Saint-Gobain announced that Continental Building Products obtained shareholder approval to be acquired by Saint-Gobain and that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act has expired thereby satisfying the regulatory approval requirements under the merger agreement. The Group expects the deal to close on February 3.
“By combining forces with Continental Building Products, we have a unique opportunity to deliver innovative products to growth markets across North America, while maintaining a superior level of customer service. We are delighted that key leaders of Continental Building Products will be joining our plasterboard business in the US, which will be managed by Jay Bachmann, former CEO of Continental Building Products, reporting to Mark Rayfield, CEO Saint-Gobain North America. Our integration plan is on track and we are confident in our ability to deliver the expected synergies.” Benoit Bazin, Saint-Gobain Chief Operating Officer.
Continental Building Products is advised by Citigroup, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Gasthalter & Co. Compagnie de Saint-Gobain is advised by Lazard, Morgan Stanley, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
AMN Healthcare, an innovator in healthcare talent solutions and staffing services, agreed to acquire Stratus Video, a provider of video remote language interpretation services for the healthcare industry, from private equity firm Kinderhook for $475m.
"We are very excited to have the talented team at Stratus Video soon join the AMN family and expand our workforce solutions offerings with the addition of the nation's leading healthcare remote video interpreting company. This acquisition is the result of our continued efforts to positively impact patient care through innovative total talent solutions. We believe Stratus will add great value to our clients and their patients and will provide further opportunity for us to expand in the virtual workforce and patient care arena," Susan R. Salka, AMN Healthcare Chief Executive Officer.
AMN Healthcare is advised by JP Morgan and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. Stratus Video is advised by Evercore and Kirkland & Ellis.
Lakeview Capital, a Michigan-based family office, completed the acquisition of The Mochi Ice Cream Company, a producer of specialty frozen desserts, from Century Park Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We're thrilled to be partnering with a focused, seasoned management team to support growth in the snack category, a segment we find very attractive. We are closely aligned with the team on our plans to deploy significant capital to continue to build a leading, global branded mochi snack platform," Jake Freeman, Lakeview Capital Director of Investments.
The Mochi Ice Cream Company was advised by Allison+Partners. Lakeview Capital was advised by Plante Moran and Ropes & Gray. Century Park Capital Partners was advised by Houlihan Lokey and Winston & Strawn. Debt financing was provided by LBC Credit Partners, PineBridge Private Credit and WhiteHorse Capital.
Textbook publishers Cengage Learning and McGraw-Hill Education, who announced last year that they would merge, extended their merger agreement to May 1, Reutersreported. The deal has prompted criticism because it reduces the number of major textbook publishers from four to three.
“Conversations with the Department of Justice are ongoing. Until the merger is completed, we remain separate companies and operate as independent businesses,” Spokeswoman for the two companies.
Cengage is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. McGraw-Hill is advised by Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Edelman.
SDC Capital Partners completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Fatbeam, a business-to-business provider of reliable fiber-based network solutions to education, enterprise, healthcare, government and carrier customers across the western US. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Fatbeam has developed a distinctive, high-quality regional network and has earned a reputation for delivering complex, customized solutions and first-class service to its customers. We are thrilled to support Greg and the management team as their customer-driven growth accelerates," Todd Aaron, SDC Managing Partner.
Fatbeam was advised by Maves Law. SDC was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
ORIX-backed RoadSafeTraffic Systems, a provider of traffic control and pavement marking services, agreed to acquire A Cone Zone, a provider of high-quality traffic management equipment and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Having served the California market for nearly twenty years, partnering with A Cone Zone is a milestone for RoadSafe in our efforts to establish a more robust presence in California. A Cone Zone is a best-in-class provider in the region that has built a strong reputation for having a highly talented staff and delivering quality service,” David Meirick, RoadSafe CEO.
RoadSafe Traffic Systems is advised by Marketwave.
The Carlyle Group agreed to invest in $100m in Alchemy Renewable Energy, a renewable energy company, in a partnership to develop, acquire, finance and operate solar power generation projects throughout the United States.
"Investing in differentiated and proven development platforms is a key focus of our strategy at Carlyle. We are proud to be working with Alchemy's innovative team, whose current portfolio of projects can help to offset emissions from nearly 100k passenger cars annually. We're confident that our combined capabilities will propel Cardinal Renewables' growth and drive positive commercial and environmental outcomes," Pooja Goyal, Carlyle Head of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Team and Co-Head of Infrastructure Group.
Private equity firm Bluespring Wealth Partners agreed to acquire Retirement Wealth Specialists, a wealth services firm, for $400m.
