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Franklin Templeton, a global investment management organization, agreed to acquire Legg Mason, an American investment management firm with a focus on asset management and serves customers worldwide, for $6.5bn. Franklin Templeton will pay $50 per share of common stock and assume approximately $2bn of Legg Mason’s outstanding debt.
"This acquisition will add differentiated capabilities to our existing investment strategies with modest overlap across multiple world-class affiliates, investment teams and distribution channels, bringing notable added leadership and strength in core fixed income, active equities and alternatives. We will also expand our multi-asset solutions, a key growth area for the firm amid increasing client demand for comprehensive, outcome-oriented investment solutions," Jenny Johnson, Franklin Templeton President and CEO.
Franklin Templeton is advised by Ardea Partners, Broadhaven Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley and Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Legg Mason is advised by JP Morgan, PJT Partners, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Amherst, a data-driven real estate investment firm with strategies across the residential and commercial real estate capital markets, agreed to acquire Front Yard Residential, provider of real estate and mortgage portfolio management services, for c.$2.3bn.
“This transaction meaningfully advances our effort to improve the experience of residents and investors in single-family rental properties. With our expanded scale, additional team members in local markets and the collective experience of both teams, we believe this combination provides a powerful platform that is well-positioned to serve the broad constituency focused on affordable, safe, attractive housing,” Sean Dobson, Amherst Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
Front Yard Residential is advised by Deutsche Bank and Weil Gotshal and Manges. Amherst is advised by Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and Abernathy MacGregor Group.
A consortium led by Symphony Technology Group, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and AlpInvest Partners agreed to acquire RSA, a provider of cybersecurity and digital risk management solutions, from Dell Technologies, an American multinational computer technology company, for $2.1bn.
"As one of the world’s elite security brands, RSA represents a great opportunity for solving some of the rapidly developing customer challenges that go along with digital transformation. We are excited and fully committed to maximizing the power of RSA’s talent, expertise and tremendous growth potential and continuing RSA’s strategy to serve customers with a holistic approach to managing their digital risk," William Chisholm, Symphony Technology Group Managing Partner.
STG is advised by Jefferies & Company, UBS and Davis Polk & Wardwell. Dell is advised by Morgan Stanley and Hogan Lovells. Debt financing is provided by Jefferies & Company and UBS.
1-800-Flowers, an e-commerce provider of floral products and gifts, agreed to acquire PersonalizationMall, the retailer of combined lines of gifts and novelty merchandise, souvenirs, greeting cards and holiday decorations, from Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates a nationwide chain of retail stores, for $252m.
“PersonalizationMall’s extensive product offering and industry-leading personalization capabilities will be an excellent addition to our growing family of popular gifting brands. The broad assortment of customizable products and processes that have made PersonalizationMall.com a premier provider of keepsake items will help us further our company’s vision to inspire more human expression, connection and celebration while enhancing our position as the leading one-stop destination for all our customers’ celebratory and gifting occasions,” Chris McCann, 1-800-Flowers CEO.
Bed Bath & Beyond is advised by Goldman Sachs and Proskauer Rose. 1-800-Flowers is advised by Citigroup and Cahill Gordon & Reindel.
iClick Interactive, an independent online marketing and enterprise data solutions provider, agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Optimal Power, a provider of media licensing assets, from Creative Big. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This transaction represents an exciting step for our company. The success of such execution will not only give us the ability to enrich our offerings, but also a vital step toward our profitability improvement this year," Jian Tang, iClick Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder.
Perry Baromedical, a manufacturer of hyperbaric medical devices, agreed to acquire Environmental Tectonics' Hyperbaric Division, a manufacturer of hyperbaric products under the "BARA-MED" brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This acquisition will allow Perry to continue to market this brand with existing FDA and international certifications and use the design to expand into newer markets in Asia. Perry will continue to sell equipment under the "BARA-MED" brand and continue to offer the best in class customer service of all the Baromed installed equipment in the US and globally," Mary Pat Finn, Perry Baromedical President and COO.
