Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Flexera, a SaaS provider, from TA Associates and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, for $2.95bn.
“We know Jim and his executive team very well. And we support Flexera’s ambitious vision. The company’s management team has accomplished a great deal over the past 12 years. Jim and his team have positioned Flexera for sustained growth by focusing on the strategic challenges enterprises face with complex IT infrastructures. We’re thrilled at this chance to ‘get the band back together," Seth Boro, Thoma Bravo Managing Partner.
Thoma Bravo is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, UBS, Kirkland & Ellis, and Finsbury Glover Hering. Flexera, OTTPB and TA Associates are advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges. OTTB is advised by Barclays. TA Associates is advised by Goodwin Procter.
Star Peak Energy Transition, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, agreed to merge with Stem, a global company in artificial intelligence-driven clean energy storage systems, in a $1.35bn deal.
“Stem and its highly experienced management team perfectly align with Star Peak’s mission to provide growth capital to a market-leading business focused on climate change initiatives, emissions reductions and energy efficiency. In support of global decarbonization objectives, the entire power grid is being decentralized and democratized. We believe Stem is at the epicenter of this clean energy transition and its AI-driven software systems will be critical in accelerating renewables adoption and addressing climate change,” Mike Morgan, Star Peak Chairman who will join Stem’s Board of Directors.
Star Peak is advised by Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Kirkland & Ellis. Stem is advised by Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and ICR.
Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its $2.1bn takeover of health tracker Fitbit this month.
The deal could be approved as soon as next week after national competition authorities give their opinion. Clearing regulatory obstacles for the deal come in a tough climate when the company is facing mounting global scrutiny of big technology companies and potentially restrictive regulation in the EU and other regions.
Fitbit is advised by Qatalyst Partners, Fenwick & West, and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Qatalyst Partners is advised by Cooley. Google is advised by Lazard and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Bank holding firms Bridge Bancorp and Dime Community Bancshares, announced that each company's shareholders had approved the proposed $489m merger of equals.
“We are pleased our shareholders clearly see the value of the proposed merger with Dime and understand the tremendous opportunities that will be created when two of New York’s leading community banks combine,” Kevin O’Connor, BNB Bank President and CEO.
Bridge Bancorp is advised by Piper Sandler and Luse Gorman. Dime Community Bancshares is advised by Raymond James, Holland & Knight, and McGuireWoods.
Affirm, a fintech company, agreed to acquire PayBright, a Canadian fintech company, for $265m.
The combination of Affirm and PayBright unites two innovators with complementary merchant relationships and deeply aligned cultural values, and creates a payment solutions platform with expanded scale and reach. Together, Affirm and PayBright will have a larger and more diverse merchant network across the United States and Canada.
"We are excited to combine with PayBright, creating the opportunity to expand our footprint across North America and scale our platform. PayBright shares Affirm’s goal of improving the payments experience for consumers and merchants alike, and PayBright’s base of merchants complements our own customer network. We look forward to welcoming their talented team to the Affirm family," Max Levchin, Affirm Founder and CEO.
PayBright is advised by PJ Solomon and Borden Ladner Gervais. Affirm is advised by Baker McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright and Joele Frank.
Alliance Data Systems, a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty and payment solutions, completed the acquisition of Bread, a technology-driven digital payments company, from Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Kinnevik, and RRE Ventures, four venture capital firms, for $450m, of which approximately $100m is Alliance Data common stock.
"Bread's innovative platform and point-of-sale technologies, including installment and buy now, pay later solutions, expands our payment offerings and reinforces Alliance Data's commitment to investing in digital and technology solutions. We are excited to welcome our new Bread associates, and look forward to working together to support our brand partners and their customers to drive greater value," Ralph Andretta, Alliance Data President and CEO.
Bread was advised by Centerview Partners and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Alliance Data was advised by JP Morgan and Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Leeds Equity-backed Exterro, a provider of e-discovery and information governance software, completed the acquisition of AccessData, a forensic software developer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the acquisition of AccessData, Exterro is uniquely positioned to provide its corporate, legal and government customers unprecedented control of and insight into information risks through its integrated, enterprise-wide legal software platform," Jacques Galante, Leeds Equity Partner.
AccessData was advised by JMP Securities and Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn. Exterro was advised by Morris Manning & Martin and Reed Smith.
Private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe completed the acquisition of TrueCommerce, a global provider of trading partner connectivity and integration solutions, from Accel-KKR. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Under our ownership, the Accellos-TrueCommerce-HighJump network grew revenues by 19x and completed 11 acquisitions as a clear strategy was executed. Its success is a culmination of the hard work of so many incredible people. We couldn't be happier for the TrueCommerce team, and we are excited to continue to support them and WCAS in their next phase of growth," Jason Klein, Accel-KKR Managing Director.
TrueCommerce was advised by PJ Solomon and William Blair. Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe was advised by Evercore. Accel-KKR was advised by Kekst CNC.
