A judge at the US Federal Trade Commission has dismissed a complaint that the agency filed aimed at requiring Altria Group, a tobacco company, to sell a minority investment in e-cigarette firm Juul Labs, an e-cigarette maker.
The FTC filed a lawsuit in April 2020, saying Altria's decision to buy a 35% stake in Juul, announced in December 2018, was bad for competition. The FTC said that the two companies were competitors in the market for closed-system e-cigarettes but that Altria opted to exit and invest in Juul. The judge's decision may be reviewed by the FTC, Reuters reported.
Altria was advised by JP Morgan, Perella Weinberg Partners, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Abernathy MacGregor Group. Debt financing was provided by JP Morgan. JP Morgan was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Juul Labs was advised by Goldman Sachs, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Sard Verbinnen & Co and Tulchan Communications.
Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, a real estate investment platform, agreed to acquire Preferred Apartment Communities, a real estate investment trust, for $5.8bn.
“We are pleased to acquire Preferred Apartment Communities and its portfolio of high-quality multifamily assets in key Sun Belt markets, which represents a significant majority of the Company’s value. Investing using BREIT’s perpetual capital will enable us to be long-term owners of these vibrant communities. The Company’s grocery anchored retail portfolio performance has also been strong and resilient, and we believe these types of necessity-oriented assets located in areas with growing populations are well-positioned for continued growth,” Jacob Werner, Blackstone Real Estate Co-Head of Americas Acquisitions.
BREIT is advised by JLL Corporate Finance, Bank of America, Lazard, Wells Fargo Securities and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. PAC is advised by Goldman Sachs, KeyBanc Capital Markets, King & Spalding, Vinson & Elkins and Longacre Square Partners.
Earthstone Energy, a growth-oriented, independent energy company, completed the acquisition of the northern Delaware Basin assets of OTPPB and Warburg Pincus-backed Chisholm Energy, a privately held oil and gas company headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, for $604m.
"The Chisholm Acquisition caps off a series of highly-accretive and value-adding transactions that have dramatically transformed Earthstone during 2021 and further establishes Earthstone as a Permian Basin focused company with increasing scale. When this acquisition is combined with the previous four acquisitions completed in 2021, we will have increased our Permian Basin net acreage footprint by approximately 400%, almost tripled our daily production rate and meaningfully increased Free Cash Flow generation capacity," Robert J. Anderson, Earthstone President and CEO.
Earthstone Energy was advised by Wells Fargo Securities, Haynes and Boone and Jones & Keller. Wells Fargo Securities was advised by Alston & Bird. OTPPB was advised by Weil Gotshal and Manges. Chisholm Energy was advised by Jefferies & Company and Kirkland & Ellis.
Masimo, a global medical technology company, agreed to acquire Charlesbank Capital-backed Sound United, a manufacturer of audio and entertainment products, for $1.03bn.
“We’re excited about this transaction and see significant potential in combining our expertise in consumer electronics and audio engineering with Masimo’s strengths in healthcare and monitoring. With our track record of industry-first innovation, best-in-class products, and a global distribution network, we are the ideal partner for Masimo to transform the consumer healthcare experience," Kevin Duffy, Sound United CEO.
Masimo is advised by Citigroup and Paul Hastings. Sound United is advised by Evercore, Solomon Partners, Stifel, Goodwin Procter and Max Borges Agency.
Old National, a financial holding company, completed the merger with First Midwest, a bank that provides a full range of both business and retail banking and trust and investment management services, in a $6.5bn deal.
Under the terms of the merger agreement First Midwest stockholders received 1.1336 shares of Old National common stock for each share of First Midwest common stock they own. Former First Midwest stockholders are expected to collectively represent approximately 44% of the combined company.
“First Midwest and Old National are two relationship-focused financial institutions that have rich histories, extremely compatible cultures and a shared commitment to helping our clients achieve financial success. As a combined organization, we will be in an even stronger position to invest, grow and innovate in talent, capabilities and services that will enhance an already superior client experience and further set us apart as a market leader not only in Chicago but across the Midwest," Michael Scudder, First Midwest Chairman and CEO.
