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Casino operator Eldorado Resorts received approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission in connection with its pending acquisition of Caesars Entertainment. The transaction is expected to be consummated in the first half of 2020 and remains subject to the receipt of all required regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
“We believe this combination will build on the accomplishments and best-in-class operating practices of both companies. I’m familiar with Eldorado and its management team, having worked with them on a previous transaction, and I look forward to collaborating with them to bring our companies together." Tony Rodio, Caesars CEO.
Caesars Entertainment is advised by Deutsche Bank, PJT Partners, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Ropes & Gray, and Teneo. Eldorado Resorts is advised by Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Macquarie Group, Latham & Watkins, Milbank, Cravath Swaine & Moore, and JCIR. Debt financing is provided by Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, and Macquarie Group.
Kronos, a provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions, agreed to merge with Ultimate Software, global provider of cloud human capital management and employee experience solutions, at a $22bn valuation.
Hellman & Friedman, the controlling shareholder of both Kronos and Ultimate, will be the controlling shareholder of the newly formed company. Following H&F, private equity funds managed by Blackstone will be the largest minority investor, followed by GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and JMI Equity.
"The combination of Ultimate and Kronos paves the way to deliver the next generation of employee-facing solutions that will set the standard for the workforce of the future. This merger will enable our more than 12k inspired people around the world to deliver innovation in human capital management faster than ever before. Both companies remain fully committed to their core strengths as well as to the combined benefits that the new company will bring to employees and customers," Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software CEO.
Ultimate Software is advised by Goldman Sachs and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Kronos is advised by Morgan Stanley and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Blackstone is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret, an American designer, manufacturer, and marketer of women's lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products, from L Brands, a seller of women's apparel and beauty products, for $525m.
"We have long had great respect and admiration for L Brands and its success in building a world-class portfolio of lingerie and beauty brands. With unmatched global brand awareness and customer loyalty, we believe there is a significant opportunity to reinvigorate growth and improve the profitability of Victoria’s Secret. We look forward to partnering with the leadership team to pursue these objectives,” Stefan Kaluzny, Sycamore Partners Managing Director.
L Brands is advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell, BridgePark Advisors, Barington Capital Group, and PJT Partners. Sycamore Partners is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Eli Lilly and Company, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, completed the acquisition of Dermira, a biopharmaceutical company, for $1.1bn.
"We are pleased to complete the acquisition of Dermira, and look forward to continuing their important work to develop new therapeutic options for patients with chronic skin conditions," Patrik Jonsson, Lilly Senior Vice President.
Dermira was advised by Citigroup, SVB Leerink, Fenwick & West, and Ropes & Gray. Eli Lilly was advised by Evercore and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Dialog Semiconductor, a provider of power management, charging, AC/DC power conversion, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology, agreed to acquire Adesto Technologies, a provider of innovative custom integrated circuits and embedded systems for the industrial Internet of Things market, for $500m.
“This acquisition substantially enhances our position in the Industrial IoT market. Adesto’s established strength in connectivity solutions and highly optimized products for building and industrial automation perfectly complements and adds scale to our Industrial IoT portfolio from the recently acquired Creative Chips. Adesto’s deep customer relationships, comprehensive system expertise, and proprietary technology will deliver enhanced value for Dialog customers,” Jalal Bagherli, Dialog Semiconductor CEO.
Adesto is advised by Cowen & Company, Fenwick & West, and Shelton Group. Dialog is advised by BMO Capital Markets, Hogan Lovells, and FTI Consulting.
Alphabet-owned Google’s $2.1bn bid for fitness trackers company Fitbit could pose privacy risks, the European Data Protection Board warned, adding its voice to other critics of the deal.
Google announced the deal in November last year, as it seeks to compete with Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches. Fitbit, whose fitness trackers and other devices monitor users’ daily steps, calories burned, and distance traveled, would give the US tech giant access to a trove of health data gathered from Fitbit devices.
Fitbit is advised by Qatalyst Partners and Fenwick & West. Google is advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm, agreed to acquire E*TRADE, a provider of online brokerage and financial services, for $13bn. Under the terms of the agreement, E*TRADE stockholders will receive 1.0432 Morgan Stanley shares for each E*TRADE share, which represents per share consideration of $58.74 based on the closing price of Morgan Stanley common stock on February 19, 2020.
