The US Federal Trade Commission has cleared the regulatory review of AstraZeneca's $39bn acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Alexion.
The US clearance follows competition clearances in Canada, Brazil and Russia, but Astra is still waiting on clearance in the UK, EU and Japan.
"These clearances further advance us towards closing our acquisition of Alexion. We remain focused on the next chapter for AstraZeneca and Alexion, building on our combined expertise in immunology and precision medicines and our shared ambition to bring more innovative medicines to patients worldwide. We look forward to working closely with other global authorities as we progress toward this goal," Marc Dunoyer, AstraZeneca Executive Director and CFO.
Alexion is advised by Bank of America and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Bank of America is advised by Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. AstraZeneca is advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Centerview Partners, Evercore, JP Morgan, Ondra Partners and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Financial advisors are advised by Allen & Overy and Simmons & Simmons. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
EU antitrust enforcers will decide by May 20 whether to clear South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix $9bn buy of Intel's NAND memory chip business,Reutersreported.
The US chip giant announced the sale last October, part of a move to divest non-core businesses to focus on its smaller but more lucrative Optane memory business which uses more advanced technology. SK Hynix sought EU antitrust approval on April 13. The EU competition enforcer can clear the deal with or without concessions, or it can open a four-month long investigation if it has serious concerns.
SK Hynix is advised by Deloitte, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Fangda Partners and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Intel is advised by Bank of America, Bae Kim & Lee, Galicia Abogados, Linklaters, Munger Tolles & Olson, WilmerHale, Brunswick Group and Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Healthcare firm CRH Medical announced that its shareholders approved the $369m acquisition of CRH by a subsidiary of WELL Health Technologies, a digital health company.
Upon closing of the arrangement, CRH shareholders will receive $4 per common share in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes. The arrangement is subject to court and regulatory approvals and clearances, as well as other customary closing conditions. Subject to the satisfaction of such conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed on or about April 22, 2021.
CRH Medical is advised by Canaccord Genuity, Citigroup, Blake Cassels & Graydon and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. WELL Health is advised by CIBC World Markets, Eight Capital, HSBC, Stifel, Clark Wilson and Torys.
Apollo Global Management completed the acquisition of The Michaels Companies, North America's specialty provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for an equity value of approximately $3.3bn (for a transaction valued at $5bn). The purchase price represents a 47% premium to the closing stock price on February 26, 2021.
"Our Michaels strategy and the work that we have done in the past year have led to phenomenal business results, strengthened our core business and positioned Michaels for long-term sustainable growth. We are excited to enter into this new chapter together with Apollo, who shares our strategic vision for Michaels as an omnichannel retailer that offers a one-stop-shop experience for the entire Michaels community. As a private company, we will have financial flexibility to invest in, expand, and improve our retail and digital platforms," Ashley Buchanan, Michaels Chief Executive Officer.
The Michaels Companies was advised by UBS and Ropes & Gray. UBS was advised by Latham & Watkins. Apollo Global was advised by Credit Suisse, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Lancer Insurance, a specialty insurer offering commercial auto insurance, agreed to merge with Core Specialty Insurance, an insurance firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Core Specialty's management team is exceptional and our friendship with Jeff Consolino, Ed Noonan and members of Core Specialty's board goes back a very long way. I have no doubt Lancer and Core Specialty's combined operating and financial resources will create tremendous growth opportunities for our shareholders, employees, policyholders and distribution partners," Dave Delaney, Lancer Co-Founder and CEO.
Core Specialty Insurance is advised by JP Morgan, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Prosek Partners. Lancer is advised by Dowling Hales, Waller Helms Advisors and Nixon Peabody.
Noble Corporation, an offshore drilling contractor, completed the merger with Pacific Drilling, a company offering ultra-deepwater drilling services to the oil and natural gas production industry.
As part of the transaction, Pacific Drilling's equity holders received 16.6m shares of Noble, or approximately 24.9% of the outstanding shares of Noble at closing.
"I am very pleased to have closed this transaction quickly and am delighted to welcome our new employees, customers, and shareholders into the Noble family. This is an important step for Noble as we continue to strengthen our fleet and focus on delivering safe and efficient services to our global customers," Robert Eifler, Noble President and CEO.
Pacific Drilling was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Noble was advised by DNB Bank, Ducera Partners and Kirkland & Ellis. DNB Bank and Ducera Partners was advised by Morrison & Foerster.
Private equity firm GTCR agreed to invest in Point Broadband, a provider of fiber-to-the-premise high-speed data services to residential and business customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The Point management team has built a phenomenal business in a short period of time and we are impressed with the team's execution to date. We are thrilled to partner with an entrepreneurial, yet very experienced and seasoned management team to expand Point's network and bring fiber-based internet access to new communities," Stephen Jeschke, GTCR Managing Director.
Point Broadband is advised by Houlihan Lokey, Stifel and The Harbinger Group. GTCR is advised by Credit Suisse, Rothschild & Co and Kirkland & Ellis.
