LVMH, a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, is looking to back out of its $16.2bn takeover of Tiffany & Co claiming that both the US jewelry company and the French government asked it to delay the acquisition beyond the closing date allowed by the merger agreement.
Tiffany filed a lawsuit in Delaware to enforce the agreement, saying that LVMH was using the letter from the French government, which asked to delay the acquisition, as a pretext to back out of the deal.
Tiffany is advised by Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs, Sullivan & Cromwell and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Centerview Partners is advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges. LVMH is advised by Citigroup, JP Morgan, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Affiliates, White & Case, Brunswick Group, DGM Conseil, deluxewords, Kekst CNC, Montford Communications, Publicis and SEC and Partners. Debt providers are advised by Allen & Overy.
Monocle Acquisition, a public investment vehicle, and AerSale, an integrated, global provider of aviation aftermarket products and services, have entered into a revised agreement to merge. Following completion of the transaction, the current owners will receive approximately $76m in cash and $241m in newly issued common equity, representing approximately 56% of the outstanding shares of the combined company.
"This revised agreement reflects our long-term commitment to supporting AerSale's management team and our confidence in the vision we have pursued together over the past decade. In particular, the new structure positions AerSale to emerge from this deep industry crisis with the financial strength needed to continue building its leadership position in aviation aftermarket products and services. Despite the unprecedented challenges the entire industry will face for some time, we remain very confident in AerSale's future," Jonathan Seiffer, Leonard Green & Partners Senior Partner.
AerSale is advised by Harris Williams & Co, RBC Capital Markets and Latham & Watkins. Monocle Acquisition is advised by Cowen & Company, PJT Partners, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, Greenberg Traurig, Kekst CNC and Alton Aviation Consultancy.
C-III Capital-backed Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT II, an asset management company that specializes in real estate investments, agreed to acquire Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT and Resource Apartment REIT III. The merger transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The merging of these three REITs is both strategic and transformative and will create a $3bn self-managed REIT immediately accretive to earnings and cash flows. Combining a seasoned management team that has worked together for fifteen years with a carefully assembled portfolio of apartment communities in some of the strongest suburban markets in the United States will afford many options for stockholder liquidity. The Resource portfolio caters to middle market renters and is approximately 94% occupied. Rent collections have consistently averaged approximately 98% of historical collections over the past five months in the throes of the nation’s Covid-19 pandemic. This is a testament to the resiliency of the asset class, the specific communities we own and our keen focus on operations and management,” Alan Feldman, Resource Chairman and CEO.
Resource REIT III is advised by Truist Bank and Miles & Stockbridge. Resource REIT I is advised by Robert A. Stanger & Co, Baker McKenzie and Morris Manning & Martin. Resource REIT II is advised by Eastdil Secured, Houlihan Lokey, DLA Piper and Morrison & Foerster.
WSJ reported, Taboola's acquisition of Outbrain to form a $2bn content recommendation giant has been called off.
The deal had been years in the making but was only finally pulled together about 11 months ago, in October 2019. However, between then and today, a combination of factors got in the way of it progressing. That deal expired in August, and it didn’t get extended. And then, attempts to convert the deal into an all-stock transaction were unpalatable to Outbrain. On top of that, there have been ongoing regulatory issues.
Outbrain is advised by Goldman Sachs, Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, White & Case, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Taboola is advised by Citigroup, JP Morgan, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal.
Computacenter, a computer services provider, offered to acquire Pivot Technology Solutions, a full-service information technology provider, for $80m.
"We are pleased with our progress in the US, including the acquisition of Fusionstorm in 2018. The acquisition of Pivot represents an opportunity to increase our scale, geographic footprint and capabilities in US. Additionally, Canada expands our total market opportunity and helps us meet the needs of international customers. The businesses are a good fit and the combination gives us the opportunity to enable the long-term success of customers, partners and people from both teams." Mike Norris, Computacenter CEO.
Pivot Technology is advised by Raymond James and Borden Ladner Gervais. Computacenter is advised by Obair Partners, Linklaters, McCarthy Tetrault, and Tulchan Communications.
