Microsoft is challenging Britain's decision to block its $69bn takeover of "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard on the grounds of "fundamental errors" in the assessment of Microsoft's cloud gaming services.
Britain's anti-trust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, vetoed the deal in April, saying it could hurt competition in the nascent cloud gaming market, sparking a furious row, Reutersreported.
Activision Blizzard is advised by Allen & Company, Morgan Stanley, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (led by Kenton King), Brunswick Group (led by Jonathan Doorley) and FGS Global (led by Paul Verbinnen). Financial advisors are advised by White & Case (led by Denise Cerasani). Microsoft is advised by Goldman Sachs (led by Sam Britton), Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Sidley Austin, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (led by Alan Klein and Anthony Vernace), Weil Gotshal and Manges and Assembly Media.
Talanx, an insurance group, agreed to acqurie the Latin America business of Liberty Mutual, an insurance company, for $ 1.48bn.
"With the acquisition of these Liberty Mutual operations we are continuing our success story in Latin America. The acquisition fits seamlessly into our strategy of achieving market-leading positions in our core markets through organic and inorganic growth. Alongside Europe, Latin America is one of our core regions in the retail business. We are therefore pleased to be among the top 3 in Latin America with this acquisition. The acquisition will improve our Group net income and our return on equity already in the first year after the expected closing in 2024. The acquisition will further strengthen our primary insurance business and our diversification across business lines," Torsten Leue, Talanx Chairman of the Board of Management.
Talanx is advised by Rothschild & Co and Hogan Lovells. Liberty is advised by JP Morgan and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Applied Intuition, a tooling and software provider, agreed to acquire Embark Technology, a vehicle software provider, for $71m.
"We are excited to acquire Embark. This acquisition should enable us to advance our products and solve more specific, complex challenges for our customers. We respect the work Embark has accomplished in the autonomous vehicle industry and look forward to leveraging their expertise to better serve our global customer base," Qasar Younis, Applied Intuition Co-Founder and CEO.
Embark is advised by Evercore, Houlihan Lokey and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Applied is advised by Goodwin Procter.
TA Associates, a private equity firm, agreed to invest in WestView Capital-backed Alpha II, a software developer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited to welcome TA on Alpha II’s continued journey to revolutionize the revenue cycle technology ecosystem. The foundation of our partnership is a shared desire to create the leading RCM software platform. With deep experience investing in and scaling mission-critical healthcare technology companies, we believe TA will be a valuable partner as we further expand our solution suite and accelerate our growth trajectory,” Todd Doze, Alpha II CEO.
Alpha is advised by William Blair & Co and Latham & Watkins. TA is advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Amulet Capital Partners, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Alliance Clinical Network, a comprehensive clinical site platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“For prominent sponsors, ACN’s scalable, technology-driven approach has established the platform as a partner of choice with exceptional on-site expertise and a patient-centric focus that consistently drives successful outcomes. We see a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand the platform and the exceptional team Anthony has built to position the business for long-term success. We look forward to working together to continue delivering high-quality results that exceed the expectations of our sponsor and CRO clients, while providing opportunities for a diverse set of patients to participate in clinical research,” Nick Amigone, Amulet Partner.
Alliance Clinical Network was advised by Cantor Fitzgerald. Amulet Capital Partners was advised by Harris Williams & Co and Joele Frank (led by Jonathan Keehner).
Williston Financial Group, an insurance services provider, completed the acquisition of the West Coast local retail title operations of Doma, an insurtech company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This strategic transaction is aligned with our mission-driven go-forward strategy and refined focus on our core underwriting and technology business. Our West Coast operations are premier locations within their respective real estate communities with a track record of providing excellent customer service. We believe we have found an optimal home for our Local team members in the branches we have sold to WFG and they will continue to thrive under their leadership. I want to thank this team for their hard work and dedication to Doma and our vision over the years," Max Simkoff, Doma Founder and CEO.
Doma was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Mayer Brown.
ConocoPhillips, a hydrocarbon exploration and production company, agreed to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Surmont oil-sands field from TotalEnergies, an energy and petroleum company, for $3bn.
"Today’s announcement reflects our ongoing commitment to enhance our returns-focused value proposition, improving our ROCE, lowering our free cash flow breakeven and further supporting our $11bn planned return of capital in 2023. Upon close, we look forward to leveraging our position as 100% owner and operator of Surmont to further optimize the asset while progressing toward our overall interim and long-term emissions intensity objectives. We will remain on track to achieve our previously announced accelerated GHG intensity reduction target of 50-60% by 2030, using a 2016 baseline," Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO.