Stonehenge Partners-backed Addus HomeCare, a provider of home care services, completed the acquisition of hospice services providers Queen City Hospice and Miracle City Hospice, for $192m.
"This acquisition further advances our strategy of providing hospice and home health care in markets where we already have a significant personal care presence. We share a common culture focused on compassionate, patient-centered care, and we look forward to a smooth integration of our operations. Importantly, we expect this transaction to be immediately accretive to our financial results," Dirk Allison, Addus HomeCare President and Chief Executive Officer.
Queen City was advised by KeyBanc Capital Markets. Addus Homecare was advised by Raymond James. Debt Financing is provided by Capital One.
Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing, completed the acquisition of Sweeping Corp of America, a provider of facility maintenance services, from Soundcore Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As a leading growth investor, Warburg Pincus has a strong history in partnering and developing high quality, category-defining businesses. As the only provider with significant scale and a growing national presence, this partnership will enable us to further expand service capacity, fuel continued innovation in our complimentary services, and support key growth initiatives, with a focus on strategic acquisitions. We would also like to thank our partners at Soundcore Capital Partners for their valuable contributions and strategic insight over the years," Christopher Valerian, SCA President & CEO.
Sweeping Corporation of America was advised by Piper Sandler and Kirkland & Ellis. Warburg Pincus was advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Sagewind Capital-backed By Light Professional IT Services, an IT services provider, completed the acquisition of Raydon, a provider of military training solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The acquisition of Raydon strategically expands By Light's existing capabilities within modeling & simulation and virtual training. Raydon will enable By Light to provide end-to-end solutions in support of the Army's virtual training, ultimately advancing warfighter proficiency with an extremely high transfer of skills from simulation to live engagement," Bob Donahue, By Light Founder and CEO.
Raydon was advised by Truist Bank. By Light was advised by Kekst CNC.
Public Service Enterprise Group, a diversified energy company, agreed to acquire a 25% stake in Ocean Wind, a wind farm project from Orsted, an energy company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As New Jersey's first offshore wind project, Ocean Wind will lead the way for a productive first step into this forward-leaning industry, bringing with it new skills, jobs and carbon-free energy. Further, this investment in offshore wind energy is well-aligned with our company's long-term clean energy strategy. We're excited to continue our close relationship with Ørsted, combining each organization's expertise to achieve powerful benefits for energy consumers and the state," Ralph Izzo, PSEG Chairman, President and CEO.
PSEG is advised by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Orsted is advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
EIG Global-backed Maverick Natural Resources, an oil and gas organization, completed the acquisition of FourPoint Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of FourPoint demonstrates Maverick’s ability to translate its best-in-class operational proficiency into significant growth. With our proven track record of safe, environmentally responsible operations and significant operational scale, we are exceptionally well-positioned to acquire additional producing assets," Chris Heinson, Maverick CEO.
EIG was advised by Sard Verbinnen & Co. Maverick was advised by Houlihan Lokey.
Private equity firm CapStreet-backed HungerRush, a fully integrated restaurant management system, completed the acquisition of OrdrAI, a developer of digital ordering systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to welcome the OrdrAI team and augment our restaurant management platform with integrated voice and text message ordering. We are committed to providing innovative multi-channel digital ordering technologies to restaurant owners so they can own their business data and customer relationships, ensuring the best experience for their guests," Perry Turbes, HungerRush CEO.
HungerRush was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Nexus Capital Management, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Natural Balance, a pet food manufacturer and supplier, from J.M. Smucker, a manufacturer of food products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are extremely excited by the opportunity to acquire the Natural Balance business. We believe in the brand's strong legacy and the ability to reinvigorate the business as an independent company in partnership with the strong management team we have assembled," Damian Giangiacomo, Nexus Capital Partner.
Olympus, a manufacturer of optics and reprography products, agreed to acquire Veran Medical Technologies, a medical equipment manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are proud to be joining forces with Olympus, a company with a 100-year legacy and a global reputation for quality, leadership and innovation. Olympus has a clear strategy to become a global medtech leader, and we're excited to contribute our unique capabilities and become part of this journey," Jason Pesterfield, Veran CEO.
Building product manufacturer Specialty Building Products-backed US Lumber Group to acquire Mid-State Lumber, a local and regional wholesaler of building material products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Mid-State Lumber is a terrific addition to US Lumber. It is the leading specialty products distributor in its markets, with a loyal following of customers built over multiple generations of family ownership. The Bernstein family, and all of their employees, have built a fantastic business and we are thrilled that they will be joining the US Lumber family. Together we will continue to deliver reliable products and first-class service for customers and suppliers in their markets and across our entire footprint." Jeff McLendon, Specialty Building Products President and CEO.
