EU antitrust regulators are asking Microsoft's rivals and customers whether they are affected by the US tech giant's proposals to gain UK approval for its $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Reutersreported.
Microsoft last month offered to sell its cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment after Britain's Competition and Markets Authority blocked the biggest gaming deal in history.
Smurfit Kappa, a Europe corrugated packaging company, agreed to merge with WestRock, an American corrugated packaging company, in a $20bn deal.
"This incredibly exciting coming together of our two great companies is a defining moment within the global packaging industry. Smurfit WestRock will be the 'Go-To' packaging partner of choice for customers, employees and shareholders. We will have the leading assets, a unique global footprint in both paper and corrugated, a superb consumer and specialty packaging business, significant synergies, and enhanced scale to deliver value in the short, medium and long term," Tony Smurfit, Smurfit Kappa CEO.
WestRock is advised by Consello, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Lazard, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison (led by Laura Turano). Smurfit Kappa is advised by Citigroup, PJT Partners, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Matheson and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (led byVictor Goldfeld, Igor KirmanandAndrew Brownstein).
EU antitrust regulators have delayed their investigation into Amazon's $1.7bn acquisition of robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot as they wait for the companies to provide requested information. The European Commission, which acts as the competition enforcer in the 27-country bloc, said it stopped the clock on September 8, with effect from August 29, Reuters reported.
The EU competition watchdog's previous deadline for its decision on the deal was December 13. It has warned Amazon that the deal may reduce competition in robot vacuum cleaners and also reinforce the US company's dominant position as an online marketplace provider.
Cetera, an independent wealth hub and financial services provider, agreed to acquire Avantax, a tax-focused financial planning and wealth management solutions provider, for $1.2bn.
"This transaction, upon closing, will deliver immediate cash value to Avantax stockholders. It is a result of Avantax's strategic transformation and value creation efforts, which, when combined with the sale of TaxAct in December 2022, has unlocked significant value for our stockholders. I am extremely grateful to our extraordinary community of financial professionals as well as the entire Avantax team for their unwavering focus and steadfast professionalism throughout our transformation. I am confident that this combination with Cetera is beneficial for Avantax, our financial professionals, employees and stockholders," Chris Walters, Avantax CEO.
Threelands Energy, an energy company, completed the acquisition of Energuate, an electricity distribution company, from I Squared Capital-backed Inkia Energy, a power generation facilities operator. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are pleased to have supported Energuate's growth into a more efficient enterprise. In partnership with Inkia Energy, we executed a value creation strategy informed by the expertise and experience from across our power portfolio, which drove significant growth across the business. We are confident that Energuate is well-positioned for continued growth," Gautam Bhandari, I Squared Capital Managing Partner and CIO.
Threelands Energy was advised by Inverlink and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (led by Paola Lozano). I Squared Capital and Inkia Energy were advised by Citigroup and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
AustralianSuper, an Australian superannuation fund, agreed to acquire a minority stake in DigitalBridge-backed Vantage Data Centers, a wholesale data center campuses provider, for €1.5bn ($1.6bn).
"As data center demand continues to rapidly accelerate across EMEA, this investment will fuel Vantage's ability to accelerate the growth of our environmentally friendly, large-scale data center footprint across the region and further deepen our relationships with customers as we enable them to grow and scale their businesses with reliable, efficient and sustainable data centers. We look forward to partnering with AustralianSuper and supporting our customers' continued growth," Sureel Choksi, Vantage Data Centers President and CEO.
Prime Movers Lab, a venture capital firm, led a $200m Series B round in Lyten, a 3D graphene decarbonizing supermaterials manufacturer, with participation from Stellantis, FedEx, Honeywell, and Walbridge Aldinger.
"We are excited to welcome our Series B investors, each a leader in their respective markets and committed to achieving aggressive net zero targets for their industry. The influx of strategic investors reflects the evolution of Lyten from its early days of developing a first-of-its-kind supermaterial to now collaborating with industry leaders to bring disruptive, decarbonizing applications to market, utilizing the differentiated properties of Lyten 3D Graphene. Our investors provide more than financial resources; they provide guidance and expertise to help ensure Lyten applications address the critical needs of a wide range of industries, including automotive, transportation, defense, aerospace, manufacturing, energy, and construction," Dan Cook, Lyten Co-Founder and CEO.