Carso, an enegy company, agreed to acquire 49.9% stake in Talos Mexico, an energy company, from Talos Energy, an enegy company, for $125m.
"We are thrilled to partner with Grupo Carso. Our relationship dates back to the 2015 offshore lease sales in Mexico. As we accelerate recent momentum and advance Zama toward FID and first production, we are confident that Carso is the right partner at the right time. Carso's investment is a testament to the economic potential of Zama, and the joint venture will also benefit from Carso's critical presence in Mexico and global commercial experience. We are excited about this broad partnership in Mexico," Timothy S. Duncan, Talos President and Chief Executive Officer.
Deltek, a global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, agreed to acquire Replicon, a software developer. Financial terms were not dislcosed.
"Replicon has always been focused on empowering people with game-changing solutions and we are excited to continue that journey with Deltek. Joining the Deltek team is a tremendous opportunity for our employees, our customers, and partners," Lakshmi Raj, Replicon Co-founder & Co-CEO.
Glencore’s Viterra in $20bn merger talks with Bunge.
Glencore-backed agriculture trader Viterra is in talks to merge with US rival Bunge, one of the world’s largest crop merchants.
The companies are negotiating the structure of a potential transaction. One option being discussed envisions a stock deal where Bunge shareholders would own a majority of the combined group.
The merger would combine two of the world’s largest grain traders and create a company with a market value of more than $20bn. It would also give Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodities traders, a major presence in the global grain market.
Francisco Partners, TPG end talks to buy New Relic. (FS)
Private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG have ended talks to acquire software maker New Relic after they failed to secure enough debt financing and could not meet the business software company's valuation expectations.
The demise of the deal negotiations underscores the challenges facing private equity firms seeking to put together leveraged buyouts. New Relic has been negotiating with potential acquirers since last year, and it's possible that deal talks resume some time in the future, Reutersreported.
Godspeed closes oversubscribed $250m fund II. (FS)
Godspeed Capital Management, a lower middle-market Defense & Government services, solutions, and technology focused private equity firm, has held the final close of Godspeed Capital Investment Program II with $250m in capital commitments.
Godspeed Capital previously raised $155m in capital commitments for its inaugural fund, Godspeed Capital Investment Program I, which closed in 2021.
The oversubscribed fund was raised in less than six months, exceeded its $185m initial target, and received commitments from a range of both new and existing US-based institutional investors including existing strategic partner East Rock Capital, a US public pension fund, family offices, and leading financial institutions representing endowment and foundation clients.
Godspeed Capital was advised by Lazard and Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Remgro, an investment holding company, and MSC, a container shipping and a company, completed the acquisition of Mediclinic, a private hospitals group, for £3.7bn ($4.5bn).
“I am delighted that Remgro is participating in this transaction, which is fully aligned with our strategy of prioritising our ownership of structurally attractive, unlisted assets. Since its founding, Remgro has been a long-standing and supportive shareholder of Mediclinic. We are proud of what the business has achieved over that period and look forward to continuing our support, alongside our partner SAS, as the business transitions to the next phase of its evolution under stable, long-term ownership. Under the stewardship of the Consortium, Mediclinic will be well-positioned to execute on its strategy and undertake the investment required to realise the full potential of the business,” Jannie Durand, Remgro CEO.
Permira, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Gruppo Florence, a luxury goods manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Our industrial project involves significant investments in training, innovative digital tools, research on sustainable production processes, and qualified management for the design and implementation of these programs. To achieve our ambitions, it is necessary to bring together a significant number of companies, in particular leveraging their heritage and expertise,” Attila Kiss, Gruppo Florence CEO.
Gruppo Florence is advised by Bain & Co, Bank of America, Citigroup, KPMG, BonelliErede, DWF and Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners.Permira is advised by Boston Consulting Group, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan, Latham & Watkins, Legance and Maisto e Associati. VAM is advised by UniCredit.
SPWOne, an investment firm, and Phoenix Asset Management-backed Castelnau Group, a holding company, completed the acquisition of Dignity, a funeral services provider, for £789m ($733m).
"Dignity has long-term growth potential - the signs are clear to me. But the changes and significant development work and investment needed to enable this growth mean the best way forward for Dignity is as a private company," Peter Wood, SPWOne Chairman.
Dignity was advised by Investec (led by Gary Clarence), Rothschild & Co (led by Majid Ishaq), Slaughter & May (led by Sally Wokes) and Buchanan. Phoenix Asset Management was advised by Morgan Stanley (led by Laurence Hopkins) and H/Advisors Maitland. Morgan Stanley was advised by Norton Rose Fulbright. Castelnau was advised by Liberum Capital and Macfarlanes.