Great-West Lifeco-backed Empower Retirement, an insurance services provider, agreed to acquire retirement services business of MassMutual, an insurance services provider for $3.4bn.
“This transaction is an excellent strategic fit and directly aligns with Lifeco’s long-term plans for growth and scale in the US retirement market. It increases our scale advantages and strengthens Empower’s position as the second largest player in this growing segment of the US market. It also positions Empower as a growth engine and significant contributor to Great-West Lifeco’s value creation objectives," Paul Mahon, Great-West Lifeco President and CEO.
Empower Retirement is advised by Goldman Sachs, Rockefeller Capital Management, and Eversheds Sutherland. MassMutual is advised by Lazard and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Apax Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire MyCase, a provider of legal practice and case management software solutions from AppFolio, a provider of cloud-based business software solutions for $193m.
“MyCase software and its integrated payments greatly simplify law firm operations, so legal professionals have more time to do what they love most – serving their clients. Increasing adoption of cloud-based legal software is driving rapid growth, and MyCase is a leader in modern legal practice management through its best-in-class product and customer-centricity. We are excited to partner with Kim and the MyCase team to invest behind continued innovation and growth acceleration," Umang Kajaria, Apax Partner.
Apax Partners is advised by Raymond James, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Greenbrook, and Kekst CNC. AppFolio is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Infoblox, a network security services provider, from Vista Equity Partner, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The modern enterprise is becoming increasingly dispersed and the number of connected devices is growing exponentially. As a result, modern networks have become significantly more complex. This investment will further help strengthen our industry-leading DDI products while at the same time doubling down on our vision to provide cloudmanaged networking and security applications that are scalable, flexible and delivered as a service on top of our BloxOne Platform. We are thrilled to have two long-term investment partners that share our vision," Jesper Andersen, Infoblox President and CEO.
Warburg Pincus was advised by Credit Suisse, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Vista Equity and Infoblox were advised by Morgan Stanley, Qatalyst Partners, and Kirkland & Ellis.
Omnitracs, a provider of SaaS-based fleet management, data analytics solutions and transportation technology, agreed to acquire SmartDrive, a provider of video-based safety and transportation intelligence. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“By integrating SmartDrive’s unparalleled transportation intelligence platform, video safety hardware and risk analysis service offering with the Omnitracs One platform, we can deliver a converged solution built on AI and ML that redefines the future of commercial transportation today. Real-time risk mitigation, streamlined data flows from the cab and vehicle sensors to dispatch and the back office, and a superior driver experience will be brought together to improve safety, efficiency and operational excellence,” Ray Greer, Omnitracs Chief Executive Officer.
Omnitracs is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and PAN Communications. SmartDrive is advised by PJT Partners and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Avon Rubber, a British company that specialises in the engineering and manufacturing of respiratory protection equipment for the military, agreed to acquire Team Wendy, a US supplier of exceptional head protection systems for military, law enforcement, search and rescue, and adventure markets, for $130m.
"The acquisition of Team Wendy is another important strategic step in the transformation of Avon Rubber into a leading provider of life critical personal protection systems. Team Wendy is a high-quality business with complementary liner and retention system technologies and established positions in Rest of World Military and First Responder helmet markets. Bringing Team Wendy into the same family with our existing Helmets & Armor business establishes Avon Protection as a global leader in Military and First Responder helmets, with an enhanced and broader product portfolio with stronger capabilities and routes to market," Paul McDonald, Avon CEO.
Avon Rubber is advised by Evercore, William Blair & Co and MHP Communications.
Progress, a provider of application development and digital experience technologies, agreed to acquire Chef, a provider of complete infrastructure automation to build, deploy, manage and secure applications in modern multi-cloud and hybrid environments, as well as on-premises. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This acquisition perfectly aligns with our growth strategy and meets the requirements that we’ve previously laid out: a strong recurring revenue model, technology that complements our business, a loyal customer base and the ability to leverage our operating model and infrastructure to run the business more efficiently. We’re thrilled to add Chef to our product portfolio and are confident that this acquisition will provide benefit to both organizations, as well as our customers, partners, investors and the Chef community,” Yogesh Gupta, Progress CEO.
