Australian antitrust regulators warned that Google's planned $2.1bn acquisition of fitness tracker maker Fitbit might give it too much of people's data, potentially hurting competition in health and online advertising markets.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is the first regulator to voice concerns about the deal in a preliminary decision. The ACCC, which does not generally have the power to block a deal outside Australia, will announce its final decision on August 13.
"Buying Fitbit will allow Google to build an even more comprehensive set of user data, further cementing its position and raising barriers to entry to potential rivals," Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman.
Fitbit is advised by Qatalyst Partners, Fenwick & West, and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Qatalyst Partners is advised by Cooley. Google is advised by Lazard and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
TPG Capital-backed Digital.ai, a digital transformation company, completed the acquisition of Numerify, an AI-powered business analytics software provider, and Experitest, a provider of quality assurance digital services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The additions of Numerify and Experitest to Digital.ai enhance our ability to help these organizations rapidly increase agility and meet ever-changing customer and market demand without sacrificing quality or security," Ashok Reddy, Digital.ai CEO.
Digital.ai was advised by KeyBanc Capital Markets, Shea & Co, Ropes & Gray and ZAG Communications.
Athene Holding, a retirement services company, agreed to acquire an 11.1% stake in Jackson National Life Insurance, a US insurance company and a subsidiary of Prudential Financial, for $500m.
"Today's transactions with Athene, a leading franchise in the retirement services market, further strengthen our capital position and enhance our ability to grow. We value Athene's investment in Jackson, which is aligned to our common goal of serving the growing population of American savers transitioning into and through retirement," Michael Falcon, Jackson CEO.
Prudential Financial is advised by Rothschild & Co. Athene Holdings is advised by Credit Suisse and Sidley Austin.
Champion ONE, a designer, marketer, and supplier of optical networking components, agreed to merge with Approved Networks and US Critical, two providers of programming, testing, and distribution of network solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Similar to Champion ONE, Approved Networks has achieved significant growth since its inception, in large part due to its commitment to listening to customers and delivering consistent operational excellence. The decision to merge the companies was based not only on the compelling business synergies, but by the exceptional cultural fit, shared operational ethos, and relentless dedication to customer service," Pete Kirchof, Champion ONE Executive Chairman.
US Critical is advised by Gaffney Bennett Public Relations. Approved Networks is advised by D.A. Davidson & Co.
iCapital Network, a financial technology platform, agreed to acquire the alternative investments feeder fund platform from Wells Fargo, an American multinational financial services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This agreement is emblematic of the great strides we have made to provide greater access, efficiency and transparency for the wealth management community seeking alternative investing strategies for their high-net-worth clients," Lawrence Calcano, iCapital Network Chairman and CEO.
J.S Held, a global multi-disciplinary consulting firm, completed the acquisition of VWM Analytics, an economic consulting and forensic accounting firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to add the experience and expertise of VWM Analytics. This further expands our forensic accounting and economic services for complex litigation needs, while also strengthening our resources throughout the country," Max Flynn, J.S. Held Forensic Accounting & Economics Practice Co-Leader.
Morningside Ventures, one of China's earliest early-stage venture investors led a $102m Series D round in GreenLight Biosciences, a biotechnology company, with participation from S2G Ventures, Xeraya Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Continental Grain Company, Fall Line Capital, Tao Capital Partners, Baird Capital, MLS Capital Fund II, Lewis and Clark AgriFood, and Lupa Systems.
"GreenLight was born from a passion to make our world more sustainable and more equitable. We are honored to draw the support of this notable group of new and existing investors as we drive forward our dual mission to make food production more robust and environmentally respectful; and our health solutions applicable to every member of the human race," Andrey Zarur, GreenLight Co-founder and CEO.
LightBay Capital, a private equity firm, agreed to invest in Barry's Bootcamp, a fitness centre chain operator. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This investment allows us to continue to support our talented employee community during the unexpected Covid-19 closures while also investing in the future, including strengthening our digital product offering," Jonathan Gantt, Barry's CFO.
Hertz suspends share sale after SEC raises objections.