Alvarez & Marsal Capital-backed Ettain Group, a provider of talent solutions, completed the acquisition of Centerline Partners, a management consulting firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to welcome such a well-respected management consulting team to ettain group. Centerline brings impressive expertise in business planning, in addition to portfolio, program, project, and requirements management, and deep experience in the life sciences space. The additional service offerings and strong client relationships will allow ettain group to continue to lead the industry, enhance our capabilities, and drive our clients' businesses forward," Trent Beekman, Ettain CEO.
Polyethylene Containers, a manufacturer of plastic pails & drums, completed the acquisition of pails division of Rehrig Pacific, a manufacturer of plastic containers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Rehrig Pacific has a strong reputation for excellent manufacturing and product development, and we're proud to be carrying this product line forward at PCI. Rehrig Pacific's Pails business will complement and bolster our existing work in the same category and expand our ability to deliver just the right product to a wide range of customers," Walter Tyson, PCI CEO.
MeridianLink, a leading provider of enterprise business solutions for financial service organizations, agreed to acquire TazWorks, a premier technology platform for consumer reporting agencies. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition of TazWorks is expected to be finalized shortly. Upon the completion of this acquisition, an additional statement will be released by MeridianLink.
"We are confident the deep collective CRA experience of our two amazing organizations, coupled with MeridianLink's investment, will accelerate TazWorks' product development and roadmap. This acquisition will allow increased innovation within screening technology, and the API development will provide a faster delivery of these products to the industry," Barton Taylor, TazWorks CEO and Founder.
Airbnb seeks $35bn valuation in the IPO.
Airbnb is aiming for a valuation of up to $34.8bn in its IPO, in what would cap a comeback in its chances after the home rental firm’s business was heavily damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a regulatory filing, Airbnb set a target price range of between $44 and $50 apiece to sell 51.9m shares, which would pull in $2.6bn. Airbnb could close up selling $2.85bn at the upper end of the range.
Of the shares being sold, Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk will together sell nearly $100m worth of shares in the IPO launch, DealStreetAsiareported.
DoorDash increases IPO target to $3.1bn.
DoorDash is seeking to raise $3.1bn in its initial public offering next month after a surge in investor demand let the biggest US food delivery company increased the price range for its shares.
The San Francisco-based company is marketing 33m shares at $90 to $95 apiece. DoorDash was initially targeting $2.8bn, with a price range of $75 to $85 per share. At the top end of the revised range, DoorDash would have a fully diluted value of more than $35bn, including employee stock options and restricted share units.
At the midpoint of the range, DoorDash expects to raise about $2.96bn after deducting expenses from the IPO. The company plans to use the proceeds as working capital and may devote a portion to acquiring other companies or technologies,Bloombergreported.
Starboard calls ACI Worldwide for sale. (FS)
Activist investor Starboard Value advised ACI Worldwide to weigh selling itself to maximize value as the payments industry faces consolidation.
Starboard, one of ACI’s largest shareholder with a roughly 9% stake, asked the company to hire advisers and conduct a sale process one month after management presented conservative revenue growth and margin targets at its investor day, Reutersreported.
According to Starboard, management’s long-term plan may create value, but it would take too long and could be too risky to justify plans for ACI to remain a standalone company.
Axa XL to start private equity-backed insurer. (FS)
Axa XL, an insurance venture, led by Greg Hendrick and Dinos Iordanou is starting up with $1bn in equity capital provided by Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman and management.
Vantage Group Holdings will begin by providing reinsurance, with plans to underwrite other coverage later as well who will be a chief executive officer. Iordanou, who previously led Arch Capital Group, will be non-executive chairman.
The company intends to begin with reinsurance coverage including property catastrophe and specialty risks. Vantage, which has already hired some staff with backgrounds that range from work at Goldman Sachs to Sompo Holdings, plans to add more employees including ones to focus on the build-out of the insurance portion, Bloombergreported.
Richard Li unites with Peter Thiel on SPAC bet.
Billionaire Richard Li, who broke away from his famous father Li Ka-shing to build his business empire, is expanding outside Hong Kong.
Li most recently has teamed up with PayPal Holdings co-founder Peter Thiel to establish a $595m blank-check firm for acquiring one or more Southeast Asian companies, Bloombergreported.
Li and Thiel will consider Southeast Asia’s best-known companies. Bridgetown will focus on so-called new economy sectors including technology, financial services and media, and has begun discussions with potential targets.
Bankruptcy watchdog disputes Ann Taylor sale to a private equity firm.
Ann Taylor and related brands $540m sale to private equity firm Sycamore Partners is challenging opposition from the US Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog, which says the sale process is being conducted too quickly and contains inappropriate protections for Sycamore, Reutersreported.
John Fitzgerald III, an acting US Trustee, filed an objection to the sale, declared by Ascena Retail Group, Ann Taylor parent, and is up for approval before US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Huennekens next week.
According to Fitzgerald, the speedy timeframe prevents creditors and other interested parties from thoroughly analyzing the deal.
3R and Eeneva bid $600m-$1bn for Petrobras's Urucu cluster.