Investment firms Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management sweetened their bid to fund Hertz Global's exit from bankruptcy, valuing the US car rental firm at $6.2bn.
Knighthead and Certares have proposed taking control of Hertz with backing from some existing shareholders of the rental firm and private-equity company Apollo Global Management, which has agreed to supply up to $2.5bn in preferred equity financing, Reutersreported.
Hertz is advised by FTI Consulting, Moelis & Co and White & Case. Knighthead is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg.
Amgen, an American multinational biopharmaceutical company, completed the acquisition of Five Prime Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing immuno-oncology and targeted cancer therapies, for $1.9bn.
"Five Prime fits squarely within Amgen's leading oncology portfolio and includes bemarituzumab, a Phase 3 trial-ready, first-in-class program for gastric cancer, the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Working with the dedicated professionals joining us from Five Prime, we plan to quickly move bemarituzumab into a Phase 3 study, bringing it one step closer to helping patients suffering from gastric cancer," Robert A. Bradway, Amgen Chairman and CEO.
Five Prime Therapeutics was advised by Lazard and Cooley. Lazard was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Amgen was advised by Goldman Sachs and Sullivan & Cromwell.
Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss has decided to drop out of a group that was bidding for Tribune Publishing, Reutersreported.
The decision was made in recent days after Wyss’ associates examined the Tribune’s finances as part of a due diligence process. Wyss had come to believe it would be difficult for him to realize his ambition of transforming The Chicago Tribune, the paper he was most interested in, into a national publication.
Tribune is advised by Lazard, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Joele Frank. Alden Global is advised by Moelis & Co and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
Tokio Marine-backed Reliance Standard Life Insurance, an insurance services provider, agreed to acquire Standard Security Life Insurance, a life insurance brokerage firm, from Independence Holding, an insurance brokerage firm, for $180m.
“In an era of unprecedented growth and dynamism in the statutory disability and paid leave space, we are fully committed to expanding our service to employers in New York and beyond," Chris Fazzini, Reliance Standard President and CEO.
Reliance Standard is advised by Waller Helms Advisors and Sullivan & Cromwell. IHC is advised by Raymond James, Clifford Chance and Dentons.
JF Lehman-backed International Marine and Industrial Applicators, a provider of ship surface preparation services, completed the acquisition of Main Industries, a provider of preservation, scaffolding and environmental containment services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The additional strength and capabilities that IMIA brings will facilitate the realization of our significant potential for growth and increase opportunities for our collective employee bases. We look forward to continuing to expand the high-quality services we provide to our customers and maintaining our steadfast dedication to ensuring the mission readiness of our nation's critical naval assets," Mike Challoner, Main Industries President.
Main Industries is advised by Mensura Capital and Sheppard Mullin, Richter & Hampton. IMIA is advised by Blank Rome and Jones Day.
FBL Financial Group announced that the Iowa Insurance division has completed its review of the proposed acquisition by Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance of all of the outstanding shares of FBL Financial Group Class A and Class B common stock, excluding shares owned by FBPCIC and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, for $56 per share in cash. Based on this review, the Division informed FBPCIC that is not requiring FBPCIC to make a filing on Form Ain connection with the proposed transaction, satisfying the applicable insurance regulatory closing conditions. Receipt of clearance from the Division is an important step in the process to closing the proposed transaction.
FBL is advised by Barclays and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance is advised by Goldman Sachs and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Varsity Healthcare Partners-backed Gastro Care Partners, a provider of gastroenterology and ancillary patient treatment services, completed the acquisition of Gastroenterology Associates of Wyoming, a provider of gastroenterology and ancillary patient treatment services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The GA team shares our vision of delivering a unified, high standard of care to patients with complex medical needs. The transaction accelerates GCP’s growth plan and is a point of excitement for all of us, including our future physician partners that we are actively working with to join GCP," Jeff Rinkov, GCP CEO.
Gastroenterology Associates of Wyoming is advised by Bailey Southwell. GCP is advised by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton and Prosek Partners.
Symphony Technology Group-backed Dodge Data & Analytics, a provider of analytics solutions, agreed to merge with The Blue Book, a construction industry network company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The Blue Book is one of the most respected brands in the construction industry, providing an indispensable resource for construction professionals to find one another to facilitate the connections necessary to deliver commercial construction projects. Combining The Blue Book with our existing portfolio company Dodge, the market leader in the construction project information, allows us to create an indispensable resource for every firm on a local, regional or national level seeking information, connections and unique insights to create new relationships and to grow their business,” William Chisholm, STG Managing Partner.
STG is advised by Paul Hastings, Shearman & Sterling and Affect. Debt financing is provided by Owl Rock Capital.
United Rentals, the world's largest equipment rental company, agreed to acquire General Finance, a provider of mobile storage and modular office space, for an enterprise value of c.$996m, including the assumption of $400m of net debt. The transaction is expected to be accretive to EPS and free cash flow upon close.
