The US securities regulator quizzed Elon Musk last month over a tweet in which the world's richest person raised doubts over whether he would move ahead with his $44bn acquisition of Twitter due to concerns over the number of fake users on the platform.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission asked Musk in a letter whether he should have amended his public filing to reflect his intention to suspend or abandon the deal, according to the June 2. The agency was referring to his May 17 tweet in which he said the "deal cannot move forward" until Twitter provided more data about how the company handled fake accounts, Reuters reported.
Twitter is advised by Allen & Company, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Joele Frank. Financial advisors to Twitter were advised by Sullivan & Cromwell. Elon Musk is advised by Bank of America, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, McDermott Will & Emery, Quinn Emanuel, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Sard Verbinnen & Co. Debt financing is provided by BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Barclays, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Securities, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale. Debt providers are advised by Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Ericsson, a networking and telecommunications company, announced that it received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States to complete its acquisition of Vonage, a business cloud communications provider. This represents the final requisite approval to complete the deal.
"The core of our strategy is to build leading mobile networks through technology leadership. This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business. The acquisition of Vonage is the next step in delivering on that strategic priority. Vonage gives us a platform to help our customers monetize the investments in the network, benefitting developers and businesses," Börje Ekholm, Ericsson President and CEO.
Vonage is advised by Qatalyst Partners, Weil Gotshal and Manges, Cooley and Joele Frank. Ericsson is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Tailwind Capital, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Onix Networking, a cloud consulting services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are excited to partner with the Tailwind team to invest behind new ways to serve our customers. We look forward to expanding our service offerings and continuing to invest in talent to support our customers at all stages of their cloud transformation journeys," Tim Needles, Onix Founder.
Onix was advised by DC Advisory and McDonald Hopkins. Tailwind Capital was advised by Lazard, Davis Polk & Wardwell and FGS Global.
Clearlake, an investment firm, agreed to acquire a minority stake in Crash Champions, a collision repair service provider. Financial terms are not disclosed.
"Today is an exciting day for Crash Champions and another major milestone in our growth story. This strategic combination further enhances our ability to serve our customers and insurance partners while creating advancement opportunities for our team members across both organizations," Matt Ebert, Crash Champions Founder and CEO.
Crash Champions is advised by Gaffney Bennett Public Relations. Clearlake is advised by Lambert & Co.
Private equity firms TPG Capital and Decarbonization Partners led a $300m funding round in Monolith Materials, a next-generation green hydrogen and clean materials company, with participation from NextEra Energy Resources, SK, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Azimuth Capital Management, Cornell Capital and Warburg Pincus.
“Our investment in Monolith reflects TPG Rise Climate’s pursuit of companies developing clean molecules and materials, providing sustainable, cost-competitive alternatives to carbon and hydrogen-based products. Following a decade of research and development, Monolith has developed expansive intellectual property, deployed the methane pyrolysis process in innovative ways, and established itself as a unique solution for an industry that is otherwise incredibly emissions intensive. We look forward to partnering with Monolith to further develop and scale its technology," Jonathan Garfinkel, TPG Partner.
Monolith Materials was advised by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
Element Materials Technology, a provider of testing, inspection and certification services, completed the acquisition of Trialon, a provider of test engineering and technical services to the transportation industry, from Resilience Capital, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Given Trialon's growth trajectory after significantly investing in the business including a world-class management team, we felt it was time to find the right partner for Trialon's next chapter. The company still has tremendous opportunity and is well positioned in the ever-evolving transportation industry," Bassem Mansour, Resilience Co-CEO.
Resilience was advised by Hennepin Partners and Jones Day.
Bernhard Capital-backed Allied Power, a full-service provider of power plant services, completed the acquisition of Radiation Safety & Control Services, a provider of project management. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to welcome such an established and well-respected team in the industry to the Allied family. RSCS's proprietary products and best-in-class monitoring and technician services will enable us to capitalize on new contract opportunities, enhance the on-site and supportive offerings we provide to our nuclear facility clients and maximize significant tailwinds in the decommissioning space. We look forward to working closely with the RSCS team and embarking on a new phase of growth together," Ron McCall, Allied Power CEO.
