Dyal Capital Partners and Owl Rock Capital can proceed with their $12bn merger after a judge found a 2017 agreement didn’t give Sixth Street Partners the right to put the deal on hold, Bloomberg reported.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Morgan Zurn said Sixth Street couldn’t temporarily halt the combination while the funds develop their arguments over the reach of the 2017 pact, under which Dyal acquire a 10% stake in Sixth Street. Dyal is a subsidiary of Neuberger Berman.
“The record indicates that this litigation and the parallel action in New York were part and parcel of a calculated effort to ‘muck up’ the transaction to force a buyback. After admitting the transaction was not concerning, Sixth Street saw opportunity in it,” Morgan Zurn.
Altimar Acquisition is advised by JP Morgan, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Prosek Partners. Newberger Berman is advised by Ardea Partners, Citigroup, UBS and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Dyal Capital is advised by Ardea Partners, Evercore, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Prosek Partners. Owl Rock Capital is advised by Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Perella Weinberg Partners, Kirkland & Ellis and Prosek Partners.
EU antitrust regulators will examine Illumina’s proposed $8bn acquisition of cancer test maker Grail, the European Commission said, following a request from six countries on competition concerns.
While the deal does not reach the turnover threshold that would require Illumina to seek EU approval, France asked the EU competition enforcer to vet the deal under new rules announced last month targeting biotech and tech start-up deals. Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands, as well as non-EU members Norway and Iceland, backed France’s request. Grail makes a non-invasive, early detection biopsy test to screen for many kinds of cancers using DNA sequencing, Reuters reported.
“The combined entity could restrict access to or increase prices of next-generation sequencers and reagents to the detriment of Grail’s rivals active in genomic cancer tests following the transaction,” European Commission.
Grail is advised by Morgan Stanley, Latham & Watkins, McDonald Hopkins, Proskauer Rose, Ropes & Gray and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Illumina is advised by Goldman Sachs, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Joele Frank. Goldman Sachs is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Johnson & Johnson is advised by Goodwin Procter.
Avangrid, a sustainable energy company, has received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its proposed merger with PNM Resources, a company that generates, transmits and distributes electricity, in a $4.3bn deal.
“This approval is an important step in the merger process, which will bring together two companies focused on delivering safe, reliable and clean energy for customers and communities. The merger will further Avangrid’s growth in both clean energy distribution and transmission, as well as expand our leadership position in renewables,” Dennis V. Arriola, Avangrid CEO.
PNM Resources is advised by Evercore and Troutman Pepper. Evercore is advised by Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. Avangrid is advised by BNP Paribas, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Stanley, Garrigues and FTI Consulting.
Marvell Technology Group, a provider of infrastructure semiconductor solutions, completed the acquisition of Inphi, a provider of semiconductor components and optical subsystems, for $10bn. Under the terms of the definitive agreement, the transaction consideration consisted of $66 in cash and 2.323 shares of stock of the combined company for each Inphi share.
"Together we will have the portfolio, capabilities, and scale to expand Marvell's leadership in its key growth end markets of 5G, Cloud and Automotive. I am also pleased that we are now organized as a US company and we look forward to continuing to drive innovation in semiconductor technology critical to the nation's data economy," Matt Murphy, Marvell President and CEO.
Inphi was advised by Qatalyst Partners and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Qatalyst Partners was advised by Cooley. Marvell was advised by JP Morgan and Hogan Lovells. JP Morgan was advised by Debevoise & Plimpton. Debt financing was provided by JP Morgan.
Tyler Technologies, a provider of integrated software and technology services, completed its acquisition of NIC, a government solutions and payments company, for $2.3bn.
“It was clear to us when we first announced this transaction in February that NIC is uniquely positioned to help make government more efficient as it continues to add online services for residents. After working closely with the NIC team over the past few months, we are more confident than ever in the cultural alignment across our organizations and the opportunities ahead for our combined company,” Lynn Moore, Tyler President and CEO.
NIC was advised by Cowen & Company, Shearman & Sterling and Joele Frank. Tyler was advised by Goldman Sachs and Munck Wilson Mandala. Goldman Sachs was advised by Sullivan & Cromwell.
Knighthead Capital Management and Certares for a second time sweetened their offer to acquire Hertz Global Holdings out of bankruptcy as the rental car company’s board meets to review bids, Bloomberg reported.