“Our acquisition of General Finance will be a significant opportunity for us to further differentiate our value in the eyes of our customers, while providing attractive, long-term returns for our shareholders. We see strong growth potential from this combination, including our ability cross-sell mobile storage and office solutions to our customers. Our expansion into this space comfortably checks all three boxes of our M&A criteria - strategic rationale, financial impact and cultural fit,” Matthew Flannery, President and CEO.
General Finance is advised by Morrison & Foerster and Financial Profiles. United Rentals is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell.
Agilent, an American analytical instrumentation development and manufacturing company, completed the acquisition of Resolution Bioscience, a cancer diagnostics solutions provider, for $695m.
"The Resolution Bioscience team and powerful technology are strategic and important additions to Agilent’s growing business in precision oncology solutions. This also accelerates our work to more broadly deliver precision oncology testing for patients worldwide with NGS-based diagnostic kits. We’re excited to have Resolution Bioscience joining with us to expand our work in the fight against cancer," Mike McMullen, Agilent President and CEO.
Resolution Bioscience was advised by JP Morgan. Agilent was advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Wellspring Capital Management, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of HealthPRO Heritage, a provider of therapy management and consulting services to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, from BPOC, a Chicago-based private equity management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"It has been a privilege to work with John and the HPH management team and to support the company through this period of impressive growth, including the addition of new end markets and multiple acquisitions. We are pleased with all that the company has been able to achieve during our partnership, and we wish John and the management team the best as they continue into their next phase of growth," Grant Patrick, BPOC Partner.
HPH was advised by Cain Brothers and Paul Hastings. Wellspring Capital was advised by McDermott Will & Emery.
Owl Rock Capital, a private equity firm, led a $250m Series E funding round in Signifyd, a California-based e-commerce fraud prevention software firm. The round had participation from financial services provider FIS and late-stage-growth and public market investors Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management and Neuberger Berman.
“Last year we saw ecommerce sales and influence propelled into 2025. And yet the online checkout experience is stuck in 2015. With this latest investment, Signifyd has the roadmap, the resources and technical talent to enable merchants to push the customer experience to that future state - and to keep pushing it forward for years to come,” Raj Ramanand, Signifyd CEO.
Owl Rock was advised by Latham & Watkins and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Demers Braun Crestline, an ambulance manufacturer, completed the acquisition of Medix Specialty Vehicles, an ambulance manufacturer, from LFM Capital, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to complete the sale of Medix Specialty Vehicles. During our ownership, we worked closely with the team to drive operational improvements, introduce new products and features, strengthen distribution capabilities, and create a new brand – GenT. We are confident that Medix will continue to thrive as part of DBC,” Dan Shockley, LFM Managing Director.
LFM Capital was advised by Lincoln International. Medix was advised by Bass Berry & Sims.
Owl Rock Capital, a private equity firm, led a $100m funding round in UserZoom, a XIM solutions provider.
"We see a tremendous market opportunity for UserZoom, which enables companies of all sizes and industries to continually enhance and prioritize their digital experience strategy. We are pleased to be able to support UserZoom with growth capital to enable them to seize that opportunity," Andy Lefkarites, Owl Rock Senior Associate.
Dubin Clark, a private equity firm, completed an investment in iROCKER, a watersports lifestyle company focused on designing and innovating outdoor recreation products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Together, we look forward to leveraging iROCKER’s strong brand, organisation, and position within the industry to launch new products, enter new categories, expand sales and marketing efforts on a global basis, while growing iROCKER’s presence both domestically and internationally," Matthew Broullire, Dubin Clark Vice President.
Golden Triangle Ventures, a multifaceted consulting company pursuing ventures in the health, entertainment, and technology industries, agreed to acquire the remaining 49% stake in HyFrontier Technologies, a developer of soil enhancement technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We have been working towards this goal for quite some time now and I believe that accomplishing this transaction will greatly benefit all of our shareholders who have supported us. Bo and I have so much invested into this amazing technology and we are very excited to form a true marriage between Golden Triangle Ventures and HyFrontier Technologies in the near future," Steffan Dalsgaard, Golden Triangle Ventures CEO.
Golden Triangle Ventures is advised by The Waypoint Refinery.
Casdin Capital, a private equity firm, led a $100m Series B funding round in C2i Genomics, an American cancer intelligence company. The round also had participation from NFX, Duquesne Family Office, Section 32, iGlobe Partners and Driehaus Capital. Additional participation came from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, Silver Lake, Alexandria Real Estate, Gordon Asset Management and LionBird.
C2i also plans to use the financing to strengthen its partnerships with pharma companies – leveraging C2 Intelligence’s superior sensitivity in detection to flag postsurgical patients for adjuvant therapy or a clinical trial and in immunotherapy.
UBS Group completed the acquisition of a remaining 40% stake in Consenso Investimentos, a diversified financial services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Consenso (now UBS Consenso) has been a market leader in Brazil's multi-family office sector since 2003. We've led the way by offering a compelling blend of unbiased onshore and offshore services, and expertise that helps people protect and grow their wealth. To execute transactions efficiently and cost-effectively in global markets, our independence enables us to choose the right investment partners and custodians," UBS.
