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European antitrust regulators have opened an in-depth investigation into US chipmaker Broadcom's proposed $69bn bid for cloud computing company VMware, the European Commission said.
The Commission said its preliminary investigation indicates the transaction may allow Broadcom to restrict competition for the supply of certain components by degrading interoperability between VMware software and competitors' hardware to the benefit of its own hardware, Reuters reported.
"The Commission is particularly concerned that the transaction would allow Broadcom to restrict competition in the market for certain hardware components which interoperate with VMware's software," European Commission.
VMware is advised by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (led by Barbara Becker) and FGS Global (led by Paul Kranhold). Financial advisors are advised by Debevoise & Plimpton (led by Jennifer Chu) and Sullivan & Cromwell (led by Alison S. Ressler). Broadcom is advised by Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Securities, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, O'Melveny & Myers (led by Adit Khorana), Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (led by David Karp and Ronald Chen), Brunswick Group and Joele Frank (led by Andrea Rose and Steve Frankel). Financial advisors are advised by Cooley (led by Ben Beerle). Silver Lake is advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (led by Atif Azher)
Microsoft hit in US court with a private consumer lawsuit claiming the technology company's $69bn bid to purchase "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard will unlawfully squelch competition in the video game industry, Reuters reported.
The private lawsuit also seeks an order blocking Microsoft from acquiring Activision. It was filed on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.
The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft "far-outsized market power in the video game industry, with the ability to foreclose rivals, limit output, reduce consumer choice, raise prices, and further inhibit competition," the complaint alleged.
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.
Arizona Lithium, a company focused on the sustainable development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project, agreed to acquire Prairie Lithium, a lithium resource and technology developer, for $52m.
“The acquisition of Prairie Lithium is transformational for AZL as we continue to advance the company as a leader in lithium development and processing in North America. Prairie’s Board and management
team have significant experience in lithium processing and technology, which will further bolster AZL’s team and expedite the sustainable development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project in Arizona, through the application of Prairie’s DLE processing technology expertise," Paul Lloyd, Arizona Lithium Managing Director.
Prairie is advised by Eight Capital and Stikeman Elliott. Arizona is advised by Borden Ladner Gervais and Steinepreis Paganin.
Peak Rock Capital, a private investment firm, completed the acquisition of Seagull Scientific, a provider of software for designing, printing, and automating the production of labels, barcodes, documents and RFID tags. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Seagull represents an exciting opportunity to invest in a mission-critical, enterprise software platform serving diverse end markets. We have long understood the unique value proposition of the BarTender solution as several current and former portfolio companies use the software daily as a central part of their production and distribution workflows. Global supply chains continue to face increasing complexity and software tools such as BarTender enable businesses of all sizes and scale to operate more efficiently. We look forward to partnering with the company to achieve its ambitious growth plan, accelerate the product roadmap, and pursue strategic acquisitions," Pete Leibman, Peak Rock Managing Director.
Seagull Scientific was advised by Cascadia Capital. Peak Rock was advised by Stifel, Kirkland & Ellis and Kekst CNC (led by Daniel Yunger).
TYLin, an infrastructure consulting firm, completed the acquisition of Greeley & Hansen, a global engineering, architecture, and consulting firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Greeley and Hansen advances our strategy to leverage our current water sector capabilities to help transform TYLin into a leader in the water market in the Americas. TYLin’s prowess in infrastructure, coupled with Greeley and Hansen’s strong industry-wide reputation in water and wastewater engineering technologies and construction, will make us a powerful force as we strive to improve the quality of life in the communities our clients serve,” Matthew G. Cummings, TYLin President and CEO.
Greeley & Hansen was advised by Cabrera Capital Markets, ROTH Capital Partners and Thompson Coburn. TYLin was advised by Eversheds Sutherland.
Sparks Energy, a provider of power infrastructure restoration and services, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition III, a blank cheque company, in a $475m deal.
