Cresco Labs, a US-based vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator, cancelled the $283m acquisition of Tryke, a vertically integrated seed-to-sale cannabis company, saying regulatory delays, a decline in capital markets and the coronavirus pandemic all led to the companies' mutual decision to call off the deal.
“The decisions we have made over the past year have de-risked Cresco, leaving us with one of the most experienced management teams, and one of the strongest balance sheets to deploy into our high-return, core markets. We know that times of uncertainty come with opportunity. Terminating the Agreement puts Cresco in a position to better manage any potential future implications from Covid, take advantage of the current macro environment and succeed in achieving our goal of building the most important cannabis company in the US,” Charlie Bachtell, Cresco CEO.
Rapid7, a provider of security analytics and automation, agreed to acquire DivvyCloud, a provider of cloud security posture management, for $145m. The purchase price includes $128m in cash to be paid at closing, $8m of deferred cash payments and $9m in stock.
"We are thrilled to welcome DivvyCloud, its customers, and the entire DivvyCloud team to the Rapid7 family. With the acceleration of cloud adoption introducing new enterprise risk areas, we're excited to bring Security and DevOps teams together with DivvyCloud's best-of-breed compliance, risk management and governance for multi-cloud and container environments, while also integrating it with our Insight Cloud platform to create enduring customer value," Corey Thomas, Rapid7 Chairman and CEO.
DivvyCloud is advised by DC Advisory and Miles & Stockbridge.
FTV Capital, a sector-focused growth equity investment firm, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Docupace, a software services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"From the outset of our discussions, it was clear that FTV Capital offered the ideal combination of deep domain expertise and value-add. In the coming weeks and months, we have an exciting pipeline of near-term capabilities for our clients that we will be unveiling for the first time. With the backing of FTV Capital, Docupace begins a new era of success, in alignment with a business partner that shares our vision and possesses a unique ability to help us accelerate our growth as we leverage FTV's Global Partner Network and more than 20 years of experience working with companies like ours," Michael Pinsker, Docupace Founder and President.
Docupace was advised by Haven Tower Group. FTV Capital was advised by Prosek Partners.
One Equity Partners-backed Orion Innovation, a provider of digital transformation and product development services, completed the acquisition of Tekmark Global Solutions, a global technology services firm specializing in software engineering, quality engineering, telecom engineering, managed services, cybersecurity and data analytics. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Strengthening the engineering capacity of our US-based delivery centers has been a strategic priority for Orion as we aggressively grow our digital transformation platform to deliver 'agility at scale'. This acquisition achieves that objective. Despite the sudden impact to business by the global pandemic, we've been able to continue to execute on our strategic growth plans. For that, we are thankful to our associates, clients, and partners for their role in helping us stay on this track by seamlessly adapting to this new normal," Raj Patil, Orion CEO.
Gauge Capital-backed Schlesinger Group, a marketing research company completed the acquisition of 20|20 Research, a provider of online qualitative research and technology solutions for marketing industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We look forward to bringing our technology-focused thinking to the broad platform that Schlesinger Group has created over the past fifty-plus years. Our clients will benefit from Schlesinger Group and Market Cube's global reach, vast panels, and data science capabilities for online quantitative. Our shared core values, culture, and vision for a future led by technology reinforce Schlesinger and 20|20 as ideal partners to help companies connect with their audiences for success in the marketplace," Isaac Rogers, 20|20 Research CEO.
LPL Financial, a retail investment advisory firm and independent broker, agreed to acquire Lucia Securities, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisory firm that serves c. 20 advisors and $1.5bn of client assets. The transaction is structured as an asset purchase agreement and is expected to close in the second half of 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are honored and excited to have this terrific group of experienced advisors joining LPL. At LPL, Lucia Securities' advisors and their clients will benefit from the strength and breadth of our capabilities, technology and services. We look forward to supporting Lucia Securities on the next phase of their growth," Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial Managing Director and Divisional President, Business Development.
Genesis Credit, a brand of Genesis Financial Solutions that provides near-prime consumer financing solutions, completed the acquisition of Tidewater Credit, a nationwide provider of near-prime financing. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled at the opportunity to welcome Tidewater Credit's merchant relationships to the Genesis Credit family. With both organizations offering industry-leading programs and platform technology solutions, along with a strong commitment to excellent customer service, the transition of Tidewater's merchant relationships will be without disruption and seamless," Mark Denman, Genesis Credit President.
BlackRock completed an investment in Cofense, an intelligent phishing defence solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are pleased to build upon our relationship with BlackRock following one of our strongest quarters in company history. Combined with recent enhancements to Cofense's leadership structure and the addition of Tom to our board of directors, the company is well positioned to meet growth and profitability targets in the coming year," Rohyt Belani, Cofense Co-Founder and CEO.