Longshore Capital-backed Oakpoint, a dental services provider, completed the acquisition of non-clinical assets of Axiom Dentistry, a dental and oral care services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Partnering with Oakpoint was a deliberate choice based on their ability to support our vision without disrupting our systems. They have been instrumental in providing technical support, upgrading our infrastructure as well as improving our profits through a partnership of professionalism and good business knowledge. Teaming up with Oakpoint has been a great decision," Moe Malek Axiom Owner.
Betty Liu’s D & Z SPAC said in talks to merge with Simplifi.
D & Z Media Acquisition, a SPAC co-sponsored by Intercontinental Exchange, is in talks to merge with Simplifi, an advertising technology platform. The SPAC is seeking to raise new equity to support a transaction that values the combined entity at $1.5bn or more, Bloombergreported.
Simplifi, makes software that enables buyers of localized advertising to execute campaigns across various digital formats and devices. It says its platform is used by over 30k active advertisers including agencies, media groups, networks, and trading desks that collectively run 130k active daily campaigns.
Inspirato in talks to merge with Thayer SPAC.
Inspirato, a startup specializing in luxury travel, is in talks to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company in a deal valued at more than $1bn, Bloombergreported.
The Denver-based company is discussing a deal with Thayer Ventures Acquisition. Terms could change and it’s possible talks could fall apart.
Healthcare platform Agilon Health valued at about $11bn in NYSE debut. (FS)
Healthcare platform Agilon health gained a valuation of nearly $11bn in its market debut on Thursday, after the company’s shares opened 23% above their offer price, according to a Reutersreport.
On Wednesday, Agilon priced its offering of 46.6m shares at the top end of the range at $23 each, to raise more than $1bn in its IPO.
The firm is controlled by an investment fund associated with Clayton Dubilier & Rice, a private equity firm based in New York. The fund will hold 58% of the company’s stock after the completion of the IPO.
Squarespace files to go public via a direct listing on NYSE.
Squarespace spelled out its plans in a filing in which it also disclosed details of its finances, including a 28% growth in revenue last year. The filing confirms an earlier Bloomberg News report that Squarespace would follow a handful of other technology-based companies - most recently cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global - in picking a direct listing over an IPO, Bloombergreported.
Squarespace is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the choice for every major direct listing except Coinbase. While investment banks don’t underwrite offerings as they do in IPOs, they advise the company on the listing. Squarespace is working with with banks including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
In a direct listing, a company doesn’t raise fresh capital and existing investors can typically begin selling their shares on the first day of trading without the usual lockup period restrictions in an IPO. It can save on banking fees and the time spent on an investor roadshow.
Xponential revives IPO plans after $300m rumble purchase.
Xponential Fitness, the franchise owner of boutique fitness brands including Club Pilates and CycleBar, has revived plans for a US IPO after setting them aside when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Bloombergreported.
The Irvine, California-based company is planning a 2021 listing which may value it at about $1.3bn. Xponential last month said it acquired boutique boxing workout brand Rumble, which counts Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and David Beckham among prior class attendees. The deal’s value, which wasn’t disclosed in the announcement, was as much as $300m. Xponential founder and CEO Anthony Geisler declined to comment on the company’s IPO plans and Rumble’s acquisition price.
Thoma Bravo targets $3bn for its debut growth fund. (FS)
Technology-focused Thoma Bravo is pitching a fresh strategy to investors just months after collecting $22.8bn for three new funds, WSJreported
Thoma Bravo is raising its debut growth fund, which will acquire minority positions in private and publicly traded companies, and has set a $3bn target for the vehicle.
Riverside targets $1.5bn for its latest microcap fund. (FS)
Lower midmarket private-equity firm Riverside is aiming to collect $1.5bn for its latest fund focused on backing smaller companies, WSJreported.
If the firm reaches that goal, the fund would be about 25% bigger than its predecessor, Riverside Micro-Cap Fund V, which collected $1.2bn in 2018 and closed at its hard cap. The firm, which operates from headquarters in New York and Cleveland, collected $650m for its fourth microcap fund in 2016.
Sonangol, a petroleum and natural gas production company, agreed to acquire the Angolan assets of Puma Energy, a mid-and downstream oil company, for $600m.
“Trafigura is pleased to support the recapitalization of Puma Energy and the sale of Puma’s Angolan assets to our longstanding partner Sonangol. This is a further demonstration of our commitment to and confidence in Puma Energy and its future prospects," Jeremy Weir, Trafigura Executive Chairman and CEO.
Trafigura is advised by FTI Consulting. Sonangol is advised by Jefferies & Company.
Guy Hands, the founder, chairman and CIO of Terra Firm, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire housebuilding division from Kier, a provider of construction services, for $149m.
"The actions we have taken over the last two years have created a strong operational platform for sustainable profitable growth and free cash flow. The disposal of Kier Living delivers another key milestone in the Group's strategy to simplify the business and strengthen its balance sheet," Andrew Davies, Kier Group CEO.