Petroleo Brasileiro, a Brazil’s state-run oil company, had received offers from 3R Petroleum Oleo e Gás and Eneva for its Urucu oil and gas cluster in the interior state of Amazonas, Reutersreported.
The company said bids were around $600m and $1bn.
Thoma Bravo to raise blank-check acquisition company. (FS)
Thoma Bravo, a private equity investor, has hired an investment bank to raise funds in an initial public offering for a SPAC, one of the first technology-focused buyout firms to join Wall Street’s SPAC trend.
The SPAC will target acquisition in the software and technology sector. SPACs have emerged as one of Wall Street’s most popular investment vehicles in 2020, with 208 SPACs raising more than $70bn so far this year, Reutersreported.
Coursera considers 2021 IPO.
California-based Coursera is weighing an initial public offering in 2021 that could value the online education provider at around $5bn.
The company is talking to potential IPO underwriters. No final decision has been made, and Coursera could opt to remain private.
CVC-backed Petco files for IPO. (FS)
Petco Animal Supplies, a San Diego-based retail chain, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering, Bloombergreported.
The company didn’t provide further details of its listing plans in a statement, except to say the IPO would be held after the US Securities and Exchange Commission completes a review. The company hasn’t determined the number of shares to be offered or the price range.
Intapp to pick banks for 2021 IPO.
Intapp, a software provider for professional services and capital markets firms, is planning an IPO in 2021, Bloombergreported.
The company is working with JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on its planned listing, which is expected in the first half of the year. Intapp’s plans including its timetable for a listing could still change.
Snowflake breaks past $100bn value record.
Snowflake continued a post-earnings flow sending its market valuation above $100bn for the first time. Snowflake shares are now 31% higher than the average analyst price target.
The cloud-computing company earned as much as 16%, a day after Wall Street cheered its third-quarter earnings report that showed triple-digit revenue growth. Short-term bullish options were also active for a second day as total call volume spiked to almost five times the 20-day average, Bloombergreported.
Snowflake shares have now more than tripled since its IPO in September. Analysts though remain relatively cautious on the stock with more than half of the 22 covering it maintaining a hold rating.
Scale Venture Partners closes $600m fund. (FS)
Scale Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture firm, has closed the $600m Scale Venture Partners Fund VII.
The fund will be used to invest in cloud and SaaS enterprise software companies. Scale’s previous $400m Fund VI closed in July 2018.
Blackstone extends its bet on warehouses with Iron Mountain deal. (FS,RE)
Blackstone Group is expanding its industrial real estate holdings, snapping up more than a dozen properties in a deal with Iron Mountain, Bloombergreported.
The $358m transaction comprises 13 properties located mainly in California, northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.
Iron Mountain, a provider of records storage and secure document disposal for companies, agreed to lease back the buildings and intends to use proceeds of the sale to invest in its faster-growing businesses, including data centers.
Reuben Brothers to buy Surrey Hotel. (RE)
David and Simon Reuben, billionaire British brothers, are buying New York City’s Surrey Hotel in their latest push into US real estate.
The deal is estimated to value the five-star Manhattan property at less $215m bidding price. The Reubens plan to hire a top hospitality management company to manage the 189-room hotel.
UBS promotes Keller-Busse and Khan. (People)
UBS Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers made his first mark on the bank’s executive board, promoting Sabine Keller-Busse into a new role replacing Axel P. Lehmann and extending Iqbal Khan’s responsibilities.
Keller-Busse, one of UBS’s highest-ranking women, will take the role of a head of Personal & Corporate Banking as well as president of UBS Switzerland. Khan, co-head of Global Wealth Management, assumes Keller-Busse’s role as president of the EMEA region, while keeping his current responsibilities.
This gives Hamers an opportunity to make his pick for the COO position. The CEO, who succeeded Sergio Ermotti last month at Switzerland’s biggest bank, led an aggressive push into technological capabilities and online banking as CEO of ING Group.
Gyrus Capital, a healthcare sector-focused private equity firm, agreed to acquire heart valve business of LivaNova, a healthcare solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The LivaNova HV business is a global player in surgical heart valves with world-class products and compelling growth opportunities. This business fits squarely within our strategy to invest in transformational projects in the healthcare and sustainability sectors. We believe that, with a focus on the core products, this new independent company can maximize its potential through our investment in its products and people," Guy Semmens, Gyrus Managing Partner.
Gyrus Capital is advised by Alira Health, Medpass International, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Deloitte, Medeor, Eversheds Sutherland, Gowling WLG, and NCTM. LivaNova is advised by Goldman Sachs, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and Joele Frank.
CaixaBank shareholders have approved the $5bn acquisition of Bankia, creating a stronger, more efficient and more profitable institution.
The chairman also announced that CaixaBank is expecting to see a new wave of restructurings within the industry and that this is an exciting moment as we shape the banking world of tomorrow.