The latest plan would hand shareholders more value - specifically a 40% stake in the reorganized company through a combination of direct investment and a more than $1bn equity rights offering.
Hertz is advised by FTI Consulting, Moelis & Co, Richards Layton and Finger and White & Case. Knighthead is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg.
Astorg Partners, a global private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Corsearch, a provider of innovative brand risk and performance solutions to law firms and enterprise customers, from Audax Private Equity. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Corsearch’s obsession is to create strong value for its enterprise customers. Its integrated IP platform is in a unique position to support legal, brand and marketing departments globally. We are excited to back management’s growth ambitions, accelerate investments in R&D, and actively consider M&A opportunities,” Christopher Cozzone and Michael Beetz, Astorg Directors.
Audax was advised by Goldman Sachs, Harris Williams & Co, Kirkland & Ellis and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Astorg was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Publicis Consultants.
Middleby, a global company in the foodservice equipment industry, agreed to acquire Welbilt, a provider of foodservice equipment and solutions, for $2.9bn. Welbilt’s largest shareholder, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn with an 8.4% stake, has agreed to the deal.
“The acquisition of Welbilt is a transformational opportunity for Middleby and a compelling combination that will benefit all of our stakeholders. We are excited to welcome the Welbilt team and we will benefit from the highly talented group they have assembled,” Timothy FitzGerald, Middleby CEO.
Middleby is advised by Guggenheim Securities and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Welbilt is advised by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Morgan Stanley.
Providence Strategic Growth completed the investment in Kenect, a provider of business texting and communications technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We believe the Kenect team has developed a strong, highly scalable software platform and is well-positioned to address the extensive market opportunity as adoption of text communication with customers in the small and medium sized business community continues to grow,” Rick Essex, PSG Managing Director.
Kenect was advised by Arbor Advisory Group and DLA Piper. PSG was advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges and Prosek Partners.
Stone Point Capital, an investment firm, agreed to acquire Consilio, an eDiscovery company, from GI Partners, a private investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We would like to thank Andy and the entire leadership team for their partnership and the exceptional results they have generated. Through our targeted investments in the company's technology, people, and scale, Consilio's comprehensive legal technology and services offerings make it uniquely capable of supporting the world's highest stakes legal matters. We look forward to following Consilio's continued success," Jeff Sheu, GI Partners Managing Director.
GI Partners is advised by Jefferies & Company and Kirkland & Ellis. Stone Point Capital is advised by Debevoise & Plimpton and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Bain Capital-backed Kantar, a British data analytics and brand consulting group, agreed to acquire Numerator, a Chicago-based market intelligence provider, from Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm, for $1.5bn. The transaction is expected to complete by Q3 2021, subject to the relevant legal and regulatory processes.
“This is a smart, strategic move by Kantar as they expand their global influence. This combination will create even more value for our customers and for the industry overall,” Eric Belcher, Numerator CEO.
Bain Capital was advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges. Numerator is advised by Jefferies.
Extreme Reach, the complete asset management solution for TV and video advertising, agreed to acquire Adstream, a global provider of digital asset management, creative logistics and analytics solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, upon approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Advisory Board.
“This acquisition gives us the global scale to transform creative asset management and omni channel campaign activation worldwide, setting a new standard that meets today’s challenges. I look forward to working with Adstream’s talented leaders and global teams to combine the best technology of both companies, solving marketers’ need for a comprehensive solution. By coming together, we establish a new paradigm for success - for our clients and ourselves – now and for the future,” Tim Conley, Extreme Reach CEO and Co-founder.
Adstream is advised by JEGI | CLARITY and Ashurst. Extreme Reach is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Maximus, a provider of government services worldwide, agreed to acquire Veterans Evaluation Services, a Veteran owned service company, for $1.4bn.
“We welcome the employees of VES, who are leaders in serving the US Department of Veterans Affairs and, together with Maximus, will continue to support our nation’s heroes, through programs and services targeted at addressing the personal, health, and employment needs of Veterans and their families,” Bruce Caswell, Maximus President and CEO.
Affirm, an American financial technology company, agreed to acquire Returnly, a firm in online return experiences and post-purchase payments, for c. $300m. The transaction is expected to close in Affirm’s fourth fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2021, and is subject to customary closing conditions.