Kier Group is advised by Rothschild & Co and FTI Consulting.
ACS Group intends to present a binding bid for Atlantia’s motorway unit within a reasonable time frame, the Spanish company wrote in its second letter to the Italian group, Reutersreported.
In its communication, the Spanish group headed by businessman Florentino Perez said it aimed at starting due diligence for Autostrade with the support of Societe Generale, the sources added. It did not specify exactly how quickly it would proceed with any bid for a business it values at $10.8-$12bn.
On a separate announcement, Bloombergreported that Apollo Global Management and Toto Holding may offer to buy control of Autostrade per l’Italia.
The UK said it was not involved in the proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by a Public Investment Fund-led investor group, and denied a report Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked a senior aide to intervene, Bloombergreported.
“This was a commercial matter for the parties concerned and the government was not involved at any point in the takeover talks of the sale,” Max Blain, Johnson’s spokesman.
Blain was responding after the Daily Mail newspaper reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked Johnson in June last year to order the Premier League to “reconsider” its decision to block the deal.
IBM, an American multinational technology company, agreed to acquire myInvenio, a process mining software company based in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Through IBM's planned acquisition of myInvenio, we are revolutionizing the way companies manage their process operations. myInvenio's unique capability to automatically analyze processes and create simulations -- what we call a 'Digital Twin of an Organization' - is joining with IBM's AI-powered automation capabilities to better manage process execution. Together we will offer a comprehensive solution for digital process transformation and automation to help enterprises continuously transform insights into action," Massimiliano Delsante, myInvenio CEO.
Altaris Capital Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Solesis, a life science and medical technology company, from Michelin, a French multinational tyre manufacturing company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Through increased investment in R&D and enhanced access to capital, we intend to continue to develop innovative technologies to meet the evolving needs of our customers and their rapidly expanding end markets. This is an exciting time for Solesis, our customers and our dedicated team,” Karen West, Solesis CEO.
Orsted, a green energy company, agreed to acquire Brookfield Renewable Ireland, a wind energy company, from Brookfield Renewable, a green energy company, for €571m. ($477m).
“We’re excited to acquire BRI, which has a strong strategic and operational fit to Ørsted combined with what we believe to be very complementary business cultures. We’ve learned that, like Ørsted, the BRI team is ambitious, prioritise safety and quality, and strive to be a good neighbour in the communities they operate in. The Irish and UK onshore markets offer attractive fundamentals, projects at scale, and value creation through a mix of development projects and repowering opportunities. Furthermore, we can leverage the BRI team’s market-leading offtake capabilities within trading and corporate PPAs with direct synergies to Ørsted’s existing efforts in the UK,” Declan Flanagan, Orsted CEO.
Revolut founder plots path to $10bn valuation with new fundraising. (FS)
The founder of Revolut is plotting a new fundraising that will value the company at more than $10bn and cement his status as one of Europe's youngest fintech billionaires, Sky News reported.
The digital lender is lining up FT Partners, the US-based fintech-focused investment bank, to advise it on a new equity-raise that would take place after the summer.
Revolut investors anticipated it valuing the company at between $10bn and $15bn (£10.8bn). Even at the lower end of that spectrum, it would make Nik Storonsky, the app's founder, a multibillionaire in dollar terms.
Elliott's entry at GSK piles pressure on its CEO to speed turnaround. (FS)
Elliott Management’s decision to build a stake in GlaxoSmithKline piles more pressure on CEO Emma Walmsley to speed up a turnaround of the US pharmaceutical giant, Bloombergreported.
While the activist hedge fund hasn’t disclosed its rationale for the purchase, the US firm has a history of pushing underperforming businesses to accelerate efforts to boost shareholder returns, especially if it decides leadership is dragging its feet.
Since Walmsley took charge four years ago, she’s tried to refocus the company and rebuild its depleted drug pipeline. In 2018, Glaxo announced plans to combine its consumer health unit with Pfizer’s and split off the business into a separate, UK-listed company. That effort isn’t scheduled for completion until next year, though, which has left questions hanging over Walmsley’s strategy.
Essar Oil in talks over £400m private equity investment. (FS)
Mersey oil refinery business Essar Oil is in talks with one of the world’s largest investment groups over a possible £400m ($551m) investment, LBN reported.
Essar, which operates one of the UK’s biggest oil refineries on the banks of the Mersey in Ellesmere Port, was in talks with Apollo Global Management to secure new funding.
Essar, which supplies 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel as well as aviation fuel for Liverpool and Manchester airports, was seeking a bailout from the Government after being badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis has depressed demand for refined fuel across the world.
“We are in constructive discussions with multiple finance providers and are confident that we will put in place an optimal financing solution for the company. At this stage, we are not prepared to comment on specific names,” Essar spokesperson.
