Tiffany persuaded lenders to grant more financial flexibility, a crucial step toward keeping the $16.2bn sale to LVMH on course after the coronavirus and US social unrest clouded the jeweller's prospects, Bloomberg reported.
Greater flexibility, including temporarily raising the limit on the company's debt-to-earnings ratio, could help ensure that the deal comes to fruition because any breach of covenants might have given the French luxury giant a loophole to alter or back away from the purchase.
"Lenders agreed to amend the global revolving credit facility as a precautionary measure," Tiffany.
Tiffany is advised by Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs, Sullivan & Cromwell and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Financial advisors to Tiffany are advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges. LVMH is advised by Citigroup, JP Morgan, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, White & Case, Brunswick Group, DGM Conseil, Deluxewords, Kekst CNC, Montfort Communications, Publicis Consultants, and SEC and Partners.
Simon Property Group, a real estate investment trust, terminated the $3.6bn acquisition of an 80% stake in Taubman Realty Group, a REIT engaged in the ownership, management and leasing of 26 regional, super-regional and outlet shopping centers in the US and Asia.
"Taubman's significant proportion of enclosed retail properties located in densely populated major metropolitan areas, dependence on both domestic and international tourism at many of its properties, and its focus on high-end shopping have combined to impact Taubman's business disproportionately due to the Covid-19 pandemic when compared to the rest of the retail real estate industry," Simon Property Group.
State Grid International Development, a power utility corporation, and Sempra Energy, an energy infrastructure company, jointly announced that both companies remain firmly committed to completing the acquisition of Sempra Energy's equity interests in its Chilean businesses, including its 100% stake in Chilquinta Energia and are targeting June 24 as the closing date.
The sale of Sempra Energy's Chilean businesses is subject to various conditions to closing, including confirmation on the last remaining filing with the NDRC. The completion of the Chilean transactions will conclude Sempra Energy's planned sale of its South American businesses.
"As we move to close the transaction, our primary focus continues to be on the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities. We have received all the necessary approvals for the sale of our Chilean investments from the required governmental agencies in Chile and we plan to proceed with the closing with a target date of June 24," Dennis V. Arriola, Sempra Energy Executive Vice President and Group President.
SGID is advised by Deloitte, Citigroup, Baker McKenzie and Tian Yuan Law Firm. Sempra Energy is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Lazard and White & Case. Lazard is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell.
Arizona Bank & Trust, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Heartland, a full-service commercial bank with assets of more than $866m, agreed to acquire Johnson Bank's Arizona operations from Johnson Financial Group, a privately owned financial services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Johnson Bank's four office locations will be a natural fit with the geographic footprint and culture of Arizona Bank & Trust, and we look forward to growing our relationships in the Phoenix market. We extend a warm welcome to Johnson Bank's Arizona customers and employees to our organization. The leadership teams of the two institutions will be integrally working together to preserve our commitment to a quality customer experience," Bruce Lee, Heartland President and CEO.
Arizona Bank & Trust is advised by Panoramic Capital Advisors and Dorsey & Whitney. Johnson Financial is advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.
ICONIQ Capital, a privately-held financial advisory and investment firm, completed the investment in QGenda, a provider of SaaS-based workforce management software to the healthcare industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We have long admired QGenda’s achievements and believe that the company can truly build on its leadership in the healthcare workforce management category, becoming a generational player not only in scheduling but in healthcare tech more broadly. I'm looking forward to joining the board and working with Greg, the QGenda team, and Francisco Partners to help extend the company’s tremendous success,” Will Griffith, ICONIQ Capital Partner.
QGenda was advised by Evercore, Raymond James and Kirkland & Ellis. ICONIQ was advised by Goodwin Procter.
KKR completed the acquisition of OverDrive, a digital reading platform for libraries and schools, from Rakuten, a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the sale completed, we are excited to begin working on the opportunities to grow our digital content platform with KKR's support. We are pleased to have an investor with global resources that knows our industry, believes in our mission and is committed to helping us and our library and school partners succeed," Steve Potash, OverDrive founder and CEO.