Leppo Rents, a Bobcat and JLG dealer, agreed to acquire Valco Equipment, a dealer of equipment and parts. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to have Dave Maier and the rest of the Valco team join the family. Their years of experience and a wide range of products round out our product offerings," Mike Leppo, Access President.
PG&E union warns Bernie Sanders against 'bird-brained' state takeover.
The natural gas and electric services provider's union is pushing back against Bernie Sanders' criticism, claiming the senator and presidential candidate promotes a $100bn state takeover of the utility, Bloomberg reported.
"Senator Sanders, you are just plain wrong on this. Publicly-owned utilities are capable of greatness. But they are also capable of bad management and bad luck, just the same as investor-owned utilities," Tom Dalzell, union business manager.
Bunge to acquire two Brazil soy plants.
Bunge, an American agribusiness and food company, agreed to acquire two soy processing plants in Brazil and assume debt from Imcopa, a local soy crusher, Reuters reported.
Bunge agreed to pay about $12m for the plants and assume debt of c. $233m related to the two plants in the state of Paraná.
Pier 1 Imports files for bankruptcy protection.
Pier 1 Imports, a Fort Worth, Texas-based omnichannel retailer specializing in imported home furnishings and decor, filed for bankruptcy protection and is pursuing a sale, Reuters reported.
The company is the latest retailer struggling in a market dominated by e-commerce giant Amazon and other retail stalwarts like Walmart.
Vodafone and Telecom Italia offered to give rivals access to some of their infrastructure for up to nine years to allay EU antitrust concerns over plans to merge their tower units.
Under Vodafone and TIM’s proposal, INWIT would make available around 630 sites each year in towns with more than 35k people, allowing rivals to provide current and future mobile and fixed telephony services.
INWIT is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Equita SIM, Goldman Sachs, Mediobanca, Allen & Overy, Studio Pedersoli e Associati, TIM Group is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners. Vodafone Group is advised by KPMG, UBS, Linklaters, and NCTM.
Covivio, a European investment and development company, offered to acquire Godewind Immobilien, a listed office property company active in Germany, for €697m ($755m).
"Covivio is continuing its European development and is now reaching an important step in its growth in Germany. With this acquisition, Covivio creates a €2.1bn ($2.3bn) offices platform located in Germany's most dynamic cities. As in France and Italy, Covivio intends to contribute to the design of the city of tomorrow and to offer high-performance, flexible and service-oriented spaces," Christophe Kullmann, Covivio CEO.
Godewind is advised by JP Morgan, Clifford Chance and Kirchhoff Consult. Covivio is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell and Shan Strategic Communications.
Baxter International, a global medical products company, completed the acquisition of Seprafilm Adhesion Barrier, a medical device for adhesion prevention, and related assets from Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, for $350m.
"Seprafilm will be a strong complement to our leading hemostat and sealant portfolio, helping us continue to advance the art of healing with optimized patient care in the operating room. While Seprafilm is clinically recognized among surgeons globally, we plan to provide commercial support for the product through our dedicated surgery salesforce and pursue opportunities for expansion in certain countries," Wil Boren, Baxter's Advanced Surgery General Manager.
IG Metall stated that any new owner of Thyssenkrupp's elevator unit not only has to give guarantees on job cuts and plant closures, but also commit to staff involvement and investment plans.
Thyssenkrupp narrowed the field of bidders for the world's fourth-largest lift maker and was focusing on divesting a majority or the whole unit to either Blackstone, Carlyle and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, or Advent and Cinven.
"There are two, three things that still need to be ironed out. That's the task of the next one and a half weeks," Knut Giesler, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Technology Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
Janus Henderson Group and Sarasin & Partners joined the expanding chorus of voices arguing that ADO Properties' planned acquisition of two debt-laden competitors is bad for minority shareholders.
Guy Barnard Janus Henderson's Co-Head of property equities stated the fund manager divested its stake in ADO after the firm announced its plan to acquire Adler Real Estate, a landlord specializing in low-cost housing across Germany, and a stake in developer Consus Real Estate.