"Retirement Wealth Specialists has an exceptional track record of consistent, above-market growth, and a unique ability to attract and retain clients. We have the utmost respect for Mitch and his team, and firmly believe our partnership will position the firm for an exciting, new chapter. Retirement Wealth Specialists also has an unparalleled strength of culture that we believe to be a perfect complement to Bluespring," Stuart Silverman, Bluespring Wealth Partners President.
Bluespring Wealth Partners is advised by Gregory FCA.
Celanese, a global chemical and specialty materials company, agreed to acquire the Redispersible Polymer Powders business of Nouryon, the former chemical business of AkzoNobel. The unit operaters under the Elotex brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I want to thank our Elotex employees and our loyal customer base for their contribution in building this business. It is very well positioned for growth and I strongly believe that it will prosper under the new ownership and continue to meet and exceed customer expectations in this market by providing industry-leading products and solutions," Charlie Shaver, Nouryon Chairman and CEO.
Walker & Dunlop, one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States, agreed to acquire AKS Capital Partners, an independent capital markets and real estate finance advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The acquisition of AKS Capital Partners is a game-changing addition that will propel the growth in our debt brokerage originations in 2020 and beyond. The team solidifies our presence in the most active commercial real estate market in the United States, advances the array of financing and equity solutions we offer to our institutional clients, and in particular strengthens our debt brokerage capabilities beyond the multifamily asset class. We are very excited to welcome Aaron, Keith, Jonathan, Adam, and the entire AKS team to Walker & Dunlop," Willy Walker, Walker & Dunlop Chairman & CEO.
Frontenac-backed Whitebridge Pet Brands, a producer of natural and minimally processed pet foods, treats and complements, agreed to acquire Cardinal Laboratories, a fabricator of petcare products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“At Whitebridge Pet Brands, our team shares a passion for pets and the belief that natural and minimally processed nutrition positively impacts the health and happiness of dogs and cats. We are very excited that the Cardinal Pet Care family of brands, including Pet Botanics® and Crazy Dog®, will be joining Whitebridge Pet Brands’ portfolio, as their combined strength in the training treats category is complementary to our commitment to happy pets in loving homes,” Olivier Amice, Whitebridge Pet Brands CEO.
IDEX, a global fluidics company, agreed to acquire Flow Management Devices, a privately-held provider of flow measurement systems, for $125m.
“Adding Flow MD to the IDEX family of businesses will extend our expertise in providing highly-engineered solutions to energy customers, including refineries, chemical manufacturers and pipeline operators. In our unique structure, companies retain a great deal of autonomy, while benefitting from the expertise and operating model at IDEX. Flow MD should flourish as part of our culture, where great teams win together by focusing on the things that matter most, combined with an obsession for solving our customers’ most challenging problems,” Andy Silvernail, IDEX Chairman and CEO.
Earnest Research, the provider of data analytics for measuring the consumer economy, agreed to acquire Alpha Hat, a mobile geolocation intelligence provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"After evaluating numerous providers, we found Alpha Hat's team and proprietary methodologies to be of the highest quality and accuracy and a great complement to Earnest's product suite," Kevin Carson, Earnest Founder and CEO.
Wells Fargo files for $66bn mixed shelf offering. (FS)
Wells Fargo filed a mixed shelf offering of as much as $66bn with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission and said it would use part of the proceeds to repurchase shares and pay down debt.
The lender has been grappling with rising costs related to its fake-account scandal that erupted more than three years ago. Earlier this month, new boss Charles Scharf set aside an additional $1.5bn for legal costs and said the bank's cost structure is too high.
Blackstone-backed Guidon considers sale. (FS)
Guidon Energy, an oil exploration and production company majority-owned by Blackstone Group, is exploring a sale that could value the Permian basin operator at more than $2.5bn, including debt, Reutersreported.
Guidon is engaged in deal discussions with a small number of parties after receiving acquisition interest from energy companies seeking to expand their presence in the Midland portion of the Permian, in which it operates.
Uber and DoorDash held merger talks in 2019. (FS)
Uber and DoorDash held talks to combine last year in a deal that would have accelerated the long-awaited consolidation of the lossmaking food delivery industry, Financial Times reported.
The talks, held roughly six months ago, took place at the behest of Japan’s SoftBank, a shareholder in both companies through its $100bn Vision Fund. While the merger discussions did not result in a deal, the two sides have not ruled out returning to negotiations or attempting to merge with a rival.