Old National was advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods and Squire Patton Boggs. First Midwest was advised by JP Morgan, Sullivan & Cromwell and Edelman. JP Morgan was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis recommend Capstone Mining shareholders vote for the proposed business combination with Mantos Copper at the upcoming Special Meeting of Shareholders, optionholders, restricted share units, performance units and deferred share units holders of Capstone.
“The arrangement makes strategic sense as the combined company will possess a diversified collection of long-life operating assets, planned and fully financed copper production growth of 45 percent by 2024, and material production growth opportunities represented by the Santo Domingo project, as well as expansion projects across the combined company asset portfolio,” Institutional Shareholder Services.
Capstone is advised by CIBC World Markets, GenCap Mining Advisory, Blake Cassels & Graydon and Carey Olsen. Mantos is advised by Scotiabank, Baker McKenzie and Stikeman Elliott.
Blue Owl Capital, an alternative asset manager, agreed to acquire Wellfleet Credit Partners from Littlejohn & Co, a private equity firm. Financial terms are not disclosed.
"We are excited to welcome Scott, Dennis and the rest of the Wellfleet team. Wellfleet adds a complementary, scalable business to Owl Rock's existing platform of credit solutions. Wellfleet's unique expertise, together with its deep institutional knowledge of the syndicated loan market and strong credit research platform, will enhance the overall strategic capabilities of the Owl Rock business," Craig Packer, Blue Owl Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director.
Blue Owl is advised by Kirkland & Ellis, GreensLedge and Prosek Partners. Littlejohn is advised by Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young and Gasthalter & Co.
Akamai, a content delivery network, agreed to acquire Linode, an infrastructure-as-a-service platform provider, for $900m.
“The opportunity to combine Linode’s developer-friendly cloud computing capabilities with Akamai’s market-leading edge platform and security services is transformational for Akamai. Akamai has been a pioneer in the edge computing business for over 20 years, and today we are excited to begin a new chapter in our evolution by creating a unique cloud platform to build, run and secure applications from the cloud to the edge. This is a big win for developers who will now be able to build applications on a platform that delivers unprecedented scale, reach, performance, reliability and security.," Tom Leighton, Akamai Technologies CEO and Co-Founder.
Akamai is advised by PJT Partners and WilmerHale. Linode is advised by DH Capital and Latham & Watkins.
SeaWorld Entertainment, an American theme park chain, said its offer to acquire Cedar Fair, an amusement park operator, for $3.4bn has been rejected and that it does not see a path to a transaction, Reuters reported.
On February 1, 2022, SeaWorld had offered to buy Cedar Fair for $3.4bn in cash. Cedar Fair, which has a market value of $3.5bn, owns and operates 13 properties, including amusement parks, water parks and resort facilities. The company's parks have about 28m guests annually.
SeaWorld is advised by JP Morgan. Cedar Fair is advised by Perella Weinberg Partners and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Meta completed the acquisition of Kustomer, a provider of customer relationship platform, for $1bn.
"Once the acquisition closes, we look forward to working closely with Facebook, where we will continue to serve our customers and work with our partners as part of the Facebook family. With our complementary capabilities, we will be able to help more people benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however they need it–via phone, email, text, web chat or messaging. In particular, we look forward to enhancing the messaging experience which is one of the fastest growing ways for people and businesses to engage," Brad Birnbaum, Kustomer CEO.
Meta was advised by Latham & Watkins and Brunswick Group. Kustomer was advised by JP Morgan.
Longview Capital, a bank holding company, agreed to acquire The Farmers Bank of Mt. Pulaski. Financial terms are not disclosed.
"We are very excited about the proposed merger with The Farmers Bank of Mt. Pulaski. Our companies share similar values and our partnership will reinforce the foundation for an extraordinary community bank that puts our customers, employees, and communities first. We look forward to entering an attractive new market that is a logical extension of our existing operations," David Albin, Longview Capital President and Director.