"We could not choose a better partner than Bankia to accompany us on this journey, and the merger will result in a stronger, more efficient and more profitable institution,” Jordi Gual, CaixaBank Chairman.
Bankia is advised by Rothschild & Co and Garrigues. CaixaBank is advised by Morgan Stanley and Uria Menendez. CriteriaCaixa is advised by Barclays, Citigroup and Cuatrecasas Goncalves Pereira. FROB is advised by Nomura.
Eni, an Italian multinational oil and gas company, agreed to acquire a 20% stake in Dogger Bank Wind Farm, an offshore wind farm company, from energy companies Equinor and SSE Renewable for $545m.
“For Eni, entering the offshore wind market in Northern Europe is a great opportunity to gain further skills in the sector thanks to the collaboration with two of the industry’s leading companies, and to make a substantial contribution to the 2025 target of 5GW of installed capacity from renewables, an intermediate step towards the more ambitious target of zero net direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by 2050," Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO.
Eni is advised by RBC Capital Markets and Bracewell. SSE is advised by Rothschild & Co and Linklaters.
The Engineered Stone Group, a European holding company, completed the acquisition of mcbath, a manufacturer of bathroom products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are pleased to welcome Javier and the entire mcbath team to The Engineered Stone Group. Having built a reputation for innovation and quality, mcbath's complementary geographic footprint and distinctive capabilities in areas like cut-to-measure and Solid Surface will create new opportunities for us to deliver differentiated value to our customers and channel partners," Brian McCluskie, ES Group CEO.
The Engineered Stone Group was advised by Houlihan Lokey, Milbank, Hogan Lovells, and Joele Frank.
Palatine Private Equity-backed CET Infrastructure, a provider of specialist geotechnical, environmental and materials testing services, completed the acquisition of Card Geotechnics, a geotechnical and geo-environmental consultancy. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are delighted to welcome the team at CGL to CET and excited about the range of skills and services that we can now offer. From the first time we met the team at CGL, we knew that we had a very similar focus around developing our staff and delivering for our customers," Peter Eglinton, CET CEO.
Palatine is advised by Grant Thornton and Browne Jacobson. Debt Financing is provided by Clydesdale Bank.
Universal Scientific Industrial, an electronics designer, and manufacturer completed the acquisition of Asteelflash, an electronics manufacturing service company for $450m, of which 89.6% is paid in cash, 10.4% is paid by issuing shares of USI.
"This is a new milestone for Asteelflash and we are excited to join the USI family. USI and Asteelflash's respective know-how will help us grow together, being more influential in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Together, we will broaden our capabilities, resources, and expertise to create new opportunities and serve our customers' stringent needs with the highest level of quality," Gilles Benhamou, Asteelflash CEO.
Universal Scientific Industrial was advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell. Asteelflash was De Pardieu Brocas Maffei.
Competition Market Authority cleared TFL Ledertechnik's $230m acquisition of leather chemicals business of LANXESS, a speciality chemicals company.
“We are convinced that the transfer to TFL will open up new growth and development prospects for the business and will thus significantly strengthen it. At the same time, we are making LANXESS somewhat more independent from the automotive industry, a key target industry for leather products,” Matthias Zachert, LANXESS Chairman of the Board of Management.
North Sixth Group, a family office holding company, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in SS Campobasso, a professional football club. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is a dream come true for me, as my grandparents immigrated to the United States from near Campobasso, and football has always been an important link in the immigrant experience. In a way, this enables me to relive my childhood and to stay connected to my grandparents who made incredible sacrifices to enable me to achieve my dreams," Matt Rizzetta, North Sixth Group Chairman.
Credit Suisse weights UBS merger. (FS)
Credit Suisse’s departing chairman, Urs Rohner, firmly indicated that the bank might consider a combination with its biggest rival, saying a merger with UBS Group isn’t unreasonable and would bring benefits, Bloombergreported.
UBS and Credit Suisse are smaller than rivals in the US and less richly valued by investors, and a single institution would have more clout. There are plenty of reasons why a merger of two large banks is complex, according to Urs Rohner.
European banks are trying to elaborate in their home markets before cross-border consolidation takes hold. The lack of a common deposit plan and banking union makes deals between financial firms in different countries less attractive.
Cassa Depositi to renew autostrade bid.
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti is examining a way of rejigging a bid for a stake in Autostrade per l’Italia to secure Italian companies keep control of the country’s largest toll highway operator, Bloombergreported.
The state-backed lender and investor is negotiating with infrastructure fund F2i to present a joint offer for most of Atlantia's 88% shareholding. The bid is still under consideration, and other Italian funds could be involved.
If successful, CDP’s offer would approach growing political pressure to keep key infrastructure companies in mainly Italian hands. It would also end a dispute between Atlantia’s key investor, Benetton family, and the government, sparked by the collapse of a bridge in Genoa that killed 43 people in 2018.
Virgin Money and OneSavings to join the competition for TSB. (FS)
Britain’s Virgin Money and OneSavings Bank are expected to show interest in TSB, a British lender, ahead of an auction process which is due to start next year.