“Store credit, issued before the item is actually returned, is now a practical requirement in highly competitive segments like fashion and lifestyle. We are excited to bring Returnly’s powerful product to our merchants, and we are thrilled to introduce their more than eight million users to the transparent, gotcha-free version of buy-now-pay-later as made possible only by Affirm,” Max Levchin, Affirm CEO and Founder.
Spectrum Brands, a global branded consumer products and home essentials company focused on driving innovation and providing exceptional customer service, to acquire For Life Products, a manufacturer in the household cleaning, maintenance, and restoration segment, for c.$300m. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of the 2021 calendar year, subject to customary closing conditions.
“The acquisition aligns with our strategy to purchase strong, complimentary brands where we can leverage our efficient supply chain and strong customer relationships to drive future growth. With the acquisition of Rejuvenate, we are confident in our ability to create value through substantial revenue, supply chain and manufacturing synergies,” David Maura, Spectrum Brands Chairman and CEO.
Oak HC/FT, a venture and growth equity investment firm, led a $100m Series C round in Clearco, a provider of capital solutions for e-commerce, mobile apps, and SaaS founders. New investors include Founders Circle and executives from Stripe, Square, Affirm, Adyen, Robinhood, Betterment, Airbnb, Hubspot, AirWallex and Apple.
"With $2bn deployed to more than 4.5k founders, we've proven that we can find and fund entrepreneurs using machine learning and AI in a much more egalitarian way, and we're gratified that the investment community sees that," Andrew D'Souza, Clearco Co-Founder and CEO.
Kudu Investment-backed Sequoia Financial Group, a financial planning and wealth management services provider, agreed to merge with Wealthstone Advisors, a $1.4bn Columbus, Ohio-based advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We have long admired Wealthstone as a client-focused firm with a similar culture and passion for providing excellent and comprehensive financial advisory, wealth management and consulting services," Thomas Haught, Sequoia President and CEO.
WalkMe, the digital adoption firm, completed the acquisition of Zest, an AI-driven search leverages natural language processing provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Zest is a natural extension of WalkMe's core business use case: to make technology adapt to people, not the other way around. Zest's proprietary technology will bring new levels of functionality and efficiency to the WalkMe product suite, making it easier for customers to achieve their digital transformation goals," Dan Adika, WalkMe CEO & Co-Founder.
Unison, the provider of contract management, program management, and acquisition software, agreed to acquire PRICE Systems, a global provider of advanced model-based cost engineering software. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our customers' mission-critical programs continue to grow more complex. PRICE Systems best practices, thought leadership and unrivaled data-driven software are the best means of managing complexity and reducing risk," Reid Jackson, Unison CEO.
Discord ends sale talks with Microsoft.
Discord, a messaging platform, has ended deal talks with Microsoft and plans to focus on expanding the business as a standalone company, Reuters reported.
The company will focus on building the chat platform and making money from its user base that has grown quickly during the pandemic. A public listing is on the table but not imminent.
Discord, which allows public and private groups to gather and chat by text, audio, and video, has expanded from a gamers club to all types of communities, including sports fans, music groups, and cryptocurrency investors.
LafargeHolcim explores sale of Brazilian cement unit
LafargeHolcim, the world’s biggest cement maker, is exploring a sale of its Brazilian unit, which could be valued at as much as $1.5bn, Bloomberg reported.
The Swiss-Franco company has hired Banco Itau to advise on the potential divestment. LafargeHolcim could sell all its local factories in Brazil to one buyer or split the assets.
Under CEO Jan Jenisch, LafargeHolcim has been selling off assets that do not contribute to its core operations in an effort to reduce debt levels. Since a turnaround plan announced in 2018, the Switzerland-based company has sought to prune activities outside Europe in countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.
UiPath IPO prices above range in a move to raise $1.3bn.
UiPath and its shareholders raised $1.3bn in an IPO, pricing shares above a marketed range but valuing the automation software maker below its February funding round, Bloomberg reported.
The company and investors sold almost 24m shares for $56 each. The shares had been marketed for $52 to $54, a range that the company elevated on Monday from $43 to $50.
