Google has offered not to use health data of fitness tracker company Fitbit to help it target ads in an attempt to address EU antitrust concerns about its proposed $2.1bn acquisition, Reuters reported.
"This deal is about devices, not data. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an approach that safeguards consumers' expectations that Fitbit device data won't be used for advertising," Google.
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.
Wafra, a global alternative investment platform, agreed to invest $400m in Digital Colony, the digital investment management division of Colony Capital, a global investment management firm.
"We are thrilled to welcome Wafra as a strategic investor in Digital Colony. This investment will build on our successful early investments together, while accelerating Colony Capital's long-term growth strategy. We are confident that Wafra's exceptional track record, coupled with its international platform and network of resources makes them the right partner as we continue to capitalize on the powerful secular tailwinds driving investment in digital infrastructure globally," Marc Ganzi, Colony Capital CEO.
Wafra is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Edelman. Colony Capital is advised by Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Sullivan & Cromwell and Joele Frank.
RSG Group, a fitness and lifestyle company, agreed to acquire Gold's Gym, an American chain of international co-ed fitness centres, for $100m.
"Gold's Gym is a fitness institution that had a major influence on the industry's development. It was a huge source of inspiration when I was setting up my first McFIT studio in Würzburg, Germany back in 1997. I am incredibly proud that, in partnership with their current leadership team, we will be able to breathe new life into this iconic brand under the umbrella of the RSG Group," Rainer Schaller, RSG Group Founder and CEO.
Gold's Gym is advised by SPM Communications. RSG Group is advised by
CenterOak Partners-backed Service Champions, a provider of essential home services, completed the acquisition of ABC Cooling Heating & Plumbing, a provider of residential air conditioning and plumbing repair services headquartered in Hayward, California. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Service Champions has been actively expanding over the past twelve months to better serve customers in key regions across the Western United States. ABC's location density in a strategic area combined with Service Champion's commitment to operational excellence made this an ideal fit for the Service Champions platform," Lucas Cutler, CenterOak Managing Partner.
Next47, a global venture firm, led a $100m Series C round in Skydio, a US-based drone manufacturer, with participation from Levitate Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, and Playground.
"The drone market has reached a critical mass of commercial revenues and top-down buying behaviours, solidifying our thesis that now is the right time to invest. Skydio has what we firmly believe is the best autonomy stack in the world. While their innovation is in the software, they also developed the hardware to create an integrated product that fully capitalizes on autonomous capabilities. We're excited to be a key partner in their growth," T.J. Rylander, Next47 General Partner.
GardaWorld, a Canadian private security firm, completed the acquisition of WorldAware, a security risk management firm based in the United States. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The competitive landscape has seen radical shifts and an integrated approach to managing risk, coupled with the right mix of capabilities, has never been more important. GardaWorld continues to lead in establishing this new paradigm to the benefit of our clients around the world," Stephan Crétier, GardaWorld Founder, President and CEO.
GardaWorld was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Net Element, a global technology and value-added solutions group, has amended the original Letter of Intent to reflect an extended exclusivity period of 30 days, until August 10, 2020.
"We are working earnestly on due diligence and other matters in the hope of bringing this merger to fruition for the benefit of our shareholders. The EV industry continues showing robust growth, and if consummated, we believe the merger can increase shareholder value," Oleg Firer, Net Element Chairman and CEO.
Robinhood, a US-based financial services company, extended its Series F funding round with another $320m, bringing the total raised in this round so far to $600m. The top-up to the round came from new investors IVP and TSG Consumer Partners.
The latest round of funding now puts the fintech's valuation at around the $8.6bn mark, up from the $8.3bn valuation it gained in May.
Iconix Brand considers strategic options, including a potential sale.
Iconix Brand Group is considering selling itself or combining with another company as the firm broadens its search for a financial lifeline, Bloomberg reported.