KKR was advised by Goldman Sachs, LionTree Advisors and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Whale Rock Capital, an investment company, and Kayne Anderson Rudnick, an investment adviser, completed an investment in Duck Creek Technologies, a provider of SaaS-delivered enterprise software to the property & casualty insurance industry. The company raised $230m from new and existing investors ahead of a planned IPO.
“The partnership of these new investors with Duck Creek speaks to the momentum we have achieved as the SaaS leader in P&C core systems and the opportunities we see ahead. Our Platform’s performance, particularly during these recent months, has shown the industry that SaaS can deliver new levels of value. We see growing opportunity for Duck Creek as more insurers accelerate their adoption of SaaS solutions for their core systems,” Michael Jackowski, Duck Creek Chief Executive Officer.
Duck Creek was advised by JP Morgan and Racepoint Global.
City of London Investment Group, an institutional asset manager, agreed to acquire Karpus Management, an investment management business, for $100m.
The addition of Karpus Management will reinforce CLIG's presence in the US. Karpus Management invests predominately in closed-end funds, which relates to CLIM's core market, is committed to active management, and has delivered strong investment performance for its clients. The directors believe that the merger will accelerate the long-term strategy of diversification, thereby further reducing earnings volatility.
Private equity firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and AXA Venture Partners led a $123m Series A round in NS8, a startup focusing on online fraud detection and prevention.
"Thanks to this investment from Lightspeed, AXA Venture Partners, and our full backing group, we can continue to scale to meet the growing demand for fraud prevention technology in the global marketplace. This partnership positions NS8 to empower even more businesses with enterprise-level fraud defenses, regardless of size or industry,” Adam Rogas, NS8 CEO.
CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, an independent registered investment advisor, completed the acquisition of Lakeside Wealth Management, a provider of retirement plan design, investment management, and participant education. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"During our diligence process, it occurred to us that because of our business mix, ensemble structure, and culture, we may have been looking for a unicorn. Then CAPTRUST came along. By aligning ourselves with CAPTRUST, we are confident that our clients will benefit greatly from the added resources of a national firm, and we are excited about continuing to grow as part of the CAPTRUST brand," Mark W. Chamberlain, Lakeside Chief Executive Officer.
Grubhub nears merger announcement with Just Eat Takeaway.
Grubhub, an American online and mobile prepared food ordering and delivery marketplace, is nearing a merger with Just Eat Takeaway as Uber pulls back on antitrust fears.
Uber and Grubhub have been negotiating a deal to combine but the talks have been bogged down over various issues including who would shoulder the bulk of the antitrust risk.
Morgan Stanley eyeing new deals. (FS)
Morgan Stanley expects to make acquisitions in the asset-management industry, according to James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO.
The asset-management industry faces pressure on fees from low-cost index funds, passive investing and other long-term challenges that have sparked a rush to consolidate. Recent tie-ups include Franklin Resources’ deal to buy Legg Mason. in February, and Invesco's acquisition of OppenheimerFunds, completed in May 2019. While small deals are likely, Gorman said he would be reluctant to take on a large-scale acquisition in the asset-management industry.
“We’ll do deals. I have been very clear about that. I am not shy about doing deals that hit our sweet spot,” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO.
K+S on track with disposal of American salt business.
German minerals miner K+S aims to complete the sale of its American salt business by the end of 2020, and has applied for an additional state-secured credit line to cut debts.
"K+S will only complete the sale and receive payment after 2021, but other measures it has been implementing to reduce debt should strengthen its balance sheet by more than $2.3bn by that time. After the Americas sale, K+S will focus on its core fertiliser business and speciality products. The Bethune potash mine in Canada, where it has overcome product quality issues," Burkhard Lohr, K+S CEO.
Pliant Therapeutics raises $166m in Nasdaq IPO.
Pliant Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, raised about $166m in gross proceeds via its IPO on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
The South San Francisco-based company sold a total of 10.3m common shares for $16 each, including 1.4m additional shares sold as underwriters fully exercised the overallotment option provided by the company.
Pliant was advised by Goodwin Procter. Citigroup, Cowen and Piper Sandler were joint book-running managers for the IPO while Needham & Co was lead manager.