Prepaid Technologies, an efficient payments programs provider, completed the acquisition of WorkStride, a SaaS platform for employee recognition, rewards, and engagement, from The Riverside Company, an investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We have enjoyed working with the talented WorkStride management team through a period of change for the company to help set it on its way to future success and strong continued growth. Tom Silk and the leadership team have deep industry experience and have achieved significant market differentiation with their technology platform and strong focus on client service and support. They are well positioned for the future," Loren Schlachet, Riverside Managing Partner.
WebBank, a bank, completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Avant, a provider of access to a full suite of digital financial solutions, for $250m.
“WebBank and Avant have a longstanding partnership driving access to capital to consumers through multiple innovative credit products including the Avant Credit Card. The Bank is pleased to provide an additional investment in the Avant Credit Card program to provide the necessary capital for long-term growth," Jason Lloyd, WebBank President & CEO.
Cambridge Innovation Institute, a company that delivers cutting edge information through events, publishing, and training, completed the acquisition of Evaluating Biopharma, a networking and education events provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are regularly looking for additional ways to work with and provide valuation content to those in the bioprocessing field. Evaluating Biopharma provides an excellent means of expanding our range of offerings for this rapidly growing industry segment. Their rare blend of education and networking is an ideal match for our Cambridge Healthtech Institute event portfolio," Phillips Kuhl, Cambridge Innovation Institute President.
Digitas Media, an integrated advertising agency, completed the acquisition of True Trampoline, a website dedicated to providing information related to trampoline products and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I'm excited to expand into this new and exciting niche in the recreational sports category. Trampolines are amazing for exercise and provide numerous health benefits, mentally and physically," Jodi Robinson, Digitas Media CEO and Founder.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire buy more Occidental stock, near 20% stake.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway plowed another $250m into Occidental Petroleum last week, lifting its stake in the energy company to 19.2%.
The famed investor's conglomerate snapped up 4.3m shares, paying about $58 per share on average. It now owns nearly 180m shares of the oil-and-gas explorer and producer - a position worth $10.4bn based on Occidental's closing price of $58.01, Market Insider reported.
In addition to its common shares of Occidental, Berkshire owns $10bn worth of preferred shares, which yield $800m of dividends annually. It also holds stock warrants enabling it to buy another 84m common shares at a fixed cost of $5bn. It secured the preferred stock and warrants in exchange for providing $10bn of financing for Occidental's merger with Anadarko Petroleum in 2019.
Momentum Midstream to buy Midcoast Energy assets for $1.3bn. (FS)
Privately-owned Momentum Midstream has agreed to buy pipeline assets in the East Texas part of the Haynesville Shale from Midcoast Energy for $1.3bn, including debt.
Momentum's acquisition of Midcoast's assets is backed by funds from private equity firm EnCap Flatrock Midstream, Reuters reported.
Apax Partners explores a $1bn sale of Candela. (FS)
Apax Partners, a private equity firm, is weighing a sale of Candela Medical in a deal that could value the aesthetic device maker at more than $1bn.
The private equity firm is sounding out potential suitors, including other buyout firms. Candela filed for a Nasdaq listing in October that was later postponed, Bloomberg reported.
Elliott seeks strategic options after building a 9% stake in Pinterest. (FS)
Activist investor Elliott Management is in talks with the management of social media platform Pinterest, after becoming the largest investor with more than a 9% stake.
Elliott, known for its activist investments, has been discussing unspecified matters with Pinterest for the past several weeks. Elliott has historically urged radical change at companies it believes are highly undervalued, WSJ reported.
Ides Capital explores a sale of Monro. (FS)
Hedge fund Ides Capital on Thursday asked US car service and tire center operator Monro to pressure its controlling shareholder to drop a veto to a sale of the company.
