Media and telecom entrepreneur Patrick Drahi closed his $3.7bn acquisition of Sotheby's, one of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles. The deal was announced it June 2019. With this transaction, the company returned to private ownership after 31 years on the New York Stock Exchange.
“Private ownership at this moment in Sotheby’s development would empower us to accelerate many of those growth initiatives and focus on long-term success,” Tad Smith, Sotheby's President.
LionTree Advisors, Luther and Sullivan & Cromwell advised Sotheby's. BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley, Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Ropes & Gray advised Patrick Drahi. BNP Paribas provided debt financing.
Taboola and Outbrain, two digital advertising platforms, agreed to merge into a $2bn group. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Outbrain shareholders will receive shares representing 30% of the combined company plus $250m of cash.
The combined company will provide enhanced advertising efficacy and reach to marketers worldwide, while helping news organizations and other digital properties more effectively find growth in the years to come.
"We are excited to partner with Taboola. Both Outbrain and Taboola have a shared mission and vision of supporting quality journalism globally and delivering meaningful value to the open web marketplace. Ori and I had a vision of helping people discover quality content online, and we see a tremendous opportunity in joining forces in order to bring the next wave of innovation to our publisher partners and advertisers. I'm confident that together, we will be able to further our mission, which we call our Lighthouse, of bringing the best, most trustworthy content discovery capabilities to users around the world." Yaron Galai, co-Founder and co-CEO of Outbrain.
Goldman Sachs, Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, White & Case and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are advising Outbrain. Citigroup, JP Morgan, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal are advising Taboola.
Bain Capital-backed Italmatch Chemicals, a leading global specialty chemical group, invests in FRX Polymers, a Boston-based innovative company specialized in halogen-free polymeric flame retardant additives. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The investment further strengthens Italmatch Chemicals position in the Flame Retardants business thanks to FRX innovative polymeric phosphonates technology to be used as halogen-free flame retardants in textile, Polyurethane foam and coatings, Polycarbonate blends and alloys, Copper Clad Laminates and other thermoplastics.
"We are thrilled to be joining the Italmatch Chemicals Group. The transaction will unlock new technical synergies between FRX and Italmatch products which will accelerate the growth of our combined product lines. FRX will also gain access to Italmatch’s global sales network allowing it to rapidly expand its global footprint." Marc Lebel, FRX Polymers CEO.
Goodwin Procter and Lincoln International are advising FRX Polymers. Giovannelli e Associati, Wuersch & Gering, Bennett Thrasher, and ECOVIS STLex Studio Legale Tributario are advising Italmatch.
Tokio Marine Holdings, a leading insurance holding firm is set to acquire Privilege Underwriters, a provider of full-line insurance and its subsidiary Pure Group from leading private equity firms Stone Point Capital and KKR for $3.1bn.
PU, which does business through the PURE Group of Insurance Companies (PURE Group), includes: PURE Risk Management, the attorney-in-fact for Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange; PURE Insurance Company, a Florida-domiciled stock insurance company; PURE Programs, a managing general underwriter; and Haven Art Group, a fine art services and claims management company.
"This acquisition provides unique growth opportunities and portfolio diversification for the Tokio Marine Group. We look forward to welcoming the PURE Group’s management team and employees to Tokio Marine and to helping them continue to grow this business post-transaction,” Chris Williams, Tokio Marine Senior Managing Executive Officer.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is advising Pure Group. Morgan Stanley, Sullivan & Cromwell, and KPMG are advising Tokio Marine.
ICV Partners, a leading investment firm focused on middle-market companies, invested in Horizon Air Freight, a specialized freight forwarder focused on the marine industry serving leading US and international shipping companies and cruise lines. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"ICV's investment in HAF continues our track record of partnering with high-quality family-owned and closely-held businesses in industries we know well. Steve and his team have built a world-class freight forwarder focused on the marine industry and HAF is well-positioned as a platform investment. Given the fragmented nature of the industry, we expect to make strategic acquisitions that broaden our reach and capabilities so HAF can continue to provide best in class service to shipping companies and cruise lines worldwide." Zeena Rao, Managing Director of ICV.
BB&T Capital Markets, Jefferies & Company and Holland & Knight are advising Horizon Air Freight. BDO, DLA Piper and Chris Tofalli are advising ICV.