CDPQ names former investment banker Charles Émond CEO. (FS, People)
CDPQ, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, named former investment banker Charles Émond as its chief executive officer, replacing Michael Sabia on February 1.
Émond, at Caisse since February 2019, has served as the pension fund’s executive vice-president, Quebec, for private equity and strategic planning since November. Before this, he was the global head of investment banking and capital markets and head of Canadian corporate banking at Bank of Nova Scotia.
ICG raises $2.4bn for its third secondary fund. (FS)
Intermediate Capital Group closed its third Strategic Equity Fund at $2.4bn, far above its $1.6bn target. The fund, which focuses on GP-led secondary transactions, doubled the size of its $1.1bn predecessor that closed in July 2017. The amount raised includes a $200m commitment by London Stock Exchange-listed ICG, PE News reported.
"Demand for ICG's strategies remains high given both our strong investment performance and continued underlying demand for alternative assets. The third vintage of our strategic equity strategy has benefitted from this demand, closing with significantly higher AUM and higher average fee rates than the previous vintage. It is also pleasing to see continued strong flows into our open-ended capital market funds," Benoit Durteste, ICG CEO.
Ribbit Capital eyes $420m for the sixth VC fund. (FS)
Ribbit Capital, a global financial technology investment firm, is raising $420m for its latest fund, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Palo Alto-based venture capital firm invests in early-stage companies in the financial services and financial technology sector.
Arc70 Capital raised $230m for Fund II. (FS)
Arc70 Fund II reached its hard cap of $230m in capital commitments, exceeding its initial target of $200m in less than five months. The heavily oversubscribed fund received strong support from both new and existing top tier institutional investors, including notable asset managers, family offices, and high-net-worth individuals.
Arc70 is a San Francisco-based investment firm focused on financing the development of affordable housing. The firm is active across the United States and concentrates its efforts on communities where housing affordability needs are the greatest.
"Arc70 has leveraged its deep sector experience to create a unique, sophisticated strategy within affordable housing, and the investor appetite for this tax-advantaged, uncorrelated investment was in high-demand from institutional investors," Peter Purcell, Eaton Partners Director.
Several banks launched a €1.15bn ($1.26bn) leveraged loan financing to back Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of AutoScout24, the digital motor vehicles unit of German classifieds group Scout24, Reuters reported.
Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Nomura are leading the deal alongside Barclays and JP Morgan. A bank meeting is set to take place on February 4 to show the financing to investors, when pricing is set to emerge.
The covenant-lite financing comprises an €815m ($897m) seven-year first-lien term loan, a €285m ($313m) eight-year second-lien term loan and a €50m ($55m) revolving credit facility.
Hellman & Friedman is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Barclays, and JP Morgan. Scout24 is advised by Latham & Watkins, Kekst Cnc, Allen & Overy, Ernst & Young, Gleiss Lutz, Morgan Stanley, Rothschild & Co, and Credit Suisse.
The Competition and Markets Authority announced the launch of its merger inquiry into PepsiCo's acquisition of South Africa's Pioneer Foods, which exports branded food and beverage products to 80 countries in Africa and beyond. PepsiCo agreed to buy Pioneer Foods for about $1.7bn in July 2019.
Pioneer Foods is advised by PSG Capital and Webber Wentzel. PepsiCo is advised by Centerview Partners, JP Morgan, UBS, Bowmans, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Rowley Law, which represents shareholders nationwide in class actions and derivative lawsuits in complex corporate litigation, is investigating potential securities law violations by Delphi Technologies and its board of directors concerning the proposed acquisition of the company by BorgWarner.
Stockholders will receive 0.4534 shares of BorgWarner common stock for each share of Delphi Technologies stock that they hold. The transaction is valued at approximately $3.3bn and is expected to close the second half of 2020.
Delphi is advised by Goldman Sachs and Kirkland & Ellis. BorgWarner is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Rockefeller Capital Management, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Mediobanca CEO expects second-tier banks to look at M&A in 2020.
Second-tier banks in Italy, Spain, and possibly Germany are likely to consider mergers this year in a bid to boost returns, which are insufficient to cover their cost of equity, the chief executive of investment bank Mediobanca said.
CEO Alberto Nagel said ongoing pressure from low rates and a possible rebound in loan loss provisions from new, so-called ''calendar provisioning'' rules were all factors pushing lenders to consider mergers now that a major bad loan clean-up had been completed.
"I think consolidation will be more on the agenda of CEOs this year," Alberto Nagel, Mediobanca CEO.