JBS leads bidding for Vivera. (FS)
JBS, the owner of poultry brand Pilgrim’s Pride, is emerging as the frontrunner to buy Dutch plant-based food producer Vivera, Bloombergreported.
The Brazilian company is in advanced talks on a potential acquisition of Vivera, which is backed by mid-market private equity firm Gilde Buy Out Partners. A deal could value Vivera at about €300m ($360m) to €400m ($478m).
The purchase would help JBS, the world’s biggest meat supplier, tap into booming consumer demand for animal-product substitutes. Expanding in this area can also allow traditional food companies to address their sustainability footprint amid increasing pressure from environmentally conscious investors.
Dieter Wemmer plans Amsterdam SPAC.
Dieter Wemmer, a veteran insurance executive who was CFO at Allianz, is launching a blank-check company to target deals in the sector where he worked for more than three decades, Bloombergreported.
Wemmer plans to raise about €250m ($300m) on the Amsterdam stock exchange in May. He is teaming up with Murray Wood and Santiago Corral, co-owners of insurance-focused investment firm Nazare Capital, to create the SPAC.
The executives have begun speaking with potential investors. They are considering seeking targets among technology players in the insurance space. Wemmer, who is a German national, will be executive chairman of the SPAC while Wood will serve as its CEO.
Italy industry minister welcomes end of talks on CNH's Iveco sale to FAW.
Italian Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti welcomed the end of talks over the sale of truckmaker Iveco to Chinese firm FAW, Reutersreported.
Iveco is part of CNH Industrial, which in turn is controlled by Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family. CNH said earlier it had terminated discussions with FAW over the Iveco sale but was continuing to pursue a spinoff of the group in early 2022.
“The Italian government considers heavy trucks to be a strategic national interest,” Giancarlo Giorgetti.
Poundland owner Pepco rebuffs London with plans for a £4bn Polish listing.
Poundland's owner is rebuffing London to pursue a €4.5bn (£3.9bn) listing in Warsaw after months of deliberations about a flotation that would have further bolstered the ranks of listed retailers on the London stock market, Sky News reported.
Pepco Group, which trades from more than 3k stores across 15 European markets, has decided to pursue an IPO in Poland that is likely to take place in the coming months.
Recursion Pharmaceuticals raised $436m in an IPO. (FS)
Recursion Pharmaceuticals, which uses machine learning to hunt for new therapies, rose 74% in its trading debut after exceeding goals for its initial public offering to raise $436m, Bloombergreported.
Salt Lake City-based Recursion’s shares closed Friday at $31.3, giving Recursion a market value of more than $5bn. It sold about 24m shares for $18 each, after earlier marketing them for $16 to $18 and twice expanding the size of the share sale.
The clinical-stage biotechnology company reached a deal with Bayer in September to use AI to find new drugs for lung fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases. The deal included a $30m upfront payment and $50m in equity funding by Bayer’s investment arm.
Stirling Square weighs an IPO of Byggfakta Group. (FS)
Private equity firm Stirling Square Capital Partners is considering an initial public offering of Swedish business intelligence provider Byggfakta Group, Bloombergreported.
Byggfakta’s owners, which also include buyout firm TA Associates, are working with Jefferies and Nordic advisory firm Carnegie Investment Bank on the potential share sale. Byggfakta could be worth about $1bn in a listing, which could happen as early as this year.
The Vatican weighs sale of London office. (RE)
The Vatican is considering selling a luxury London building embroiled in a financial scandal that drew papal condemnation and a probe into those involved in its purchase seven years ago, Bloombergreported.
Now authorities of the walled city-state within Rome have invited brokers to pitch for options that include the potential sale of 60 Sloane Avenue in Chelsea. The building is valued at about £200m ($277m). The property is located in one of the most sought-after and rich zip codes in the capital. The Vatican confirmed that a sale is one of the options on the table, while adding that there was no rush to reach a decision.
Originally developed as a car showroom for the Harrods department store, the building spans more than 170k square feet (16k square meters) of offices and retail space with a neo-classical terracotta facade. It has permission to be converted into 49 luxury apartments.
Coca-Cola Amatil said its independent shareholders voted in favour of Coca-Cola European Partners, the European bottling arm of Coca-Cola, acquiring the Australian firm for $7.7bn, Reutersreported.
CCEP sweetened its takeover offer in February to $10.4 per share from $9.8 after reports that Amatil's major shareholders viewed the earlier offer as too low.
The deal, which would be Australia's biggest this year, will combine two companies that bottle and distribute Coca-Cola drinks, and gives CCEP a platform to consolidate in Asia.
Coca-Cola Amatil is advised by Goldman Sachs, UBS and Herbert Smith Freehills. CCEP is advised by Credit Suisse, Rothschild & Co, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Slaughter & May, Citadel Magnus and Portland Communications. Coca-Cola is advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Centurium Capital and Joy Capital, the two private equity firms, agreed to invest $250m in Luckin Coffee, a China based company engaged in operation of coffee stores.