The Farmers Bank of Mt. Pulaski is advised by Olsen Palmer and Vedder Price. Longview Capital is advised by Hinshaw & Culberson.
Realty Income, a real estate investment trust, agreed to acquire Encore Boston Harbor, a casino-resort, from Wynn Resorts, a developer and operator of high end hotels and casinos, for $1.7bn.
"This transaction demonstrates our ability to utilize our platform and scale to acquire prime real estate assets across a variety of industries in alignment with our investment criteria. Our investment philosophy centers around generating favorable risk-adjusted returns by investing in strategically important properties with partners who are leaders in their respective industries. We are pleased to cultivate a new relationship with Wynn Resorts as we expand our universe of net lease investments," Sumit Roy, Realty Income President and CEO.
Wynn Resorts is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins.
Parthenon, a private equity firm, completed the investment in CardWorks, a consumer finance lender and servicer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Everyone at CardWorks has benefited from having Parthenon Capital involved in our company as shareholders and partners over the last four years. I am pleased that Parthenon’s confidence in CardWorks has merited an additional investment," Don Berman, CardWorks Founder and Executive Chairman.
Parthenon was advised by Kirkland & Ellis. CardWorks was advised by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
Webster Financial, a commercial bank, agreed to acquire Bend Financial, a developer of a healthcare financial platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our goal is to simplify healthcare saving and make it easy for everyone to manage their long-term financial wellness. We're excited that this transaction allows us to expand on that mission," Tom Torre, Bend President and CEO.
Webster is advised by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
3Phase Elevator, a elevator and escalator services provider, completed the merge with Halley Elevator, a family-owned elevator company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“In the Northeast, New Hampshire has always been an important growth initiative for 3Phase. Halley gives us the expertise and experience to improve service in that market and find ways to expand even further into Northern New England. After spending time with Jeff and Frank, it was clear they share the same commitment to customers and service as 3Phase,” Mike Strachan, 3Phase Elevator CEO.
Crescent Energy, an energy company, agreed to acquire Uinta Basin assets of Verdun Oil Company II, an oil and gas company, for $815m.
“We are acquiring these assets at a compelling valuation. They are a great addition to our existing Rockies footprint and align perfectly with our cash flow based strategye. Importantly, this transaction maintains our commitment to financial strength and flexibility while adding meaningful scale to our low-decline production base, free cash flow and proven inventory of highly economic re-investment opportunity,” David Rockecharli, Crescent CEO.
Sapphire, a venture capital firm, and Softbank Vision Fund 2 led a $270 Series D funding round in Paper, a developer of an educational platform, with participation from IVP, Salesforce Ventures, Framework Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital, Reach Capital, BDC Capital, and Red House Education.
"Remote learning during lockdowns accelerated digital adoption of education tools but also exposed a glaring divide in the experience for many students. Paper is helping to support stretched public school systems to improve student outcomes by widening access to critical tutoring resources. We're delighted to be partnering with Philip Cutler and the team to build an enduring solution providing every student with an equal opportunity to excel academically," Ram Trichur, SoftBank Partner.
B Capital led a $250m Series D funding round in Flutterwave, with participation from Alta Park Capital, Whale Rock Capital, Lux Capital, Glynn Capital, Avenir Growth, Tiger Global, Green Visor Capital and Salesforce Ventures.
"Flutterwave is innovating at breakneck speed with novel fintech solutions for large corporates, SMEs and consumers. I’ve had the pleasure of backing this world-class team since 2017 and couldn’t be more thrilled that B Capital is leading their Series D. Flutterwave may ultimately build one of the most consequential fintech business in the world, enabling hundreds of thousands of merchants to transact online and connect Africa to the global economy,” Matt Levinson, B Capital Partner.
Mubadala Investment, a sovereign investor, and The Column Group, a science-driven venture capital firm, led a $236m Series D funding round in Kallyope, an operator of a biotechnology company, with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Bill Gates, Casdin Capital, Euclidean Capital, Illumina Ventures, Lux Capital, Polaris Partners, Two Sigma Ventures, StepStone Group, DNS Capital, Hartford Healthcare Endowment, Parkwood and Tao Capital.