“Listing as a publicly traded company will enable increased growth opportunities for Sparks Energy. The enhanced access to capital will allow us to accelerate our plans to scale and grow our service offerings and geographic reach across the United States at a time when customers need them the most. The “Electrification of Everything”, the push to renewable energy sources, and the impacts of more frequent and severe storms resulting from climate change are creating a tremendous amount of pressure on the country’s already strained electric distribution system. Through our partnership with 10X III, we look forward to expanding our ability to grow our customer base and ensure the highest levels of electrical reliability from our nation’s utilities," Jaradda Sparks, Sparks Energy Founder and CEO.
Sparks Energy is advised by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. 10X Capital III is advised by ROTH Capital Partners and Latham & Watkins.
The Riverside Company, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Grasons, a real estate sale services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are delighted to add Grasons to the Executive Home Care platform. Grasons extends Executive Home Care’s existing care and senior placement services suite to estate sale services, enabling the platform to address more senior needs along the care and living placement continuum," Loren Schlachet, Riverside Managing Partner.
The Riverside Company was advised by Jones Day (led by Joseph Hatina).
Mat Ishbia, the Chairman and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Phoenix Suns and Mercury, a NBA's premier franchise, in a $4bn deal.
"I am extremely excited to be the next Governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. Both teams have an incredibly dynamic fan base and I have loved experiencing the energy of the Valley over the last few months. Basketball is at the core of my life, from my high school days as a player to the honor of playing for Coach Izzo and winning a national title at Michigan State University. I appreciate Robert Sarver's time and support throughout the process. We are so honored to be, with approval by the NBA, the next stewards of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury," Mat Ishbia.
AMC held talks to buy parts of Cineworld.
Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings disclosed that it had held talks to acquire US and European assets of Cineworld Group, as part of the latter theater chain’s bankruptcy proceedings.
The negotiations with Cineworld’s lenders are no longer continuing, AMC said in a US Securities and Exchange Commission. There’s no assurance that AMC will resume the talks or that the parties could come to terms, Bloomberg reported.
General Atlantic closes inaugural climate solutions fund at $3.5bn. (FS)
Growth equity firm General Atlantic has held the final close of its inaugural BeyondNetZero fund. Following the fund’s close, General Atlantic has a total of approximately $3.5bn in capital to invest in climate solutions.
BeyondNetZero’s first fund brings together capital from investors at the forefront of climate investing, including several strategic investors, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, multinational corporations and global institutional investors.
AINDA seeks $600m to kickstart fund, Colombian business. (FS)
Mexican private equity manager AINDA expects to raise $600m for a new fund by early next year and will launch projects in Colombia, as the company seeks to grow its portfolio of public works investments.
AINDA, which focuses on environmental, social and corporate governance projects, also aims to expand along with the Mexican government's nearshoring push, in a bid to grow operations in its home country, CEO Manuel Rodriguez said, Reuters reported.
Musk says he'll step down as Twitter CEO after finding a replacement. (People)
Elon Musk said he will step down as chief executive of Twitter after finding a replacement, DealStreetAsia reported.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams,” Elon Musk.
SMBC Aviation Capital, a global aircraft leasing company, completed the acquisition of the commercial aircraft leasing platform from Chow Tai Fook and NWS-backed Goshawk, a provider of aircraft leasing services based in Dublin, for $6.7bn.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for SMBC Aviation Capital as a global leader in aircraft leasing. This combination brings together two strategically aligned and complementary businesses and will allow us to provide a broad range of innovative solutions to our combined customer base, support the transition of the sector to new technology aircraft and deliver significant value to our shareholders. We are pleased to welcome our new colleagues to the SMBC Aviation Capital team and look forward to working together on the considerable opportunities ahead of us," Peter Barrett, SMBC Aviation CEO.
Eagle Football Holdings, a holding company, formed and managed by John Textor, completed the acquisition of Olympique Lyonnais, a football club, from Holners, a holding company, Pathe, a film production company and IDG Capital, an investment and asset management firm, for €117m ($124m).