“Since we created the digital brokerage category nearly 40 years ago, E*TRADE has consistently disrupted the status quo and delivered cutting-edge tools and services to investors, traders, and stock plan administrators. By joining Morgan Stanley, we will be able to take our combined offering to the next level and deliver an even more comprehensive suite of wealth management capabilities. Bringing E*TRADE’s brand and offerings under the Morgan Stanley umbrella creates a truly exciting wealth management value proposition and enables our collective team to serve a far wider spectrum of clients,” Mike Pizzi, E*TRADE Chief Executive Officer.
Morgan Stanley is advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell. E*TRADE is advised by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and JP Morgan.
Thompson Street Capital Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Len The Plumber, a full-service residential plumbing contractor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We chose TSCP because they differentiated themselves in their approach to deal origination. It was very important to us that we chose an equity partner that could help us execute an aggressive M&A add-on strategy right away. After evaluating multiple options, it was clear that TSCP was the right choice for us to take LTP to the next level, because of their work ethic, culture, and systematic approach to managing a large funnel of deal opportunities,” Jeff Cooper, LTP CEO.
Len The Plumber is advised by League Park Advisors. Thompson Street is advised by Jefferies & Company and BackBay Communications.
Givaudan, a manufacturer and marketer of fragrances and flavors, completed the acquisition of Ungerer, an independent specialty ingredient, flavour and fragrance company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Ungerer fits very well with our long-term strategy for our core business in flavors and fragrances. They have an excellent reputation in the market, thanks to the quality of their specialty ingredients as well as their strong position in the fast-growing local and regional customer segment,” Gilles Andrier, Givaudan CEO.
Ungerer was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
Advent International-backed Ansira Partners, an independent global marketing services and solutions company, is set to acquire the digital marketing business of CDK Global, an automotive retail technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our shared passion with Ansira for digital marketing technology and services will help drive even more value for our clients and their customers. We will continue to bring clients industry-leading platform innovations to help them compete in local markets and realize greater returns on their marketing investments," Jen Cole, CDK Digital Senior Vice President.
Penn National, which owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities and video gaming terminal operations, completed the acquisition of a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, which sells sports products online, from Chernin Group, a media and investment company, for $163m.
"Our two teams have hit the ground running and are working on plans to roll out the Barstool Sportsbook brand through both our retail sportsbooks and our interactive products. Penn National shares the excitement of Dave Portnoy, Erika Nardini and the entire team at Barstool Sports and looks forward to creating what will be the industry’s best-in-class omnichannel provider of retail and online gaming and sports betting entertainment,” Jay Snowden, Penn National President and CEO.
The Jordan Company-backed Vyne, a health information exchange services provider, is set to acquire Renaissance Electronic Services, a technology company providing EDI products and services to dental practices. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Vyne and Renaissance share a common goal of empowering providers with technology solutions to better run their businesses. Uniting our companies means we're able to strategically offer dental practices the unique opportunity to partner with a single organization that possesses more than 50 years of combined experience developing cutting-edge dental technology solutions," Lindy Benton, Vyne President, and CEO.
Robertson Stephens Wealth Management, an independent advisor, completed the acquisition of Vine Street Wealth Management, an investment management advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are committed to helping our clients grow and protect their wealth. We take their trust very seriously and believe by partnering with Robertson Stephens we can deliver superior client service with their robust wealth management offering. We share the same vision and values and are excited for the vast opportunities this partnership will bring," John Bernabei, Vine Street Co-Founder.
Hormel Foods, a food company, is set to acquire Texas-based Sadler's Smokehouse, a family-owned business that specializes in premium and authentic pit-smoked meats for retail and foodservice customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Hormel Foods has an excellent reputation as one of the best food companies in the world. We are excited for our employees and family knowing Hormel Foods will continue the Sadler family legacy," Harold J. Sadler, Sadler's Smokehouse Owner.
A consortium consisting of Simon Property Group, Brookfield Properties and Authentic Brands Group completed the acquisition of Forever 21, an American-only fast fashion retailer headquartered in Los Angeles, California, for $81m.
Simon and Brookfield are Forever 21's biggest landlords. The other bidder is Authentic Brands Group, which has acquired the licensing rights to other troubled retailers like Barneys New York.