Luckin Coffee plans to use the proceeds of the investment to facilitate the Company’s proposed offshore restructuring and fulfill its obligations under its recently announced settlement with the US SEC. The transactions allow the company to focus its balance sheet on the continued execution of its business plan, focused on growing the core coffee business and achieving its long-term growth targets.
Luckin Coffee is advised by Harney Westwood & Riegels, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Alvarez & Marsal, Joele Frank and ICR.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners will delay submitting a formal proposal to buy Toshiba, following the appointment of a new chief executive officer by the Japanese industrial group, Reutersreported.
Earlier this week, Toshiba CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani resigned amid controversy over the $20bn buyout bid from CVC Capital Partners. CVC believes Toshiba's new leadership will need time to settle in before it can make any decisions on a potential buyout.
Farallon Capital is advised by ASC Advisors and Propeller Project Labo.
Trafigura, a Singaporean multinational commodity trading company, agreed to acquire a 31.78% stake in Puma Energy, a mid-and downstream oil company, from Sonangol, a petroleum and natural gas production company, for $600m.
“The sale of Sonangol’s entire shareholding (31.78%) in Puma Energy and the acquisition of Puma Energy’s assets in Angola represents the achievement of a strategic objective for the company. Today’s news is important because the sale of Sonangol’s holding in Puma Energy has been achieved through a structure that avoids Sonangol’s participation in the recapitalization efforts in Puma, and represents a solid step towards delivering the company’s Privatization Programme, while acquiring a business with valuable assets to its core business," Gaspar Martins, Sonangol Chairman and CEO.
Trafigura is advised by FTI Consulting. Sonangol is advised by Jefferies & Company.
ESR Cayman, an integrated logistics real estate platform and GIC to acquire the Australian warehouse and logistics assets in Australia from Blackstone Group for $2.9bn. The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund will contribute 80% of equity, while ESR will account for the rest.
The portfolio consists of 45 assets held by Blackstone’s Milestone Logistics. The logistics portfolio was assembled by Blackstone over dozens of individual transactions that began with a deal with Australian developer Goodman Group in 2016.
A consortium of institutional investors, agreed to acquire a 67% stake in the Chinese pipeline business of Saint-Gobain, a diversified industrial manufacturer, for $80m.
This transaction results in the divestment of Saint-Gobain's control of PAM China, whilst allowing its link with the Pipe business in Europe to be maintained by way of a long-term industrial partnership. It is part of Saint-Gobain's continued portfolio optimization strategy to enhance the Group's growth and profitability profile.
Finch Capital-backed Nomu Pay, a FinTech company, agreed to acquire the Asian business of Wirecard, a unified payment processing services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transactions are expected to be completed in May 2021 for Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and for the Philippines later in the year.
“As a pan-European and pan-Asian firm we are bullish on the growth in these regions and have reserved significant capital to invest in them through Nomu Pay. Acquiring Wirecard APAC key entities provides us with access and infrastructure to invest in improving the payments landscape for millions of people," Radboud Vlaar, Finch Capital Managing Partner.
Citi in talks to sell credit card and wealth management business in India.
Citigroup has launched discussions to sell its credit card and wealth management divisions, a day after the group announced plans to exit its retail banking business in India as part of a global restructuring exercise.
The Citi proposal has generated early interest from at least two large foreign banks with a similar Indian footprint to Citibank’s, as well as several domestic banks and wealth management companies.
Citibank India has 2.2m credit card accounts and claims that its average credit card spend is 1.4 times the industry average. On the wealth management side, Citibank India is the largest foreign bank in terms of assets under management.
Grab weighs secondary Singapore listing after SPAC merger in US.
Grab, Southeast Asia's ride-hailing to delivery giant, is considering a secondary listing in its home market of Singapore after completing a Nasdaq listing via a $40bn SPAC merger.
Listing on Singapore Exchange would enable Grab to have an investor base close to where its regional business is based, potentially offering its customers, drivers and merchant partners easier access to trade its shares.
Ant denies reports that it’s exploring ways for Ma to sell his stake.
Ant Group denied a report that the Chinese finance-technology company is exploring ways for founder Jack Ma to sell his stake and give up control as a means to ease pressure from the country’s regulators, Bloomberg reported.
Reuters reported earlier that officials from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission held talks with Ma and Ant separately between January and March, where the possibility of Ma’s exit was discussed. The company hoped that Ma’s stake would be sold to existing shareholders in Ant or its e-commerce partner Alibaba Group.
Ant issued a statement to the news agency that said the divestment of Ma’s stake was not considered. The company reiterated the denial in a tweet following the report, saying the divestment of Mr. Ma’s stake in Ant Group has never been the subject of discussions with anyone.
Asia’s tycoons pile into SPACs just as US eyes tighter rules.
Asia’s billionaires had only just started taking to blank-check companies, but now the SPAC boom is deflating on Wall Street.
After a frenzy of listings by SPACs - 326 have raised over $101bn this year -- the whole pipeline is now in limbo due to regulatory overhang, including a number of deals by Asian investment firms and tycoons.
