Brazilian antitrust watchdog CADE approved Walt Disney’s deal to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox, Reuters reported. After Disney failed to secure a buyer for Fox Sports channels, CADE accepted the deal requesting Disney keep the same sports broadcasts for three years, keep Fox Sports channel active and commit to the transmission of South American soccer championship Copa Libertadores.
If Disney is uninterested in keeping the channels, it should cede the brand to other interested groups, CADE decided. The Brazilian antitrust watchdog had requested the sale of Fox Sports channels in February 2019.
Twenty-First Century Fox was advised by Centerview Partners, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Talwar Thakore & Associates, Allens, Allen & Overy, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Hogan Lovells, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Walt Disney was advised by Guggenheim Partners, AZB & Partners, JP Morgan, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Covington & Burling, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Herbert Smith Freehills, Fangda Partners, King & Wood Mallesons, Slaughter & May and Macfarlanes. Debt financing was provided by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Debt providers were advised by Debevoise & Plimpton and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Liberty Global, a multinational telecommunications company, and Telefonica, an integrated and diversified telecommunications group, are set to merge their UK operations in a $38bn deal. The 50-50 joint venture brings together Virgin Media, the UK’s broadband network, and O2, the country’s largest mobile platform.
“Combining O2’s number one mobile business with Virgin Media’s superfast broadband network and entertainment services will be a game-changer in the UK, at a time when demand for connectivity has never been greater or more critical. We are creating a strong competitor with significant scale and financial strength to invest in UK digital infrastructure and give millions of consumer, business and public sector customers more choice and value. This is a proud and exciting moment for our organisations, as we create a leading integrated communications provider in the UK,” Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Telefonica Chief Executive Officer.
Liberty Global is advised by JP Morgan, LionTree Advisors, Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling. Telefonica is advised by Citigroup, Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills.
North American Partners in Anesthesia, a single-specialty anesthesia and perioperative management company, completed the acquisition of American Anesthesiology, an anesthesia partner, providing health solutions in clinical settings from MEDNAX, a health solutions partner. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This transaction enables American Anesthesiology to become part of a clinician-led, clinically focused, single-specialty organization dedicated to the provision of high-quality anesthesia, pain management, and perioperative care. At MEDNAX, we will remain focused on the care we provide and the opportunities available for growth in our Pediatrix & Obstetrix and MEDNAX Radiology Solutions medical groups, as well as Surgical Directions," Roger J. Medel, MEDNAX CEO and Managing Director.
NAPA was advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. MEDNAX was advised by Barclays, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and DLA Piper.
Franklin Templeton, an American multinational holding company, completed the acquisition of AdvisorEngine, a digital wealth platform and provider of technology and consulting services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our next phase of product development has the potential to change the paradigm of what a wealth management platform can be. We are bringing down the walls between CRM, portfolio management and productivity software. As this happens, advisors will deliver on the promise of 'personalization-at-scale' in a way that has not been possible previously," Craig Ramsey, AdvisorEngine COO.
AdvisorEngine was advised by Raymond James and FiComm Partners. Franklin Templeton was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
BV Investment Partners, a middle-market private equity firm, completed the investment in StraighterLine, an education technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"StraighterLine's differentiated platform better addresses the needs of modern learners, demonstrably improves student outcomes and drives better skill development, student retention and graduation rates for its partner institutions. We see meaningful opportunity to accelerate the company's growth and are excited to support CEO Burck Smith and President David Parento, and their top-tier team in the education technology space - a space very familiar to BV," Justin Harrison, BV Investment Managing Partner.
BV Investment was advised by Ropes & Gray and Chris Tofalli.
Arcline Investment Management, a growth-oriented private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Unitec Elevator, an independent provider of elevator maintenance, repair, and modernization services in New York City, New Jersey, and Long Island, from Pacific Avenue Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on corporate divestitures and other special situations in the lower middle market. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Unitec has an excellent reputation, strong management team, best-in-class capabilities, and a high-quality portfolio of elevators under maintenance. We are excited to partner with the company to support its next phase of growth through investments in technology and acquisitions," Arcline Investment Management.