The Riverside Company completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Performance Systems Integration, a provider of fire and life safety services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We're delighted to partner with such a customer-focused team as we continue to grow PSI's geographic footprint. Together, we will be able to offer more services and support to better serve customers and will continue building upon the strong business BFS has built over the years," Travis Everton, PSI CEO.
Democrats looking to stop mergers during coronavirus pandemic. (FS)
Two of the most popular Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are looking to introduce legislation to stop many mergers while the United States struggles economically during the coronavirus pandemic.
Warren and Ocasio-Cortez said they would formally introduce the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act to put a moratorium on all mergers that would normally be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, and any involving companies with more than $100m in revenue or private equity companies, among others.
Jaws Acquisition files for $400m IPO. (FS)
Jaws Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company co-founded by billionaire real estate executive Barry Sternlicht, is planning to raise about $400m in an initial public offering, Bloomberg reported.
Jaws Acquisition plans to issue 40m units at $10 apiece. It intends to target companies in growth-oriented industries and not compete with Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group, which focuses on real estate, lodging, oil and gas and energy infrastructure.
Chipmaker NVIDIA's $6.9bn acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, a networking equipments manufacturer, won approval from China and other regulators in the face of fierce opposition from competitors, Bloomberg reported.
"Rivals that also tried to buy the Israeli chipmaker hated the transaction. The acquisition took longer than expected because of an extended technical review and the collection of industry feedback, particularly in a market as large and complex as China. Some of those opposed to NVIDIA's purchase, including other bidders, wanted explicit assurances that access to Mellanox's data center network chip technology would remain open," Jensen Huang, NVIDIA CEO.
Mellanox was advised by Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Herzog Fox & Neeman and Latham & Watkins. NVIDIA was advised by Goldman Sachs, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Jones Day, Yigal Arnon & Co and Brunswick Group. Goldman Sachs was advised by Sullivan & Cromwell.
OLX Group, Prosus's global classifieds business, agreed to merge with Emerging Markets Property Group, a property portal group in emerging markets, in Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE, in a $150m deal. After transaction OLX Group will become EMPG's largest single shareholder, owning 39% of the company, and EMPG will be valued at $1bn.
"I'm proud of what we have built in these four markets. Our brands are household names, and currently help tens of millions of people to exchange goods and services every month. The next phase is an exciting one, with EMPG's real estate industry expertise helping deepen the customer experience. As EMPG's largest shareholder, we'll have a front seat to explore how we can scale their services model further - taking our ambition to shape the future of classifieds into its next stage," Martin Scheepbouwer, OLX Group CEO.
Cerus Advisors-backed Opocrin, a global manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, completed the acquisition of Laboratori Derivati Organici, a pharmaceutical company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Cerus Advisors has dedicated significant time and resources to the development of LDO over the last 9 years and this transaction represents the culmination of these efforts. We are also pleased with the creation of a group that has significant potential for continued value creation for its shareholders," Marios Fotiadis, Cerus Chairman, Manager Partner.
Private equity firm True completed the acquisition of a 50% stake in Hush, a clothing, shoes and lifestyle products retailer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“At True, we invest in businesses that are at the forefront of the consumer behavioural shift. We have spent several years building a brilliant relationship with the Hush team and we are delighted to be partnering with them for this next stage of growth. The business is ideally positioned to grow its share of both the UK and international clothing markets due to its agile, digital-first business model, loyal customer base and relevant, contemporary product range," Matt Truman, True Co-founder and CEO.
Unilever, L'Oreal among firms looking to buy Charlotte Tilbury. (FS)
Unilever, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder are among firms vying to buy British makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, Bloomberg reported. The London-based brand, founded by makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, is working with advisers at Goldman Sachs and Jefferies & Company, and could fetch more than $1.24bn.
Puig, the firm behind Penhaligon’s and Paco Rabanne perfumes brands, Japanese cosmetics-maker Shiseido and several private equity firms have also shown interest in Charlotte Tilbury.
SAP in talks to sell digital interconnect unit to Sinch.
SAP, Europe’s biggest tech company by market value, is in advanced talks to sell its digital interconnect business to Swedish mobile messaging firm Sinch, Bloomberg reported. An agreement could be reached soon. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The German firm is working with an adviser to gauge interest in the business. The unit could fetch several hundred million dollars in a sale. SAP rose 1.4% on Tuesday in Frankfurt, giving the company a market value of $145bn. Sinch rose as much as 2.7% in Stockholm trading, giving the company a market value of more than $2.6bn.
