Ximalaya seeks to raise funds at a $3.5bn valuation. (FS)
India considers cutting stake in Indian Oil to below 51%.
ING-backed Thai Bank hires JP Morgan for partnership review. (FS)
US pension fund invests $100m into PAG’s fourth Asia loan fund. (FS)
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Ethos Capital, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire Public Interest Registry, a nonprofit corporation that operates the .ORG top-level domain, from the Internet Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Since the inception of Public Interest Registry, our mission has been to enable the .ORG Community to use the Internet more effectively and change the world for the better. That will not change. We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Internet Society, and are thrilled that we will be able to continue – and expand – our important work with Ethos Capital while sustaining our commitment to the .ORG Community going forward.” Jon Nevett, Public Interest Registry CEO.
Public Interest Registry is advised by Goldman Sachs, Proskauer Rose and Jackson Street Partners. Ethos Capital is advised by Macquarie Group, Morrison & Foerster and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Interest Registry is advised by Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
US shale producer Callon Petroleum sharply cut its offer for rival Carrizo Oil & Gas and postponed a shareholder vote in a last-ditch effort to win support for the deal. The new terms value Carrizo at about $723m down from $1.2bn in July, when Callon first made the offer. Callon shares tumbled after the bid, reducing the value of the all-stock deal.
Callon said the new terms represent a 7% premium to the trading price before the deal was disclosed, down from the original 25% premium offered. It would leave Callon shareholders with 58% of the combined company, up from the original 54%.
Lazard, RBC Capital Markets, and Baker Botts are advising Carrizo. JP Morgan and Kirkland & Ellis are advising Callon. JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are the debt providers for Callon.
Lawmakers pressed top US antitrust enforcers on their probes of tech giants Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple with the chair of a House subcommittee expressing frustration over the companies’ continued acquisitions, Reuters reported.
In a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said his investigative staff was focused on understanding how personalized advertising transactions work. Facebook and Google, in particular, depend on advertising for their revenue.
“By understanding these competitive dynamics, we can understand how the market leaders have monopoly power, how they exercise that monopoly power and whether the source of that power is for merit-based competition or the source of that power is exclusionary,” Makan Delrahim, Justice Department’s antitrust division Head.
Qatalyst Partners and Fenwick & West are advising Fitbit. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is advising Google.
Leonard Green and Partners-led consortium, including private equity firms Arsenal Capital and Novo Holdings, agreed to invest in WIRB-Copernicus Group, a provider of clinical research solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the benefit of this recapitalization, we are poised to accelerate our growth as we target new market segments and develop new capabilities. The support of these investors is indicative of the focus and dedication of our valued employees and commitment to our clients around the world. We look forward to continuing working with our investors in the years ahead." Dr. Donald Deieso, WCG Executive Chairman and CEO.
Arsenal is advised by Kirkland & Ellis and Prosek Partners. Leonard Green is advised by Barclays and Latham & Watkins.
American Outdoor Brands, a provider of firearms and quality products for the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiast, decided to spin-off its outdoor products and accessories business as a tax-free stock dividend to its stockholders. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Since joining AOBC ten years ago, I have had the honor of leading our firearms business, its dedicated and talented employees, and one of the most iconic brands in America through a very exciting period. I am proud to say that, during that time, we greatly expanded the breadth and depth of our Smith & Wesson®, M&P®, Performance Center®, and Thompson/Center Arms™ product offerings that consumers and professionals rely on for their self-protection and sporting needs," James Debney, AOBC President, and CEO.
AOBC is advised by Ernst & Young, Cowen & Company, and Greenberg Traurig.
Barings, a financial services firm, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in GigaSphere Holdings, a provider of fiber-optic-based telecommunications products and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited to partner with Barings in order to deploy the UAN in the buildings and campuses owned and controlled by our strategic partners,” Bill Dodd, GigaMonster CEO.
MVP Capital advised GigaSphere. Hogan Lovells advised Barings.
Merck, a pharmaceutical company, agreed to acquire Calporta Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical and therapeutic firm, from Avalon Ventures-backed COI Pharmaceuticals, for $576m.
Calporta develops small molecule agonists of transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily, member 1 to treat lysosomal storage diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.
"This agreement with Merck is an important milestone towards the rapid development of a novel therapeutic approach that could help millions of people with degenerative disorders caused by the toxic accumulation of proteins, fats, or other cellular macromolecules,” Sanford J. Madigan, Calporta CEO.