"Today is a new beginning for Olympique Lyonnais, an historic club that truly deserves a global stage. With the #1 women's program in the world and a men's program that should expect again to fight for championships, Jean-Michel Aulas has built a world-class organisation of which the City of Lyon and its passionate fans can be proud. I look forward to many years of partnership with Jean-Michel as we work together to meet the high expectations of our supporters. I would like to call our supporters attention to the key backers of Eagle Football without whose help this investment would not have been possible. The ownership experience of both Iconic Sports and Ares in global professional sports, including football, means they bring much more than just capital to our family of clubs. In addition, the technology and consumer-apps experience of Elmwood Partners will help us to set new standards for the future of fan enjoyment." John Textor, Eagle Football Founder.
Olympique Lyonnais was advised by Ernst & Young and Gide Loyrette Nouel. Eagle Football was advised by DLA Piper. IDG was advised by The Raine Group and Allen & Overy (led by Frederic Moreau and Marc Castagnede). Holners was advised by Delsol Avocats (led by Henri-Louis Delsol).
The UK will pay as much as £4.5bn ($5.5bn) to help fund the takeover of collapsed energy supplier Bulb by rival Octopus Energy.
Octopus officially took over Bulb’s 1.5m customers, despite the objections of rival energy providers. The funding facility will help cover various costs including the bill to secure energy for Bulb’s customers through March 2023, according to a document published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Bloomberg reported.
Octopus is advised by CMS.
Komatsu, a Japanese multinational company, agreed to acquire GHH Group, a manufacturer of underground mining, tunnelling and special civil engineering equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are very excited about this acquisition as it represents a great opportunity for Komatsu to expand its offerings for underground mining equipment and accelerate new product development through synergies with Komatsu’s existing team and product offerings. By adding GHH’s factories and rebuild facilities in key markets in Europe, South Africa, India and Chile, we also aim to strengthen production and service capabilities for our customers," Peter Salditt, Komatsu Mining President and CEO.
Komatsu is advised by Rothschild & Co.
Abu Dhabi National Oil, the State-owned oil company of the United Arab Emirates, agreed to acquire a 24.9% stake in OMV, a multinational integrated oil, gas and petrochemical company, from Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund. Financiall terms were not disclosed.
“Building on the strong bilateral ties between the UAE and Austria, and our long-standing partership with OMV, ADNOC is delighted to be acquiring a 24.9% stake in OMV. As we continue to meet the growing global demand for lower carbon energy, we are fast-tracking the delivery of our growth strategy and expanding our footprint across key strategic markets and sectors. This milestone transaction, alongside our 25% shareholding in Borealis, is testament to our focused investment in building an integrated chemicals platform to accelerate our ambitious growth strategy that will unlock significant growth opportunities across our broader chemicals portfolio, with a particular focus on creating distinctive value for Borouge and its shareholders,” Sultan Al Jaber, ADNOC Managing Director and CEO.
Italy sets course for ITA Airways stake sale, likely to Lufthansa.
Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is set to sign off on a decree to sell an initial minority stake in ITA Airways, in a move aimed at starting a full privatisation of the state-owned carrier, Reuters reported.
Germany's Lufthansa is seen in pole position to enter the company's capital, the sources have said, with one adding it could buy a minority stake through a capital increase.
UK competition watchdog says ForFarmers-Boparan JV could trigger higher costs for farmers.
UK competition watchdog said the potential joint venture between Dutch animal feed maker ForFarmers and British firm Boparan could lead to farmers paying higher prices to feed poultry, Reuters reported.
"With food prices already increasing and the wider cost of living crisis, it is vital that we don't allow a reduction in competition between poultry feed suppliers, which could make this situation worse - both for farmers and shoppers at the check-out," Sorcha O'Carroll, Competition and Markets Authority Senior Director of Mergers.
Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius receives multiple bids for retail and mining assets.
Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network has received multiple bids for its retail platform and mining businesses, according to a company presentation delivered in court.
Terms of the bids weren’t disclosed. They included offers for the retail platform, the mining business and a combination of the two, a lawyer for Celsius told US Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn in the hearing. The potential buyer pool includes 30 parties, Bloomberg reported.