Dianne McKeever, Ides co-founder and chief investment officer, said she believed the reason Monro was not exploring a sale was because its controlling shareholder, 83-year-old investment banker Peter Solomon, was demanding an "onerous" premium to allow a deal. Ides told Monro the car service company should form a strategic board committee to engage with potential buyers. If Solomon blocks a sale by asking for more than what bidders offer, Monro should disclose this in accordance with its obligations under securities laws.
Solomon exercised his veto at Monro's annual general meeting last year to retain control of the company, blocking a resolution by Ides to do away with supervoting shares even though the proposal was backed by 88% of shareholders, Reuters reported.
BELLUS Health launched a $153m IPO in Canada and the US.
BELLUS Health, a clinical stage biotechnology company, launched a $153m public offering of common shares in Canada and the United States. The Company’s common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “BLU”.
The company intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering primarily to fund BLU-5937 research and development activities, working capital needs and other general corporate purposes.
BELLUS Health is advised by Jefferies, Evercore, RBC Capital Markets and LifeSci Capital.
Battery Ventures closes new funds totaling more than $3.8bn. (FS)
Battery Ventures, a private equity firm, has closed new funds totaling $3.8bn to continue backing innovative companies worldwide in a variety of sectors.
The new funds - raised as Battery approaches 40 years of continuous operations—include Battery Ventures XIV and a companion fund, together capitalised at $3.3bn, and the $530m Battery Ventures Select Fund II, a vehicle intended to make additional investments primarily in portfolio companies of the firm’s other funds.
McLaren Strategic Ventures targets $1bn funding for tech investment. (FS)
McLaren Strategic Ventures, a private equity firm, is looking to raise about $1bn to invest in startups and private equity opportunities in Asia’s third-largest economy and beyond.
McLaren Strategic Ventures has started preliminary roadshows and has seen good interest from family offices and Middle Eastern state investors.
The firm aims to complete the fundraising by March and will target investments in banking and fintech, health tech and in supply-chain companies operating in the digital space, Bloomberg reported.
Pegasus Capital holds a $130m first close for Global Funds for Coral Reefs. (FS)
Pegasus Capital, a private equity firm, has held a first close for the Global Fund for Coral Reefs Investment Fund, the first commercial-scale private equity impact investment fund targeting SDG14, life below water.
The firm has collected $130m of capital commitment so far for the vehicle, with up to $125m from the Green Climate Fund and $5m from Builder’s Vision.
"We are thrilled and grateful for the commitment of the Green Climate Fund as an anchor investor and for Builder's Vision's contribution. The GFCR is an exciting new coalition, and with our many partners we plan to unlock significant private capital to invest in the reef-positive sustainable blue economy, bridging the funding gap for SDG14," Craig Cogut, Pegasus Capital Founder & CEO.
ADTRAN, a provider of telecommunications networking equipment and internetworking products, completed the merger with ADVA, a European telecommunications vendor that provides network equipment for data, storage, voice and video service, in a €759m ($895m) deal.
“This is an exciting day for both companies. With closing now behind us, we can focus on the final steps that will allow us to fully integrate these companies, creating a driving force within the industry. We believe that the combination of our exceptional talent, industry-leading solution portfolios, and vision for innovation, positions us as a global trusted leader for service provider, government, and enterprise customers and will provide a firm foundation for our success moving forward," Tom Stanton, ADTRAN Chairman and CEO.
ADVA was advised by Ernst & Young, Jefferies & Company, Hogan Lovells, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Edelman. ADTRAN was advised by Bank of America, Kirkland & Ellis, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Brunswick Group.
FPE Capital, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Dynamic Planner, a financial planning system. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As a fast growing, privately owned company we were looking for an institutional investor partner to help us take the business to the next level in the UK and internationally. Our selection of FPE was based not just on their track record of backing software companies that successfully scale, but also on their team who we feel share our values," Ben Goss, Dynamic Planner CEO.