Little Dog Communication advised COI Pharmaceuticals.
Advent International agreed to acquire Mariana Tek, a US-based software company serving premium brands in boutique fitness. This investment is supported by Transaction Services Group, Advent’s portfolio company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Advent is thrilled to have invested in Mariana Tek in partnership with TSG. We look forward to working alongside the company’s management team to strengthen its position as a forceful disruptor for enterprise, franchise and multi-location boutique fitness brands. We will continue to invest heavily in Mariana Tek to accelerate product development, geographic expansion and payments innovation, leveraging Advent’s deep experience and TSG’s global go-to-market infrastructure.” Jeff Paduch, Advent Managing Director.
Thompson Street Capital Partners, a private equity firm, is set to acquire T-Base Communications, a provider of accessible communications technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is an exciting new phase for T-Base. Thompson Street has a proven track record in building companies through technology innovation and acquisitions. We are confident this partnership will not only enhance T‑Base’s current North American leadership position but build our company into a global accessibility leader,” Bruce Moszcelt, T-Base Co-CEO.
Private equity firm Kestra Financial-backed Bluespring Wealth Partners is set to acquire Vector Wealth Management, an assets management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"After a long and rigorous process, Bluespring emerged as the best partner for us. We are eager to capitalize on the resources and support available through our partnership to keep our firm on the leading edge of our evolving industry,” Thomas G. Fee, Vector Wealth Management Managing Partner.
PlayMonster, a toy and games company, is set to acquire Kahootz Toys, a kids arts and craft company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The addition of our products to PlayMonster's already impressive portfolio of children's toys and games is a win-win for everyone involved--our companies, licensors, suppliers, and customers. We look forward to helping PlayMonster champion the power of play by supporting continued growth and market penetration in the mass, specialty, and international marketplaces," Joe Yasseay, Kahootz Toys CEO and Founding Partner.
Refresco, a bottler of beverages for retailers, is set to acquire the manufacturing business of Arizona Production & Packaging, a food and beverage manufacturing, and packaging firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the addition of AZPACK to the Refresco Group, we will be even better positioned to service customers in the Southwestern USA across many categories, including energy drinks and innovative sports drinks. AZPACK will have a specialist role in the Refresco Group, as they are known for their expertise in manufacturing complex niche products for branded beverage companies," Hans Roelofs, Refresco Group CEO.
Justin Sun, founder of TRON, a cryptocurrency platform, admits being one of the investors that recently acquired Poloneix, a cryptocurrency exchange platform from financial technology firm Circle. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Sun said he was one of the investors who acquired the trading platform in a Livestream published by the official Poloniex Twitter profile on November 12. Furthermore, he noted that the exchange operates independently from his firm, the Tron Foundation.
ASG, a software development company, agreed to acquire GatherUp, a customer experience, and online review engine. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is an exciting new chapter for GatherUp as we double down on our commitment to make the customer experience the backbone of the business. ASG MarTech brings an exceptional foundation of SaaS operations and marketing expertise that will allow GatherUp to grow faster while continuing to innovate in our industry," Aaron Weiche, GatherUp CEO.
B.C. a residential properties owner and developer, terminated the acquisition of PayVida, a provider of payment and billing solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The transaction failed due to the inability of the parties to agree on a viable transaction to close on the proposed acquisition.
Icahn to acquire a $1.2bn stake in HP to push for a merger with Xerox. (FS)
Carl Icahn bought a $1.2bn stake in HP, and now owns a 4% stake in the company. He is pushing for the personal computer maker's merger with printer maker Xerox, where he owns 10%, arguing that a union could yield big profits for investors, Reuters reported.
"I think a combination is a no-brainer. I believe very strongly in the synergies, there will probably be a choice between cash and stock, and I would much rather have the stock, assuming there's a good management team," Carl Icahn.
Occidental Petroleum stepping up oil and gas asset sales.
Occidental aims to reduce the $40bn of debt from the Anadarko purchase and has raised about $10bn so far through sales of properties, including a liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique and oil production elsewhere in Africa. It has targeted $15bn in proceeds by mid-2020.
Its latest offer covers about 190k net acres in Uinta Basin’s Greater Natural Buttes gas field that could bring between $190m to $240m based on prior gas deals in the Rockies.