“Forever 21 is a powerful retail brand with incredible consumer reach and a wealth of untapped potentialю We’re looking forward to working with the F21 team and our global partners. Together, we’ll revitalize the brand’s core business and connect with audiences around the world through new product offerings and experiences,” Jamie Salter, ABG Founder, Chairman, and CEO.
Private equity firm CITIC Capital Holdings, completed the acquisition of ScentAir, a provider of scent marketing solutions to brands, from private equity firm Parthenon Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“On behalf of the management team at ScentAir, we’d like to thank Parthenon Capital for their effective sponsorship of our business these past five years. We’d also like to thank CITIC Capital for their confidence in our business and their sponsorship of us going forward. We feel very fortunate to enjoy relationships with great private equity firms such as these,” Dan Connors, ScentAir CEO.
Agiliti, a provider of healthcare technology management and service solutions, completed the acquisition of Mobile Instrument Service & Repair, a provider of surgical equipment repair services to the healthcare industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Our teams share a common approach based on localized, responsive service, expertly trained technicians, and certification to the quality gold-standard. I look forward to the value we will bring to our customers as a combined company,” Tom Leonard, Agiliti CEO.
777 Partners, an investment firm is set to acquire Uown Leasing, a provider of lease financing. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Uown Leasing will combine operations with Mollie Financial, 777 Partners’ existing lease-to-own product, and operate solely under the Uown Leasing name going forward.
"We look forward to expanding Uown into a nationally recognized leader in the lease to own industry, and we think that 777 Partners and Mollie Financial are the ideal partners to fuel explosive growth," Daniel Klein, Uown CEO.
Betterworks, an enterprise software services provider, is set to acquire Hyphen, a continuous employee listening, and engagement platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Joining forces with Betterworks simply and powerfully answers enterprises' demand to seamlessly link listening to doing, and to shorten their 'feedback to action' cycle time," Arnaud Grunwald, Hyphen Co-Founder, and CEO.
Five9, a provider of the intelligent cloud contact center, is set to acquire Virtual Observer, a provider of cloud-based workforce optimization solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Technology is at its best when it empowers human connection. The addition of Virtual Observer to the Five9 portfolio strengthens our ability to inspire agents and maximize the quality of customer interactions while reducing costs and maintaining regulatory compliance,” Rowan Trollope, Five9 CEO.
Private equity-backed insightsoftware, a provider of enterprise performance management reporting solutions, completed the acquisition of Longview Solutions, a financial planning, and tax software provider. insightsoftware is backed by TA Associates, Genstar Capital, and ST6 Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Longview's focus on creating 'Connected Finance' aligns with our vision of empowering finance teams with intelligent solutions that automate, accelerate, and visualize the end-to-end financial management process to drive more informed, strategic decisions in real-time," Mike Lipps, insightsoftware CEO.
Seven & i Holdings considers buying Speedway operations in the US for $22bn.
Japan’s Seven & i Holdings is in exclusive talks to acquire Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway petrol station chain for about $22bn in an ambitious effort to grow in the US, FT reported.
Seven & i said it was exploring “various options including partnerships and acquisitions” for its new growth strategy, but added that no final decision has been made.
The US oil company had already announced plans to spin off Speedway following a second activist campaign by Elliott Management that demanded a break-up of the group into a convenience store business, a midstream processing unit, and an independent merchant refiner, which blends products.
Telus plans to raise C$1.3bn in IPO.
Canadian telecom operator Telus said that it aims to raise about C$1.3bn ($983m) through an IPO, priced at C$52 ($39) per share.
Telus said last week that it would begin rolling out its 5G network, and its initial module would be with Huawei Technologies equipment, flagging concerns of high costs if the Canadian government banned Huawei.
The offering will be backed by a group of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities, while CIBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, and Scotiabank will be joint bookrunners.
NPC evaluates options, including bankruptcy.
NPC International, the operator of about 1.6k restaurants, including Pizza Hut and Wendy’s brands, is exploring restructuring options, including a bankruptcy filing as the company saddled with $1bn of debt struggles amid relentless restaurant competition.
The largest franchisee of Pizza Hut restaurants in the US started negotiating with its lenders after months of declining sales caused a cash crunch. The company aims to keep the restructuring out of court, but is weighing the possibility of a filing with a pre-negotiated plan in place, Bloomberg reported.