Arcline Investment Management is advised by Joele Frank.
AERO Marketing Group, a marketing agency specializing in event production, product showcasing, business reward programs, promotional campaigns, consumer engagement, fulfilment and logistics, completed the acquisition of 721 Solutions, a full-service event marketing and hospitality company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This was the next logical step for us as an organization and I am pleased that 721 Solutions was attractive to a vendor of ours that they chose to make a run at us. Jason and the entire team at AERO have been the backbone of many of our successes. 'The AERO Way' is something that I have had the privilege of witnessing for many years and I look forward to now being someone on the inside, making a difference," Drew Bergwall, 721 Solutions Managing Partner.
Boyne Capital, a Florida-based private equity firm focused on investments in lower middle market companies, completed the acquisition of Pilot Power Group, a provider of electric utility billing & data management services, energy portfolio management, and energy procurement strategies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Throughout its 20-year history, Pilot has proven itself a utility sector thought leader by successfully creating custom-designed cost-saving programs for large-scale electricity consumers and aggregators. The Company offers turnkey solutions to its customers that provide a level of transparency uncommon in the complex world of electricity procurement and resource planning. We are honored that the senior executive team chose to partner with Boyne, and we are encouraged by the growth opportunities we see for this platform," Derek McDowell, Boyne Capital Managing Partner and CEO.
Zoom, an American communications technology company, completed the acquisition of Keybase, a secure messaging and file-sharing service. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“There are end-to-end encrypted communications platforms. There are communications platforms with easily deployable security. There are enterprise-scale communications platforms. We believe that no current platform offers all of these. This is what Zoom plans to build, giving our users security, ease of use, and scale, all at once. The first step is getting the right team together. Keybase brings deep encryption and security expertise to Zoom, and we’re thrilled to welcome Max and his team. Bringing on a cohesive group of security engineers like this significantly advances our 90-day plan to enhance our security efforts,” Eric S. Yuan, Zoom CEO.
Medallia, an experience management company, completed the acquisition of Voci Technologies, a provider of speech to text solutions, for c. $59m.
"Voci transcribes 100% of live and recorded calls into text that can be analyzed quickly to determine customer satisfaction, adding a powerful set of signals to the Medallia Experience Cloud. At the same time, Voci enables call analysis moments after each interaction has completed, optimizing every aspect of call center operations securely. Especially important as virtual and remote contact center operations take shape," Leslie Stretch, Medallia President and CEO.
Telefonica and TIM to move ahead with Brazil M&A program despite Covid-19.
Telefonica Brasil and TIM Participacoes, two Brazilian telecoms firms, are moving ahead with a potential joint bid for rival Oi's mobile unit despite the challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The carriers have begun due diligence on a plan announced in March to acquire Oi's assets together. Meanwhile, they remain focused on expanding their FTTH network, as well as 4G mobile coverage, while a long-awaited auction for next-generation spectrum remains uncertain.
"We're confident that our strategy is the right one," Christian Gebara, Telefonica Brasil Chief Executive. "The level of uncertainty is much higher, but we're not willing to cut costs or capital expenditure that will help us grow and compete in the long term," Pietro Labriola, TIM Chief Executive.
Goldman Sachs considers acquiring private company holdings from Invesco. (FS)
Goldman Sachs is in talks to buy a large group of company stakes being sold by asset manager Invesco as it looks to shift illiquid holdings whose value has been hit by the Covid-19 disease outbreak.
A unit of Goldman Sachs Asset Management is close to buying the stakes, which include a holding in Oxford Nanopore, a gene sequencing specialist. Some of the collection of private company holdings were assembled by Neil Woodford, whose flagship fund was winded down last year following a four-and-a-half month suspension, that marked a stunning reversal of fortune for one of Britain's most high profile investors.