RATCH Group, a Thailand-based independent power producer, completed the acquisition of the portfolio of Australian and Southeast Asian energy assets from Denham Capital-backed Nexif Energy, the renewables focused power development and investment company, for $1bn.
“NEXIF RATCH Energy will execute a focused strategy utilizing multiple renewable technologies combining with energy storage to establish a differentiated presence in several countries in its target geography. The quest of host countries to achieve the net-zero objective and the volatility in the conventional energy markets offers endless possibilities of growth for NEXIF RATCH Energy," Matthew Bartley, Nexif Founder and Managing Director.
RATCH Group was advised by White & Case (led by Jonathan Olier). Denham Capital was advised by JP Morgan and FTI Consulting (led by Elizabeth Adams). Nexif was advised by Credit Suisse, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by Nigel Gleeson and Richard Bird) and Citigate Dewe Rogerson.
Australia's Origin Energy reassured shareholders that Canada's Brookfield Asset Management, leading a $11.9bn takeover offer, had not found any deal breakers in its books so far, which boosted its shares, Reuters reported.
"The Consortium has confirmed that it is on track to complete its due diligence early in the new year, it has not identified any material adverse matters to date, and it continues to work on confirming its Indicative Proposal," Origin.
ECARX, a global mobility tech company, went public via a SPAC merger with COVA Acquisition, a special purposes acquisition vehicle, in a $3.8bn deal.
"ECARX began as an independent company in 2017 when my co-founder Ziyu Shen and I, shared a vision to drive rapid evolution of the automotive industry by creating the software and hardware needed to transform cars into fully connected computers on wheels. I am immensely proud of the achievements of this company and would like to thank Mr. Shen and the entire ECARX team for their hard work and commitment. I have great confidence ECARX will continue this growth journey and become a leading partner to global brands as they transition to a smart mobility future," Eric Li, ECARX Co-Founder and Shareholder.
ECARX was advised by Morgan Stanley, UBS and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (led by Peter Huang). COVA was advised by Cantor Fitzgerald and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Australia's antitrust regulator blocked an asset transfer deal between Telstra and TPG, the country's No.1 and No.2 wireless internet firms, citing competition concerns, setting the scene for a legal battle over access to four million customers, Reuters reported.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled against the plan on Wednesday, saying it would bring "a real risk that TPG and Optus will invest less in critical infrastructure".
Telstra and TPG said they will appeal the ACCC's decision, which they called disappointing and a missed opportunity for the 17% of Australia's 25m population who would be impacted by the tie-up.
TPG is advised by Corrs Chambers Westgarth (led by James North).
India overhauls stock buyback mechanism to aid small investors.
India revamped stock buyback rules by blocking a popular route companies use to purchase shares from the open market, in a bid to make the process more shareholder-friendly.
Buyback from the open market will be phased out in a gradual manner by April 2025, Securities and Exchange Board of India said in a statement. The regulator also shortened the time period allowed for buybacks through tender offers, a second method to repurchase shares in India, Bloomberg reported.
Chinese Banks edge out Wall Street rivals in global IPO rankings.
Chinese lenders have leaped ahead of their Wall Street peers in global rankings for initial public offerings, as China wraps up a record year for listings which bucked one of the worst slowdowns in deals history.
CITIC Securities pushed ahead of Goldman Sachs Group as the top underwriter of IPOs this year, followed by China International Capital. It’s the first time the top two spots are held by mainland lenders since at least 1999. Six out of the world’s top 10 IPO banks are Chinese, commanding an almost 28% market share. Citigroup is ranked third this year, Bloomberg reported.
Tata’s Bigbasket Eyes IPO by 2025 after $200m funding.
Tata Group’s Bigbasket may list its shares within three years after the latest capital raising valued India’s largest online grocer at $3.2bn, Bloomberg reported.
The profitable e-commerce firm, which is expanding its pan-India reach and generates about $1.4bn in annual revenue, may choose to launch an initial public offering in 24 to 36 months, Chief Financial Officer Vipul Parekh said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru. The firm, which this week announced it had raised $200m, is open to receiving more private capital before it lists.