Gateway Strategic Acquisition, backed by buyout firm Gaw Capital Advisors, Artisan Acquisition, backed by New World Development’s Adrian Cheng and Hony Capital Acquisition are some of the Asian SPACs that are waiting in the wings to list in the US.
China to tighten scrutiny of listings on Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR market.
China’s securities watchdog said it would tighten scrutiny of listings on Shanghai’s technology-focused STAR Market to ensure tech is their main business. There have been problems for some applicants and firms under IPO reviews, including a lack of core technology, insufficient scientific and technological innovation capability and low degree of market recognition, China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a press conference.
Companies engaging in real estate and companies mainly engaging in the financial investment business will be barred from listing on the STAR Market. CSRC also said it would tighten the scrutiny of companies engaging in fintech and restrict their listings on the STAR Market.
SoftBank Vision Fund is expected to invest $450m in Swiggy, an Indian foodtech unicorn. (FS)
SoftBank is expected to invest $450m in Swiggy in a deal will mark Masayoshi Son-led Softbank Group first direct bet in the foodtech sector in India, DealStreetAsiareported.
SoftBank and Swiggy's parent Bundl Technologies are still negotiating the finer details of the deal and are yet to sign the shareholder agreement. The papers are likely to be filed with the Competition Commission of India in one or two weeks.
The infusion is part of a larger $1.25bn round, which has been in the works for the past few months. SoftBank entry might push Swiggy's post-money valuation to $5.5bn.
Square Enix is rumored to be an M&A target.
The company behind the popular Final Fantasy series of games surged in Tokyo following a report it had received interest from potential buyers. Square Enix rose 12%, the most in eight months. Square Enix said it had not received any proposals and was not thinking of a sale, Bloombergreported.
“We do not consider selling off the company or any part of its businesses, nor have we received any offer from any third party to acquire the company or any part of its businesses,” Square Enix.
ThaiBev shelves the $2bn brewery unit IPO.
Thai Beverage said it would defer the potential spin-off and listing of its brewery unit, which was on track to be among the biggest IPOs in Singapore in a decade, citing the uncertainty of market conditions and the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, Bloombergreported.
The maker of Chang beer - owned by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi - had been expected to raise around $2bn. Instead, the company will review the proposed spin-off listing at the appropriate time while evaluating and exploring opportunities to maximize shareholder value.
“In view of the current uncertain market conditions and volatile outlook, aggravated by the worsening Covid-19 pandemic in Thailand and other countries, which are not conducive for the Proposed Spin-off Listing, ThaiBev wishes to announce its decision to defer the Proposed Spin-off Listing,” Thai Beverage.
Mitratel chooses banks for $1bn IPO.
Dayamitra Telekomunikasi, the infrastructure services unit of state-owned Telkom Indonesia, has picked banks to arrange its potential IPO in what could be the country’s biggest first-time share sale, Bloombergreported.
Mitratel, as the company is known, has chosen HSBC, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley to work on the planned Jakarta IPO. BRI Danareksa Sekuritas and Mandiri Sekuritas were also selected to help arrange the listing. Mitratel could add more banks to the lineup at a later date.
The company aims to raise about $1bn from the first-time share sale as soon as this year. At $1bn, the IPO would be the largest in the country to date since PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur’s $696m offering in 2010.
China's CITIC Private Equity said to reach first close of $3bn fund. (FS)
China's CITIC Private Equity aims to raise $3bn in a new dollar-denominated fund and has reached a first-close of $1.8bn, according to DealStreetAsia. CPE is planning to complete the fundraising by the end of the year. CPE can now start deploying capital from the new fund while investors can continue to commit funds to it.
Its fundraising comes as PE firms in Asia tap markets flush with liquidity due to authorities' post-pandemic economic stimulus measures, while pension funds and other investors hunt better returns in a low-interest rate environment.
Founded in 2008, CPE was the investment arm of China's top brokerage CITIC Securities but was spun off in 2018, when it raised a $2.3bn fund. It now has over $15bn worth assets under managment, its website shows.
CPE reaches first-close of $3bn new private equity fund. (FS)
China’s CITIC Private Equity aims to raise $3bn in a new dollar-denominated fund and has reached a first-close of $1.8bn, Reutersreported.
CPE is planning to complete the fundraising by year-end. After the first-close, CPE can now start deploying capital from the new fund while investors can continue to commit funds to it.
Some of the firm’s existing investors, including Singaporean state investors GIC and Temasek, re-upped their commitments to the new fund.
Geely's EV unit Polestar raises $550m. (FS)
Sweden's Polestar, the electric car maker controlled by Volvo and its parent, the Chinese automaker Geely, has raised $550m in external funding, Reuters reported.
The financing is Polestar's first external funding and comes amid a year of sustained sales and share price growth for electric vehicle makers such as Tesla and Nio.
"Our new investors have recognised that Polestar offers an alluring combination of established industrial and technological capability alongside superlative growth potential as the global auto industry goes electric," Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar's CEO.
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