Private equity firms Aquiline Capital Partners and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, completed an investment in Fullsteam, a business management software and payment company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"When we established Fullsteam with Mike and Greg Colella, our M&A leader, our goal was to address and accelerate two significant trends in vertical software: the adoption of business management across the small business economy and the convergence of this core software with merchant payment processing. Today, Fullsteam is emerging as a leading buyer and supporter of vertical software companies driving these two trends in North America. We are delighted to expand our existing relationship with ADIA through this transaction and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Fullsteam to enhance the day-to-day experiences of its growing customer base," Joe Pappalardo, Aquiline Partner.
Fullsteam was advised by Goldman Sachs, Raymond James and Prosek Partners. Aquiline was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher (led by Jeffrey Possand Thomas Sharkey).
Enlightenment Capital-backed Agile Defense, a digital transformations solutions provider, completed the acquisition of XOR Security, a provider of cybersecurity operations. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of XOR Security bolsters our already comprehensive suite of Enterprise IT solutions with additional cutting-edge cybersecurity talent. We are thrilled to welcome XOR Security’s talented employees, sophisticated capabilities, and customers to the Agile Defense family," Jay Lee, Agile Defense CEO.
XOR Security was advised by Robert W Baird (led by Jean Stack) and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Agile Defense was advised by Moore & Van Allen and Morrison & Foerster.
Bregal Unternehmerkapital-backed MEDIA Central Group, a provider of data-based marketing solutions, agreed to merge with ShopFully, a software and marketing tech platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"ShopFully complements MEDIA Central perfectly - both geographically with its leading market positioning in Southern Europe and internationally, and in terms of its highly scalable, AI-driven digital platform which will help to further strengthen our ties with major retailers and brands. The combination with ShopFully marks another major step in our strategy to digitize drive-to-store marketing, which began with the acquisition of Offerista in 2021 and data-science-specialist Yagora in 2022," Ingo Wienand, MEDIA Central Group CEO.
Bregal Unternehmerkapita is advised by IWK Communication Partner. ShopFully is advised by Rothschild & Co.
Südwest Konsortium, a business consortium, agreed to acquire a 24.95% stake in TransnetBW, an energy transmission system operator, from EnBW, an electric services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are delighted to have found in Südwest Konsortium a reliable partner for TransnetBW with a long-term focus whose offer fully meets all of our predefined criteria. At the same time, this provides EnBW with additional funds for growth investments to accelerate the implementation of the energy transition and to further expand our overall portfolio," Thomas Kusterer, EnBW CFO.
PPF Group, a financial and investment group, agreed to acquire a 15% stake in InPost, a fast-delivery company, from Advent International, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With this investment, we have taken a major step towards strengthening the e-commerce sector in which PPF has long been active. E-commerce is one of our four main investment pillars, along with financial services, telecommunications, and media. As a major shareholder, we are committed to contributing to the international expansion of, and value generation by, InPost, one of the most dynamic companies in its sector," Didier Stoessel, PPF Group Chief Investment Officer.
CMA CGM. a media company, agreed to acquire HIMA Group, an independent provider of smart safety solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“La Tribune would sit perfectly alongside the La Provence and Corse Matin newspapers acquired by CMA CGM in 2022, especially given its expertise in digital transformation and its unique profile in editorial events. This acquisition would also strengthen La Tribune’s presence in the Marseille area and accelerate its development across the regions, while maintaining its editorial independence and ensuring its sustainable business model,” CMA CGM.
Power International Tires, a tire distributor, completed the acquisition of the activities in Russia of Michelin, a tire manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Approved by the competent local authorities, this agreement will allow for saving 250 jobs, mainly based in Davydovo. The option to pass the activity on to local management was not possible due to major difficulties preventing these activities from being rendered autonomous.
Lufthansa, a German airline, agreed to acquire a 41% stake in ITA Airways, an airline company, for $348m.
The closing of the transaction after the contractual finalization remains subject in particular to regulatory approvals, especially by the European competition authority.
Casino begins creditor talks to clear way for Investment.
French grocer Groupe Casino is beginning court-supervised talks with its creditors, a process that could clear the way for the debt-laden company to land an equity investment from Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky.
The so-called conciliation process will last up to five months, the company said in a statement. Separately, Casino announced an agreement to sell some stores with about €1bn ($1.1bn) in annual sales to retailer Groupement Les Mousquetaires, which runs the Intermarche supermarket chain in France. Casino also has the option to sell another group of outlets, with about half that amount of combined sales, to Les Mousquetaires within three years.