Atreides Management, a hedge fund, led a $125m Series B round in Enfabrica, a silicon and software company, with participation from Sutter Hill Ventures, NVIDIA, IAG Capital Partners, Liberty Global Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Infinitum Partners and Alumni Ventures.
"The fundamental challenge with today's AI boom is the scaling of infrastructure. There's no denying the transformative value that AI delivers to a multitude of economic sectors. But there is a critical need to bridge the exploding demand to the overall cost, efficiency and ease of scaling AI compute, across all customers seeking to take control of their distributed AI infrastructure and services," Rochan Sankar, Enfabrica CEO and Co-Founder.
MW Components, a provider of precision components, completed the acquisition of Elgin Fastener Group, a specialty fastener manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Elgin Fastener Group is uniquely positioned to grow the MW Components portfolio of brands. Together, we are one of the largest suppliers of fasteners in the United States, offering both highly-engineered custom fasteners as well as in-stock and ready-to-ship parts for a wide variety of industries," Simon Newman, MW Components CEO.
Citizens to avoid ‘Fire Sale’ in unloading $9.2bn in loans.
Citizens Financial CEO John Woods vowed the company won’t do deals that require it to book losses as it looks to reduce a $13.7bn portfolio of unwanted loans,Bloombergreported.
Citizens is looking to scale down its portfolio of non-core loans by $9.2bn by the end of 2025 and may increasingly turn to “opportunistic” asset sales to pull that off. Proceeds from the moves will allow the bank to pay down high-cost funding from the likes of the Federal Home Loan Bank system as well as increase lending for home equity lines of credit and credit cards.
HIG raises $6bn for its latest leveraged buyout fund. (FS)
HIG Capital raised $6bn for its latest middle-market leveraged buyout fund, a figure that includes $450m of co-investment capital,Bloomberg reported.
The firm initially targeted $5bn for the vehicle, which was offered to new investors for the first time since the strategy was conceived for a 2008 fund.
Moelis taps BofA’s Renier to boost industrials and France coverage. (People)
Moelis has hired Jean-Eudes Renier from Bank of America to strengthen its coverage of industrial companies and French firms,Bloomberg reported.
Renier is set to join the mergers and acquisitions specialist as a senior banker in London next month.
Lazard hires ex-UK security adviser in geopolitics expansion. (People)
Lazard hired former UK national security adviser Stephen Lovegrove, as incoming CEO Peter Orszag seeks to build out a geopolitical advisory practice the firm began about a year ago,Bloombergreported.
Lovegrove, who was tapped by ex-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the top security role in 2021, is joining as a senior adviser in London and will also serve clients in the UK financial advisory practice. For Lovegrove, it’s a return to investment banking, his career before joining the civil service in 2004.
Centerview Partners hires former Council of Foreign Relations Chief Haass. (People)
Centerview Partners, the investment bank headed by dealmakers Blair Effron and Robert Pruzan, has hired Richard Haass, the former longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Haass, a diplomat who has also worked under four US presidents, will be a senior counselor at the bank’s New York office, Bloombergreported.
J.D. Power, a consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics company, agreed to acquire Autovista Group, a pan-European and Australian automotive data, analytics and industry insights provider, from Hayfin Capital, an alternative asset management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Precise vehicle valuations and detailed vehicle specifications are the central underpinning to every data-driven strategy in the automotive industry—from optimizing vehicle production to calculating residual values to all manner of insurance—and finance-related risk assessment and repair models, and the combined assets of J.D. Power and Autovista Group will create truly comprehensive, global valuation and forecasting solutions. Additionally, as US consumers increasingly adopt the European model of configuring and ordering a custom vehicle specification, rather than picking whatever the dealer has on the lot, Autovista's detailed, vehicle-specific data and analytics will give OEMs critical information they need to navigate this change in consumer behavior. We are excited for the Autovista team to join J.D. Power and for the future growth opportunities we will pursue together," said Dave Habiger, J.D. Power President and CEO.