Blackstone hires KKR veteran Vini Letteri for a newly-launched growth investment unit. (FS, People)
Blackstone poached KKR veteran Vini Letteri for its newly-launched global growth equity investment platform. Letteri, who was with KKR for nearly 13 years, was the first employee in its growth equity business and was most recently head of its Next Generation Technology operations in North America. He becomes a senior managing director at Blackstone, which launched its growth equity platform last year led by Jon Korngold.
"Blackstone is exceptionally well-positioned to provide a scale of operating support that is not otherwise available at traditional growth equity firms. That can play a critical role in helping entrepreneurs turn their fast-growing companies into global leaders," Vini Letteri, Blackstone Senior Managing Director.
Blank-check company Far Point Acquisition said its board recommended shareholders vote against its $2.6bn deal to buy Global Blue, after the shopping tax refund firm disclosed that the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt operations.
The management of Far Point, a so-called special purpose acquisition company set up by hedge fund Third Point and ex-New York Stock Exchange President Thomas Farley, informed the board that it no longer supports the deal.
“There is a likelihood that Global Blue will lack sufficient capital and liquidity to fund its operations and satisfy its financial obligations following the closing of the transaction,” Far Point.
Global Blue is advised by PJT Partners, Kirkland & Ellis, Niederer Kraft & Frey, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Brunswick Group. Third Point is advised by BakerHostetler. Far Point is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Canada and Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Debt financing is provided by Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas.
The CEO of British Airways-owner International Airlines Group said the process for it to acquire Spanish airline Air Europa was ongoing, although he noted that the agreement between the pair did contain a price adjustment mechanism.
There has been speculation that because of the coronavirus pandemic IAG could look to walk away from the €1bn ($1.08m) acquisition it announced last November or try to negotiate a lower price.
“We still have to go through the full competition regulatory approval process. And that is ongoing. So at this point, the process continues,” Willie Walsh, IAG CEO.
Air Europa is advised by Uria Menendez. IAG is advised by KPMG, Morgan Stanley and Garrigues. Globalia Corporacion Empresarial is advised by Ernst & Young and Linklaters.
FTV Capital, a US financial services-focused growth equity investment firm, agreed to invest $98m in Bought By Many, the London-based pet insurance provider.
"We're delighted to close this round with the full support of our investors. This investment gives us the opportunity to look ahead, create more jobs and provide the insurance pet owners care about for years to come," Steven Mendel, Bought By Many CEO.
FTV Capital is advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
PowerInbox, an email engagement and monetization partner for publishers, agreed to acquire Jeeng, an artificial intelligence-powered personalized notification platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"A lot of publishers want to add personalized messaging, but there's just no realistic way to do it manually. We're solving that problem by combining PowerInbox's leading message monetization platform with Jeeng's cutting-edge AI technology for content personalization to give publishers a fully automated solution. Now they can deliver the curated content subscribers want to see over multiple channels and generate more revenue in the process," Jeff Kupietzky, PowerInbox CEO.
Private equity firms HPS Investment Partners, GIC Private and Farallon Capital Management, agreed to acquire a 62% stake in Atento, a provider of customer relationship management and business process outsourcing services, from Bain Capital, an American private investment firm, in exchange for notes. HPS will hold approximately 25%, GIC 22% and Farallon 15% of the shares in the Atento.
"At Atento, we are leading the next generation of customer experience services by combining the power of technology and the human touch. Each of the new investors in Atento shares our vision to establish a stronger platform from which to accelerate the development and expansion of innovative digital solutions that will significantly enhance Atento's growing portfolio of high-value voice, integrated multichannel and back office services. Our mission over the long term continues to be increasing shareholder value by effectively capitalizing on the emerging digital opportunities in CRM-BPO. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bain Capital for all of their support and hard work over the years," Carlos López-Abadía, Atento CEO.
Sanne Group, a global provider of alternative assets and corporate business services, completed the acquisition of INBHEAR, a fund administration services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The acquisition of INBHEAR adds to Sanne's growing pipeline, representing important continued momentum in expanding and diversifying our client service proposition and advancing our vision of becoming one of the world's leading providers of alternative asset and corporate administration services. The addition of INBHEAR into our existing business will provide further specialist expertise to our existing and new clients. INBHEAR is led by a highly experienced and respected team that has established a platform with a focus on providing its clients with the highest quality services. This closely aligns with our own philosophy of service excellence," Martin Schnaier, Sanne Group CEO.
