NantKwest, a clinical-stage, natural killer cell-based therapeutics company, announced that independent proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis, and Egan-Jones Proxy Services recommended NantKwest stockholders to vote in favour of the pending merger with ImmunityBio, a developer therapies that drives immunogenic mechanisms for defeating cancer and infectious disease.
“Both NK and ImmunityBio have engaged in multiple combined clinical trials and collaborative development activities, and this combination has the potential to streamline operations and create strategic and financial synergies. Moreover, the significant appreciation in NK shares since announcement appears to suggest shareholders view the proposed transaction and the prospects of the combined company quite favorably. Considering the strategic and financial synergies of the combined companies and potential downside risk to non-approval, given the significant increase in NK's stock price since announcement, a vote FOR this transaction is warranted," ISS.
NantKwest is advised by Barclays, Goodwin Procter, Joele Frank and LifeSci Public Relations. ImmunityBio is advised by Goldman Sachs, Lazard, and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. Financial advisors are advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Two Advent-backed companies, Transaction Services Group, a provider of payment solutions, and Clearent, a credit card processing company, agreed to merge. The resulting company will be relaunched as Xplor Technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is a highly complementary combination of applications and platforms that are well positioned to empower businesses that operate in 'everyday life' verticals, which are growing rapidly because they are so important to consumers around the world. This transaction will enable us to better leverage the advantages of our global breadth with our hyper-local expertise. We will invest in and commercialize our product innovations more effectively, such as our suite of mobile apps, so that we can continue to help our clients eliminate friction and deliver better experiences to their consumers and small businesses," Floris de Kort, TSG CEO.
Advent is advised by Goldman Sachs, UBS, Proton Partners, and Finsbury Glover Hering. TSG is advised by Macquarie Group. Clearent is advised by Citigroup. Xplor Technologies is advised by ICR.
Colonnade Acquisition, a blank check company, reminds its shareholders to vote in favor of the proposed business combination with Ouster, a manufacturer of semiconductor devices, and the related proposals at CLA’s extraordinary general meeting before March 9, 2021.
Ouster is advised by Citigroup, Latham & Watkins and Sloane & Company. Colonnade Acquisition is advised by BTIG, Barclays, White & Case and ICR.
Private equity firms Cornell Capital and Trilantic North America agreed to acquire providers of staffing solutions Fastaff and US Nursing, two providers of staffing solutions, from Thomas H. Lee Partners, an American private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to add Fastaff and US Nursing to further diversify our innovative healthcare staffing platform, whose enhanced technology and AI will help drive future growth. We have been impressed by the performance of Fastaff and US Nursing for their health system customers both prior to and during the global pandemic. With each company's track record of execution and deep hospital relationships, we look forward to partnering together as we continue to build an industry-leading organization and grow this platform organically, geographically and through additional acquisitions," Stephen Trevor and Jeremy Lynch, Cornell Capital Partner and Trilantic North America Partner.
Cornell Capital is advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell and Joele Frank. Trilantic North America is advised by Kirkland & Ellis. Fastaff and US Nursing are advised by Lincoln International and Ropes & Gray. Thomas H. Lee Partners is advised by Edelman.
HCA Healthcare, a provider of health care services, agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Brookdale Health Care Services, a provider of patient-centered care, from Brookdale Senior Living, which operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, for $400m. Brookdale will retain a 20% equity interest in the venture with HCA Healthcare.
"HCA Healthcare's objective is to be the healthcare system of choice in the communities we serve through the development of comprehensive services and by delivering high quality, convenient care to our patients. We believe this opportunity to partner with Brookdale will expand the services we offer and enhance our ability to deliver a better experience for our patients as well as for Brookdale residents," Sam Hazen, HCA Healthcare CEO.
HCA Healthcare is advised by Truist Bank, Waller Helms Advisors and Debevoise & Plimpton. Brookdale is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Bass Berry & Sims.