Quad Partners, a private equity firm, invested in The Gardner School, an academically-focused early childhood education provider for students ages six weeks to five years. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to partner with Quad and thankful for our fantastic team at The Gardner School, whose dedication has helped us reach this important milestone. Through our schools, we have built a devoted community of children, parents and educators, and look forward to accessing Quad's resources to help enhance our offerings and further support our organizational development." Scott Thompson, CEO and Founder of The Gardner School.
William Blair & Co and Goldberg Kohn are advising The Gardner School. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel is advising Quad Partners.
RedBird Capital Partners and Reverence Capital Partners, two leading private equity firms, completed the acquisition of Vida Capital, a vertically integrated asset management company providing longevity contingent investment solutions to investors. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Jeff Serra, Vida President, and CEO, along with members of the management team, invested alongside RedBird and Reverence in the transaction. The proposed transaction obtained the necessary regulatory approvals and received overwhelming support from the investors in Vida’s various funds.
“We are excited to be backing a leader in the life settlement space. We believe the platform is well suited to capitalize on the growth of the industry given the team’s underwriting expertise and compelling track record. We look forward to growing the company together with RedBird and the Vida management team and building a successful partnership that benefits all parties.” Milton Berlinski, Reverence Managing Partner.
Moelis & Co, and Vinson & Elkins advised Vida Capital. Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson advised Reverence and RedBird.
HIG Capital, a leading private equity firm, completed a significant investment in Circle Graphics Holdings, a leading graphical designer and provider of wall decor and visual solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Headquartered near Denver, CO, Circle Graphics produces best-in-class digital graphics for consumers, professionals, and businesses through two distinct divisions: Online Wall Décor and Out-of-Home Visual Solutions.
“HIG will enable Circle Graphics to scale its product offering while further expanding the Company’s sales, marketing, and distribution capabilities across new and existing markets. We are very excited about the future of the Company and believe our customers and employees will greatly benefit from this support.” Andrew Cousin, Circle Graphics CEO.
DuPont, a leading specialty chemicals producer, is set to acquire Memcor, a water filtration business unit from Evoqua Water Technologies, a provider of water treatment equipment and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The transaction includes Memcor business including ultrafiltration and membrane biofiltration technologies from Evoqua. After the closing of the deal, DuPont will be even better positioned to provide the products, technology and geographic diversification needed to meet current and future customer demand.
"This transaction is an excellent opportunity for Memcor® and its employees to align with DuPont's strength in membrane development and material science," Ron Keating, Evoqua CEO.
Arthur J. Gallagher, a leading Insurance broker through its subsidiary Artex Risk Solutions, an alternative risk transfer solutions provider, is set to acquire Horseshoe Insurance Services Holdings, a provider of full-line insurance service. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Horseshoe is the largest independent company providing insurance management, fund administration, advisory, and corporate services to the insurance-linked securities market.
"We are excited to join forces with Artex and Gallagher. Being part of a larger organization will give us the opportunity to access worldwide resources and accelerate the development of bespoke solutions and products for ILS," Andre Perez, Horseshoe CEO.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwood Realty Services, a leading real estate management and brokerage firm, completed the acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kovack Realtors, a leading property brokerage services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The union adds to the brokerage superpower of more than 1.8k agents and 54 offices serving 22 counties in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.
“We are thrilled to have Michele grow with us; she has a terrific reputation along with superior leadership and operational skills,” Kevin M. Leonard, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwood Realty Services President.
Trimble, a California-based SaaS Technology Company has agreed to acquire Azteca Systems, a leading provider of enterprise asset management software for utilities and local government. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Cityworks acquisition will expand Trimble's strategy by adding an EAM software platform to its existing utilities and local government capabilities, which include mobile, IoT and infrastructure lifecycle solutions. The combination will provide a comprehensive digital platform—with real-time asset intelligence, workflows, and analytics—for transforming the way governments and utilities prioritize infrastructure maintenance and construction investments. In addition, the acquisition will enable Cityworks to leverage Trimble's global footprint in multiple industries. Together, Trimble and Cityworks will provide an expanded solutions portfolio to their partner network of Architecture, Engineering and Construction firms and software system integrators.
"Cityworks is a pioneer in developing software to address the global challenges associated with managing aging, critical infrastructure," Steve Berglund, Trimble President and CEO.