The listing gives the company a market value of $29bn based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Including employee stock options and restricted stock units, that valuation is more than $31bn.
Endeavor seeks to raise $511m in IPO. (FS)
Endeavor Group Holdings, the entertainment and Hollywood talent company, is seeking as much as $511m in its US IPO, Bloomberg reported.
The company will sell 21.3m class A shares at $23 to $24 apiece, according to a filing with the US SEC. At $24, Endeavor would be valued at $10.5bn.
A group of institutional investors separately agreed to buy $1.8bn worth of shares in a private placement from Endeavor and existing investor KKR & Co. The group includes Coatue Management, Elliott Investment Management and Silver Lake.
Washington State Pension committed $2bn to co-investments. (FS)
Washington State Investment Board is doubling down on a nearly 15-year co-investment relationship with a fresh pledge of up to $2bn to Fisher Lynch Capital.
The state pension system disclosed up to around $3.8bn in new private-equity commitments at its April 15 board meeting, up to $2bn of which is earmarked for Evergreen Park Investment Fund, a co-investment vehicle that Fisher Lynch will manage.
NexPhase Capital raised $544m for the fourth buyout fund. (FS)
NexPhase Capital, a lower midmarket-focused private equity firm, has raised $544m for its fourth fund focused on investments in software, healthcare, and consumer businesses.
NexPhase Capital Fund IV closed at its hard cap of $544m, a roughly 50% increase over its third fund, which collected $361m and held a final close in 2018. The new fund held a first close in late 2019, according to Ted Yun, a managing partner at NexPhase. He declined to provide the amount of capital involved in that close.
Northlane Capital Partners raised $408m for Fund II. (FS)
Northlane Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity firm targeting investments in healthcare and business services, has raised its second independent fund, Northlane Capital Partners II.
NCP II closed on total capital commitments of $408 m, exceeding its target of $375m, and attracted strong interest from a diverse group of investors, including public pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies, high net worth families, foundations, and former portfolio company executives.
Hamilton Lane targets $400m for the second impact fund. (FS)
Hamilton Lane has launched its second impact-investing fund, seeking to capitalize on strong demand for investment vehicles that aim to achieve environmental, social, and governance goals alongside financial returns.
The firm is targeting $400m for the vehicle, Hamilton Lane Impact Fund II, WSJ reported. If the firm achieves that goal, it would be a more than fourfold increase from the firm's first impact fund, which closed at about $95m last year.
Warby Parker plans US IPO.
Warby Parker Retail, a prescription eyewear seller, is considering an IPO as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported. The New York-based company is in discussions with advisers on a potential listing.
Warby Parker raised $120m in its most recent funding round in 2020, giving it a value of $3bn. The company is targeting a valuation higher than that of its last fundraising.
"We've always explored various financing opportunities in both the debt and equity markets. We'll continue to make strategic decisions in line with our commitment to sustainable growth," Warby Parker spokesperson.
Investors expect the new CEO of Nutrien to pave the way to M&A.
Investors expect the new chief executive of Canada's Nutrien to swing deals as part of a more aggressive growth strategy, after an abrupt shake-up at Canada's biggest agriculture company, Reuters reported.
Nutrien, the world's biggest fertilizer producer by capacity, surprised shareholders on Sunday by promoting its chairman, Mayo Schmidt, to CEO, replacing Chuck Magro, who had led the company since it formed from Agrium's 2018 merger with Potash.
Some investors had grown uncertain about Nutrien's growth strategy under Magro, said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager at AGF Investments, which owns $109m worth of the company's stock.
KKR nears deal to acquire a stake in MetroNet. (FS)
KKR is nearing a deal to acquire a minority stake in MetroNet that values the provider of fiber-optic internet, phone and television services at almost $3bn, including debt, Bloomberg reported.
A transaction could be announced as soon as this week. Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm, will invest additional capital into the company.
Investment funds Ardian and Global Infrastructure Partners will not participate in the deal to create a new French water company after the takeover of Suez by its bigger rival Veolia, Ardian Infrastructure and GIP chief Mathias Burghardt told Reuters.
Ardian-GIP, which in March had formulated a counter-proposal to the Veolia bid, had several important questions about the agreement, which is set to be finalised by May 14. Ardian-GIP, which was not involved in the discussions that led to the deal, also regrets being assigned a minority stake and points at the hostility of Suez’s unions to the agreement.