BC Partners in talks to acquire Forthnet. (FS)
BC Partners, owner of United Group, entered into exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Greek telecoms operator Forthnet, Private Equity News reported.
The deal could be worth a total of €100m ($108m), and would include the acquisition of shares held by Greek banks Alpha, Piraeus, and National, and the company's loan obligations.
Apollo nears deal to invest $300m in Cimpress. (FS)
Apollo Global Management is nearing a deal to invest $300m in Cimpress, the commercial printing company that owns Vistaprint and has been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
The investment, which could be announced as soon as April 30, comes in the form of a second-lien secured note with a 12% coupon. Apollo would also receive seven-year warrants to purchase the equivalent of just under 4% of Cimpress’s shares outstanding.
Planned IPO of Hidroelectrica unlikely in 2020. (FS)
The initial public offering of Romanian state-owned hydro power producer Hidroelectrica is unlikely to happen this year as previously announced, the manager of investment fund Fondul Proprietatea said.
The $2.2bn fund, which holds a 20% stake in Hidroelectrica, amounting to almost half of its net asset value, said a listing of a minority stake was most likely next year.
“We have always been communicating our view that we do not believe it will happen this year. From where we are evaluating the situation right now there is no reason to anticipate a major delay to third or second quarter of next year for a potential IPO,” Johan Meyer, Fondul Manager.
A consortium of investors led by Hefei City Construction and Investment Holding, CMG-SDIC Capital and Anhui Provincial Emerging Industry Investment, is set to acquire a 24.1% stake in NIO China, a smart electric vehicle maker, for $989m.
Upon the completion of the investments, NIO will hold 75.9% of controlling equity interests in NIO China, and the strategic investors will collectively hold the remaining 24.1%.
Private equity firm Shenzhen Shiyu Investment Management led a $278m Series A round for Mabwell BioScience, a biopharmaceutical firm. Oriental Fortune Capital, Loyal Valley Innovation Capital, Haitong Innovation Capital Management, Founder H Fund, Haurong Rongde Asset Management, Huajin Capital, Sincere Capital, Winfast Holding and other investors also participated in the new round.
"The fundraising amount has exceeded our initial expectation. Under a critical time when the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the world, we managed to obtain the trust from many professional institutional investors including Shiyu Capital, as well as funds with links to China's Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Science and Technology, among other backgrounds," Liu Datao, Mabwell President.
Axis Bank, the third-largest Indian bank, agreed to acquire a 28.5% stake in Max Life Insurance, a life insurance company, from Max India, which is engaged in the business of investments and providing consultancy services to group companies, for $212m. Axis Bank expects the transaction to complete in six to nine months, subject to regulatory approvals.
"We continue to believe in the long term prospects of India's under-penetrated life insurance space, current environment notwithstanding. We see this joint venture creating immense value for our stakeholders given our long standing, high performing partnership with Max Life. We believe this transaction will allow us to deepen our working relationship leading to better integrated teams and infrastructure and a superior alignment in our approach," Amitabh Chaudhry, Axis Bank Managing Director and CEO.
GSK plans sale of $3.7bn stake in Hindustan Unilever.
GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to start a sale of its $3.7bn stake in Hindustan Unilever, Bloomberg reported. GSK plans to offload part or all of its 5.7% holding in Hindustan Unilever through a series of block trades, which could start as soon as the next few days. The company is in discussions with advisers on when to launch the transactions.
ADM Capital raises $630m for private credit investments. (FS)
Hong Kong-headquartered investment manager ADM Capital raised $630m for private credit investments in Asia, taking its total assets under management to $2.4bn. The firm will cater to mid-sized companies in the region that are unable to secure financing from traditional financial institutions.
"The impacts of Covid-19 compound daily. And whilst the extent of the economic disruption is still unknown, we believe small and medium enterprises will be disproportionately affected as traditional lenders prioritise top-tier clients and their requests for urgent working capital," Chris Botsford, ADM Co-founding Partner and Joint Chief Investment Officer.
JD is said to file for $2bn Hong Kong second listing.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com filed confidentially for a second listing in Hong Kong, joining rival Alibaba in tapping the city’s stock market for funds. JD’s listing could come as early as the second half of the year.
The offering could raise at least $2bn. The Beijing-based company, which currently trades on Nasdaq, has a market value of $64bn. Deliberations are ongoing and the size of the offering could still change.
The deal comes after Alibaba Group Holding raised $13bn in a Hong Kong share sale last year. That much larger deal was hailed as a homecoming for Chinese companies and a win for Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, which lost these deals to its US counterparts a decade ago because it did not allow dual-class share voting at the time.
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