Highview Capital, a private equity firm that specializes in business diversification services, has agreed to acquire Gold Star Foods, a United States premier processed commodity distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"In partnership with Castle Harlan, Gold Star has grown to be the premier school nutrition solutions provider. We are looking forward to our next chapter with Highview Capital and Good Source, where we will leverage our collective strength to establish a new leader in specialized foodservice distribution for the K-12, corrections and other value-focused end markets," Sean Leer, Gold Star CEO.
Converge Technology Solutions, a computer data storage services company, agreed to acquire Datatrend Technologies, a computer consultant in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled that Datatrend is joining the Converge family of companies. Their reputable team supports businesses across the nation with notable experience advancing large enterprise financial services, travel, and hospitality customers through their enterprise-class configuration centers, project management skills and certifications. Datatrend strengthens our central geographical coverage, while its extensive experience with enterprise clients will prove valuable across the organization." Shaun Maine, CEO of Converge.
Engineered Specialty Products, a global manufacturer of quality pressure and temperature instruments, agreed to acquire Weksler Glass Thermometer Corporation, a premier provider of high-quality temperature and pressure instruments for the HVAC market. Financial terms were not disclosed.
With a product base that provides a natural extension to ESP's strong pressure focus, the acquisition creates significant opportunity to drive additional products through WGTC's existing distribution network while providing additional support and expertise to WGTC's customer network.
Platinum to close its newest fund above $9bn. (FS)
Platinum Equity, the private equity firm led by Tom Gores, is approaching a fundraising milestone. The fund, Platinum Equity Capital Partners V, is expected to soon hold a second closing at more than $9bn and then to hold a final close at its $10bn hard cap before the end of the year, PrivateEquityNews reported.
Kimmeridge raises $800m for the fifth fund. (FS)
Fund fifth is focused on continuing Kimmeridge's strategy of directly acquiring and developing unconventional assets in top-tier basins. The fund received support from institutional investors, including endowments, foundations, family offices, and sovereign wealth funds.
"We would like to welcome both our returning and new limited partners, and thank them for their continued support. With a focus on assets at the front end of the cost curve, direct operatorship, and a flexible investment approach, Kimmeridge is equipped to excel through commodity cycles. We believe that the current E&P landscape presents a host of compelling investment opportunities at attractive entry points, and we look forward to continuing to generate strong outcomes for our stakeholders." Ben Dell, Kimmeridge Founder, and Managing Partner.
Goldman faces a $260m potential loss as Uber stock prices drop more than 30%.
Goldman Sachs Group's bets on four companies delighted investors a quarter ago. This time around, they're inflicting about $260m of pain. The losses are driven by investments made for its own account in Uber Technologies and Avantor, which both slumped in the third quarter.
The ride-hailing company has seen a third of its market value erased after a woeful public-market debut, while Avantor lost 23% in the same period. That led to hits of more than $100m each for Goldman, Bloomberg reported.
HC Private Investments and Landon Capital Partners to set up Evolution Managers Capital. (FS)
HC Private Investments, a Chicago-based private investment firm, and Landon Capital Partners, a Boston-based family office, have set up Evolution Managers Capital, a platform for emerging private equity managers to launch their own investment efforts.
“I am excited to expand our private equity investing efforts with the launch of Evolution,” Joe Niciforo, HC Technologies Managing Principal. “Throughout my career, I have helped seed emerging hedge fund managers and believe a tremendous opportunity exists to provide successful private equity investment professionals with a similar path to start their funds. John and Matt have done an exceptional job with HCPI since launching the firm nearly three years ago and are in an ideal position to bring their experience of building successful businesses to the next crop of emerging private equity investors,” he added.
Rakesh Wilson set to leave Apollo Global. (FS, People)
Apollo Global Management has continued the shake-up of its natural resources team with Senior Partner Rakesh Wilson leaving the firm, Bloomberg reported.
He is the second high-profile member of the firm’s natural resources team to relinquish his role on the team. The former head of the business, Gregory Beard, is transitioning to the role of adviser ahead of his 2020 departure from Apollo.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs set to lead Airbnb's direct listing. (FS)
Short-term home rental company Airbnb is set to hire Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group as joint lead advisers on its planned stock market flotation next year, Reuters reported.