Snowflake confidentially files for IPO. (FS)
Snowflake, a cloud data platform that was valued at $12.4bn in a February funding round, confidentially filed IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg reported. The San Mateo, California-based company is in talks with potential underwriters about a public listing that could come within months.
Snowflake raised $479m in February from backers including Dragoneer Investment Group and Salesforce Ventures, an arm of Salesforce.com. Other investors include Iconiq Capital, Sequoia, Altimeter Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures.
Balbec Capital raises $1.2bn for the fourth global credit fund. (FS)
Balbec Capital, a global alternative asset manager with expertise sourcing and investing in bankrupt and insolvent credit, announced the successful final close of InSolve Global Credit Fund IV, with total commitments of approximately $1.2bn, exceeding the 1bn target and making it Balbec’s largest fund to date. The fund received significant backing from current Balbec clients and welcomed a number of new global institutional investors.
“The strong support we have received for our fourth fund is a testament to investors’ confidence in Balbec’s experienced team, differentiated credit platform, and disciplined approach to investing in and managing complex assets. We look forward to continuing to leverage our deep expertise in global bankruptcy regimes and longstanding industry relationships to source attractive opportunities that we believe will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for our investors,” Warren Spector, Balbec Chairman.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System commits $1bn to Blackstone fund. (FS)
California’s biggest public pension system firmed up its relationship with Blackstone Group over the first quarter with a 10-figure commitment while also setting up two new $1bn separate accounts with other firms to boost its asset allocation to private equity and credit investments.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System committed $1bn to Blackstone Core Equity Partners II, a long-hold private equity fund that raised some $5bn in late March, according to Jon Gray, Blackstone President and COO.
South Carolina allocates up to $531m to private markets. (FS)
South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission committed up to $531m to five private equity funds and a private credit fund for the $28.2bn South Carolina Retirement Systems’ investment portfolio.
At its meeting the board disclosed a commitment of up to $113m to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII, a European buyout fund. It also committed up to $100m to Francisco Partners Fund VI and up to $50m to Francisco Partners Agility II, each buyout funds; up to $93m to Bridgepoint Development Capital IV, a European middle-market buyout fund managed by Bridgepoint Capital; and $75m to buyout fund Clayton Dubilier & Rice XI.
Wing Venture Capital raises $450m third fund. (FS)
Wing Venture Capital raised Wing Three, a $450m pool of capital dedicated to early stage investing and long-term company-building in enterprise technology. Like the firm's predecessor funds, Wing Three has the backing of the venture world's most sophisticated institutional investors.
Wing Three will be invested to help founders build businesses that enable the "Modern Enterprise," which is an agile workplace built on data and powered by AI. The firm invests early, leading Seed and Series A financings, and partners for the long term with its signature company-building skills and resources.
EU antitrust authorities raised competition concerns on the $7.8bn agreed purchase of GrandVision by Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica. Fresh concerns in Brussels coincided with renewed calls by rivals for the deal to be blocked.
The European Commission issued a "charge sheet" which details its concerns over a potential reduction in competition in the wholesale market for eyewear and lenses as well as in the retail supply of optical products arising from the deal.
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, Brunswick Group, and Community Group. HAL Holding is advised by NautaDutilh. Debt financing to EssilorLuxottica is provided by Credit Agricole and HSBC. Legal advice to the debt providers is provided by Hogan Lovells.
InfraRed-backed HICL Infrastructure, an infrastructure investment company, completed the acquisition of a remaining stake in Holdfast Training Services, a provider of training and training support services for military engineers, from Babcock International Group, a provider of critical, complex engineering services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"These investments align with HICL's strategy of investing in essential core infrastructure, with a strong social purpose, delivering long-term returns. The Walney OFTO is supporting the UK's transition to a low carbon future through the provision of green energy to over 600k UK homes, while the RSME PPP supports access to high quality education and training to approximately 7k service personnel annually for the Ministry of Defence. Both investments are accretive to the existing portfolio, particularly in relation to their forecast yield," Harry Seekings, InfraRed Co-Head of Infrastructure.
HICL was advised by Aztec Financial Services, Investec, RBC Capital Markets and Teneo.