“Since our inception six years ago, Kallyope has pioneered research on the gut-brain axis and developed a transformational drug discovery platform with speed and ingenuity. We are now positioned at the forefront of this space. We are pleased with the support of an outstanding group of investors who represent a strong vote of confidence in our science and our team," Jay Galeota, Kallyope President and CEO.
Tiger Global led a $170m Series B funding round in Veho, a technology company that is revolutionizing package delivery, with participation from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, General Catalyst, Bling Capital, Construct Capital, Industry Ventures, Origin Ventures and Mantis VC.
"In an incredibly complex industry that has historically lagged in innovation and customer focus, we're bringing greater efficiency, transparency, and control. Our brand partners are looking for an accelerated path into new markets, and more ways to bring the customer to the forefront to increase brand loyalty and lifetime value," Itamar Zur, Veho Co-Founder and CEO.
ShawSpring Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, led a $150m funding round in Ro, a developer of a direct-to-consumer telehealth platform, with participation from General Catalyst, FirstMark Capital, TQ Ventures, SignalFire, BoxGroup, The Chernin Group, Initialized Capital, Altimeter Capital, Baupost Group, and Seven Seven Six.
"In less than five years, Ro has become the only company to combine nationwide telemedicine, in-home care, diagnostics, labs, and pharmacy services. With this funding, Ro can accelerate our pursuit of revolutionizing healthcare by building accessible, impactful, and trusted care that people want. This year, that means debuting a unified, single-branded care experience for our patients and further enabling other healthcare companies to benefit from the patient-centric technology and services we've built," Zachariah Reitano, Ro Co-Founder & CEO.
Blackstone, an alternative asset manager, completed a $100m investment in Cloudinary, a SaaS technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed
“Remarkably, and somewhat quietly behind the scenes, Cloudinary powers the websites and apps that millions engage with every day. We are very excited to support the next phase of growth for this tremendous company which is playing a critical role as more and more businesses emphasize digital media and their online experiences,” Ramzi Ramsey, Blackstone Growth Managing Director.
TriNet, a provider of comprehensive human resources solutions for small and medium-size businesses, completed the acquisition of Zenefits, a SaaS-based human capital management solution, from Francisco Partners, an investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Today's acquisition of Zenefits marks a historic day for TriNet and I could not be more excited to diversify our SMB product offering. The addition of Zenefits furthers our mission to power the success of SMBs by supporting their growth and enabling their people. By adding an enhanced HCM software product to TriNet's PEO offering, we will be in a position to create a unique HR solution not available in today's market which we intend will eventually operate within the same technology cloud environment," Burton M. Goldfield, TriNet President and CEO.
US oil producer EP Energy seeks to save deal from regulator. (FS)
EP Energy is exploring a sale of oil-producing acreage in Utah it hopes will avert a challenge from a US antitrust regulator to its agreed $1.5bn takeover by private equity firm EnCap Investments, Reuters reported.
The Federal Trade Commission has privately informed EP Energy and EnCap that it would sue to block their deal if they went ahead with it. The regulator is concerned that EnCap - which owns XCL Resources, another Utah oil producer - would become too dominant a player in Utah's Uinta Basin.
Brazil audit court backs Eletrobras post-privatization concession payments.
Brazil's TCU audit court approved concession fees state-run power company Eletrobras will have to pay the federal government to continue operating some hydroelectric dams after its privatization, Reuters reported.
The decision removes a barrier to the market capitalization that is a key part of handing control of the utility to private investors.
The court decision set a so-called concession bonus that Eletrobras must pay the government at $4.9bn, while the total amount of the privatization was pegged at $13bn.
Prom dress retailer Windsor Fashions plans US IPO. (FS)
Windsor Fashions, a retailer selling occasion wear such as prom dresses, is planning an IPO 85 years after its founding, Bloomberg reported.