Suez is advised by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Rothschild & Co, Societe Generale, Bredin Prat, Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, Sullivan & Cromwell and Brunswick Group. Ardian is advised by Linklaters and Headland Consultancy. Veolia is advised by Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Agricole, HSBC, Messier Maris & Associes, Morgan Stanley, Perella Weinberg Partners, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Flichy Grange Avocats, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Hogan Lovells, Patrice Gassenbach, Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associes, Xavier Boucobza and Image Sept. Engie is advised by BNP Paribas, Centerview Partners, Credit Suisse, Lazard, d'Angelin & Co, Weil Gotshal and Manges, Estudio de Comunicacion and Havas Paris.
The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the $8.7bn acquisition of Asda by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital over concerns that it could drive up petrol prices.
The CMA said the deal raises issues in relation to the supply of road fuel in 36 areas across the UK. Issa brothers and TDR Capital also own EG Group, which operates 395 petrol stations in the UK, while Asda owns 323 sites.
The watchdog is concerned that the merger could lead to higher prices for motorists. The companies have five days to address the competition concerns, while the CMA has a further five days to either accept or reject the proposals.
Asda is advised by Finsbury Glover Hering. TDR Capital is advised by Bank of America, Barclays, Lazard, Morgan Stanley, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Ogier, Brunswick Group, and Tulchan Communications. Issa brothers are advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Debt financing is provided by Barclays, ING Bank, Lloyds Bank and Morgan Stanley. Walmart is advised by Rothschild & Co, Slaughter & May and Finsbury Glover Hering.
Bookmaker William Hill moved closer to being taken over by Caesars Entertainment, saying it had gained approval in a British court for the $3.8bn deal, which was opposed by minority shareholder HBK, Reuters reported.
HBK had opposed the scheme of arrangement for the deal, which was agreed in September with Las Vegas-based casino operator Caesars, saying the terms of an existing joint venture between the two firms were not adequately disclosed. It argued that shareholders had voted on the scheme without the information they needed to judge the merits of the takeover.
William Hill is advised by Barclays, Citigroup, PJT Partners, Slaughter & May, Weil Gotshal and Manges and Brunswick Group. Caesars is advised by Deutsche Bank, Harris Hagan, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Phelps Dunbar, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Teneo. Deutsche Bank is advised by White & Case. Debt financing is provided by Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.
Genius Sports Group, a provider of sports data and technology powering the sports, betting and media ecosystem, went public via a merger with dMY Technology Group, a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company, in a $1.5bn deal.
“As Genius Sports enters an exciting new chapter in its history, we are uniquely positioned at the heart of the world’s sports, betting and media ecosystem. Our merger with dMY II and listing on the NYSE are a testament to the enormous opportunity ahead of us as we leverage our unique scale, drive innovation and deliver products that help our partners create new and immersive experiences for sports fans around the world,” Mark Locke, Genius Sports CEO and Co-Founder.
GSG was advised by Credit Suisse, Kirkland & Ellis, Oakvale Capital, Macfarlanes and The One Nine Three Group. dMY Technology Group was advised by White & Case, Needham & Co, Goldman Sachs, ICR and Morrow Sodali Global. Apax Partners was advised by Kekst CNC.
Innovative Energy had received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of 14.791.715 ADES shares, representing approximately 33.77% in value of the issued ordinary share capital of ADES International and approximately 95.98% of the ADES shares to which the offer relates.
Innovative Energy intends to procure that ADES International will make applications to the FCA for the cancellation of the listing of the ADES shares from the Standard Segment of the Official List and to the London Stock Exchange for the cancellation of the admission to trading of the ADES shares on the London Stock Exchange's main market.
ADES International is advised by Canaccord Genuity, Investec, EFG Hermes, Ashurst and Hill Dickinson. Innovative Energy is advised by Moelis & Co and Allen & Overy.
Credit Agricole Italia secured majority backing for an €855m acquisition of Credito Valtellinese, an Italian bank based in Sondrio, after agreeing to pay the maximum price regardless of acceptance levels for its offer.
Credit Agricole Italia had upped the bid price to €12.50 a share from an initial €10.50, a level which Credito Valtellinese shares had been consistently trading above.