The appointments would represent another high-profile assignment for the storied investment banks, albeit potentially less lucrative than usual. This is because Airbnb is leaning toward going public through a direct listing, rather than IPO.
More than 30% of the shareholders at Sunrise are disappointed with and are set to oppose the rights issue for the $6.3bn acquisition of UPC from Liberty Global. Reuters reported that German group Freenet, Sunrise’s single biggest investor with a stake of 24.5%, said it would oppose the deal. Two of the ten largest shareholders also said they plan to vote against the issue.
PwC, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Latham & Watkins, Meyerlustenberger Lachenal, Slaughter & May, Deloitte, NautaDutilh, and Lenz & Staehelin are advising Sunrise. Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Lion Tree Advisors, and Shearman & Sterling are advising Liberty Global.
ID Systems, a leading provider of enterprise asset management and Industrial Internet of Things technology, completed the acquisition of Pointer Telocation, a leading provider of telematics and mobile IoT solutions, in a cash and stock transaction valued at $140m.
"The acquisition culminates a two-year strategic working relationship between Pointer and I.D. Systems. Together, I.D. Systems and Pointer will have the advantage of being vertically integrated, unlike any of our competitors in the market. PowerFleet will deliver high-value, technology leading, IoT products globally." David Mahlab, Pointer President and CEO.
ROTH Capital Partners, and ZAG-S&W advised Pointer. Canaccord Genuity, Goldfarb Seligman, Latham & Watkins, and Olshan Frome Wolosky advised ID Systems.
Grafton Group, the international builders merchanting and DIY Group, sold Plumbase, its specialist UK plumbing and heating business, to Plumbing and Heating Investments for £67m ($82m).
"The sale of Plumbase to PHIL secures future opportunities for Plumbase, its employees and other stakeholders as part of an enlarged specialist plumbing and heating business. This transaction represents a very positive outcome for Grafton and enables us to continue to focus our capital and resources on attractive growth opportunities that generate appropriate returns for our shareholders." Gavin Slark, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton Group.
Capital A, an investment firm, agreed to acquire Smart IM, a market leader in the field of SEO and SEA. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Smart IM is active in a growing market and has developed a unique technology that ensures enormous scalability. We are very pleased to be working with Smart IM for this promising future." Quinten Birkhoff, Capital A Investment Manager.
Subsea 7, a leader in the delivery of offshore projects and services for the evolving energy industry, completed the acquisition of 4Subsea, a provider of technology and engineering services for offshore drilling and wind farms. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition will enable further enhancement and scaling of 4Subsea’s know-how, technology, and services to a worldwide market. 4Subsea will function autonomously within Subsea 7, maintaining an independent brand and management team.
“We are proud and happy to become a Subsea 7 company, as we regard this as an excellent opportunity to scale our technology and services to a larger market. We aim to combine our ability to deliver quick and targeted business value within the well intervention, drilling, subsea operations, and offshore wind with Subsea 7’s strong position as a leading player within the subsea and renewables market." Peter Jenkins, 4Subsea CEO.
ASSA ABLOY, a leading provider of access solutions, is set to acquire LUX-IDent, a leading provider of radio frequency identification components. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019.
"LUX-IDent is a strategic technological addition to the ASSA ABLOY Group. The company reinforces our current offering within RFID components. The acquisition of LUX-IDent considerably enhances the Group´s position within smart components and will provide complementary growth opportunities," Nico Delvaux, ASSA ABLOY President.
KPS Capital Partners-backed DexKo Global, a global leader in the highly engineered trailer running gear, chassis assemblies and related components, agreed to acquire Aguti Produktentwicklung & Design, a leading provider of seat systems and seat-connections for motorhomes, electric vehicles and specialty vehicles. Financial terms were not disclosed.
We are very happy that Aguti will become part of the DexKo family. Aguti distinguishes itself through high-quality and innovative products and enjoys an excellent reputation with business partners and customers. It's a perfect match with DexKo. We will continue to pursue such value-adding partnerships that improve our product offering and service level in the future." Fred Bentley, CEO of DexKo.