The company is working with financial advisers on the IPO, which could take place as soon as the first half of this year, depending on market conditions. The company, backed by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, could be valued at more than $1bn.
PGIM Private Capital raises $2.4bn for direct lending fund. (FS)
PGIM Private Capital has completed fundraising for PGIM Senior Loan Opportunities I, with available capital commitments exceeding $2.4bn. PSLO I marks PGIM Private Capital’s inaugural direct lending fund subscribed by unaffiliated investors, following over two decades of successful capital deployment in comparable direct lending strategies for affiliated investors.
PGIM Private Capital is a leading source of private credit for public and private companies and is the private capital arm of PGIM, the $1.5tn global investment management business of Prudential Financial.
“The closing of PSLO I validates a unique investment proposition in the Direct Lending asset class, leveraging our world-class origination approach to create portfolio diversification among both non-sponsored and sponsored issuers in the middle market,” Jeff Dickson, PGIM Private Capital Executive Managing Director.
Three Hills Capital Partners, a private equity firm, agreed to invest $57m in Gorent, a provider of eco-sustainable vehicles on hire and sale intended for urban sanitation services. The transaction is expected to complete in March 2022.
“We are very excited to partner with Furio and his team for the next growth phase of their business. We continue to focus our efforts on finding successful companies in the sustainability space, one of the key verticals within our portfolio. This journey started back in 2009 with our investment in Aquafil and has continued through several deals across Europe focused on the circular economy and sustainability. Gorent’s purpose driven business model makes it a solid fit for our strategy, and we look forward to working with the team to build on their strong existing momentum and support their international expansion," Mauro Moretti, THCP Partner and Chairman.
THCP is advised by Aon Securities, Boston Consulting Group, ERM Group, KPMG, Rothschild & Co, Cappelli RCCD and Simmons & Simmons. Gorent is advised by KON Group, UniCredit, BLF Studio Legale and Studio Gori.
TPG Capital-backed Nintex, a firm providing global standard for process intelligence and automation, completed the acquisition of Kryon, an operator of a robotic process automation platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to welcome the Kryon team and look forward to offering Nintex customers and community members more advanced automation capabilities and automated process discovery technology within our platform. With Kryon's innovative capabilities for RPA and process discovery, we are executing on our strategy to continually expand the breadth and depth of our process platform to ensure organizations in both the public and private sectors gain digital process competitive advantages," Eric Johnson, Nintex CEO.
Nintex was advised by Robert W Baird, Gornitzky & Co and Ropes & Gray. Kryon was advised by Evercore and Goldfarb Seligman & Co.
NN Group, an insurance and investment management company, agreed to acquire ABN Amro Levensverzekering, a life insurance subsidiary, for $287m.
"This transaction is in line with our strategy to achieve further efficiencies by leveraging our existing closed book capabilities. We are pleased to continue our successful collaboration with ABN AMRO Bank and look forward to further supporting AAV’s growth strategy in non-life insurance," Leon van Riet, NN Group CEO Netherlands Life & Pensions.
GEM Global Yield, a direct lending fund, completed a $110m investment in 5ire, a developer of a sustainability-driven blockchain platform.
"This infusion of capital from GEM is aligned with 5ire's vision of going public. We had successfully closed an oversubscribed seed round of $21m which took our valuation to $110m within two months of incorporation. We are really excited about this $100m investment from GEM as it is a testimony to the market confidence in our offering. This is a humbling moment for the founding team, as this shows that we are on the right track. We are grateful to all our investors for the trust shown in 5ire and our mission of embedding the for-benefit paradigm into the heart of blockchain," Pratik Gauri, 5ire CEO and Co-Founder.
Billtrust, a provider of cloud-based software and integrated payment processing solutions, completed the acquisition of Order2Cash, a developer of a cash processes management platform built to manage the entire order to cash cycle, from Anachron Beheer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to welcome Frank Hoekstra, Marco Eeman and the Order2Cash team into the Billtrust family. This strategic acquisition aligns perfectly with our growth plan of expanding globally with companies that offer complementary expertise, shared values and local market presence. Our EU team now exceeds 100 members, serving more than 700 customers, and is accelerating our global expansion," Steve Pinado, Billtrust President.
