investment in BCC is not strategic, and the concession is also set to terminate in 2026.
Murray & Roberts is advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Barclays, Standard Bank of South Africa and Webber Wentzel.
A $121m merger of Cochlear, an implantable hearing solutions provider, and Oticon Medical, a medical company, could lead to higher prices for the NHS and reduced quality and slower innovation for UK patients who rely on these life-changing devices.
The Competition and Markets Authority is concerned that Cochlear's proposed purchase of Oticon Medical from Demant would negatively impact patients who need hearing implants, most of whom access these through the NHS.
Following its Phase 1 investigation, the CMA found that the proposed deal would result in the merged businesses having a 90-100% share of the bone conduction solutions market in the UK. Should the deal go ahead as planned, the CMA is concerned that this would eliminate the strongest competitor in this segment, Oticon Medical, which could lead to reduced innovation, higher prices, or fewer choices for hospitals and their patients.
Oticon Medical is advised by Plesner. Cochlear is advised by Accura Advokatpartnerselskab (led by Thomas Weincke).
John Lewis Partnership, an employee-owned business and parent company of two cherished retail brands, and abrdn, a global investment company, agreed to form a £500m joint venture to build residential rental homes.
"Our partnership with abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities. Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities. The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters," Nina Bhatia, John Lewis Partnership Executive Director for Strategy and Commercial Development.
Moneyfarm, an online investment advisor, agreed to acquire Profile Pensions, a UK-based digital pension adviser and pensions consolidator, from Smedvig Capital, a venture capital firm. The deal was financed by Moneyfarm's current shareholders, namely M&G, Poste Italiane, Cabot Square Capital, United Ventures, and Fondazione di Sardegna. Financial terms were not disclosed.
As a result of the transaction, Moneyfarm will grow into a larger and broader player, with a significant depth of proposition in digital wealth management across the UK and Italy. Combining Moneyfarm and Profile Pensions solutions will create an even stronger fintech business for customers.
Saint-Gobain nears sale of Jewson to CVC. (FS)
Saint-Gobain, a mirror manufacturer, is nearing a deal to sell UK building supplies merchant Jewson to buyout firm CVC Capital Partners, Bloomberg reported.
CVC’s building materials business, Stark Group, is trying to hammer out final terms of an agreement with St. Gobain.
Abu Dhabi consortium taps Rothschild and StanChart for GEMS bid. (FS)
An Abu Dhabi-linked consortium has tapped Rothschild & Co and Standard Chartered as advisers on a takeover bid for Dubai-based GEMS Education, one of the world’s largest private school operators, Bloomberg reported.
Sovereign wealth fund ADQ and real estate developer Aldar Properties, which has an education subsidiary, are among the investors exploring a joint bid for CVC Capital Partners-backed GEMS. Another Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, Mubadala Investment, is a major shareholder of Aldar.
Russian central bank's sale of Otkritie to VTB to go through this year.
The Russian central bank's deal to sell bailed-out lender Otkritie to state bank VTB should be finalised by the end of the year, said Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, Reuters reported.
Russian lawmakers have been considering draft legislation that would give the banks and the regulator until the end of 2023 to complete the deal without needing to hold a competitive tender or seek approval from Russia's competition authorities.
Indonesia signs agreement with Denmark for potential investments up to $500m.(FS)
The Indonesia Investment Authority, the country's sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement with the Investment Fund for Developing Countries of the Kingdom of Denmark for potential joint investments of up to $500m.
The framework agreement will explore investment opportunities in green energy transition and inclusive social development in Indonesia. INA and IFU aim to provide capital to green and sustainable projects in the range of $100m, respectively.
SKF explores the sale of the aerospace business after Cevian push. (FS)
SKF, a bearing and seal manufacturing company, is exploring a sale of its aerospace operations, as the Swedish industrial group trims peripheral businesses after activist Cevian Capital pushed for change, Bloomberg reported.
The company is considering a disposal of its business making specialty components for the aerospace industry like bearings and sealings.
ICG establishes local specialist team to invest in Asia-Pacific Infrastructure. (FS)
ICG, the global alternative asset manager, has appointed a team to invest in Asia-Pacific infrastructure equity, focusing on mid-market transactions, corporate-led deals, and scaling platforms. The appointment of this team underpins the firm’s commitment to growing its investments in sustainable infrastructure globally.