The UK's merger regulator extended the deadline by two weeks to investigate Amazon.com’s minority investment in food delivery startup Deliveroo, saying it needed more time to consider the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the deal.
“In taking this decision, the (CMA) had regard to the need to take full account of representations received from the parties and third parties in response to the provisional findings and to reflect the impact of Coronavirus...in its assessment,” CMA.
Cellcom Israel, a communications group, announced Israeli Competition Commissioner approval for the acquisition of Golan Telecom, an Israeli mobile telecommunications provider, for $171m.
"The cellular market is one of the most competitive markets in Israel," Finance Ministry said, noting there are six players operating on three mobile networks and about 2m subscribers a year switch providers.
The authority also said that since Golan and Cellcom have been in a network sharing agreement since 2017, the merger would not reduce the number of networks in Israel, while prices would still remain competitive.
Cellcom is advised by GK Investor.
Ardian nears a deal for the acquisition of Telecom Italia's stake in tower firm INWIT. (FS)
A consortium led by French private equity firm Ardian is nearing a deal with Telecom Italia to buy part of the former phone monopoly's stake in mobile tower group INWIT, Reuters reported.
TIM, which owns 33.2% of INWIT, is set to transfer its stake in the mobile tower group to a holding company and sell just under 50% of that to an Ardian-led consortium.
The deal, which will see Canson Capital Partners investing alongside Ardian, could be announced as early as next week.
5-Star Movement locked in row over Milan Bourse acquisition plan.
The co-ruling 5-Star Movement is seeking to lure Italy's biggest financial institutions, including Intesa Sanpaolo, to launch a bid for all or part of the Milan Bourse and avert a possible break-up of the business triggered by theLSEG-Refinitiv deal, Reuters reported.
The 5-Star proposal, crafted with the help of Mediobanca, aims to form a consortium of Italian heavyweights that would back a possible bid by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti for Borsa Italiana or its bond-trading platform MTS.
El Al may be going back into state hands.
The coronavirus crisis may be pushing El Al Israel Airlines back into the hands of the state, less than two decades after the flag carrier was privatised. El Al’s union did not oppose state control and said the main issue was keeping the carrier flying, as airlines across the globe have grounded planes and sought government aid.
El Al and controlling shareholder Knafaim have been in bailout talks with the Finance Ministry, which offered to back $250m in bank loans but said El Al must issue $150m in shares. The state said it would buy the shares, giving it a majority, if no one else did.
Edgars owner looking for buyers for rescue.
Edcon Holdings’ administrators are fast-tracking a plan to sell all or parts of the business to keep South Africa’s second-largest clothing retailer in operation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Interested buyers will be invited to carry out due diligence with binding offers expected by the end of June. Salaries have continued to be paid through this month and remain a priority. Johannesburg-based Edcon has at least 18k workers, with suppliers employing thousands more.
The owner of the Edgars and Jet chains filed for administration last month after losing $119m in sales as a result of South Africa’s lockdown to contain the coronavirus.
Boris Johnson is looking to improve the UK rules on foreign investment.
Boris Johnson’s UK government is looking at how it can protect critical industries from foreign takeovers, as his party urges him to establish a new, more cautious, relationship with China.
The impact of coronavirus added to existing questions that Conservative members of Parliament were asking about Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei Technologies to supply equipment for the UK's 5G network.
Answering questions at the government’s daily virus press conference, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the forthcoming National Security and Investment Bill will address these concerns.
GAM no longer seeks a strategic investment. (FS)
Embattled Swiss asset manager GAM Holding is no longer actively looking for a buyer or major strategic investor, Chief Executive Peter Sanderson confirmed.
“We looked at these options, but at the moment we believe that the strategy we have presented is the best one to add value, We have received mostly positive feedback for this from the shareholders. The board of directors and I of course also have a duty to consider together with shareholders serious proposals that could create long-term added value,” Peter Sanderson, GAM CEO.
ABB intends to increase the role of portfolio management.
ABB, a Swiss engineering provider, will be increasingly looking at selling or buying businesses as part of the company's efforts to become more profitable.