Bankrupt Hertz Global Holdings suspended its plan to sell up to $500m in new shares after the US Securities and Exchange Commission raised objections to the sale.
The move comes after SEC Chairman Jay Clayton toldCNBC that the agency has some issues with Hertz's share sale plan, without elaborating on what the problems were.
"After discussions with the (SEC) staff, sales under the...program were promptly suspended pending further understanding of the nature and timing of the staff's review," Hertz.
Venezuela to put brakes on Crystallex sale of Citgo.
The opposition of Venezuela asked the court to hold the sale of shares in Citgo, a US refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, by Crystallex, a Canadian corporation engaged in gold mining and exploration.
Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition, proposed to Delaware court to delay any sale unless Crystallex is given an explicit license from US sanctions. The opposition believes that giving the green light for the deal without an explicit license will profit socialist President Nicolas Maduro. He was involved in the drama about the economic collapse of the nation and is allegedly corrupted and violated human rights.
DoorDash valued at $16bn in pre-IPO funding round. (FS)
DoorDash said it was looking to raise about $400m from investors, valuing the food delivery company at about $16bn ahead of its IPO. The company, backed by SoftBank Group, filed for an IPO in February, setting it up as one of the most high-profile listings of 2020.
DoorDash, which competes with Uber Eats, GrubHub and Postmates, said the latest funding round would be led by new invstors Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Co and existing investors, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates.
UiPath in talks for $10bn-plus value funding. (FS)
UiPath, a New York-based software maker that helps companies automate routine processes, is in talks to raise funding that could value it at more than $10bn, Bloombergreported. That would be a significant jump from its last funding round in April 2019 when it said it was valued at $7bn.
UiPath is looking to expand as more companies during the pandemic have been looking to use automation to cut costs. Some of its software has been used in hospitals and during health-care projects to help with Covid-19.
Bridgepoint Capital, a pan-European private equity investor focused on the middle market, agreed to acquire credit business from EQT Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is an important step on our path of focusing on investment strategies which can fully utilize EQT's governance and impact ownership model. We are delighted to have found such a great new home for the Credit business segment and the dedicated team of credit specialists. Together with Bridgepoint, the Credit platform is well-positioned to capture the future growth prospects and develop its offering even further," Christian Sinding, EQT CEO.
EQT Credit is advised by Macfarlanes. Bridgepoint is advised by Lockton Companies, PwC, Rothschild & Co, Clifford Chance, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. EQT is advised by JP Morgan, Kirkland & Ellis and Travers Smith.
KKR is set to acquire Roompot Group, a provider of holiday parks in Western Europe, from PAI Partners, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As we change to new ownership we would like to thank PAI, who have been a hugely supportive partner to our team since 2016, and welcome KKR for the next phase. Our focus, as always, will be providing a great service for our leisure customers and third-party providers. We continue to see growing demand from our guests and from our corporate partners due to the leading platform, we have put in place, providing a solid foundation to scale the business, also on an international level," Jurgen van Cutsem, Roompot CEO.
KKR is advised by Clifford Chance, Finsbury and Meines Holla. PAI Partners is advised by Rothschild & Co and Greenbrook.
Turkey Wealth Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, and LetterOne, an international investment company, agreed to acquire a 48.82% stake in Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri, a telecoms and technology company, from Telia, a Swedish telecommunications company and mobile network operator, for $530m.
"We strongly believe that Turkcell will remain as a performance-driven entity and its financial results will be positively affected with our contribution through resolving the decades-long shareholder governance issues," Zafer Sönmez, Turkey Wealth Fund CEO and Board Member.
Telia is advised by UBS and Sullivan & Cromwell. LetterOne is advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Salling Group, a retailing group, agreed to acquire the Polish business of Tesco, a British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer for $227m.
"We have seen significant progress in our business in Central Europe, but continue to see market challenges in Poland. I would like to thank all of our Tesco Poland colleagues for their dedication to serving customers in Poland over many years. We see this transaction as the best way to secure the future of the business for our colleagues and customers in Poland," Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO.
Tesco is advised by Barclays and Teneo.