The brand-licensing company said that its board authorized management and its advisers to study options including a sale, merger, debt and equity financings, or other alternatives to keep the firm afloat.
New York-based Iconix owns, licenses and markets consumer brands across fashion and sports, including Candie’s and Ed Hardy. It’s been shedding certain assets to raise cash, including Starter China, which it agreed to sell for $16m in June.
Boston Scientific considers divesting its specialty pharmaceutical business.
Boston Scientific, a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of minimally invasive medical devices, is considering a divestment of its specialty pharmaceutical business focused on treatments for snake venom, which could obtain around to $1bn, Bloomberg reported.
Boston Scientific is working with advisers on the potential sale. No final decision has been made, and Boston Scientific could opt to keep the business.
UiPath plans US IPO.
UiPath, a software maker that helps companies automate repetitive tasks like data entry, is preparing a US IPO next year, its chief executive officer said, after closing a funding round valuing it at $10.2bn.
All the remote work done during the pandemic has increased the need for automation, with the US turning into UiPath’s fastest-growing market, Daniel Dines said.
“Definitely next year, in case the market conditions will be okay for an IPO, we are ready to take the step,” Daniel Dines, UiPath CEO.
Ackman’s blank-check company raises IPO target to $4bn. (FS)
Bill Ackman’s blank-check company increased the size of its IPO, aiming to raise $4bn for an unspecified acquisition, PE Insights reported. Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is now marketing 200m units for $20 apiece.
The special purpose acquisition company earlier disclosed 150m units for the same price, with an aim to raise $3bn. The units include one share and a warrant for one-ninth of a share, plus a warrant that comes with special restrictions. Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management will at some point add to that pot with its own multi-billion dollar contribution, to help the SPAC acquire a target.
Brussels is demanding that EssilorLuxottica, a Franco-Italian eyewear company, to sell retail stores in Italy and another EU country, either France or Holland, to secure its planned $8.1bn acquisition of GrandVision, an optical retailer, FT reported.
But EssilorLuxottica has not yet committed to offloading shops as it argues that it might be too challenging to divest them at a time of particularly harsh trading conditions because of the pandemic.
The EU is concerned that the proposed deal could undermine competition by reducing the number of rivals in the wholesale market for eyewear and lenses and the retail supply of optical products.
GrandVision is advised by ING Bank, Bredin Prat and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. EssilorLuxottica is advised by BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, BonelliErede, Latham & Watkins, Stibbe, Sullivan & Cromwell, Brunswick Group and Community Group. Debt financing is provided by Credit Agricole and HSBC. Debt providers are advised by Hogan Lovells. HAL is advised by NautaDutilh.
The CEO of UBI Banca has promised to be a buyer rather than a seller in the consolidation of Italy's fragmented banking sector, dismissing a takeover bid by the country's largest bank Intesa Sanpaolo as anti-competitive, FT reported.
"I understand that in certain countries it is desirable that large banks buy out smaller peers, but while Spain, France or the UK have several large banks, Italy only has one. The takeover would create a kind of monopoly, and I don't think it's appropriate," Victor Massiah, UBI CEO.
UBI Banca is advised by Goldman Sachs, BonelliErede and Linklaters. Intesa Sanpaolo is advised by Equita SIM, JP Morgan, Mediobanca, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Gatti Pavesi Bianchi and Pedersoli Studio Legale.
Private equity firm TA Associates and EQT Partners-managed funds EQT VIII and EQT IX agreed to acquire IFS, a global enterprise software provider that enables business to digitalize their core operations, from EQT VII for $3.4bn.
"We are excited to continue our journey with EQT, now with the additional support and commitment from TA Associates. Both have deep enterprise software experience, which make them ideal partners to further accelerate our growth. IFS is the global leader in FSM, a fast-growing market where we continue to win market share. This is where we believe that we can help our customers create the most value, by enabling them to provide their customers with superior service and experience. IFS' proposition in the market is compelling and differentiated, which, when combined with the market opportunity, provides all the right ingredients for continued growth," Darren Roos, IFS CEO.