Chef is advised by Guggenheim Partners, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Kinzie Capital Partners, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Chelsea Lighting, a lighting solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Tom, Brian and Eric’s focus on innovation, customer service and employee development, coupled with Chelsea being at the forefront of lighting technology, makes this a very exciting opportunity for Kinzie. We are thrilled to be partnering with Chelsea’s management team to expand the business nationally and increase its profile in our hometown of Chicago,” Suzanne Yoon, Kinzie Founder and Managing Partner.
Chelsea Lighting was advised by Mesirow Financial. Kinzie Capital was advised by C-Strategies.
Stone Point Capital, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Bullhorn, a cloud computing company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited about the long-term opportunity to work with Bullhorn. We are in the early stages of the industry’s adoption of digital transformation initiatives, and we couldn’t be more excited about partnering with an experienced team that knows the industry, their customers, and how to build a business with a deep focus on customer experience,” Chuck Davis, Stone Point Capital CEO.
Bullhorn is advised by District Capital Partners, Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Lazard.
BDC Capital, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Genacol, a nutrition supplement retailer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are extremely proud to be able to count on the support of a quality financial partner such as BDC Capital to help us pursue our long-term growth plan both in Canada and on international markets. BDC Capital has taken note of the significant growth we have posted in recent years and has agreed to invest in our growth strategy, which is very promising for the future of the Genacol brand in the long term," Martin Vidal, Genacol President and CEO.
Private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Sixth Street completed a $350m investment in Sprinklr, a customer experience management platform. Hellman and Friedman invested $200m and Sixth Street has invested $150m in convertible securities.
“Underpinned by a visionary leadership team, strong return on invested capital, and AI technology built to provide the world’s leading brands with the ability to engage their customers across any channel, Sprinklr is defining and leading the enormous new category of Customer Experience Management. We’re excited to be part of Sprinklr’s journey of impressive growth and are pleased that our investment will bolster an already strong balance sheet," Michael McGinn, Sixth Street Partner and Co-Head.
The Carlyle Group completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Grand Rounds, a healthcare quality and clinical navigation services provider, for $175m.
We are at a turning point in American healthcare, a moment when healthcare has become virtual-first and data can be used to dramatically improve outcomes. This financing from a premier investment group with a long history of success in healthcare will deepen our ability to scale and provide the highest quality care and outcomes for our members," Owen Tripp, Grand Rounds Co-Founder and CEO.
CyberRisk Alliance, a business intelligence company, completed the acquisition of Security Weekly, a podcasting network, from Defensive Intuition, a podcast network firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Security Weekly expands CRA’s domain expertise and a suite of mobile optimized delivery formats to better serve our audiences and marketing partners. Paul, Matt and their team have built an influential and unique franchise in cybersecurity. They are trusted experts and their content is highly technical and authoritative, yet they deliver it in an entertaining manner. Security Weekly’s programming will enrich our platform and enhance our digital offerings, with their mobile-friendly podcast and video capabilities. We’re excited to partner with the Security Weekly team, and we welcome them into our growing family of companies,” Doug Manoni, CyberRisk Alliance CEO and Founder.
BayWa, a global renewable energy developer, service provider and distributor, completed the acquisition of Enable Energy, a US-based commercial and industrial solar and energy storage solutions provider with extensive skills in engineering, procurement and construction and operations and maintenance support. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Enable Energy is one of the fastest-growing solar and energy storage solutions providers in the US, with a significant installation base, healthy project pipeline and expanding O&M business. The addition of EEI to the BayWa r.e. Americas family will create multiple collaborative opportunities with our existing businesses and improve our position in strategic regional and vertical markets, such as commercial solar-plus-storage," Axel Veeser, BayWa Managing Director.