Fireblocks, a platform that protects digital assets in transit, completed the acquisition of First Digital, a stablecoin and digital asset payments technology platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We’re thrilled to welcome First Digital to the Fireblocks family as we accelerate our expansion plans to help every business become a crypto business. We’re pushing ‘fast forward’ to give PSPs the suite of tools they need to begin accepting crypto payments," Michael Shaulov, Fireblocks CEO and Co-Founder.
Deutsche Bahn said to prepare $23bn Schenker sale.
Deutsche Bahn, a German national railway operator, has taken the first concrete steps to prepare for a potential sale or listing of its DB Schenker logistics unit, which could be around $23bn, Bloomberg reported.
The government-owned company is working with a consultant and legal advisers to ready the business for a possible transaction later this year. Options being considered range from a full or majority stake sale, to the potential disposal of a minority holding or an IPO.
Schenker, like other transport and logistics firms, has gained in value during the Covid-19 pandemic.
CGN weighing sale of $2bn European renewable assets.
China General Nuclear Power is considering selling its portfolio of renewable energy assets in Europe in a deal that could fetch more than $2bn, Bloomberg reported.
The Chinese firm is working with Citic Securities on the potential disposal of CGN Europe Energy. The state-backed giant has started sounding out industry players as well as private equity firms about a sale.
Orsted is in talks with AXA Consortium on UK offshore wind farm stake.
Denmark’s Orsted is in talks with a consortium that includes AXA and a Credit Agricole unit to sell a stake in a large wind farm off the east coast of England, Bloomberg reported.
The French firms are in advanced discussions to acquire a stake in Hornsea 2, though the auction hasn’t been finalized. It could be one of this year’s biggest transactions for a single renewable power asset, worth about $2.44bn for a 50% share.
Brookfield, CVC, wealth funds eye stake in Starbucks franchise. (FS)
Brookfield Asset Management and CVC Capital Partners, alongside sovereign wealth funds, are among parties that made first-round bids for a minority stake in Kuwaiti conglomerate Alshaya Group’s Starbucks franchise, Bloomberg reported.
Abu Dhabi’s ADQ and Mubadala Investment and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund also submitted separate non-binding offers to buy a 30% stake in the business in recent weeks.
Saipem is said to explore $4.5bn survival package.
Saipem is considering a roughly $4.5bn restructuring package that could include a cash injection and asset sales, Bloomberg reported.
The Italian engineering firm is exploring plans for a capital increase of about $2.2bn and also negotiating with banks to extend a $1.1bn credit facility. It’s also working with advisers on the potential sale of one of its drilling divisions. A drilling sale could raise $1.1bn.
Milan-based Saipem, led by Chief Executive Officer Francesco Caio, has been struggling to cope with lower energy demand and sagging investments, with many oil projects delayed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Efforts to shift its portfolio toward green-energy projects have also faced delays.
Vaar Energi shares fall after $7.9bn Eni spin-off.
Shares of Vaar Energi, the largest pure-play oil exploration and production company to list globally in almost a decade, fell 4.9% as it made its Oslo stock market debut, Reuters reported.
A spin-off from Italy's Eni, Vaar declined to $3 from $3.1 in the IPO, which had valued the group at $7.85bn.
Taking advantage of soaring petroleum prices, Eni last month announced plans to float Vaar on Euronext Oslo, one of several moves by the Italian energy group to free up cash from legacy fossil fuel businesses to fund a green drive.
Saudi digital security firm Elm soars in Riyadh trading debut.
Elm, a digital security firm owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, surged 30% in its trading debut, Bloomberg reported.
The stock rose to $44.3, compared with an offering price of $34. The shares priced at the top of the range, with the Public Investment Fund raising $820m from the offering.