Delek signs deal to sell Pi Gelilot for $205m.
Israel’s Delek Group signed a binding agreement to sell its fuel storage and distribution company Pi Gelilot to a third party for ILS720m ($205m) as it continues to sell assets to pay its debts, Reutersreported.
The company did not name the buyer, but said the deal, still subject to regulatory and board approvals, includes the land on which the fuel terminals are operated in the cities of Haifa, Ashdod, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem.
Delek has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak and drop in global oil prices and has been selling assets to raise funds. Its stock price and bond prices have been hit hard this year and the company is in talks with bond and other credit holders to negotiate a settlement. Delek’s auditors have placed a “going concern” warning on the firm.
ProSieben denies strategic talks with Mediaset.
"ProSiebenSat.1 Media is not in strategic talks with Mediaset", Rainer Beaujean, ProSieben new CEO, said in response to the accumulation of a large minority stake by the Italian company.
Mediaset, controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, disclosed last month that it had raised its stake in ProSieben to 24.2% as it pushes ahead with plans to create a pan-European TV group.
Responding to persistent takeover speculation, Beaujean said ProSieben was in regular touch with Mediaset over their shared business interests, while its investor relations team continued a "completely normal exchange" with significant shareholders.
Capital Dynamics completed the acquisition of 133MW solar project in Spain. (FS)
Capital Dynamics, an independent asset management firm, completed the acquisition of the 133 MW Puerto Real 1 solar project from WElink Group. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition was completed through Capital Dynamics' Clean Energy Infrastructure business.
Puerto Real 1 solar project is CEI's second acquisition in Iberia and is expected to be one of the largest utility-scale solar facilities in the country when it achieves commercial operations in the early part of next year.
"Spain remains an attractive market for new renewable power generation as the country has one of the highest solar resources in Europe and a favorable operating environment with low development costs. The acquisition of the Puerto Real 1 project accelerates our investing momentum in Southern Europe and reinforces the scale of our European Clean Energy Infrastructure business," Simon Eaves, Capital Dynamics Head European clean energy infrastructure team.
Towerbrook considers bidding for CarTrawler. (FS)
Towerbrook Capital Partners is in advanced talks to take control of CarTrawler, the Irish technology champion forced into an emergency financial restructuring by the coronavirus pandemic.
Towerbrook was likely to inject more than €100m ($108m) into CarTrawler, with some of the company's lenders converting part of their debt into equity. The business last changed hands in 2014 in a €450m ($489m) deal.
Unilever, a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company, agreed to acquire a 5.7% stake in Hindustan Unilever, its Indian subsidiary which provides products including foods, beverages, cleaning agents, personal care products, water purifiers and consumer goods, from GlaxoSmithKline, a British multinational pharmaceutical company, for $3.3bn.
The transaction comes as GSK pursues a two-year programme to split into two entities after it made costly bets on experimental cancer treatments and future cell and gene therapies amid sluggish revenue growth.
GSK is advised by HSBC, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
Ceridian, a human capital management technology provider, agreed to acquire Excelity Global, an Asia-based HCM service provider, from the Everstone Group, a private equity and real estate investment firm focusing on India and Southeast Asia. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As we accelerate our global momentum, I look forward to elevating the experience we provide to our customers and continuing our strong operational performance. Ceridian has 4.5k customers on the Dayforce platform, and we look forward to bringing the full power of Dayforce to customers in the Asia Pacific Japan region," Stephen Moore, Ceridian Executive Director of Australia and New Zealand.
58com-backed Zhuan Zhuan, an online used goods trading platform, agreed to acquire Shenzhen Wanshifu Technology, an online platform for used mobile phones and accessories in China that operates the Zhaoliangji app, for $51m and c. 50% of Zhuan Spirit Holdings shares.