Main Street Capital-backed Compass Precision, manufactures custom metal precision components, in small, medium and prototype quantities, completed the acquisition of Gray Manufacturing Technologies, a manufacturer of precision metal components for space, aerospace, and defence industries. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“When we formed Compass Precision, our plan was to grow aggressively, both organically and via acquisition. Gray Manufacturing Technologies is an incredibly well-run precision manufacturer that is experiencing rapid growth by serving a select group of highly attractive customers and end-markets. They are a perfect fit for us,” Gary Holcomb, Compass President and CEO.
Efficient Advisors, a turnkey asset management firm, agreed to merge with Evidence Based Advisors, an investment advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This merger was a very easy decision since we both know each other very well – in fact, the relationship of key individuals predates the founding of either firm. Both firms are rooted in the same solid foundation of academic investment philosophies and have focused on standing behind financial advisors and creating long-term value for their firms and, of course, their clients," Zack Shepard, EBA Chief Revenue Officer.
Investor group led by Bartow Morgan agreed to acquire Georgia Banking, a diversified financial services community bank and mortgage bank. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Elliott Miller has done an extraordinary job building one of the finest community banks in metro Atlanta. As our local economy continues to recover from the pandemic and begins a new growth phase, we plan to expand Georgia Banking Company's presence in commercial banking and add more services to help owners of mid-size businesses grow," Bartow Morgan, Georgia Banking Company CEO.
Arch Capital-led consortium bids for Watford Holding. (FS)
A consortium led by insurer Arch Capital Group has made an approximately $500m offer to acquire reinsurance firm Watford Holdings, Reuters reported.
Arch has partnered with private equity firms to offer about $26 per share for Watford. Watford shares ended trading in New York on Tuesday at $17.87.
The bid comes more than a year after Watford went public. Since then, its shares have lost about a third of their value as investors questioned the company’s ability to generate enough from investment returns to adequately cover its expenses as it paid out on insurance policies. Activist investor Capital Returns Management called in May for Watford to be sold.
Elliott Management discloses stake in Noble Energy.
Hedge fund Elliott Management has acquired a stake in Noble Energy, the oil and gas producer which agreed in July to be bought by Chevron for $13bn, Reutersreported.
The filing, dated September 4, did not disclose the size of the stake of the New York-based hedge fund, led by billionaire Paul Singer, and details regarding its position in the stock.
Snowflake looks to raise c. $2.38bn in US IPO. (FS)
Snowflake, backed by venture capital firm Sequoia, said it expects to raise about $2.38bn in its initial public offering in the United States, about two weeks after it made its financial documents public.
The cloud-based data warehouse firm set a price target of between $75 and $85 per share for its sale of 28m shares.
Berkshire Hathaway and Salesforce Ventures, each, agreed to buy $250m of its stocks in a private placement. Snowflake confidentially filed to go public earlier this year, shortly after its last funding in February that valued it at over $12bn. Sequoia owned an 8.4% stake in the company prior to the offering.
Ex-Trump adviser raises more than planned in blank-check IPO.
Gary Cohn, the former economic adviser to US President Donald Trump, raised $720m in an initial public offering for a new blank-check acquisition company, 20% more than originally planned, Reuters reported.
Shares in Cohn Robbins Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, sold for $10 apiece, the standard typical price in SPAC IPOs.
GI Partners closes oversubscribed data infrastructure fund at $1.8bn. (FS)
Private investment firm GI Partners has held the final closing of its inaugural Data Infrastructure Fund with $1.8bn in capital commitments from a broad group of investors. The fund was oversubscribed, surpassing its initial target of $1.25bn.
“Technology and communications are the largest and fastest growing drivers of the global economy and the infrastructure that supports these sectors is critical to the operation of every business, government, and household in the developed world. The disruption we have all experienced in 2020 due to the global pandemic has only served to underline the importance of data infrastructure to everyone’s life,”Steve Smith, GI Partners Managing Director.
Bridgepoint hits $1.96bn hard cap on lower mid-market fund. (FS)
Bridgepoint Development Capital has hit the $1.96bn hard cap on its fourth fund, 50% above its initial target.