The listing comes amid a rush of sales in the Middle East, part of an effort to deepen the region’s capital markets, and JP Morgan and Citigroup are among those betting investor demand will keep the IPOs coming. Elm’s own offering drew $57bn in institutional orders this week, almost 70 times the targeted proceeds.
HSBC completed the acquisition of AXA Singapore, AXA's Singapore branch, for $575m.
“This is an important acquisition that demonstrates our ambition to grow our Wealth business across Asia. Wealth is one of our highest growth and highest return opportunities, and plays to our strengths as an Asia-centred bank with global reach. We are acquiring a good business that fits well with our existing operations, and which strengthens our status as one of Asia’s leading wealth and insurance providers," Noel Quinn, HSBC CEO.
HSBC was advised by HSBC and Brunswick Group. AXA was advised by JP Morgan and Norton Rose Fulbright.
Several investors in Telenor, a mobile telecommunications company, are seeking assurances from the Norwegian telecoms company that customer data will be protected following the $105m sale of its operations in Myanmar, Reuters reported.
Myanmar's military rulers have given the go-ahead for a local company, Shwe Byain Phyu, to own most of Telenor's business in the Southeast Asian country, under a deal to be finalised soon.
Some human rights groups have said the handover could put the data of 18m people within the junta's reach, with several demonstrations held in Myanmar in recent days calling on Telenor to stop the sale altogether.
Telenor is advised by Citigroup and Allen & Overy.
Hornblower Group, a provider of water-based dining, sightseeing, private charter and transportation experiences servicing various ports and water bodies, completed the acquisition of Journey Beyond, an operator of tourism business based in Marleston, Australia. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"In our continued efforts to position Hornblower as a global leader in experiences and transportation, we are always exploring growth opportunities that will help expand our guest offerings and leverage our core capabilities of operating world-class customer experiences. Aa two organizations with unmatched expertise in the experiential travel space, Journey Beyond aligns perfectly within our business strategy and core mission of creating amazing experiences for our guests. We look forward to growing the rich and unmatched business operations the Journey Beyond team has built as the premiere experiential travel company in Australia," Kevin Rabbitt, Hornblower CEO.
Journey Beyond was advised by Jefferies & Company. Hornblower was advised by Jones Day.
Plateau Consumer, a Chinese fund, agreed to acquire a 40% stake in China Resources Kirin Beverages, a soft drinks joint venture, from Kirin, a producer of beer, soft drinks, food products, whisky, and pharmaceuticals, for $994m.
The joint venture, established in 2011, had been expanding its business in China, making bottled water and bottled tea. Kirin said the move was part of its recent decision to review its investment portfolio, including foreign operations, under a management plan that runs through 2024. The plan has the company focusing on certain areas, including pharmaceuticals and health science as well as food and beverages.
Trustbridge Partners, a mission-driven growth equity firm, and CS Capital, a real estate investment management and advisory firm, led a $200m funding round in G7, an IoT solutions provider for the traditional road freight industry.
The company will use the proceeds to spruce up product R&D and service support. With offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, G7 uses IoT technologies to connect millions of trucks to match freight, trucks and drivers. It serves sectors across express and parcel, food, automobile, cement, petroleum, coal, as well as equipment and manufacturing.
Softbank Vision Fund 2, a fund with a goal to invest in AI-based technology, led a $100m Series D funding round in Sobot Technologies, an intelligence platform, with participation from Hillhouse Venture Capital, GL Ventures, Yunqi Capital and Mirae Asset Capital.
"The progress of artificial intelligence technology and the rapid improvement of labor costs highlight the necessity and effectiveness of digital transformation in the field of customer liaison, especially in enterprise services, marketing and other scenarios. We believe that Wisdom Teeth Technology has created cutting-edge technology and high-quality product solutions in the field of customer liaison, while having outstanding operational ability and excellent reputation among customers," Zhang Kaixun, Softbank Managing Partner.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2, a fund with a goal to invest in AI-based technology, led a $144m Series C+ funding round in Funding Societies, a developer of a peer-to-peer lending platform, with participation from VNG, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, K3 Ventures and Ascend Vietnam.