"ICG is committed to investing in sustainable infrastructure, and we are delighted to have hired a team with an outstanding track record and unparalleled expertise in the Asia-Pacific region," Benoît Durteste, ICG CIO and CEO.
One Peak closes third fund at $1bn hard cap. (FS)
One Peak, a leading investor for growth stage B2B software companies in Europe and Israel, announced the closing of One Peak Growth III at its hard cap of $1bn. The fund was significantly oversubscribed, demonstrating strong LP demand.
Building on the success of One Peak’s first two funds, the closing of One Peak Growth III brings the firm’s total assets under management to $2bn. The size of the new fund makes One Peak, founded by David Klein and Humbert de Liedekerke Beaufort, the largest fund in Europe dedicated to backing fast growing B2B software companies in the $15m-$100m investment range.
Tourism Holdings, a large New Zealand tourism company, completed the merger with Apollo Tourism & Leisure, an Australian tourism leisure company, in a $98m deal.
"The two businesses have similar operations and like-minded cultures, and we both strongly believe in the potential of the global RV market. The proposed merger would give us a better platform to meet the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, continue to offer our guests the best combination of products, services, and prices possible, and better leverage the re-opening of global travel," Luke Trouchet, Apollo Managing Director.
Tourism Holdings was advised by KPMG, Jarden, Baker McKenzie, MinterEllison (led by Mark Stuart) and Deloitte. Apollo Tourism & Leisure was advised by Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, Morgans Corporate, Hamilton Locke (led by Benny Sham), Jones Day (led by Prudence Smith) and Deloitte.
The Flexi Group, a flexible workspace operator in Asia, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Tsangs Group-backed TG Venture Acquisition in a $205m deal.
The Flexi Group takes an asset-light approach to its real estate ventures, partnering with landlords on joint ventures instead of leasing office space and taking on potentially significant financial obligations under rental agreements. By partnering with The Flexi Group, landlords can offer increased flexibility to tenants, as well as improve greater building engagement by offering them access to events, agile work solutions and bookable meeting and event spaces.
The Flexi Group is advised by ARC Group, Conyers Dill & Pearman, Lucosky Brookman and Companion Communications (led by Dominique Backhouse). TG Venture Acquisition is advised by Marshall & Stevens Transaction Advisory Services, TriPoint Capital Management, DLA Piper and Ogier.
Temasek, an investment company, led a $135m Series H funding round in HealthKart, an operator of an online platform intended to provide authentic health and nutritional supplements, with participation from Sequoia India, Sofina, IIFL, A91 Partners and Kae Capital.
"Driving fitness and preventive health by addressing the nutritional gaps is a systemic trend which is taking off in a big way in India. With HealthKart's R&D capabilities and omnichannel distribution infrastructure, we are excited to lead the way," Sameer Maheshwari, HealthKart Founder and CEO.
Jollibee in talks to sell a stake in Highlands Coffee.
Jollibee Foods, the biggest fast-food operator in the Philippines, is in advanced discussions to sell a minority stake in its Vietnamese coffee chain Highlands Coffee, Reuters reported.
Jollibee, controlled by Philippine billionaire Tony Tan Caktiong, is considering a sale that could value the fast growing coffee chain at roughly $800m. The group is looking to sell 10% to 15% of its stake in Highlands Coffee to an investor.
Blackstone sees Australian firms warming to private equity. (FS)
Bloomberg reported that Australian corporate boards are becoming more receptive to engaging with buyout firms than they have been at any time in the prior decade, according to Blackstone’s head of private equity in the region.
Public company boards’ “views on private equity are beginning to change,” overturning a long history Down Under of skepticism of the industry, Michael Blickstead, said head of Australia & New Zealand private equity for Blackstone.
Geely-backed Cao Cao said to pick banks for Hong Kong IPO.
Cao Cao Mobility, a Chinese ride-hailing firm backed by Zhejiang Geely, has picked banks for its planned Hong Kong initial public offering, Bloomberg reported.
The company is working with ABC International, Bank of America and Huatai International on the first-time share sale. The IPO could happen as soon as next year and could raise a few hundred million dollars.
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