Casino sought the talks to negotiate with creditors in private about a proposal from Kretinsky, who’s an existing shareholder in the company, to fix its balance sheet. That could potentially solve Casino’s debt problem, while taking control out of the hands of Chairman Jean-Charles Naouri, who has a majority stake via his Rallye holding company. Casino will also discuss with creditors a plan to merge its assets in France with retailer Teract, Bloombergreported.
PIC, Sipho Maseko’s Afrifund and Axian to make a 35% offer for Telkom. (FS)
Africa’s largest asset manager, the Public Investment Corporation, is backing a possible bid led by the former chief executive of Telkom for a 35% stake in South Africa’s third-biggest mobile phone company.
The PIC, which manages more than$130bn in assets, is in talks to team up with the Sipho Maseko’s investment vehicle Afrifund and Mauritius-based Axian Telecom in a potential offer for the stake in the partly state-owned company. The 35% stake could also be combined with the PIC’s current shareholding to boost the overall holding of the group, Bloombergreported.
Valneva weighs bids for the sale of its Scottish manufacturing site.
Valneva has been approached by about a dozen potential buyers for its Scottish manufacturing site, according to the company’s chief executive officer, after the French drugmaker said earlier this month it was mulling a sale.
The Almeida factory was originally built in partnership with the UK government for the company’s Covid-19 vaccine, but the arrangement collapsed two years ago before any shots had been supplied. A disposal is one of a number of options Valneva is exploring, Bloombergreported.
Jamjoom Pharmaceutical eyes $1.12bn from IPO.
Saudi-based Jamjoom Pharmaceuticals Factory announced the successful completion of the book-building process for participating entities and also set the final offer price for its initial public offering on the Saudi bourse Tadawul at a $1.12bn valuation.
Jamjoom Pharma said it had entered into a binding agreement on May 11 with the 'cornerstone investors' - Saudi Economic and Development Holding and Al Faisaliah Group Holding. As per the deal, the cornerstone investors have committed to subscribe for, in aggregate, 5.1m shares at the offer price, representing 24.6% of the offer shares.
The recorded orders during the institutional book-building stood at around $22.6bn representing an oversubscription rate of 67.2 times.
Jamjoom Pharma is advised by Saudi Fransi Capital, JP Morgan, AlRajhi Capital and Saudi National Bank.
Cannon-Brookes snaps up $20bn Sun Cable mega-project. (FS)
Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes will revive a stalled $20bn plan to export solar power from Australia to Singapore after acquiring the assets of the failed Sun Cable project.
The deal gives Cannon-Brookes and Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners control of a vast renewable energy development in northern Australia, which went into voluntary administration in January following a dispute between the Atlassian co-founder and fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest, both key investors. The two disagreed over a plan to transport electricity to Asia through a 4.2k -km (2.6 mi) submarine cable.
FTI confirmed Sun Cable had entered into an asset sale agreement with Helietta Holdings, an entity linked to Cannon-Brookes’ privately owned Grok Ventures, which would acquire all of Sun Cable’s assets.
Investors in Aster eye $300 million India stake sale.
Investors in Aster DM Healthcare are in talks to sell a 30% stake in the company's India business for about $300m. Aster's investors considering the sale are Olympus Capital, which has a 19% stake in the company, and Mauritius-based investment firm Rimco, which holds an 12% stake.
UAE-based and Mumbai-listed Aster runs 32 hospitals, 127 clinics and 521 pharmacies in India and the United Arab Emirates. The current talks are related to the India business and come just as Aster tries to demerge its Gulf business and sell a majority stake in that.
Aster and its advisors have reached out to private equity giant KKR & Co and Max Healthcare Institute, one of India's largest hospital chains - to hold preliminary talks to take up the investors' stake, Reutersreported.
DNE launches $2bn offshore vehicle with yuan and dollar funding. (FS)
DNE, a Chinese developer and operator of new economy real estate such as logistics and cold chains, said it had completed fundraising for a $2bn offshore development venture that can be financed in both US dollar and the yuan.
The dual currency arrangement is relatively rare, though the Chinese currency is gaining popularity among overseas investors. The unique funding strategy “gives investors the flexibility to pay in either offshore yuan or dollar,” Yu said, adding that nearly all China-focused, offshore-based private equity real estate funds were historically funded in dollar.
The Shanghai-based operator, which also builds life sciences and modern manufacturing parks, said the logistics fund launch shows offshore investors remain interested in China’s new economy segments, despite challenges in global markets.
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