NuVasive, a provider of technology innovation, focused on transforming spine surgery with minimally disruptive, procedurally integrated solutions, completed the acquisition of Simplify Medical, a medical device company, for $150m.
"The acquisition of Simplify Medical advances our previously communicated long-term growth strategy by both expanding, and further distinguishing, our portfolio with industry-leading innovation. Combining the Simplify Disc with NuVasive's C360 portfolio will enable us to provide surgeons with world-class cervical technology, regardless of their preferred procedural approach. We are excited about the opportunities this acquisition creates as we work to optimize the surgeon experience, advance the standard of care, and create value for shareholders," J. Christopher Barry, NuVasive CEO.
Simplify Medical was advised by JP Morgan, Johnson Winter & Slattery and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. NuVasive was advised by DLA Piper and Joele Frank.
Diligent, a provider of award-winning, cloud-based security, risk management, compliance, and audit software, agreed to acquire Galvanize, a provider of SaaS governance, risk, and compliance software. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This transaction fast forwards our vision as the operating system of conscious organizations and furthers our mission to make GRC today’s mission-critical enterprise platform. Joining forces with Diligent, the clear market leader in the governance space, represents an immediate, material and meaningful redefinition of the $41bn GRC market. With Diligent’s presence in thousands of boardrooms across the globe, our combined offering ensures all levels of an organization will have the real-time insight they need to manage risk and optimize performance,” Laurie Schultz, Galvanize President & CEO.
Diligent is advised by Credit Suisse, Willkie Farr & Gallagher and 5W Public Relations. Galvanize is advised by Evercore and Fasken.
Merck, a global healthcare company, agreed to acquire Pandion Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics designed to address the unmet needs of patients living with autoimmune diseases, for $1.85bn.
“This acquisition builds upon Merck’s strategy to identify and secure candidates with differentiated and potentially foundational characteristics. Pandion has applied its TALON technology to develop a robust pipeline of candidates designed to re-balance the immune response with potential applications across a wide array of autoimmune diseases,” Dean Y. Li, Merck President of Research Laboratories.
Pandion is advised by Centerview Partners and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Merck is advised by Credit Suisse and Covington & Burling.
ICONIQ Capital, a privately-held investment firm, led a $125m Series D round in BetterUp, a provider of commercial services. Additional investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Threshold Ventures, Plus Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and Mubadala Capital.
“Since the very beginning, BetterUp has designed and built our products around the whole person — the vital intersection of well-being and human performance. By investing in their employees’ growth, our customers have seen measurable behavior change in their cultures and significant outcomes across their businesses. With the addition of Care, we can extend this impact to organizations who recognize mental fitness as the biggest lever in helping people thrive through change. We’re excited to partner with progressive companies to supercharge their entire workforce, from whole person to whole organization," Alexi Robichaux, BetterUp CEO and Co-Founder.
Red White & Bloom Brands, a producer of cannabis, agreed to acquire Florida operations from Acreage, a multi-state operator of cannabis cultivation and retailing facilities, for $60m.
“The sale of our Florida operations is a significant step in our previously announced operating strategy to focus on those core markets that we believe will accelerate our path to profitability and position us for significant long-term growth and cash generation. The cash proceeds will significantly bolster our balance sheet and position us to accelerate our cultivation expansion projects and open additional dispensaries to support our growth into key adult-use cannabis states such as Illinois and New Jersey," Peter Caldini, Acreage CEO.
Solar Integrated Roofing, an integrated, single-source solar power and roofing systems installation company, completed the acquisition of Cornerstone Construction, a provider of construction services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I would consider this to be a model acquisition and yet another example of how our roll-up model creates opportunities to deliver synergies by cross selling across our roofing and solar products. As we continue to grow our presence nationally, we will continuously seek out exciting new acquisitions such as this. I look forward to continued execution in the months ahead, helping to create long-term value for our shareholders," David Massey, Solar Integrated Roofing CEO.
Solar Integrated Roofing was advised by MZ Group North America.
Silver Lake, a private equity firm, led a $105 Series E round in ScienceLogic, a provider of information technology infrastructure products and services. Additional investors include Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital and NewView Capital.