EQT VIII and EQT IX are advised by JP Morgan. TA Associates is advised by Arma Partners and BackBay Communications. EQT VII is advised by Goldman Sachs and Jefferies & Company.
Vengrove Asset Management, a real estate investment management firm, led a $320m Series A round in Karma Kitchen, a provider of shared and private kitchen spaces intended for businesses. The round was also backed by early-stage venture firm Omakase Investment Club.
"Instead of increasing the budget of venture capital to invest in investments and site development, we opted for a true real estate organization that advertises acquisitions of genuine goods. The nature of what we were going to exploit coins to move the rental sites and put them up ourselves, is a great friend to have a real real estate wife who has a constant fund to buy the loose houses from the sites and then build them for us," Eccie Newton, Karma Kitchen Co-Founder.
Blackstone led a $200m funding round for Oatly, a vegan food brand. The round was joined by Oprah Winfrey, Roc Nation, Natalie Portman, Howard Schultz, Orkila Capital, and Rabobank.
"Leaders in asset management like Blackstone play an essential role in order to create real sustainable change. It is my belief that capital has to turn green and do so for the right reasons. Since we re-launched our brand in 2013, our focus has been to positively impact society by enabling people to change their lives with better, more environmentally responsible food choices, and in so doing, re-shape the food system to better contribute to the future of the planet. We chose to partner with Blackstone Growth because of their tremendous resources and unique reach. Our new partners' commitment to supporting us and furthering of our mission is a clear indication of where the world is heading, which is in a new, more sustainable direction," Toni Petersson, Oatly CEO.
Orlen plans to acquire PGNiG worth $7.8bn.
PKN Orlen, Poland’s biggest oil refiner, signed a letter of intent with the government to acquire a controlling stake in the PGNiG, country’s biggest gas company as part of the state’s drive to create national champions.
The proposed acquisition is part of the government’s push to create Polish national champions in the mold of South Korea or Japan, which will be able to compete abroad. Orlen’s aim is to become the biggest energy conglomerate in the country, spanning oil, gas as well as power production. This year, it bought utility Energa for $870m.
“We have a plan of further integration by an enlarged Orlen so that Polish companies don’t compete against each other in foreign markets. We can increase capacity and take advantage of synergies in retail,” Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland Prime Minister.
Virgin Atlantic secures $1.25bn rescue.
Virgin Atlantic Airways secured a $1.25bn rescue in a major victory for Richard Branson, who snatched his UK airline from the threat of failure under the weight of the coronavirus crisis.
Davidson Kempner Capital Management, US hedge fund, will provide about £170m ($214m) in secured financing, while Branson, its billionaire founder, will contribute £200m ($252m) after raising money from his Virgin Galactic Holdings space venture.
The review, on which Goldman Sachs is advising, is at an early stage. It is not known how much interest financial or industry players might have in Arm, and it is possible SoftBank will ultimately choose to do nothing.
Uganda pushes MTN to list 20% of shares on a local exchange.
MTN Group’s Ugandan unit is required to list at least 20% of its shares on the local stock exchange within two years.
An IPO was one of the conditions for the renewal of the permit for 12 years effective July 1, Uganda Communications Commission spokesman Ibrahim Bbossa said. Local ownership in MTN Uganda is about 4%.
The unit of South Africa’s MTN that is Uganda’s biggest wireless carrier has been operating on temporary permits since its initial 20-year license expired in October 2018. It will pay $100m for the fresh license.
Martin Franklin considers $1b blank check IPO. (FS)
Martin E. Franklin, a serial dealmaker, is working with advisers to raise a new blank-check company, Bloomberg reported.
Franklin, a founder of Jarden, is working with Citigroup and UBS Group on the potential special purpose acquisition company. The vehicle will likely raise at least $1bn to acquire a consumer company. It will probably list in the UK.