FPE Capital was advised by Stephenson Harwood and DC Advisory.
KKR-backed GeneraLife, a fertility clinics group, completed the acquisition of Livio, a fertility treatment services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"With the union of the other 9 Livio IVF centers, the group will not only strengthen its positioning in Sweden but will now also be present in Norway and Iceland. In total, therefore, GeneraLife now has 47 clinics in 7 European countries," GeneraLife.
Adani Group, a business comglomerate, and Gadot Group, a logistics group, agreed to acquire Haifa Port, a port operator, for $1.18bn. Adani Ports and Gadot Group hold 70%-30% shares, respectively in the consortium.
"Our partnership with Adani blends the best of two worlds – our expertise in handling cargo in Haifa Port and Adani's world class capability in managing port operations. The length of the lease and the growth that we anticipate in the Israel economy as well as the surrounding regions means we are well positioned to invest to build one of the best ports in this region," Opher Linchevski, Gadot CEO.
SRAM & MRAM, a conglomerate, led a $100m round in 5ire, a blockchain network.
"The Far East is very proactive and keen on adopting blockchain, like Malaysian Immigration and The Health Card app. We feel entry into the market with a layer 1 partner which is sustainable is ideal and 5ire being a sustainable blockchain is perfect for us. This will benefit our group to communicate on blocks as we deal with various countries and have offices in over 8 countries," Sailesh Hiranandani, Sram & Mram Founder and Chairman.
Masan High-Tech Materials-backed HC Starck, a metal processing company, agreed to acquire Nyobolt, a battery technologies provider, for $62m.
"This investment marks a milestone in our strategy to move further downstream, and get closer to consumers by developing new, innovative applications including our recently trademarked "starck2charge" battery materials product range. Nyobolt's technology is a real breakthrough that we can help commercialize based on our vast experience in transferring innovative solutions into large-scale manufacturing. This partnership is also going to accelerate the development towards a circular economy for batteries via enhanced recycling and new models of use," Hady Seyeda, HC Starck CEO.
Virgin Media O2 explores a $3.6bn acquisition of TalkTalk.
Virgin Media O2 is in discussions to acquire TalkTalk Telecom Group, marking another round of telecom consolidation. The talks would value Salford, England-based TalkTalk, at about $3.6bn.
British cable and wireless operator VMO2, brought together in a 2021 merger by Liberty Global and Telefonica, has held exploratory discussions with the smaller fixed company but it’s possible no deal is agreed, Bloomberg reported.
Vue International close to agreeing £1bn takeover by lenders. (FS)
Vue International, Britain's third-biggest cinema chain, is close to bringing the curtain up on a $1.1bn recapitalisation that will see its lenders take ownership of the business and put it back on a sustainable financial footing.
Vue had been in talks for weeks about a comprehensive agreement that would see $550m of existing debt converted into equity.
The debt-for-equity swap will see the Alberta Investment Management Corporation and Omers, the Canadian pension funds, relinquish their shareholdings, Sky News reported.
MTN in talks to acquire Telkom.
South African mobile group MTN is in talks to buy smaller rival Telkom in a stock or cash-and-shares deal, as South Africa’s telecoms market consolidates.
The potential $1bn-plus deal would give MTN access to Telkom's fibre assets, seen as a must for expanding 4G and 5G mobile services. If successful, the deal would give MTN access to Telkom's Openserve fibre business, which made $782m in revenues for the year ended March 31 and connects around 2.5m premises.
It could also raise the hackles of South Africa’s competition commission, which blocked a 2015 network sharing deal between MTN and Telkom over what it said would be a “resultant duopoly market structure,” and which has more recently attacked high data prices in the industry.
TTB Partners withdraws bid to acquire Playtech. (FS)
TTB Partners, a Hong Kong based investor abandoned its plans for a takeover bid for UK gambling software provider Playtech, blaming challenging market conditions, sending its shares tumbling more than 18%.