“It’s a watershed moment for the company. This investment is essentially pouring gas on what we’re doing," Dave Link, ScienceLogic Founder and CEO.
Exelon, an energy company, agreed to spin off Exelon Utilities, comprised of the company’s six regulated electric and gas utilities, and Exelon Generation, its competitive power generation and customer-facing energy businesses into two publicly traded companies. Exelon shareholders will retain their current shares of Exelon stock and receive a pro-rata dividend of shares of the new company’s stock.
“Now is the right time to take this step to best serve our customers, employees, community partners and shareholders. These are two strong, distinct businesses that will benefit from the strategic flexibility to focus on their unique customer, market and community priorities," Christopher M. Crane, Exelon President and CEO.
Pan Pacific International Holdings, a global retailer, agreed to acquire Gelson’s Markets, a Southern California grocery chain, from TPG Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As we look to the future, we are excited about opportunities for new growth and partnerships under PPIH, while remaining focused on our longtime commitment to the highest standards of quality, value, and unsurpassed customer service. PPIH leadership has visited every one of our locations and has been incredibly complimentary of our stores and teams, as well as our customer service philosophy,” Rob McDougall, Gelson’s President and CEO.
Coinbase files to go public on Nasdaq through direct listing.
Coinbase Global, the biggest US cryptocurrency exchange, filed to go public via a direct listing, in what’s anticipated to be a break-through moment for the industry. Coinbase will be listed under the symbol COIN.
The procedural step of making its filing with US regulators public brings Coinbase a step closer to listing its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange, which would represent a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates vying for mainstream endorsement. The landmark decision from the SEC could be a major boon or blow to the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies, and determine which ones are allowed to trade on the platform.
Coinbase is advised by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Allen, and Citigroup.
JMI Equity seeks to raise $1.7bn. (FS)
Growth-equity investor JMI Equity is raising its largest-ever fund amid a management transition that has seen a new leader installed at the top of the firm. For its newest fund, JMI Equity Fund X, the firm has set a $1.7bn fundraising target, WSJ reported.
With over $4bn of committed capital raised since inception, JMI has the collective experience to help growth businesses become industry leaders.
Oak HC/FT closes $1.4bn fund at hard cap. (FS)
Oak HC/FT, a private equity firm, announced today that it has secured $1.4bn for its largest fund to date, an investment vehicle that will exclusively back healthcare and fintech companies. The firm previously raised $500m, $600m and $800m for its other funds, respectively.
The latest fund will be invested across 20 companies, with average check sizes between $60m and $100m. The fresh capitalization comes during a watershed moment for the two sectors, heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic from an innovation and adoption perspective.
Hellman & Friedman to pledge over $1bn to its own private equity fund. (FS)
Hellman & Friedman plans to commit over $1bn to its latest fund. The fund, Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners X, has a $20bn target, WSJ reported.
At $20bn, the new fund would be 21% larger than its predecessor, which closed on $16.5bn in 2018. The firm committed $1.1bn to that fund. The private equity firm will target up to 15 investments through its new fund, committing between $400m and $4bn per portfolio company in transactions across North America and Europe.
Peterson Private Equity closes fund IX at $225m. (FS)
Peterson Private Equity, a Salt Lake City-based private equity firm, closed a $225m fund. With the close of Fund IX, the company intends to make approximately 10-12 investments.
The new vehicle is focused on investing $10-25m behind entrepreneurs and management teams in profitable and growth-oriented businesses.
Francisco Partners agreed to acquire MyHeritage, an online genealogy platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“By leveraging our operational expertise, market resources and strong industry networks, we believe Francisco Partners is uniquely positioned to help MyHeritage accelerate its vision for growth. We are deeply impressed by the incredible achievements and relentless determination of Gilad, a visionary leader in genealogy who has grown the company from a start-up to a profitable global market leader,” Eran Gorev, Francisco Partners‘ President of Israel & Senior Operating Partner.