Kensington Group, a British residential mortgage lender, and NewDay, a credit card provider, are also likely to join the competition as their respective private equity owners are seeking ways to add scale and banking capabilities to their portfolio investments, Reutersreported.
TSB is currently investigating possible bidders as it wants to launch an auction process in the first quarter of 2021 and wrap up the sale by next summer.
Atlantia extends deadline for motorway assets offers to mid-December.
Italian infrastructure group Atlantia is about to hold a board meeting by mid-December to examine potential bid for Autostrade per l’Italia, Atlantia's motorway unit, and call a shareholders’ meeting on the demerger of the unit.
This would give more time to state-backed lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and its co-investors to present a binding proposal for Autostrade as they were not ready to bid. But it was not clear whether the consortium led by CDP would be able to finalise a binding offer by the new time limit after a deadline on November 30 came and went, Reutersreported.
Atlantia and CDP have been in talks over Autostrade since July, but reaching an agreement has proven complicated so far. The sale of the motorway unit to CDP is aimed at settling a feud between the infrastructure group, Atlantia’s key investor, the Benetton family and the Italian government originated by the 2018 deadly collapse of a bridge operated by Autostrade.
BC Partners seeks to sell $7bn Springer Nature stake to itself. (FS)
BC Partners, a London-based alternative investment firm, is weighing selling its 47% stake in Springer-Verlag (Springer Nature), a Berlin-based academic publisher and a portfolio company of the British buyout firm, to a new fund that BC Partners will create.
BC Partners will invest alongside new external investors in a new fund, which may acquire BC Partners’ entire stake in Springer in a potential transaction valuing at $7bn. The transaction is not guaranteed and talks with the outside investors are continuing, FTreported.
The transaction would let investors in a BC Partners fund that was raised in 2011 cash out of a 47% stake in a business that BC Partners first bought into in 2013.
Asda weighs sales of gas stations.
Asda Group, a UK retailer, is considering selling some or all of its gas stations to EG Group, whose owners are in the process of buying the grocery chain.
TDR Capital, a private equity firm, and brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa are planning to buy Asda, in a £6.8bn ($9.15bn) deal, with current owner Walmart keeping a minority share. If the sale of the gas stations goes ahead, the assets would remain in the hands of TDR and the Issas since they also own EG Group, according to Bloomberg.
The buyout will be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority before closing. The size and structure of the debt financing may change depending on the potential sale of Asda’s forecourts.
Centrica plans to sell North Sea energy venture anew.
Centrica, the biggest UK energy supplier, has restarted talks over a potential deal on its North Sea oil and gas venture after putting the plans on hold earlier this year. The stake in Spirit Energy could value $1.8-$1.9bn, Bloombergreported.
The company is negotiating with several individuals regarding a sale of its controlling stake in Spirit Energy, but hasn’t restarted the official sale process, according to Centrica's representative.
Centrica has been trying to shed its exploration and production operations to focus on energy supply. It initially kicked off the Spirit Energy sale last year, when the business’s valuation was pegged at more than $2bn. The process was paused in April this year after a Saudi-Russian oil price war and the global pandemic that savaged demand.
Elliott makes a binding offer for Aryzta. (FS)
Elliott has made an offer for Aryzta and has financing from several lenders for the deal, putting pressure to take its $890m offer to shareholders.
The investment firm postponed its offer at the same level as the initial proposal of $0.9 per share that values at about $890m. The offer has financing in place from seven banks, Bloombergreported.
Aryzta finished negotiations with Elliott in October and has been working with advisers to explore asset disposals. Elliott is pushing Aryzta’s board to discuss the proposal with investors in making a binding offer.
Marwyn Value Investors launch three new acquisition companies.
Marwyn Value Investors announces the admission to the standard segment of the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange's Main Market of three new UK listed acquisition companies, Marwyn Acquisition I, Marwyn Acquisition II, and Marwyn Acquisition III.
In order to continue the implementation of its investment strategy, Marwyn has developed an efficient listed acquisition company model that will enable management partners to identify value-enhancing opportunities before raising additional capital.
The new acquisition companies will be agile in their investment approach and plan to explore opportunities across the Media & Entertainment, Technology & Software, Consumer E-commerce, Healthcare & Diagnostics and B2B Services.
HitecVision is in advanced talks to acquire Exxon UK assets. (FS)
Private equity firm HitecVision is in advanced talks to acquire Exxon Mobil’s oil assets in the UK North Sea, that could value Exxon at $1bn. Final terms of a transaction are still being negotiated.
There’s no certainty HitecVision will reach an agreement with Exxon, and another buyer could still emerge, Bloombergreported. Exxon kicked off the sale of its North Sea assets this summer, months later than originally expected because of the coronavirus crisis. The company is offering 15 fields that are forecast to produce 37k barrels of oil equivalent a day net this year.