“SMEs across Southeast Asia have historically struggled to access institutional finance and instead been forced to mainly rely on personal funding to support growth. Funding Societies is establishing a bridge for these companies to access more sustainable and cheaper financing by building unique data sets on their performance and using AI-led technology to assess their creditworthiness more effectively than traditional models," Greg Moon, SoftBank Managing Partner.
The Sylvan Group, a private investment firm, completed the acquisition of Juniper Biologics, Artemis Health Ventures, DX Imaging and Juniper Therapeutics, four healthcare and pharmaceutical firms, for $141m.
"We are investing into mid-size companies that either have strong potential social impact through their businesses or could improve much more by changing their value chains or have solutions for social and environmental problems," Kyungsun Chung, Sylvan Co-Founder and Managing Partner.
Alpha JWC, EDBI, MPL Ventures, Temasek, GGV Capital, K3 Ventures and Bits x Bites led a $100m Series A funding round in Next Gen Foods, a producer of plant-based foods intended to create a plant-based diet that is rich in nutrition.
"Within a year, we've gone from launch to more than 200 restaurants on three continents. We will continue this relentless momentum in 2022 thanks to strong demand from chefs, distributors and consumers, who love TiNDLE for its great taste and tiny environmental footprint. We are grateful to have mission aligned and long-term global investors supporting us during such a critical phase for the company – bringing their expertise and visionary leadership," Rohit Bhattacharya, Next Gen Foods CFO.
Thailand purchase of F-35 stealth jets depends on US government.
Thailand's interest in Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighters is genuine, but clearance to buy the jets is a matter for the US government, Reuters reported.
Tim Cahill, Lockheed Martin's senior vice president for Global Business, confirmed Thailand had expressed interest, but said there was "nothing official that I am aware of that has come relative to that."
In January, the Southeast Asian country's air force set aside about $413m for procuring four of the jets. Earlier, the country's Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya said Thailand would be interested in buying as many as eight F-35s.
SG's PropertyGuru reports Q4 performance, aims IPO by end of March.
PropertyGuru, a Southeast Asia property listings platform, says it is step closer to its de-SPAC merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings, which it foresees will take place by the end of Q1 this year, DealStreetAsia reported.
PropertyGuru said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved its Form F-4 filing for the business combination, with an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on March 15, 2022.
UAE's Gulf Capital eyes tech investments in SE Asia with fourth fund. (FS)
Gulf Capital, an UAE-based investment firm, is expected to launch its fourth PE fund this year targeting more assets in Southeast Asia, DealStreetAsia reported.
"Southeast Asia is where we belive we can talk to a lot of founders and sponsors, and talk about the ability to take their businesses to West Asia," Shantanu Mukerji, Gulf Capital Private Equity Managing Director.
Mukerji, formerly Southeast Asia managing director at L Catterton Asia, is based in the firm's Singapore office, which was set up in December to cover investments in Southeast Asia and India.
Coller Capital secures $1.4bn for global credit secondaries fund. (FS)
London-based Coller Capital, that's betting big on the Asian market, has raised about $1.4bn from over 30 institutional investors for its first credit secondary fund Coller Credit Opportunities I, DealStreetAsia reported.
Coller's expansion plans in Asia gains steam after it launched its China office last year following a $680m investment in the private credit portfolio managed by Ping An Overseas Holdings.
CCO I will be the world's largest pool of LP capital dedicated to private credit secondaries, based on Preqin data.
HK-based life sciences VC Delos Capital holds first close of Fund III at $300m.
Hong Kong-based life sciences venture capital firm Delos Capital has reached the first closing of its Fund III at $300m with support from investors across the US and Greater China, DealStreetAsia reported.
Delos Capital completed the first closing after only six months of fundraising with all existing limited partners in the predecessor Fund II re-upping or upsizing their positions in the new vehicle.
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