TTB Partners, Playtech's third-largest shareholder, had made a takeover approach on behalf of an unnamed investor group but said it would not make an offer. Playtech, which says it is the world's largest supplier of online gambling and sports betting software, had attracted a takeover interest since early this year as companies look to capitalise on a boom in online betting set off by the pandemic.
Playtech Chief Executive Mor Weizer and former CEO and current investor Tom Hall had approached TTB Partners with their interest in participating in the investor group in February, Reuters reported.
GARBE completed the first closing for its new pan-European logistics fund at over $650m. (FS)
GARBE Industrial Real Estate, a specialist for logistics and industrial properties in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, raised approximately $400m in equity among German and international investors for its investment fund, “GARBE Logistics Real Estate Fund Plus III”. The Luxembourg special AIF (SICAV-RAIF) without maturity is an Article-8 fund with a manage-to-ESG strategy. With a planned investment volumes of five billion euros, it is GARBE’s largest pan-European fund for institutional investors to date.
It marks a plausible continuation of the company’s European growth strategy. The new logistics fund invests in established logistics sites across Europe as well as in selected growth regions, in some cases pursuing value-add and development strategies in addition to its main core-plus strategy. Its seed portfolio consists of 22 assets with an investment volume of more than $650m and about 400k sq mt of lettable area. Located in Germany (21) and Poland (1), the properties show an occupancy rate of 95% and a WALT of more than ten years. Meanwhile, over $1bn worth of assets remain in the pipeline for GLIF+III. A second closing is therefore planned before the end of this year.
“We set up the GLIF+III during a very challenging market cycle. On the part of our clients, it is thus a remarkable sign of confidence in the logistics real estate market, in the fund strategy and in the competencies of GARBE as leading manager and developer of logistics real estate in Europe.” Garbe went on to say: “This represents a strategic milestone, and is the result of our active European expansion strategy. The GLIF+III combines our entire management competence while opening our platform up to international institutional investors," Christopher Garbe, GARBE Managing Partner.
GARBE was advised by Linklaters, CBRE, Ernst & Young, Drees und Sommer, ESG, Greenberg Traurig, HLB Stückmann, JP Morgan and BNP Paribas.
Vektor Partners raises $125m for new VC fund. (FS)
Vektor partners, an independent technology VC firm dedicated to backing the leading mobility startups, has raised $125m for a new fund that will focus the shift towards a more connected, autonomous, shared, electric, and sustainable future.
The team, which leverages decades of experience in investing, operating and scaling companies, and deep networks in the automotive, technology, and transportation industries, has received the backing of institutional investors including a sovereign wealth fund. The vehicle is aimed at accelerating society’s pivotal move towards a more connected, autonomous, shared, electric, and sustainable future.
COI Partners launches $120m growth fund. (FS)
COI Partners, a DACH-focused growth investor and pioneer in deal-by-deal investments, has held the first closing of COIP DACH Growth II, a Luxembourg-based fund focusing on growth companies.
With a target size of $120m, the fund will match each future deal-by-deal investment by COI Partners. This will bring COI Partners’ assets under management to over $300m and strengthen the firm’s mission of partnering with outstanding companies and entrepreneurs.
“Building on our entrepreneurial approach and investment platform, COI Partners offers a unique value proposition: a place where entrepreneurs back entrepreneurs to fuel long-term growth. By broadening our investor universe through the new fund, we will have even more flexibility to partner with companies in a defining stage of their growth journey and help them scale innovation," David Salim, COI Partner.
Google completed a $1bn investment in Bharti Airtel.
Bharti Airtel said it has closed the $1bn investment deal with Google, with the search giant holding 1.2% in India’s No. 2 telecom service provider.
Deal includes investment of $700M to acquire 1.28% ownership in Airtel and up to $300m toward potential multi-year commercial agreements.
The partnership will focus on enabling affordable access to smartphones across price ranges, and will continue to explore building on their existing partnerships to potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards, and help accelerate the cloud ecosystem for businesses across India.
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