The fund is also more than double the size of its predecessor, which raised $790m in 2016, and it is now 80% deployed with 12 investments concluded, PE News reported.
Bridgepoint Development Capital IV fund focuses on lower-middle market buyouts and growth capital investments, targeting companies with enterprise values of between $39m and $196m. It is expected to make a total of 20 investments.
Launched in January this year, the strategy was oversubscribed at a time when several firms are having difficulties attracting new investors due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions across Europe.
Amwell looks to raise about $560m in US IPO. (FS)
Telehealth provider AmWell said it expects to raise about $560m in its initial public offering in the United States, as the coronavirus pandemic boosts demand for virtual healthcare offerings, Reuters reported.
The company set a price target of between $14 and $16 per share for its sale of 35m shares.
Amwell said it has applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “AMWL.”
Vector Capital's SPAC Vector Acquisition files for a $300m IPO. (FS)
Vector Acquisition, a blank check company formed by Vector Capital targeting the tech industry, filed with the SEC to raise up to $300m in an initial public offering, PE Insights reported.
The San Francisco, CA-based company plans to raise $300m by offering 30m units at $10. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one-third of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50. At the proposed deal size, Vector Acquisition would command a market value of $375m.
The company is led by CEO and Chairman Alex Slusky, founder of of Vector Capital and former leader of the technology equity practice at Ziff Brothers Investments, and President David Fishman, a Partner and Head of the Investment Team at Vector Capital. The company plans to leverage its management team’s experience and target the technology and technology-enabled services sectors.
ChinData files for US IPO.
Chinese data center owner ChinData Group filed for a US initial public offering, joining several other IPOs from Chinese companies despite rising geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The news comes about a week after the firm is preparing for a confidential filing to raise up to $400m, Reuters reported.
The company intends to list its American depository shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "CD".
Jeff Bezos-backed Grail files for US IPO. (FS)
US-based cancer testing startup Grail, which has received funding from Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, filed for a US initial public offering.
Grail was founded by gene sequencing company Illumina in 2016, with investments from ARCH Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Bezos Expeditions, the venture investment fund of Jeff Bezos.
The company, which is developing a blood test to identify early-stage cancers, has set a placeholder amount of $100m for the IPO, without disclosing the size of its offering. Illumina is the majority shareholder in Grail with a 14.6% stake.
Yalla files for US IPO.
Chinese voice-chat app Yalla filed for a US listing, looking to enter a rebounding market for initial public offerings against the backdrop of rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, Reuters reported.
The move comes as US-listed Chinese companies are facing tightened scrutiny and strict audit requirements from US regulators.
Yalla, founded in 2016, is among few Chinese social-media companies that are tapping the booming wireless-services market in the Middle East and North Africa.
Haymaker Acquisition, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, signed a definitive merger agreement with ARKO, an Israel-based holding company, and GPM Investments, a convenience store owner and operator, in a $1.5bn deal.
“We are excited to reach a larger global audience through the pending business combination with Haymaker and subsequent listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market. We have an established platform for identifying and integrating successful acquisitions in the growing, fragmented and historically recession resilient convenience store industry as well as attractive organic sales and profitability drivers. This transaction provides us with increased liquidity and access to the broader capital markets, enabling us to continue to execute on our proven growth strategy as we expand our network of convenience stores across the United States," Arie Kotler, Arko and GPM CEO.
Arko is advised by Greenberg Traurig and S. Friedman. Haymaker is advised by Cantor Fitzgerald, Citigroup, Raymond James, Stifel, DLA Piper, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, Gornitzky & Co, and ICR.
Bayer, a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, completed the acquisition of KaNDy Therapeutics, a UK clinical-stage biotech company, for $425m.
“We are pleased to receive antitrust clearance and to officially close on the KaNDY Therapeutics Ltd. acquisition. This acquisition is another testament to our commitment to the health of women which not only broadens our pipeline, but has the potential, if approved, to deliver a new treatment option that could have a meaningful impact on women’s lives,” Sebastian Guth, Bayer’s President of Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region.