Credito Valtellinese is advised by Intermonte and Mediobanca. Credit Agricole Italia is advised by Credit Agricole, JP Morgan and BonelliErede. Credit Agricole is advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Tritax Big Box REIT, a real estate investment trust investing in "Big Box" distribution centers, completed the acquisition of an 872k sq ft distribution unit in Avonmouth for £90m.
"In line with our strategy, we continue to monitor the market closely for attractive acquisition opportunities. This is a key asset, let to one of the world's largest wine companies by volume, in a strong and increasingly important location for logistics in the UK," Colin Godfrey, Tritax CEO of Fund Management.
Hg Capital agreed to acquire Dext, a digital, multi-product platform for accountants and bookkeepers, from Kennet Partners, a digital, multi-product platform for accountants and bookkeepers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As the first institutional investors in Dext back in 2016, we saw the potential and opportunity to build a market leading position in the bookkeeping automation category. Dext’s capital efficiency, business model, strong foundations and ethos is exactly in line with Kennet’s investment strategy. We wish Adrian and the team the best of luck on the next stage of what will continue to be a great journey,” Hillel Zidel, Kennet Partners Managing Director.
Trendyol, Turkey's e-commerce platform, has drawn backing from foreign investors and holds a leading position in Turkey's fragmented e-commerce market.
Innospec is no longer considering acquiring Elementis after takeover approach rejection.
Innospec is no longer considering a possible offer for rival Elementis after the British company rejected a £1.6 per share takeover approach from the US chemicals firm, Reuters reported.
Innospec said it had sought support from the London-listed company's board for its offer that would have valued Elementis at about £929m.
Elementis confirmed that it received Innospec's conditional cash-and-stock proposal on March 31, adding that it significantly undervalued the company.
Abu Dhabi to weigh a sale of $4bn Taqa stake.
Abu Dhabi is weighing the sale of a stake in its biggest utility as the oil-rich emirate seeks more international investment in its marquee assets, Bloomberg reported.
The government is working with an adviser as it considers selling about 10% of Abu Dhabi National Energy. The stake in the company, known as Taqa, could be worth more than $4bn based on its current market price.
Investors may be attracted to Taqa’s plans to cut exposure to oil and natural gas assets and focus on renewables. The company wants to boost the portion of its power produced from solar and wind to 30% over the next decade. Taqa already owns one of the world’s biggest solar plants in Abu Dhabi and is in the process of building an even larger one.
Qatari-funded Turkish soccer league set to take hit from piracy. (FS)
A key source of revenue for Turkish soccer clubs may take a hit in an upcoming broadcasting tender, with potential bidders blaming widespread piracy in the country after the pandemic already slashed value in the sports pay-TV market across Europe, Bloomberg reported.
The new round of bids may fall well below the $360m that the current holder of the rights, Qatar’s BeIN Media Group, is paying Turkey’s football federation this year. The new price will reflect the market correction due to rampant piracy that the government has failed to contain. The level of piracy in Turkey, which has a population of around 85m, is such that there are two people illegally watching sports for every person with a legal subscription, according to a BeIN Media investigation finding.
Eni eyes oil spin-offs to tackle debt in energy transition.
Italy’s Eni is considering spinning off oil and gas operations in West Africa and the Middle East into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy, according to Reuters.
Eni aims to replicate the success of its 2019 oil and gas spin-off in Norway, where it formed joint venture Var Energi with private equity firm HitecVision and retains a 69.6% stake.
That created Norway’s second largest oil and gas producer after acquiring Exxon Mobil’s portfolio there for $4.5bn, giving it production of about 150k barrels of oil equivalent per day. The investment has been highly profitable, paying Eni nearly $1.3bn in dividends since its creation.
Segezha Group seeks $2bn valuation in an IPO.
Wood, paper and packaging producer Segezha Group set a price range for its IPO in Moscow that values the company at as much as $2bn, Bloomberg reported.
That’s the top end of the $0.1 to $0.13 per share range offered to investors, Segezha, owned by billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov’s Sistema. The valuation of the company is given on a post-money basis, with pricing expected around April 28. Russian companies have joined the global IPO rush this year but the momentum may slow after the US imposed fresh sanctions including restrictions on buying new sovereign debt.