“We see significant conflicts of interest in the current transactions because the decision-makers have a high degree of loyalty to Adler, but their interests do not coincide with those of the other shareholders of ADO Properties,” Claudia Reich Floyd, Timbercreek Portfolio Manager.
H.I.G Capital, a private equity firm, completed its acquisition of Vernacare, which supplies goods and services to the health care industry, from Palatine, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“In the last four years Vernacare has made major steps forward in terms of scale and reach. A doubling of sales and profit though international growth and strategic acquisition has strengthened the business and perfectly positions us to invest further in international markets and in buy and build. Palatine has been a great partner, providing financial backing to support this growth and working with us in developing and implementing our strategy. We thank them and wish them well," Matt Miller, Vernacare Chief Executive.
Intesa Sanpaolo, an Italian banking group, offered to acquire UBI Banca, an Italian banking group, for $5.3bn. Intesa offered 1.7 newly issued shares for every UBI share tendered to create a European-sized player focused on wealth management and insurance, with more than $1.2tr in customers’ financial assets.
“Our industry, at a European level, has entered a phase that requires greater scale, increased investment capacity and a focus on socially sustainable finance,” Carlo Messina, Intesa Sanpaolo CEO.
KKR & Co agreed to invest €50m ($54m) in Univercells, an innovative bioprocessing provider focused on increasing the availability of affordable biologics.
"KKR, through Gamma Biosciences, seeks to back innovative and impactful next-generation bioprocessing technologies, which is why we are excited to be investing in Univercells and its mission to deliver affordable biologics and gene therapies globally. Furthermore, we are excited to be working with Hugues and his team, who have a fantastic track record of building innovative biomanufacturing companies," Kugan Sathiyanandarajah, KKR Director and Head of Europe for Health Care Strategic Growth.
Univercells is advised by Cecili-Z and White Matter Communications.
Eddyfi, a provider of the Non-Destructive Testing inspection technologies, agreed to acquire Halfwave, the owner of the proprietary Acoustic Resonance Technology, an ultrasound-based technique which allows high-precision measurements in imperfect conditions and without the need for liquid couplant. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"It has been a great journey growing and developing the ART NDT platform into a unique market-leading pipeline and subsea inspection applications. The combination of a talented Halfwave team, forward-looking clients and unwavering support from our owners has provided an unstoppable recipe for success. Eddyfi/NDT's impressive complementary technology portfolio, technology focus, and global footprint provides the perfect vehicle for ART to realize its full potential in the market. We are very excited at becoming part of the Eddyfi/NDT team," Paul S Cooper, Halfwave CEO.
Interactive Investor, which provides online investment services, agreed to acquire The Share Centre, a provider of stockbroker services. Under the offer, ii intends to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Share for £62m ($81m).
ii believes that direct to consumer platforms require scale to sustain the level of profitability necessary for significant and ongoing technology investment in customer experience and services. Therefore, there is a strong strategic rationale for consolidation amongst compatible groups.
"We are delighted with this transaction. The firms' shared values and combined strengths reinforce ii's position as a leader in the retail investment services marketplace. With our fair flat fees, we have built a strong and compelling alternative to percentage fees, in a business that puts the customer first," Richard Wilson, Interactive investor CEO.
HSBC to shrink investment bank and cut 35k jobs after profit slump.
FN reported that HSBC will shrink its European and US investment banking divisions, strip out $100bn in assets and cut tens of thousands of jobs as part of an overhaul of its business under interim chief executive Noel Quinn.
Quinn’s plan to remodel HSBC over the next three years will mean a dramatic streamlining of its investment bank, including a retreat from certain trading activities.
Eric Salama ousted as CEO of Kantar. (FS, People)
Eric Salama has been abruptly ousted as chief executive of Kantar, the market data business he helped build, after private equity group Bain Capital decided to cut short his remaining time at the company, FT reported.