Russia approved Finnish utility Fortum’s plan to increase its stake in Germany’s Uniper, although the deal will only come into effect after legislative amendments, the head of Russia’s anti-monopoly service said.
The deal would bring Fortum’s total stake to more than 70%. Its ownership of Uniper had been capped at 50% by Russian regulators due to a water license operated by the German firm’s local subsidiary Unipro.
Uniper is advised by Morgan Stanley, Rothschild & Co, Shearman & Sterling, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Finsbury. Fortum is advised by Barclays, Perella Weinberg Partners, Clifford Chance, Hengeler Mueller, and Roschier Attorneys.
Ribbon Communications, a software provider specializing in secure and intelligent cloud communications, is set to acquire ECI Telecom Group, a provider of IT, and data services for 32.5m shares of Ribbon common stock and $324m in cash. ECI stockholders will also receive approximately $31m from ECI’s sale of real estate assets.
"We are excited to join forces with Ribbon, bringing together Ribbon’s and ECI’s rich portfolios of communications solutions. We aim to create a powerhouse company that offers world-class products for enhanced customer experience, benefiting our combined global customer base,” Darryl Edwards, ECI President, and CEO.
Barclays, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and FBC & Co are advising ECI. Citizens Capital Markets, TAP Advisors, Gross Kleinhendler Hodak Halevy Greenberg & Co, and Latham & Watkins are advising RIbbon. Citizens Bank provided debt financing to Ribbon.
Henderson Park Capital Partners, a real estate firm based in the UK, completed its acquisition of Green REIT, a commercial real estate firm, for $1.5bn.
"Having undertaken a detailed strategic analysis, the Board determined that it was in the interests of shareholders to conduct a sale process to solicit offers for the Company or its assets. Following a highly competitive process, the cash offer by Henderson Park to acquire the Company represents an attractive outcome for shareholders delivering a premium to the share price prior to the announcement of the sale process and to Green REIT's Net Asset Value." Gary Kennedy, Green REIT Chair.
Green was advised by CBRE, Davy Corporate Finance, JP Morgan, and Drury Porter Novelli. Henderson Park was advised by Eastdil Secured, Wells Fargo Securities, and FTI Consulting.
Starcrest Nigeria Energy raised concerns regarding the acquisition of Eland Oil and Gas by Seplat Petroleum Development Company, stating various misappropriation of the offer and information.
Starcrest and Elcrest were not informed of the offer or its terms. They were not consulted for any due diligence regarding the offer or the acquisition, before the announcement of the acquisition.
Eland Oil & Gas is advised by Peel Hunt, Stifel, Evercore, Mayer Brown, Streamsowers & Köhn, Stronach, and Camarco. Seplat Petroleum Development is advised by Investec, Citigroup, Olaniwun Ajayi, White & Case, and FTI Consulting.
Private equity firm LDC-backed Linley & Simpson, a property management service provider, is set to acquire the lettings arm of residential property brokerage firm Beercocks. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We look forward to watching Linley & Simpson go from strength-to-strength and supporting the team on the next phase of their ambitious growth journey,” Gareth Marshall, LDC Investment Director.
Santander Corporate and Commercial Bank and Raworths Solicitors are advising Linley & Simpson.
2CRSi, which provides IT services, agreed to acquire Boston, a global player in the integration, sales, and marketing of IT equipment that uses the most advanced technology on the market. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Through this transaction, 2CRSi has reached a key milestone in its development and considerably broadened its international operations. In addition to how the two companies will complement each other geographically, the new group will benefit from major commercial synergies and substantial economies of scale.
“We are very pleased and proud to announce the acquisition of Boston Limited and the integration of its teams and management into 2CRSi group. This transaction is the result of a great deal of work together based on mutual trust, long-standing relationships, and shared values based on a solid drive to achieve performance and innovation. This acquisition marks a key milestone for our group: today, 2CRSi is changing dimension and is considerably enhancing its development potential!” Alain Wilmouth, 2CRSi Founder, Chairman, and CEO.
Bank of China, Chinese state-controlled bank, is set to acquire Goodbody Stockbrokers, a stock brokerage firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said in a post on its website that it was notified on Wednesday of the plan, which needs competition and regulatory approval. Bank of China is planning to carry out the deal through its UK unit.
Reconomy, a provider of outsourced waste management and recycling services, is set to acquire Nationwide Services Group, a waste management company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
This continues Reconomy’s strategic acquisition plan and investment in developing the group for the future, with the aim of strengthening its offer across all key sectors and continuously improving the customer experience.