ChemChina in talks with state funds about Syngenta’s pre-IPO.
China National Chemical, a Chinese state-owned chemical company, has held talks with potential investors, including China Investment for a stake sale in Syngenta Group before an IPO of the Swiss agrochemicals company, Bloomberg reported.
ChemChina has also approached Silk Road Fund, among Chinese state-backed funds for investments into Syngenta. ChemChina was looking to raise as much as $10bn in Syngenta’s pre-IPO round.
Reliance's Jio Platforms, an Indian digital services company, received another $5.6bn tranche of payment from private equity funds KKR, TPG, Vista Equity Partners and sovereign wealth funds ADIA and Mubadala.
With the latest tranche of payments, Jio awaits investment money from only two more investors - Intel Capital and Qualcomm Ventures.
In addition, Google is in advanced talks to acquire a $4bn stake in Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s technology venture, Bloomberg reported, seeking to join rival Facebook in the chase for growth in a promising internet market.
Reliance is advised by Morgan Stanley, AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell. PIF is advised by Citigroup and Latham & Watkins. L Catterton is advised by Kirkland & Ellis. TPG Capital is advised by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Mubadala is advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Silver Lake is advised by Latham & Watkins, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. KKR is advised by Deloitte, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. General Atlantic is advised by Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Vista Equity is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Qualcomm is advised by Trilegal.
Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation, led a $1.2bn funding round in Flipkart, an e-commerce company, reaching a valuation of $25bn. The latest equity will be funded in two tranches over the remainder of the fiscal year.
"We're grateful for the strong backing of our shareholders as we continue to build our platform and serve the growing needs of Indian consumers during these challenging times," Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart CEO .
Hillhouse Capital seeks to invest $1bn in Beigene. (FS)
Hillhouse Capital plans to invest $1bn in Chinese biotechnology company Beigene, Bloomberg reported, in the largest equity financing ever by a biotech company.
After the investment, Hillhouse’s stake in Beigene will increase to about 12.6% from its current 7.5%. An announcement with details of the investment by the Asian private equity firm could be made as early as Tuesday.
I Squared considers options for HGC Global. (FS)
I Squared Capital, an infrastructure-focused private equity firm, is weighing options for its Hong Kong fixed-line operator HGC Global Communications, Bloombergreported.
The US-based firm is considering possibilities including combining HGC Global’s international network assets with another company in the sector such as PCCW Global, the international enterprise unit of HKT. I Squared could also explore selling a stake in HGC Global or preparing an IPO.
Unacademy seeks to raise funding from Softbank. (FS)
Facebook-backed, Unacademy, online learning platform, is in talks with Japanese investment behemoth SoftBank to raise funding, DealStreetAsia reported.
If talks fructify, Softbank could lead a $150-200m funding round in Unacademy at a valuation of $1.2bn, thereby making it a unicorn. The proposed transaction highlights how ed-tech startups in India are increasingly becoming favourites of risk capital investors amidst the Covid-19 crisis that has spruced up demand for online learning.
Carlyle teams with Shinhan Group to launch a joint $600m infrastructure fund. (FS)
The Carlyle Group, a global alternative investment firm, has joined hands with South Korea’s Shinhan Alternative Investment Management to launch a $600m infrastructure fund.
The vehicle, Shinhan-Carlyle Infra Credit 1, has already made investments in prime infrastructure loan products in Europe and the US. The fund is expected to secure annual returns of 6-8% in Korean won terms.
Ayala Land gets an initial nod for REIT IPO.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines has issued a pre-effective approval for the IPO of the country’s first-ever REIT sponsored by listed property giant Ayala Land, which seeks to raise up to $303m, DealStreetAsia reported.
Ayala Land will offer 1.09bn common shares on the main board of the PSE. The offering will comprise 47.86m new common shares and up to 409m existing common shares, with an over-allotment option of up to 46m secondary shares, at $0.61 each.
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