Mr. Salama had already announced in December that he would be stepping down this summer for “personal reasons” after recovering from a stabbing outside a London café early last year. Following a dispute over unspecified business decisions he was told on Friday that he would be relieved of his responsibilities with immediate effect, even before a successor had been found.
Amigo in talks with potential buyers.
Reuters reported that British subprime lender Amigo is talking to potential buyers after launching a strategic review and sales process last month, sending its shares up 8%.
Amigo, which issues loans typically guaranteed by a borrower’s family or friends, said it had received indications of interest from several parties and had entered into non-disclosure agreements with them, though there was no certainty an offer would be made.
Chelpipe prepares for a share offering in Moscow.
Reuters reported that Chelpipe, one of the largest producers of steel pipes in Russia, is preparing a share offering in Moscow. Chelpipe tried to list its shares in London and Moscow twice in 2011, but postponed the deals when it did not get the price it wanted.
JP Morgan, Citigroup, VTB, Sberbank and Gazprombank are expected to work on the deal.
Grove Ventures closes its $120m fund. (FS)
Grove Ventures, an early-stage deep tech-focused venture capital firm headquartered in Tel Aviv, closed Grove Ventures II with total commitments of $120m.
"With Grove II, we want to empower brilliant deep tech entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and passion around their product to build great international companies. We believe the world is on the brink of a revolution that will digitalize sectors such as manufacturing, mobility, and healthcare," Dov Moran, Grove Managing Partner.
Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm, offered to acquire National Storage REIT, a self-storage provider, for $1.2bn. Previously, National Storage REIT received a confidential non-binding indicative proposal from Gaw Capital Partners to acquire 100% of the issued stapled securities of NSR on January 23, 2020.
The National Storage board decided to provide Warburg Pincus with access to non-exclusive due diligence, and both the parties have entered into a confidentiality agreement for accessing material non-public information concerning the target.
National Storage REIT is advised by JP Morgan.
SoftBank injects $2.5bn of own cash in second Vision Fund. (FS)
SoftBank pumped $2.5bn of its own cash into new investments since October, hoping to restore its money-making credentials as it courts investors for a successor to its Vision Fund. The conglomerate is also considering investing another $2.5bn of its own money.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said last week the company may spend up to two years investing its own money in a bridge fund, to build a portfolio that will give investors enough confidence to participate in a second Vision Fund.
Reliance to undergo reorganization, merge media and distribution businesses into TV unit.
Reliance Industries, an Indian multinational conglomerate, is set to merge its media and distribution businesses into its TV business, Network18 Media & Investments. Under the plan, the Indian conglomerate’s TV18 Broadcast, Hathway Cable and Datacom and Den Networks businesses will consolidate into Network18.
The company’s news broadcasting business of TV18 will be housed in Network18 and the cable and broadband businesses of Den and Hathway will be two separate wholly-owned subsidiaries of Network18, Reliance said.
Wesfarmers looking to sell a 4.9% stake in Coles.
Wesfarmers, an Australian conglomerate, said it is looking to sell a 4.9% stake in Coles, an Australian supermarket, retail and consumer services chain, suggesting it was a good opportunity to book some profits.
Wesfarmers’ announcement also comes on the heels of Coles posting near-flat earnings growth for the half-year and acknowledging it had underpaid some store managers for six years.
AXA-Affin insurer attracts interest from Great Eastern and Generali.
Bloomberg reported that Singapore’s Great Eastern and Assicurazioni Generali are among potential bidders for the life and general insurance businesses in Malaysia that AXA and Affin Bank own.
Great Eastern, which is majority-owned by Oversea-Chinese Banking and Italy’s Generali are working with their respective advisers on potential offers. The first round of bidding is expected to conclude by the end of next month.
Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance acquired a steel plant in India.
British-based tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance bought a bankrupt steel plant in India for $60m.
“It has been a challenging journey to get us to this stage, but we now look forward to starting work in partnership with all stakeholders to revive these plants and bring employment back,” Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance Chairman.
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