ACEK considers Elawan sale. (FS)
Spanish industrial holding ACEK is putting its wind power company Elawan Energy up for sale in a potential $2bn deal as it seeks to cash in on high sector valuations, Reutersreported.
ACEK, which also owns a 70% stake in car parts maker Gestamp, is working with investment bank Lazard to explore a sale, hoping to attract the interest of utilities and infrastructure funds looking to bulk up in the space.
ACEK asked potential bidders to submit first-round bids for Elawan this quarter, adding that it is expected to target European utilities and investment funds, including Enel, via its Iberian unit Endesa, asset manager Macquarie and pension fund CDPQ, among others.
EQT executives weigh a buyout of $4.3bn credit arm. (FS)
Top executives at Swedish private equity firm EQT’s credit unit are considering a management buyout of the business, according to a Bloomberg report. Senior management of the division have reached out to potential financial backers to gauge their interest in supporting a deal. EQT is considering a number of options for the business, and the review is still at an early stage.
JP Morgan is advising on the strategic review.
MTN looking to raise $4bn through asset sales.
MTN Group is looking to raise as much as $4bn from an extended asset-sale plan, with stakes in a major towers business and the carrier’s Nigerian unit among those earmarked for sale.
MTN is also looking to reduce majority ownership of its business in Nigeria, the carrier’s biggest and most profitable market, after the country’s attorney general dropped a claim for $2bn in back taxes. About 14% of the Lagos-listed operation could be sold, MTN said, reducing the stake to about 65%.
MTN is raising money to pay down debt and simplify a portfolio of telecom businesses that spread across Africa and the Middle East. The company is also focusing investment on its main markets -- including $1.6bn for Nigeria - and is “seriously investigating” the prospect of taking part in planned privatization of Ethiopia’s phone monopoly, according to the spokeswoman.
Renault-Nissan can overhaul partnership without ownership change.
Renault and Nissan can improve their alliance without altering their ownership structure, the chairman of the Franco-Japanese partnership said, rolling back a previous push towards a full-blown merger that rankled Nissan.
“We all share a sense of urgency. The priority, as clearly stated, was to increase significantly the efficiency of the alliance,” Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault Chairman.
SIA picks IPO advisers while the Nexi deal still under consideration.
Italian payment services group SIA is close to appointing an adviser for a potential Milan stock exchange listing while a tie-up with bigger rival Nexi remains on the table, Reuters reported.
A year ago, SIA Chief Executive Nicola Cordone said the group was considering an IPO that could value the company at €3.5bn ($3.9bn).
“A merger with SIA would be strategically positive for Nexi as it would allow the company to increase its presence in the value chain by integrating one of the two current suppliers of processing services,” Gianmarco Bonacina, Equita analyst.
Louis Dreyfus' boss considers selling a stake.
After 169 years of keeping the business in the family, agricultural commodity giant Louis Dreyfus is open to selling a large non-controlling stake to an external stakeholder, Reuters reported.
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who assumed control of the company in 2009, stressed she was in no rush and that an investor would have to strengthen the business. Last year, the billionaire businesswoman completed consolidating Louis Dreyfus Company Holdings- the structure that holds the family’s shares in LDC - via her Akira family trust which now controls over 96% of the holding firm.
“It is the first time in our almost 170-year history that we are prepared to open our capital to an external shareholder. But we are not under pressure. We want to keep majority control. Everything else depends on the quality of offers,” Louis Dreyfus, LDC Chairman.
Ferrovial plans to invest in the power grid, water, and mobility.
Spanish engineering and construction firm Ferrovial, owner of London's Heathrow Airport, plans to sell mature assets and buy into water infrastructures and Latin America's electricity grids, company executives said.
The builder, which presented its "Horizon 24" plan for 2020-24 envisaging a rise in pre-tax earnings, will continue developing its existing urban mobility, toll highway, and airport services, including Heathrow, whose divisive third runway is due for completion by 2029.
"Heathrow is a huge asset for us ... There will be 4bn more airplane passengers in the next four years globally" Ignacio Madridejos, Ferrovial CEO.
Daiwa Securities Group, which engages in the management and control of its subsidiaries and affiliates which are involved in securities-related businesses, agreed to invest $128m in Katana, a marketing company.
Through the partnership, Katana raised funds from Daiwa, the fund that allows Katana to provide capital for businesses it supports in addition to marketing consulting service it currently offers. By the collaboration of Daiwa’s expertise in deal sourcing and financing and Katana’s excellence in marketing, Daiwa and Katana will vitalize Japanese economy by helping businesses improve probability of success.