Francisco Partners is advised by Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Meitar Law Offices and Sloane & Company. MyHeritage is advised by JP Morgan and Goldfarb Seligman & Co.
Biffa, a waste management company, agreed to acquire Company Shop, a redistributor of surplus food and household products, for $124m.
"The acquisition of Company Shop Group strengthens Biffa's leadership position in the UK circular economy. Its redistribution services complement Biffa's established waste and recycling services, and supply of closed loop recycled raw materials. As the only commercial redistributor of scale in the UK, Company Shop Group is the market-leader in a growing sector, with a strong, credible growth plan which we will deliver together. Biffa and Company Shop Group share a common set of goals, including the continued development of profitable, sustainable waste management solutions while making a meaningful contribution to society," Michael Topham, Biffa Chief Executive.
Biffa is advised by Houston PR.
Piaggio Aerospace invites five bidders for a takeover bid.
Piaggio Aerospace, a multinational aerospace manufacturing company, which filed for protection from creditors late in 2018, has formally invited five bidders to make a purchase offer for the group.
The five bidders' deadline to file non-binding offers is set for March 5, adding they were interested in buying both the group's aircraft and engine business. Italy's Ministry for Economic Development would assess the non-binding offers, and then talks would start to get to a binding offer.
Former Oasis owner leads the $990m takeover of IDH Group. (FS)
A former owner of the Oasis dentistry business is in pole position to clinch a $990m takeover of IDH Group, one of Britain’s biggest chains of dental practices, Sky News reported.
Bridgepoint, the private equity firm, has become the preferred bidder for IDH, which runs about 595 surgeries across the UK. Bridgepoint has seen off competition for the business from Bestway, the family-owned conglomerate best known for its cash-and-carry operations.
A finalised deal remains some weeks away, partly as a result of the complex shareholder structure that exists between IDH's current owners, Carlyle and Palamon.
KPMG is close to £400m sale of restructuring arm.
KPMG, an audit firm, is close to selling its restructuring division to a private equity firm as part of a deal that could see a former head of Deloitte run the newly separated business, The Times reported.
HIG Europe, a private equity firm, is in exclusive talks to acquire the restructuring arm for about £400m ($566m). If the deal completes, John Connolly, Deloitte former global chairman and UK CEO, has been lined up as a potential chairman to run the standalone business.
Stevanato Group prepares a $5bn IPO.
Stevanato Group, a manufacturer of glass vials for Covid-19 vaccines and other healthcare products, is exploring an initial public offering this year that could value the company at between $4bn-$5bn.
The company wants to capitalize on strong investor demand for healthcare assets but a final decision on whether to list in New York or Milan has yet to be made.
Stevanato Group is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
Made.com picks banks to spearhead a $1.4bn debut.
Made.com, an online furniture retailer, has picked a trio of investment banks to work on a stock market flotation that would value it at up to $1.4bn.
The sale of a strategic stake to a new investor or outright sale of the company could also be considered. A formal decision about a public listing had yet to take place but that it looked increasingly likely, Sky News reported.
JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Liberum are advising the IPO.
Leonardo plans to list up to 30% of DRS in New York.
Leonardo, an Italian defense and aerospace group, plans to list up to 30% of its defense electronics division DRS in New York later this year. A roadshow with investors could start in mid-March. DRS could be valued at 11-12 times its expected core earnings in the IPO.
The share sale will bring new financial resources for the Italian defense company, which recorded an increase in its debt in the first nine months of last year to $7.14bn. A stake sale to a private investor like private equity is also possible if an initial public offering failed to meet price expectations.
Leonardo is advised by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley.
St James's Place targets $283bn AUM by the end of 2025. (FS)
St James's Place, a wealth management firm, targets $283 bn in asset under management, by the end of 2025 as low savings rates and an ageing population boost demand for the British wealth manager's services, Reuters reported.
The forecast came as the company posted a 75% surge in 2020 pretax profit, with funds under management reaching a record $182.8bn from $165.5 a year earlier.