"Portfolio management will play an even more important role going forward and we will not shy away from fixing, exiting or growing divisions. At the same time, no major acquisitions are planned by ABB in the mid-term," Bjorn Rosengren, ABB CEO.
Israel Aerospace Industries’ $1bn IPO gains momentum. (FS)
Israel’s Finance Ministry is discussing an initial public offering of a stake in one of the country’s largest companies, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, to help fund a budget stretched by the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
Discussions are part of planning around the country’s new budget, and currently focus on offering a 25% stake in the company with the goal of raising roughly $1bn.
After more than a year of political paralysis, Israel swore in a unity government last month to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the new cabinet’s first tasks is to pass the country’s overdue budget, with Israel on track to run the widest deficit in years as a result of a fiscal stimulus package of nearly $28.9bn.
EQT to increase investments in France. (FS, People)
Swedish private equity firm EQT aims to step up investments in France in areas such as healthcare and energy infrastructure as it sets up a base in Paris despite the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported.
EQT, which has been expanding in regions from Asia to the United States, and opened a Milan office last year, is launching a French operation with several recruits from rival firms, with partner Nicolas Brugère taking on the role of head of France at the firm.
UBS changes senior ranks of its private markets unit. (People)
UBS has shaken up the senior ranks of its private markets unit as the Swiss bank continues to build closer links between its investment bank and its vast wealth management unit.
The Swiss bank named Giuseppe De Filippo as head of direct investment distribution in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Enrico Mattoli as head of the business in Asia. This comes as UBS shifts to a regional management structure for the division.
As part of the changes, UBS's regional corporate finance teams will now also report into its private financing arm to "strengthen coordination and alignment with the investment bank". UBS has been developing closer ties between the two units in recent years.
Deutsche Bank’s head of EMEA is leaving. (People)
Deutsche Bank’s chief executive officer in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is leaving the German lender he first joined 25 years ago,Bloomberg reported. Ashok Aram, who also heads the firm’s international private and commercial bank operations, is departing for personal reasons. He will stay with the bank for a couple more months to help with a handover.
Deutsche Bank is in the throes of a massive restructuring aimed at turning it into a leaner, more profitable machine after five consecutive annual losses. Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said in May that he would not let the coronavirus crisis derail the program and resumed job cuts that had been suspended as the pandemic took hold in March.
Alternative asset managers CPE and Mirae Asset led a $100m Series B round in JW Therapeutics, a developer of cell-based therapy technologies. The round saw the participation of Chinese state-backed investment firm Oriza Holdings, CR-CP Life Science Fund, a 50-50 joint venture between China Resources Group and Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, existing investors including Loyal Valley Capital, Temasek, Sequoia Capital China, ARCH Venture Partners, Juno Therapeutics and WuXi AppTec.
"We are very pleased to welcome our new investors and, by working together, we hope to accelerate our product development and serve Chinese Patients,” James Li, JW Therapeutics Co-Founder and CEO.
Bharti Airtel, a mobile network operator, completed the acquisition of a 6.3% stake in Robi Axiata, a mobile network operator in Bangladesh. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The stake was acquired at a “mutually-agreed valuation. The said valuation is non-material and is not disclosed herein due to reasons of confidentiality," Bharti Airtel.
Tencent-backed WeDoctor readies Hong Kong IPO. (FS)
WeDoctor, an online medical services provider backed by Tencent, plans to file a prospectus by October for a Hong Kong IPO that it hopes will raise between $700m and $900m.
The windfall would value the money-losing tech firm at around $5.5bn, about the same as a $50m May funding round.
Although the company has not nailed down its business model, it is pursuing an IPO to take advantage of the high valuations commanded by health care companies right now despite its subdued growth.
APG keen to buy into Tata Power’ clean energy InvIT. (FS)
Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management evinced interest in acquiring a 51% stake in Tata Power’ renewable energy infrastructure investment trust, DealStreetAsia reported.
InvITs are trusts that manage income-generating infrastructure assets, typically offering investors regular yield and a liquid method of investing in infrastructure projects. Citigroup has been given the mandate to find an investor for the InvIT that will house 3GW renewable energy projects.
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