KaNDy Therapeutics was advised by Goldman Sachs, Goodwin Procter and Consilium Strategic Communications. Bayer was advised by Morgan Stanley and Linklaters.
Stanley Capital, a private equity partnership, completed the acquisition of Noden Pharma DAC and Noden Pharma USA, a global speciality pharmaceutical company that is focused on acquiring prescription medicines across a range of therapeutic areas, from PDL BioPharma, which acquires, manages and commercializes commercial-stage pharmaceutical assets and late clinical-stage pharmaceutical products, for $53m.
"After running an extensive process, we are excited about closing this transaction with Stanley Capital. It represents the completion of a key divestiture for PDL and an exciting opportunity for the Noden team," Dominique Monnet, PDL's President and CEO.
PDL BioPharma was advised by SVB Leerink and Torreya Capital.
Leeds Equity-backed LRN, ethics and compliance education and technology company, agreed to acquire Interactive Services, global compliance and online learning firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"In response, companies throughout the world are urgently reimagining the workplace, redefining leadership, and seeking to build cultures that are genuinely aligned and inclusive. This, in turn, requires meaningful education, communication, codes of conduct, adaptive learning environments, and other tools that inspire employees, put ethics and compliance at the heart of corporate operations, and guide the right kind of principled and profitable behavior – from frontline employees, managers, the C-Suite, and Boards of Directors. As expectations of companies and their leaders rise from society and employees alike, the winners will be those who most effectively operationalize the understanding that values drive behavior and behavior drives performance,” Dov Seidman, LRN Founder and Chairman.
Digital Currency Group, a venture capital company focusing on the digital currency market, agreed to acquire Luno, a cryptocurrency exchange. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are proud to have supported Luno as an early investor, and we recognize a shared commitment to building mission-driven companies that can help transform traditional financial services and improve economic freedom for people all over the world. Luno is a high growth, global business and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions,” Barry Silbert, DCG Founder and CEO.
Sequoia-backed Unity seeks to raise $1.05bn in IPO. (FS)
Unity Software will look to raise up to $1.05bn in its initial public offering, it said, giving the Silicon Valley-based software startup a valuation of about $11.06bn, Reutersreported.
The company intends to sell 25m shares, at a price range between $34 and $42 per share.
Unity’s IPO marks yet another major tech listing, as companies look to ride the resurgence in US capital markets after the Covid-19 crisis forced several firms to postpone their plans to go public earlier this year.
Italy lays out options for exiting Paschi Bank stake.
Italy set out options for disposing of its majority stake in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, including a public tender or a merger with peers, as the state seeks to exit the lender by the end of next year, Bloomberg reported.
Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri has signed off on a draft decree to authorize the Treasury to sell its holdings in the rescued bank. The disposal may be carried out in multiple stages. A tender may involve depositors, bank employees and institutional investors.
GTT said nearing sale of European assets to Macquarie. (FS)
GTT Communications is in advanced talks to sell European fiber assets to affiliates of Macquarie Group, 3i Group and AustralianSuper. GTT’s shares gained as much as 31%, Bloomberg reported.
Spain’s Banco de Sabadell is exploring strategic options as consolidation talks take hold in Europe’s fragmented banking markets.
The lender, based in Alicante, has been working with Goldman Sachs in recent months on options including a sale or merger, asset disposals or buying a smaller competitor, Bloomberg reported.
The bank is looking at deals that would allow it to save costs and reduce exposure to small and medium-sized business loans. Discussions have also looked at options for its UK business TSB Banking Group.
Dawn Capital raises $400m. (FS)
Dawn Capital, a European venture capital fund dedicated to B2B software, has closed Dawn IV at the fund's hard cap of $400m. The fund was oversubscribed and closed within six months of launch, after receiving strong support from existing investors and attracting new investors from the US, Europe and Asia.
“System-wide shocks drive change that startups can exploit ruthlessly, while incumbents are incapable of adjusting. Historically, these shocks were either financial, technological or societal. In 2020, we’ve had all three at once: technology shock as the cloud came into its own, financial shock which will force society to do more with less, and a fundamental change to the way our working society is organised. We can’t wait to see where our entrepreneurs take us as we invest Dawn IV and greatly appreciate the support of all our investors in making this a successful fundraise,” Norman Fiore, Dawn Co-Founder and General Partner.