Total plans to sell stake in Kurdistan oil field.
Total is considering a divestiture from an oil project in Iraqi Kurdistan, as it continues to offload assets in a bid to trim debt. Deliberations are ongoing, and no final decisions have been taken.
The French oil major is working with Jefferies Financial Group on the sale of its 18% stake in the Sarsang block. The holding could raise $500m, Bloombergreported.
Innoviz to merge with SPAC.
Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli startup focused on lidar and laser sensors used in autonomous vehicles, is planning to go public via a merger with Collective Growth. Collective Growth surged as much as 21%, Bloombergreported.
Collective Growth is seeking to raise $100-$350m in new equity to support a transaction, valuing the combined entity at more than $1bn. Terms could change as a deal isn’t finalized, and it’s possible talks could fall apart.
Rimac Automobili criticises blank-cheque deals.
The chief executive of electric sports car group Rimac Automobili has beaten the recent popularity to list via SPACs.
Many of the takeovers by special purpose acquisition companies would likely fail, according to Mate Rimac. “When we go public, I want to show the numbers, real numbers, and go public on reality, not on hype,” Mate Rimac.
Rimac claimed that blank-cheque deals, which list without the scrutiny of a traditional initial public offering, lack transparency and encourage short-term investing.
Hipgnosis to raise new funds at $1.3bn valuation.
Hipgnosis, a music publishing company that has spent $1.6bn buying up rights to almost 58k songs is considering fundraising to increase its portfolio.
Founder Merck Mercuriadis will continue to cherry-pick catalogues over the next two to three years as it doubles its base of songs and delivers on its promise to triple its net asset value,FTreported.
The company is actively discussing potential acquisitions valuing at $1.3bn, and is exploring ways of funding further investments, including a potential equity raise, which will be Hipgnosis’s third in six months.
Activist funds Quarz Capital and Black Crane successfully blocked a proposed $227m merger between REITs ESR-REIT and Sabana REIT.
The proposed tie-up between ESR-REIT and Sabana Shari’ah Compliant Industrial REIT was rejected by Sabana’s shareholders, quashing a deal that would have given the enlarged entity combined assets of about $3bn. While ESR-REIT investors overwhelmingly voted for the merger, Sabana failed to get the 75% support required, with just two-thirds of the votes in favor.
Quarz’s success in blocking the tie-up is a rare win for activists funds targeting REITs in Singapore. Quarz and Black Crane said they advise investors who collectively own more than 10% of the units of Sabana. The funds had also argued that the reduced value could be the result of a conflict of interest, since the managers are both owned by a unit of Asian logistics giant ESR Cayman. Both ESR and Sabana have maintained that the deal terms were fair and mutually beneficial to their investors, Bloomberg reported.
Sabana REIT is advised by Credit Suisse and HSBC. ESR-REIT is advised by Citigroup, Maybank, RHB Investment Bank, United Overseas Bank, WongPartnership, and Newgate Communications.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India sought an explanation from BSE, the country’s oldest exchange gave its no-objection certificate to Reliance's $3.4bn acquisition of Future Group.
In an update on November 27, the regulator said it is awaiting a reply to the "clarification" sought from the stock exchange on the draft composite scheme of arrangement between Future Group companies and Reliance Group companies.
Reliance is advised by Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Citigroup, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
Existing shareholders of Flipkart, an e-commerce giant, agreed to acquire a minority stake in PhonePe, a developer of application software, for $700m.
“Flipkart and PhonePe are already among the more prominent Indian digital platforms with over 250m users each. This partial spin-off gives PhonePe access to dedicated long-term capital to pursue our vision of providing financial inclusion to a billion Indians," Sameer Nigam, PhonePe Founder and CEO.
Service Express, an IT services provider, completed the acquisition of third-party maintenance division of Zensar Technologies, an IT services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Zensar has helped to expand the third-party maintenance industry and we're excited that they've chosen Service Express as the best partner to support their maintenance customers going forward," Ron Alvesteffer, Service Express President and CEO.
Grab and Gojek in talks to merge.
Grab Holdings and Gojek have moved forward in planning a deal to combine their companies in what would be the biggest internet merger in Southeast Asia.
The region’s two most valuable startups have narrowed their differences of opinion, though some parts of the agreement still need to be negotiated.
The final details are being worked out among the most senior leaders of each company with the participation of SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son, a major Grab investor. The talks are still fluid and may not result in a transaction. The deal would need regulatory approval and governments may have antitrust concerns about the unification of the region’s two leading ride-hailing companies.
Actis and Brookfield among frontrunners for Indian solar projects. (FS)
Private equity companies Actis and Brookfield Asset Management have appeared among the frontrunners to acquire a majority stake in Fortum's 500MW Indian solar projects.
The stake sale deal by Finland’s power utility, potentially estimated at about $606m, is set to rank among the largest in India’s green energy space, with Kotak Investment Banking running the sale process, DealStreetAsiareported.