“We’re delighted to welcome NSG, AWS, and our new consultancy business into the Reconomy group. The additional tool and plant hire capability means we can offer an even broader range of products and services to our customers," Paul Cox, Reconomy CEO.
Accenture, a global professional services company, completed its acquisition of Sutter Mills, a French firm that specializes in developing and executing data-driven marketing strategies for clients. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition would strengthen Accenture Interactive's ability to help brands, in France and throughout Europe, to leverage data to deploy innovative marketing strategies. The combination of Sutter Mills' and Accenture Interactive's expertise would enable companies to create hyper-relevant experiences at scale across all customer touchpoints.
"New growth engines are driven by a company's ability to create experiences that are unique to each of potentially millions of customers. This requires capturing and responding to customers' expectations in near real-time, with personalized messages delivered through relevant media. Sutter Mills's mastery of data, ad tech, and mar-tech would enhance our ability to provide clients with these hyper-relevant experiences, enabling us to even better support our clients in achieving their growth objectives," Claude Chaffiotte, Accenture Interactive head in France and Benelux.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is considering a takeover of the molecular testing firm Qiagen, Bloombergreported.
Thermo Fisher has approached the Dutch company about a potential purchase that could become one of its biggest-ever acquisitions. Shares of Qiagen rose 13%, giving it a market value of $8.3bn.
RWE considers selling a stake in the Turkish gas-fired power plant.
RWE, Germany's electricity provider, could decide to sell its 70% stake in the 775-megawatt gas-fired power plants in the Turkish city of Denizli if there are buyers, its chief financial officer said.
RWE owns 70% in RWE & Turcas Guney Elektrik Uretim, a joint venture with Turcas Petrol that owns the plant. Turcas owns the remaining 30%.
FirstGroup booked a $159m charge on for-sale Greyhound business.
Losses at Britain's FirstGroup rose after it booked a £124m ($159m) charge on the Greyhound bus business it is trying to sell, as the US intercity service struggles with problems including a drop in immigration-related demand.
Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, which runs bus and train services mostly in the US and UK, put Greyhound up for sale earlier this year, partly due to growing competition from low-cost airlines. It said that it was in talks with bidders for the business.
Citi's Polish unit is not interested in mBank acquisition.
Citi's polish unit Bank Handlowy is not interested in buying mBank, the Polish unit of Germany's Commerzbank, its chief executive said.
Slawomir Sikora said he assumes no change in Bank Handlowy's organic growth-focused policy.
Solon South West and United Communities in early merger talks.
The boards of Solon South West and United Communities have announced they are in the early stages of talks about a possible merger. If completed, it could see the creation of Bristol’s largest housing association, with responsibility for more than 3.3k homes across the city region.
“Although talks are at a very early stage, we have found that there is a shared ambition between us to do the very best we can for our communities, and a recognition that we could achieve more together than as separate organizations. That is why we have started these discussions to explore the combined strengths that both organizations have, and the benefits that working together could bring to our communities and the people who work for Solon and United Communities," James Taylor, United Communities’ Chairman.
Eurazeo hires JP Morgan to exit car rental group Europcar. (FS)
European investment firm Eurazeo is exploring a partial or full sale of its near 30% stake in Europcar Mobility Group as it seeks to cash out from the troubled French car rental company, Reuters reported.
Europcar’s shares have sunk 65% over the past 12 months as the firm grappled with weak leisure demand from British tourists, declining rental volumes in the business-to-business segment, and a softening economic environment in Europe.
Eurazeo has tapped JPMorgan to handle the sale, which was triggered by a series of approaches made by financial investors in recent weeks.
WizzAir does not consider buying businesses.
Wizz Air is not interested in expanding through the acquisition of other businesses, the Central European budget carrier's chief has declared.
Jozsef Varadi, speaking during an interim results briefing on November 13, said that consolidation in the market would take place. Mr. Varadi insists that Wizz Air is a "not interested" in buying other businesses because it would "just create complexity" for the company.
Mirova finalizes €857m fundraisers for Eurofideme 4. (FS)
Mirova held the final close of Mirova-Eurofideme 4, its fourth equity investment fund dedicated to clean energy projects, at €857m ($945m).