Lufthansa said its $10bn bailout deal is under threat.
Lufthansa, responding to investor criticism of a state-backed rescue deal, warned it might need to apply for protection from creditors if the bailout plan failed to win shareholder approval.
Lufthansa's biggest shareholder, German billionaire Heinz Hermann Thiele, criticised the $10.1bn bailout, saying he had raised his stake in Lufthansa to over 15% and hoped alternative options could be explored.
"The board considers it possible that the stabilisation package could fail to achieve the two-thirds majority of votes cast," Lufthansa.
Germany protects key companies from foreign takeovers.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's move to tighten protections for German companies from foreign takeovers gained final approval in parliament, amid concern about potential acquisitions by firms bankrolled by China and other nations.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers before the vote that the screening legislation is not meant to impede investment into Europe's biggest economy, but to help shield key German companies, including those that may be more vulnerable due to the fallout from the coronavirus.
Idinvest Partners divests a portfolio of 12 companies. (FS)
Idinvest Partners has completed the sale of a portfolio of investments in 12 growth companies in a secondary deal that will allow the firm to return up to €150m ($169m) to more than 40k retail investors.
The portfolio, which will be taken over by the newly established Indinvest Growth Secondary fund, will continue to be managed by Idinvest's growth and venture team. The new fund will provide fresh capital to the portfolio companies over a five-year period to support further value creation.
Conforama nears buyout after the virus hit.
Conforama, a French furniture chain, said it was close to finding a new owner, one of several retailers in France that have been seeking new investors as they have struggled to secure state aid to help them cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Clothing stores and household goods sellers were hit hard by lockdowns to fight the virus, compounding challenges in the sector, such as growing competition from online shopping sites.
HQ Capital raised $750m for its largest fund. (FS)
HQ Capital, a Germany-based alternative asset manager, has closed its eighth global fund of funds at $750m, surpassing its target of $600m.
The Auda Capital VIII fund is the firm's largest to date. It will make primary, secondary and co-investments focused on the small and mid-cap markets in Europe, Asia and the US. Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the firm said it sees "attractive investment opportunities" in these geographies and has, so far, deployed 15% of the fund's capital.
"Private equity is, more than ever, an established and resilient asset class for professional investors. We believe the high demand for this fund is a strong testament to the trust our investors place in our strategy and team," Dr. Bernd Tuerk, HQ Capital CEO.
Standard Chartered considers raising fresh funds.
Standard Chartered is planning to raise $1bn from the debt market and use the proceeds to strengthen its regulatory capital base and meet general business needs. The bank intends to issue fixed-rate resetting perpetual subordinated contingent convertible securities.
It intends to offer and sell the securities to no less than six independent places. While the perpetual securities will have no fixed maturity or fixed redemption date, the securities will bear an annual interest of 6.00% from June 26, 2020 to January 26, 2026.
Barclays, JP Morgan and UBS were among the lead managers for the issue.
The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund agreed to invest $1.5bn in Jio Platforms, a digital services provider. The fund joined investors including L Catterton, TPG Capital, ADAI, Mubadala, Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic and Vista Equity.
“We are delighted to be investing in an innovative business which is at the forefront of the transformation of the technology sector in India. We believe that the potential of the Indian digital economy is very exciting and that Jio Platforms provides us with an excellent opportunity to gain access to that growth. This investment will also enable us to generate significant long-term commercial returns for the benefit of Saudi Arabia’s economy and our country’s citizens, in line with our mandate to safeguard and grow the national wealth of the Kingdom,” Yasir Al-Rumayyan, PIF Governor.
Reliance is advised by Morgan Stanley, AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell. Mubadala is advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Silver Lake is advised by Latham & Watkins, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. KKR is advised by Deloitte, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. General Atlantic is advised by Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Vista Equity Partners is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. TPG Capital is advised by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. L Catterton is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Institutional investors completed the acquisition of a 9.5% stake in Pendal, an investment management firm from Westpac Banking, an Australian bank and financial services provider, for $128m.