"We believe that the combined horizontal and vertical model provides unparalleled strengths for classifieds marketplaces. We intend to replicate the proven success we had with the combination of 58com, a horizontal classifieds and Anjuke, an online housing vertical acquired in 2015. We believe Zhuan Zhuan, a horizontal used goods platform, and Zhaoliangji, a used cell phone vertical, will create another powerful combination," Michael Jinbo Yao, 58com Chairman and CEO.
Amazon considers investing in Future Retail.
Amazon is considering adding to its investment in Future Retail as the debt-ridden Indian retailer battles a cash crunch, Bloomberg reported. Amazon, which holds an indirect stake of 1.3% in Future Retail, is in talks with the company's parent Future Group over the potential stock purchase. The US online retail giant could raise its holdings in the retailer to as much as 49%.
As a purchase of more than a 25% stake could trigger an open offer under stock exchange rules, Amazon is considering lining up local investors to join the deal.
Reliance Industries considers sale of $989m Asian Paints stake.
Reliance Industries is considering selling its stake in India's largest paint maker valued at about $989m as the conglomerate steps up efforts to trim its debt, Bloomberg reported.
The company controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia's richest person, is in discussions with banks for a potential sale of its 4.9% stake in Asian Paints through a series of block trades. Reliance holds the stake through Teesta Retail.
Haidilao founders raised $201m by selling a 0.9% stake.
Haidilao International Holding, China's biggest hotpot chain, raised $201m overnight through the sale of a roughly 0.9% stake. The sellers include units controlled by co-founder Zhang Yong and his wife Shu Ping. It's the first follow-on offering for the popular hotpot chain since its successful Hong Kong initial public offering in 2018. The stock has almost doubled since making it an opportune time to sell.
Haidilao's shares tumbled earlier this year as the coronavirus outbreak in China forced the closure of its stores, but since the end of March they have staged a recovery, and the company has said it will gradually reopen 85 stores in 15 Chinese cities.
Viva Republica seeks $200m in funding. (FS)
Viva Republica, an operator of South Korea's largest fintech startup Toss, is planning to raise about $200m from investors to bankroll its expansion in online banking and secure trading services.
The company just embarked on its funding round and hoped to complete it in coming months, founder Lee Seung-gun said in an interview, declining to disclose the expected valuation. Lee is also aiming to go public in two to three years, with a listing in South Korea, Hong Kong, the US or two of the destinations.
Albemarle considers acquiring Tianqi's stake in Greenbushes lithium mine.
Albemarle is interested in buying all or part of Tianqi Lithium's controlling stake in Australia's Greenbushes, the world's largest lithium mine. Chengdu, China-based Tianqi, which owns 51% of Greenbushes to Albemarle's 49%, said last month it was exploring selling equity and assets, including Greenbushes, to cut debt.
"We're interested in it. We're following it, but we're also mindful of the current market environment. We know that the Chinese government will probably have an influence on where that asset ends up," Kent Masters, Albemarle Chief Executive.
INCJ considers divesting stake in Axiata Tower arm. (FS)
Innovation Network Corp of Japan is considering selling its stake in a Malaysia telecommunications tower company in a deal that could be worth at least $500m, Bloombergreported.
The state-backed private equity firm hired an adviser to help with the potential stake sale in Edotco Group. INCJ bought the shares from Edotco parent company Axiata Group for $400m via a private placement in 2017.
Linear Capital closes new fund at $110m. (FS)
Shanghai-based early-stage venture capital firm Linear Capital announced the first close of its fourth venture fund, a $-denominated vehicle, at $110m, DealStreetAsiareported.
The first close was completed on May 6 after over four months of fundraising, said Harry Wang Huai, founder and CEO of Linear Capital, in a minute-long video posted on Linear's WeChat official account.
"We believe that frontier technologies, such as data intelligence technology as core example, will bring in a huge boost to China's ongoing industrial upgrading endeavour and efficiency revolution," Harry Wang Huai, Linear Capital Founder and CEO.
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