“I am pleased with the positive response we have seen from the global investment community to Segezha Group’s proposed IPO,” Mikhail Shamolin, Segezha Group President.
General Atlantic-backed European Wax Center plans 2021 IPO. (FS)
European Wax Center, a personal-care franchise that operates 800 locations across the US, is exploring an IPO, Bloomberg reported.
The Plano, Texas-based company, backed by private equity firm General Atlantic, has discussed a listing with potential underwriters that could value the firm at more than $1bn and occur as soon as this year.
PolyPeptide prices Swiss IPO at $978m.
PolyPeptide Group, a contract drugmaker controlled by a foundation of Swedish billionaire adventurer Frederik Paulsen Jr., launched a Swiss share listing worth up to $978m.
The company said it set a price range of $62 to $74 per share for up to 3.5m new and 8.5m existing shares, with an over-allotment option of up to 1.75m existing shares.
PolyPeptide has six facilities in Europe, the United States, and India, with 900 employees. Its revenue in 2020 was $268m.
Carrefour plans a share buyback.
Carrefour plans to buy back shares for the first time in a decade, showing confidence in its turnaround plan after a strong first quarter and sending shares in Europe's biggest food retailer around 4% higher, Reuters reported.
The French retail group, whose potential takeover by Canada's Couche-Tard unravelled earlier this year following opposition from Paris, said it would buy back up to €500m ($601m) of shares this year.
"Our share buyback programme is yet another sign of our confidence in the future and our ability to generate cash, a confidence renewed by our very good commercial performance in France," Alexandre Bompard, Chairman and CEO.
Centurium Capital-backed CBPO Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, agreed to acquire China Biologic Products Holdings, a blood plasma-based biopharmaceutical company, for $4.76bn.
The company also announced that it has requested that trading of its shares on the Nasdaq Market be suspended as of the close of trading on April 20, 2021, notifying the SEC of the delisting of the shares on Nasdaq and the deregistration of the company's registered securities.
China Biologic Products Holdings was advised by Duff & Phelps, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Maples Group and Foote Group. CBPO Holdings was advised by Fangda Partners, Harney Westwood & Riegels, Kirkland & Ellis, Weil Gotshal and Manges and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Allegro Funds, a transformation and turnaround private equity firm, agreed to acquire Global Express business, which provides express parcel, freight delivery and domestic forwarding services, from Toll Group, an Australian transportation and logistics company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The divestment is consistent with Toll’s strategy to focus on being a pre-eminent Asia-Pacific logistics provider through its core businesses in contract logistics and freight forwarding,” John Mullen, Toll Chairman.
Toll Group is advised by Deloitte, JP Morgan, Nomura and Ashurst. Allegro Funds is advised by Domestique and Herbert Smith Freehills. Debt financing is provided by Scottish Pacific, Gordon Brothers and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
CITIC Capital, an alternative investment company, led a $177m funding round in Citineon, an entertainment company, with participation from Pavilion Capital, EDBI, Seatown Holdings International and Doha Venture Capital.
“The $177m funding round sets a solid foundation for us to invest in developing more of our entertainment experiences, to stage even more exhibitions of the five box office hits and two artefact IPs that we hold the rights to all over the world,” Ron Tan, Citineon Chairman and CEO.
Insight Partners, a global software investor, completed the acquisition of the minority stake in Octopus Deploy, a Brisbane-based continuous delivery and deployment automation company, for $173m.
"When I started Octopus, I was obsessed with deployments and making software releases easier for teams. I was a huge believer in the power of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, but frustrated that so much of CD in the wild ended with code that compiled and passed unit tests, but wasn't deployed anywhere", Paul Stovell, Octopus Deploy Founder and CEO.
CITIC Private Equity Funds Management, Matrix Partners China and private equity firms Hopu Investment Management led a $135m Series D round in NextData. Existing backers Tencent and Xiang He Capital made follow-on investments.
NextData has also been backed by Chinese searching engine giant Baidu’s investment arm Baidu Ventures, Crystal Stream and internet security services provider 360 Total Security. NextData will use the proceeds for the development of technology and intelligent applications.
Bain Capital considers the acquisition of Toshiba. (FS)
Bain Capital is considering a bid to acquire Toshiba, a producer of consumer and industrial electrical and electronic products, making it one of several firms said to be interested in taking the Japanese conglomerate private, Reuters reported.