"We acknowledge the significant part Westpac has played in Pendal's history, both as a supportive owner and a client. We continue to have a strong client relationship with Westpac and currently manage $15.4bn in FUM on their behalf which constitutes 18 per cent of our total FUM and less than 10 % of total revenue. Additionally we continue to transition a number of support services from Westpac, including the Australian back-office operations which is expected to take place over the coming 2 years," Emilio Gonzalez, Pendal CEO.
Pendal was advised by Symbol Strategic Communications. Westpac was advised by UBS.
APG, a provider of pension fund management and consultancy services, CPP Investments, a global investment management firm, and ESR, a logistics real estate platform, completed the formation of a $1bn joint venture, ESR-KS II.
ESR-KS II will invest in and develop a best-in-class industrial and warehouse logistics portfolio in the Seoul and Busan metropolitan areas. APG, CPP Investments and ESR will hold 35%, 45% and 20%, respectively.
APG and CPPIB were advised by Baker McKenzie.
Chevron puts a stake in North West Shelf LNG for sale.
Chevron has put up for sale its minority stake in Australia's biggest and oldest LNG project, the North West Shelf, after drawing interest from potential buyers.
The move marks a long-awaited shake-up of ownership in the 30-year-old project as it runs out of gas and shifts towards becoming a facility that will process gas into LNG for third parties.
"Chevron Australia has made the decision to market its non-operated one-sixth interest in the North West Shelf project, following a number of unsolicited approaches from a range of credible buyers," Chevron.
Reliance Industries nears acquisition of a stake in Future Group.
Reliance Industries is closing in on a deal that would see it acquire stakes in some units of Future Group, Bloomberg reported, a move that would bolster the e-commerce ambitions of the conglomerate and its billionaire Chairman Mukesh Ambani.
An agreement between Ambani's Reliance and Future, which already has a partnership with Amazon, could be announced as early as next month. Though unit Future Retail has attracted suitors, including Amazon, Reliance's offer to buy into the group's holding company is likely to sway the outcome in its favor.
KKR expects to at least triple its investments in Vietnam in the next decade as it seeks to capture rising demand from the Southeast Asian nation's growing middle class.
The US buyout firm's investments in Vietnamese assets crossed $1bn after aKKR-led consortium bought a stake in Vinhomes, the largest real estate developer in the country, according to Ashish Shastry, co-head of private equity for KKR Asia Pacific and head of Southeast Asia.
Malaysia considers amending 1MDB charges against Goldman Sachs.
Malaysia prosecutors will seek to amend charges against three Goldman Sachs units in the case involving troubled state fund 1MDB.
Prosecutors will be seeking amendments involving liability, with Goldman's lawyers arguing the proposed changes would be substantial.
China Pacific Insurance completed the $1.8bn IPO.
China Pacific Insurance completed the largest IPO on the London Stock Exchange in three years. CPIC completed a $1.8bn listing of GDRs at $17.6 each.
"The listing will support our expansion into new markets and facilitate the company in introducing high-quality investors around the world," Kong Qingwei, CPIC Chairman and Executive Director.
Geely Automobile considers mainland China listing.
Geely Automobile Holdings, an automotive company said its board has approved a preliminary proposal to list new renminbi shares on mainland China's Nasdaq-like STAR board, Reuters reported.
The Zhejiang-based automaker is currently listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation that exceeded HK$120bn ($15.48bn). Geely Automobile and sister company Volvo Cars, which parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought from Ford Motor in 2010, are planning to merge and list in Hong Kong and possibly Stockholm - as well as on the mainland, if Geely Automobile's latest proposal receives final approval.
Ebang International launches US IPO.
Ebang International has launched a roadshow for its US IPO that could raise as much as $126m, becoming the second Chinese Bitcoin mining machine maker to seek a US listing.
If successful, Ebang will follow in the footsteps of larger rival Canaan, which raised $90m in an IPO last November after abandoning a plan to raise about $1bn in Hong Kong. Ebang itself filed twice in Hong Kong before switching to the US, while Bitmain Technologies - the world's biggest producer of cryptocurrency mining chips - also made a failed Hong Kong IPO attempt.
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