Gemspring Capital-backed TMP Worldwide, a global leader in talent acquisition technologies, agreed to acquire Maximum, a recruitment marketing tech company that is based in the Netherlands. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the addition of Maximum, and the recent acquisition of Perengo to deliver additional programmatic expertise to our clients, we are demonstrating our strategic commitment to devoting resources to the European market. We are adding experienced marketing and ad tech teams in service of a client base that is increasingly international. Our goal is to provide our clients with both the most powerful technology and the most comprehensive service in the industry. It's another example of the way we are transforming our company." Michelle Abbey, President and CEO of TMP Worldwide.
Global Blue, setting up for a possible €1bn IPO this year. (FS)
Shopping tax refund firm Global Blue is preparing for a possible €1bn ($1.1 bn) initial public offering in Amsterdam this year as investors show renewed signs of interest in new listings, Reuters reported.
Global Blue has appointed Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan as global coordinators and Credit Suisse as a book-runner as it prepares for a listing on the Amsterdam stock exchange.
Apollo and Carlyle are in a race to acquire Deutsche Bahn's Arriva Unit. (FS)
Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group are the two remaining bidders competing to acquire Deutsche Bahn's European transport business Arriva, Bloomberg reported.
The buyout firms are proceeding in the final stages to make binding bids for the UK-based unit, which could be valued at about €3bn ($3.3bn). Deutsche Bahn is exploring all options for Arriva and also continues to weigh an IPO of the business.
Russia's Mechel considers paying $461m for stake in the Elga coal project.
Russian steel and coal producer Mechel agreed to pay around ₽30bn ($461m) for Gazprombank's 34% stake in the Elga coal project, Reuters reported.
Elga is one of the world's largest coking coal deposits with reserves of 2.2bn tonnes.
Bain Capital, a leading private equity firm, agreed to acquire MailPublisher, the Japanese e-mail service provider business of Cheetah Digital, a marketing solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
MailPublisher has industry-leading technologies in the growing digital marketing space. It is distributing 6.1bn e-mails on a monthly basis and is introduced to more than 5.3k companies in total. MailPublisher has established a critical infrastructure to its customers, and is maintaining the top share in the e-mail service provider market for the 11 consecutive years.
"MailPublisher of Cheetah Digital has an exceptional functionality delivering a large volume of e-mails at high speed, with high security, and without delivery failure. Bain Capital will be providing active support for their further growth, including the expansion of new functions." Yuji Sugimoto, Bain Capital Managing Director.
Ropes & Gray and Brunswick Group are advising Bain Capital.
Shell Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a leading oil and gas company, acquires a 20% stake in Orb Energy, a leading provider of solar energy solutions in India. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Orb Energy offers SMEs credit to invest in their own rooftop solar systems, driving Orb Energy’s growth in sales and helping Indian businesses boost their competitiveness.
"We are delighted that Shell New Energies has recognized our work and decided to invest in a close to 20% stake. Shell’s investment will power the next phase of our growth and ensure that more underserved SMEs in India can benefit from clean, lower-cost electricity from solar.” Damian Miller, Orb Energy Chief Executive Officer.
Unitus Capital advised Orb Energy.
Topsports raises $1bn in Hong Kong listing. (FS)
Chinese sportswear manufacturer Topsports has raised $1bn after pricing its shares at HK$8.50 ($1.08) in a Hong Kong IPO, the term sheet showed. The stock was priced towards the lower end of a marketing range of HK$8.30($1.06) to HK$10.10 ($1.29).
The IPO was sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. With $1bn raised, the firm has a market capitalization of about $6.74bn.
BlackRock is considering a potential partnership with Tencent to explore expansion in China. (FS)
BlackRock has held preliminary discussions with Tencent over the past year, as the world’s largest asset manager takes steps to expand its operations in China.
BlackRock is exploring ways to make its tools for investment portfolios available to the Chinese market. The talks between BlackRock and the Chinese Internet giant are at an early stage, and no final decisions have been made, Bloomberg reported.
Axiata's tower unit is looking for deals to enter new markets.
Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group has asked its Edotco towers unit to seek deals to enter new markets or expand in Southeast Asia and South Asia. The firm may consider divesting a stake if attractive big investment opportunities arise.
Axiata Chief Executive Jamaluddin Ibrahim told Reuters, his company did not see chances for another group-level deal. The recently abandoned tie-up with Telenor would have created Southeast Asia's largest telecoms operator with 300m subscribers.
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