The US firm has entered into discussions with Japanese banks, including the core units of Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group to secure funding. It is unclear whether Bain will team up with co-investors but the sources did not exclude the possibility.
Wanda to raise $3.08bn ahead of HK IPO for property management unit.
Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate, aims to raise $3.08bn for its commercial property management business, before listing the unit in Hong Kong by year-end, Reuters reported.
Wanda is targeting primarily private equity investors for Wanda Light Asset Commercial Management, aiming for a valuation of $30.6bn. The conglomerate, owned by Wang Jianlin - once China's richest person - aims to complete the fundraising by July and file for an IPO in September.
Anta Sports controlling shareholder plans divestment of shares worth $1.49bn.
ANTA Sports Products, China's home grown sportswear maker, its controlling shareholder has planned sale of about 3.26% stake in the company for $1.49bn.
Anta International Group Holdings has agreed to sell 88m existing shares in a placement at $16.92 each, representing a 7.5% discount to Tuesday's close, which will reduce its direct shareholding to 47.56%, from 50.81%.
Australian Clinical Labs looks to raise $315m in IPO.
Australian Clinical Labs, a pathology provider owned by Crescent Capital Partners, a domestic private equity firm, is seeking to raise $315m in an IPO next week, Reuters reported.
The company and its advisors, Merrill Lynch Equities and Goldman Sachs, will offer shares at $3.09 each at an institutional bookbuild on April 27, valuing the company at $626m.
A listing of ACL, one of the three big pathology companies in Australia servicing more than 90 private and public hospitals, would be Australia's largest IPO of the year, adding to the already four-fold increase in public offerings in the first quarter.
Blackstone seeks Singapore property after $132m deal. (FS, RE)
Blackstone Group is seeking to invest in more properties in Singapore to capitalize on the rising demand for office space among technology firms expanding in the city-state.
The plans come after the US private equity firm announced that it's purchasing an eight-story building from Lucas Real Estate called the Sandcrawler for $132m, Bloomberg reported.
Blackstone is seeking to make long-term investments in high-quality assets that provide strong returns, Alan Miyasaki, head of Asia real estate acquisitions, said in an interview. That would require having a solid roster of tenants, such as those in the Sandcrawler, which houses the Walt Disney and the Government Technology Agency.
Naver seeks US bond or IPO to take on Google.
One of the few countries in the world, where Google does not dominate web searches is South Korea, where Naver leads the market and is also a big player in e-commerce and fintech.
But the Korean company, which now gets more than 95% of revenue domestically, wants to boost its international presence. To help with that, Naver is considering more dollar bond sales after its debut deal last month, and it’s also eyeing a possible future US IPO for a unit.
"To grow, it’s inevitable that we go global. We should find business opportunities and meet capable partners to supplement our assets," Park Sang-jin, Naver CFO.
Zuoyebang seeks $500m US IPO. (FS)
Zuoyebang, a Chinese online tutoring platform, is considering a US IPO that could raise at least $500m, Bloomberg reported. The education startup is working with advisers on the potential offering, which could take place as soon as the second half of this year.
Loosely translated as “homework assistant,” Zuoyebang is a spinoff of China’s search engine titan Baidu. Founded by former Baidu executive Hou Jianbin in 2015, the startup has raised at least $3.4bn from investors, including SoftBank Vision Fund, Goldman Sachs Group, and Sequoia Capital China.
CR Capital, COFCO debut fund to raise $308m. (FS)
CR Capital Management and COFCO Capital, two fund management platforms affiliated with state-owned firms in China, have established a joint venture (JV) to launch an industry fund targeting the new consumption sector.
The debut fund is seeking to raise $308m. The JV fund is being set up in partnership with local authorities in eastern China’s Nanjing City. The fund plans to primarily invest in businesses in modern agriculture & food, food tech, and consumer services.
Dubbed Liangrun Fund, it will focus on investments in growth- and mature-stage businesses in China’s private market. It secured $154m in the first closing with capital commitments from the Nanjing National Agricultural High-Tech Industry Demonstration Zone, a national agricultural park that hosts companies developing agritech, smart agricultural equipment, farmland protection solutions and beyond.
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