BT CEO braces for takeover threats.
BT Group’s executives are working with advisers to defend against potential takeovers and approaches from activists, Bloomberg reported.
Chief Executive Officer Philip Jansen has been in the job for a year and a half, but problems ranging from deteriorating sales to a ban on key equipment supplier Huawei Technologies, have caused shares to fall to an 11-year low. Worth almost $65bn in 2016, the company is now worth just $13.4bn.
Ceska Zbrojovka IPO Is rare boost for Prague Stock Market.
A Czech producer of firearms is preparing Prague’s first initial public offering in more than four years, providing a tentative green shoot for the stock market plagued by delistings and shrinking volume, Bloomberg reported.
Ceska Zbrojovka Group aims to sell as much as $177m of new and existing shares and may increase the offering by 15% if there’s enough demand. The supplier of guns to armed forces, which will publish more details once its prospectus has been approved by the central bank, plans to use the proceeds to finance expansion, including a new factory in the US.
Former MGM CEO and Morgan Stanley Bankers mull joining SPAC. (People)
James Joseph Murren, who led MGM Resorts International for more than a decade, has teamed up with former Morgan Stanley veterans Edward King and Daniel Fetters to pursue potential deals in online gaming, live events and other entertainment-related businesses.
“We’re going to be thoughtful and do our homework. I have got a lot of good contacts in the financial industry and there is a lot opportunity,” Murren.
The trio are evaluating options including raising $300m or more through a blank-check company, and have have held preliminary talks with potential underwriters. The initial public offering of a new special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, could occur in coming months.
HIG Capital adds to European middle market LBO team. (People)
HIG Capital has expanded its European Middle Market LBO team with the addition of Rohin Jain as a Managing Director and Nishant Nayyar as a Principal. Both will be based in HIG’s London office.
Rohin has over 15 years of experience in private equity covering a wide range of sectors, regions and investment strategies. Prior to joining HIG, he led the Healthcare Sector Team at Triton Partners. Prior to that, he worked at Mistral Equity Partners and UBS Investment Bank.
“We are delighted to welcome both Rohin and Nishant to the firm. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will prove invaluable to the team as we continue growing our European Middle Market LBO activities,” Markus Noe-Nordberg, HIG Head of the European Middle Market LBO team.
Pacific Equity Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Modern Star, a supplier of educational supplies, from Navis Capital Partners, a private equity firm, for $435m.
"When we invested in Modern Star our objective was to leverage Modern Star’s platform to reach almost every K-12 educational institution in Australia, grow share of wallet and double its market share, which we have successfully accomplished. The business also performed strongly during Covid-19, demonstrating the resilience and diversification of the B2B platform. We wish the management team all the best as Modern Star embarks on the next phase of its growth journey with PEP. As for Wisdom, we continue to see strong growth prospects for the brand and the long-term macro thematics underpinning the kindergarten sector in China," Philip Latham, Navis Capital Head.
Navis Capital is advised by Ernst & Young, Luminis Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Herbert Smith Freehills.
KKR in advanced talks for $1bn Reliance Retail stake. (FS)
KKR & Co is in advanced talks to invest at least $1bn in the retail business of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, in what could be another US investment in the unit following Silver Lake’s deal, Bloomberg reported.
KKR is in discussions for a stake in Reliance Retail Ventures, a unit of the largest retailer in India. The private equity firm could invest as much as $1.5bn and an announcement could come as soon as this month.
Jiangxiaobai raises $300m.
Chinese liquor distiller Chongqing Jiangxiaobai Liquor has raised about $300m from investors in a fresh funding round, Bloomberg reported.
China Renaissance led the funding round for the company. Baillie Gifford & Co and China Merchants Capital were among the investors who participated in the round.
The round gave Jiangxiaobai a pre-funding valuation of roughly $1.6bn.
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