This significant fundraising can be considered a reward for 17 years of investment in renewable energy and brings the total amount of unlisted assets of Mirova’s energy transition to €1.3bn ($1.4bn).
Octopus Group to acquire nine wind farms from RES for $110m.
Octopus Renewables, a subsidiary of Octopus Group, is set to acquire nine wind farms across France, UK, and Ireland from renewable energy company RES for $110m.
The wind farms are a mix of operational and construction-ready facilities across England, Wales, Ireland, and France, totaling 130MW. Six of the wind farms are in France. RES will continue to handle the construction, asset management, and operation and maintenance of the wind farms, in line with the ambitious development of its support services.
“This is a further stride for Octopus into the European wind market, mirroring our strength in solar. With these assets, we’ve significantly expanded our onshore wind footprint in France," Alex Brierley, Octopus Renewables Co-Head.
DHI Telecom, which delivers advanced technical solutions in both private and public sectors including fiber-optic lines, satellite uplinks, mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, and the commercial Internet, agreed to acquire Singapore-based Yogofi, a startup in advanced mobile Wi-Fi for global business and leisure travel. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We picked Yogofi for their incredible growth in the Asian mobile data market and their cloud-based virtual SIM platform. Yogofi’s B2C travel agency network in Asia is an ideal fit for our portfolio,” Wallace Davis DHI Telecom CEO.
The ACCC raised preliminary concerns that Assa Abloy’s proposed acquisition of E Plus Building Products would significantly reduce competition in the market for fire door cores.
Assa Abloy, through its subsidiary Pyropanel, and E Plus, both supply fire door cores to licensed fire door manufacturers throughout Australia.
"Our preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition raises significant competition concerns in what is an already highly concentrated market,” Stephen Ridgeway, ACCC Commissioner.
Alibaba to pioneer paperless listing. (FS)
Alibaba's planned $13.4bn share sale will be Hong Kong's first paperless stock market listing, Reuters reported, breaking with a long-held tradition of investors placing stock orders in bank branches.
Companies carrying out initial public offerings in Hong Kong have traditionally placed prospectuses in banks, which would often stay open late or over the weekend, and investors would fill out paper forms to place their stock orders.
The decision by Alibaba to fully automate the retail subscription component of its deal comes as Hong Kong is gripped by violent civil unrest, which has shut shops in the financial district and led the government to close schools.
Japanese power generator JERA is in talks with Macquarie Capital to buy close to a half stake in Taiwan's Formosa 3 offshore wind project, its president Satoshi Onoda said.
An initial public offer is an option to raise funds for the joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power. However, the focus is currently on achieving profit targets, Hisahide Okuda, JERA's managing executive officer, told a news conference, Reuters reported.
The world's biggest buyer of national liquefied gas reported a net profit of JPY137.8bn ($1.26bn) for the period from April to September, backed by strong earnings from its LNG trading operation, Okuda said.
Ximalaya seeks to raise funds at a $3.5bn valuation. (FS)
Ximalaya is seeking to raise funds at about $3.5bn valuation as the Chinese online podcast and radio services startup looks to expand further, Bloomberg reported.
The company aims to raise about $350m in a new fundraising round, which could be the last one ahead of a potential initial public offering. The startup is in talks with potential investors, including private equity firms and pension funds for the round.
India considers cutting stake in Indian Oil to below 51%.
India plans to reduce its stake in Indian Oil to below 51% while ensuring the government and state-run companies retain control of the nation's largest oil refiner, Bloomberg reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet will consider, as early as next week, a proposal to sell shares in some companies, including Indian Oil, to below 51%. India directly holds 51% in Indian Oil, and another 26% through state-run Life Insurance of India, and explorers Oil & Natural Gas and Oil India.
ING-backed Thai Bank hires JP Morgan for partnership review. (FS)
TMB Bank, a Thai lender, backed by ING Groep, is exploring options for its existing bancassurance partnerships following recent consolidation in Thailand’s banking and insurance industry, Bloomberg reported.
TMB hired JP Morgan to carry out a strategic review on its life insurance cooperation with billionaire Richard Li's FWD Group. A new bancassurance partnership could be valued at about $500m. Options include renewing the connection with FWD or finding a new partner.
US pension fund invests $100m into PAG’s fourth Asia loan fund. (FS)
The San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System approved a capital commitment of $100m to Hong Kong-based private equity firm PAG Asia Capital‘s fourth direct lending fund.
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