Align Capital Partners raised $450m for new fund. (FS)
Align Capital Partners closed its second private equity investment fund, Align Capital Partners Fund II, and Align Capital Partners Fund II-A, at its hard cap of $450m.
ACP began fundraising in November 2019 with an initial target of $400m. With the closing of ACP II, Align Capital Partners has raised more than $775m since the firm’s founding in 2016.
“We appreciate the continued support from our existing investors and are grateful for the strong interest from the new limited partners joining us in ACP II. ACP continues to attract high-quality investors whose partnership and trust are essential to the success of our firm,” Steve Dyke, Align Capital Partners Co-Founder and Managing Partner.
Highlander Partners, a middle-market private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in SanoVita, a manufacturer of healthy snacks. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to be working with Highlander. We count on Highlander to prepare SanoVita for the next stage of growth while maintaining the same values embedded in SanoVita's culture. With enhanced operational and strategic support, we will continue to expand our market position and heighten SanoVita's brand," Cornel Soare, SanoVita Co-Founder.
SanoVita was advised by Allen & Overy. Highlander Partners was advised by TS Partners and Kinstellar.
Liqui-Box, which makes packaging including bag-in-box systems for wine, smoothies, and other liquids, will be allowed to buy DS Smith’s plastics business on condition it divests some assets, the US Justice Department said.
The Justice Department said that the companies were two of the four companies competing to provide bags-in-boxes for boxed wine.
The companies said in October that they would sell Liqui-Box’s UK bag-in-box business to Peak Packaging under pressure from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority.
DS Smith is advised by Sullivan & Cromwell and Brunswick Group.
ICON, a provider of drug and device development and commercialization services to the pharmaceutical industry, completed the acquisition of MedPass International, a medical device CRO and regulatory and reimbursement consultancy. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As the leader in Medical Device Regulation and Clinical Development in Europe, MedPass is delighted to be joining ICON to become the global service provider of choice in Medtech Devices and Diagnostics,” Sarah Sorrell, MedPass President and CEO.
Italian financial group Unipol will buy a number of bancassurance joint ventures for around €300m ($324m) as part of the Intesa’s proposed bid for Ubi Banca.
Under Intesa’s proposed €4.9bn ($5.3bn) Ubi bid, one of the largest bank takeover offers in Europe in more than a decade, Unipol’s insurance business UnipolSai could buy some of Ubi’s bancassurance joint ventures.
“It’s going to be a marginal investment for us, roughly €300m ($324m), far less than the figures that have been reported,” Carlo Cimbri, Unipol CEO.
Qualitest looks for acquisitions to reach a $1bn revenue goal. (FS)
Israeli software testing firm Qualitest is aiming for sales of $1bn in five years and plans to make acquisitions to reach that goal. The company currently has annual sales of about $200m, which are growing by roughly 25% a year.
“It will get us to about $400-$500m, and the remainder will be resolved through acquisitions, and we have a very healthy M&A pipeline and a sponsor ... to help make that happen,” Norm Merritt, Qualitest CEO.
Julius Baer not allowed to conduct major acquisitions.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority - Finma found that Julius Baer fell “significantly short” in combating money laundering in its Latin America operation between 2009 and 2018. The failures relate to alleged cases of corruption linked to a state-owned oil firm, Petróleos de Venezuela, and world football organization Fifa, which resulted in enforcement proceedings by Finma.
The Swiss wealth manager has now been instructed to “undertake effective measures” to comply with its legal obligations to combat money laundering and “rapidly finalize” the measures it has already started putting in place.
China plans to acquire HNA.
Shares in affiliates of HNA Group surged on Thursday following a news report that China plans to take over the debt-laden conglomerate as the coronavirus outbreak has further hit its ability to meet financial obligations.
The government of the southern province of Hainan, where HNA is based, is in talks to take control of the group and sell off its airline assets, Reuters reported.
Hongkong Land to acquire a 23.1-hectare mixed-use site in Shanghai for $4.4bn. (RE)
Hongkong Land Holdings secured a prime 23.1-hectare mixed-use site on the West Bund of Shanghai from the Government via auction on February 20, 2020 for a consideration of $4.4bn.
The acquisition provides the group with an attractive opportunity to develop and operate a commercial complex of scale in Shanghai, the predominant commercial hub of the Chinese mainland. The transaction is in line with the group's long-standing strategy to acquire prime sites in key gateway cities across Asia.
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