The stake sale is part of Fortum’ strategy and its investment thesis of taking the early risks and monetising the projects later to raise capital to invest in future projects.
Three suitors submit preliminary bids for stake in BPCL.
The privatization of state-owned Bharat Petroleum has received three preliminary bids, according to India’s oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Pradhan said there was a lot of interest in BPCL and Department of Investment and Public Asset Management had recently informed the stock market about it.
The sale of 53% stake in India’s fuel retailer is essential for meeting the record $28.5bn target the finance minister has set from disinvestment proceeds in the budget for 2020-21. The qualifying bidder will not only have a controlling stake in BPCL, but will also get access to 25.77% market share in India’s fuel retailing segment, along with 15.3% of India’s total refining capacity, DealStreetAsiareported.
CCI to monitor private equity investments in India.
According to Ashok Kumar Gupta, chairperson of Competition Commission of India, minority stake purchases by private equity investors across different firms in the same industry requires to be examined for potential adverse impact on competition in the market.
The fair play regulator will take a deep dive into the investments in companies in the same industry held by various PE firms where they have board presence to see if these stifle competition in the overall sector in any manner, DealStreetAsiareported.
Gupta said that private equity investments have risen and the emerging trend was that foreign direct investment investments and other foreign investments have been overtaken by PE investments in India.
JD Logistics seeks bank pitches for $3bn IPO.
JD Logistics has asked banks to pitch for the lead role in its Hong Kong initial public offering of up to $3bn as it is initiating the deal in the first half of 2021.
The logistics business, the offshoot of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, would be the latest subsidiary of the parent company to be spun off and listed in Hong Kong. The IPO could raise $2bn to $3bn, Reutersreported.
Investment banks made presentations to JD Logistics executives on November 27 as part of the selection process. Official mandates have yet to be given to the banks, but JD is known to be close to UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Haitong Securities.
Affin Bank considers a $123m IPO. (FS)
Affin Bank is weighing an initial public offering of its asset management unit that could raise about $123m.
The Malaysian lender is working with advisers on the potential listing for Affin Hwang Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur as soon as the second half of next year, DealStreetAsiareported.
Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction.
Burger King India's IPO fully subscribed on day 1.
The initial public offer of Burger King India, a fast food restaurant chain, was fully subscribed on the first day of bidding.
The retail portion of the share sale was subscribed 5.1 times, while the portion of shares reserved for institutional investors received no subscription as of yet and that for high net worth investors was subscribed 7%, DealStreetAsiareported.
Burger King India, which currently operates 268 stores in India has fixed the price band at $0.8 a share. Proceeds of the funds will be used to repay existing debt and finance capital expenditure for new company-owned stores.
JBIC to invest $4bn in new Indonesian sovereign wealth fund. (FS)
Japan Bank for International Cooperation had committed to invest $4bn in the Southeast Asian country’s soon-to-be-launched sovereign wealth fund.
The commitment was conveyed by JBIC Governor Tadashi Maeda in a meeting with an Indonesian delegation led by the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, DealStreetAsia reported.
Officials plan to increase the fund to $15bn and will use it to finance infrastructure projects and President Joko Widodo’s plan to relocate Indonesia’s capital to Borneo island from Jakarta. Indonesia would follow up the JBIC commitment by preparing the technical details, to realize the investment in the first quarter of 2021.
Xiaomi raises $3.9bn in equity deal.
Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone maker, has raised $3.91bn as part of a deal that includes Hong Kong’s largest top-up placement.
Potential investors have been told the price should be $3.06 for the 1bn shares sold down in the deal.
A convertible bond deal to raise $855m was also finalised to take Xiaomi’s total raising to $3.91bn.
Keppel units launch $600m fund and secure $400m first close. (FS)
Keppel Capital Holdings and Keppel Land have jointly launched a $600m Keppel Vietnam Fund, and secured a first closing of $400m.
The fund has also attracted co-investment commitment from a global institutional investor. For Keppel Capital this is an inaugural Vietnam-focused real estate fund. The fund seeks to invest alongside Keppel Land in real estate projects, including residential developments, commercial properties, and mixed-use projects and townships in Vietnam, with a focus on Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Alpha Investment Partners, the private fund management arm of Keppel Capital, will be the fund manager, while Keppel Land will be the development and property manager of the properties in the fund, DealStreetAsiareported.
Beijing city government’s arm will not invest in Danke. (FS, RE)
An investment arm of Beijing’s city government is not planning to fund property rental firm Danke, after a rumour of it negotiating with the cash-strapped Phoenix Tree Holdings brand before its partner bank stepped in to help tenants.
Beijing E-town was considering becoming a major investor in the latest round of financing for Danke following protests by landlords, tenants and contractors in China’s major cities, DealStreetAsiareported.
Beijing E-town International Investment and Development had never had any intention of investing in the Danke Apartment project. The private equity firm was not an area that it would direct its investment to.
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