HIG Capital hires Ignacio Blasco as a Managing Director to head the Madrid office. (FS, People)
HIG Capital has expanded its European WhiteHorse Direct Lending team with the addition of Ignacio Blasco as a Managing Director. Blasco will be based in HIG’s Madrid office.
“We are delighted to welcome Ignacio to the firm. He brings a wealth of knowledge and connections within the Spanish private equity and advisory communities that will prove invaluable to the team as we continue growing our European direct lending activities,” Pascal Meysson, HIG Head of WhiteHorse Europe.
Tiger Global, an investment firm, led a $100m Series C round in Infra.Market, a tech-enabled one-stop store for all category of construction materials and products. Additional investors include Accel Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Evolvence India Fund, Sistema Asia Fund and Foundamental.
Infra.Market plans to spend the new funds to enhance its technological offerings, seed newer markets and advance initiatives such as private label brands, direct to retail channel and exports.
“We are delighted to partner with Souvik and Aaditya in the growth journey of Infra.Market which is reshaping India’s construction materials supply chain. With pioneering technology innovation and the ability to stitch together private label brands, Infra.Market is positioned for strong growth, healthy economics and profitability," Scott Shleifer, Tiger Global Partner.
SoftBank-backed Fanatics, a licensed sports merchandise retailer, and Hillhouse Capital, a global Asia-focused private equity firm, are set to form a joint venture. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The 50-50 joint venture with Hillhouse will be based in Shanghai. It aims to localize operations including product design, sourcing and licensing to serve what Fanatics believes will be a multi-billion dollar market.
“China has been a market we followed for a while, and we’ve been meeting with multiple partners in China trying to figure out how we approach it in the best way. The interest overall in the country around European football, and American sports is growing," Zohar Ravid, Fanatics Head of International Corporate Development.
MNC Vision Networks in talks to merge with Malacca Straits SPAC.
MNC Vision Networks, a media company, is in talks to merge Vision+, it's streaming television, with blank-check company Malacca Straits Acquisition.
In addition to Vision+, known as an over-the-top or OTT media service, MNC Play, an Indonesian broadband and TV box provider that’s also part of MNC Vision Networks, is set to be included in the transaction.
Malacca Straits has begun discussions with investors including Ray Zage’s Tiga Investments, as it seeks to raise $50m or more in new equity to support a transaction that’s set to give the combined company an enterprise value of around $600m.
SHV and NIIF look to acquire a stake in Fourth Partner Energy for $150m. (FS)
Netherlands’ SHV Energy and India’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund are separately looking to buy a stake in Hyderabad-based solar energy company Fourth Partner Energy, for about $150m.
This comes in the backdrop of distributed renewable energy generation attracting strong investor interest as the market has few developers with large portfolios. C&I projects are generally insulated from risks such as power procurement curtailment and tariff-shopping by state-owned distribution companies as seen in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
Suning shareholders plan to sell up to a 25% stake.
Chinese retailer Suning said its shareholders plan to sell from 20% to 25% of the company to unnamed buyers, leading to a change in control as its parent seeks to raise cash.
The company said it was notified of the stake sale by its founder Zhang Jindong and its parent Suning Appliance Group, respectively, holding a 20.96% and 19.88% stake in the firm. Other investors might include state-owned firms Jiangsu Transportation, Jiangsu Guoxin Investment Group and Nanjing New Industry Investment Group.
“The transfer, if completed, will help further improve the company’s shareholding structure and the steady implementation of long-term strategy,” Suning.
Tencent-backed WeDoctor plans a $6.8bn Hong Kong IPO.
Tencent-backed WeDoctor is planning to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as next month after fetching a valuation of $6.8bn in its latest funding round. The company is hiring joint global coordinators, paving the way for a filing in as early as March.
The medical platform operator had raised about $400m in a pre-IPO round from investors including Sequoia Capital China and Millennium Management at the end of last year.
WeDoctor is advised by Citigroup, JP Morgan, and CMB International.
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