Hayfin and Autovista are advised by TD Cowen, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Macfarlanes and Mishcon de Reya. J.D. Power is advised by RBC Capital Markets, Kirkland & Ellis and Hawthorn Advisors.
Ithaca Energy, an UK independent exploration and production company, agreed to acquire the remaining 30% stake in UK Cambo field from Shell, an oil and gas company, for $78m.
"We are pleased to conclude the marketing process with Shell and to take full ownership of the Cambo development. Our primary focus continues to be the delivery of our BUY, BUILD and BOOST strategy, including the future development of Cambo, subject to fiscal conditions. We believe that Cambo has an important role to play in providing energy security and economic benefit to the UK, while reducing overall emissions intensity," Alan Bruce, Ithaca Energy CEO.
Ithaca Energy is advised by FTI Consulting (led byBen Brewerton).
Exclusive Networks, a digital infrastructure and cybersecurity company, agreed to acquire a 70% stake in Ingecom, a cybersecurity and cyber intelligence solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to welcome Ingecom's talented and passionate teams into the Exclusive Networks Group within the Ignition organization. This acquisition is fully in line with our plans to strengthen further our portfolio of emerging cybersecurity innovators and stand as the partner of reference for emerging vendor technologies within EMEA. Moreover, Ingecom's management will remain invested in the future growth of the company and be associated to our common success. We look forward to developing synergies together to achieve Ignition's growth ambitions," Jesper Trolle, Exclusive Networks CEO.
Exclusive Networks is advised by FTI Consulting (led byEmily Oliver).
Andromeda Capital Partners Suisse, a private equity firm, agreed to acquire an additional 41% stake in Change Group, a financial technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition of Change by Andromeda Capital Partners Suisse is a significant development in the European fintech space. It is a sign that the industry is maturing and that there is a growing demand for mobile-first, multi-asset platforms.
Everton football club close to sale to 777 Partners. (FS)
Everton Football Club is close to an agreement to be acquired by 777 Partners following months of talks between the parties, Bloombergreported.
Club owner Farhad Moshiri, who has invested hundreds of millions of pounds into the underperforming team during his tenure at the Liverpool-based club, is expected to exit with a fraction of the money he invested.
Shari Redstone's National Amusements strikes deal with lenders. (FS)
National Amusements, the family holding company of media heiress Shari Redstone, has reached a deal with creditors to restructure some of its debt,WSJreported.
National Amusements paid down 20% of the outstanding, roughly $250m, loan to its creditors. The company, parent of the Paramount movie studio and CBS television network, is obligated to pay down another 15% in March. The creditors, which include Credit Suisse Asset Management, Invesco, Hawkeye Capital and collateralized-loan-obligation funds, also are getting increased interest and collateral on the loan. The agreement extends through 2025.
Minority stake planned for Berlin in Thyssenkrupp's warship division.
Thyssenkrupp is aiming to exit TKMS, with a financial investor to take a majority stake in the warship division and the German stake to take a minority stake.
The German conglomerate would retain a minority stake, but no final decision has yet been made,Reutersreported.
Arjun Infrastructure weighs options as PE industry consolidates. (FS)
Arjun Infrastructure Partners, a mid-market investment firm overseeing more than €5.5bn ($5.9bn), is exploring strategic options amid increasing consolidation in the private equity industry,Bloomberg reported.
The London-based infrastructure specialist is studying possibilities ranging from introducing a minority investor to a full sale. It’s working with Royal Bank of Canada to gauge interest.
Portugal gets preliminary valuation reports on TAP before sale.
Portugal’s government has received preliminary reports from the two independent assessors hired to determine the value of TAP, a crucial step before moving ahead with the state-owned carrier’s sale, Bloombergreported.
Ernst & Young and Banco Finantia have submitted preliminary drafts of their valuation reports to Parpublica, the state-holding company through which the government owns TAP. The assessments are still under discussion and the government has yet to receive final versions of these reports.
TSMC to invest up to $100m in Arm' IPO.
TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, will invest up to $100m in chip designer Arm Holdings's initial public share offering, Reutersreported.
SoftBank's Arm, which launched the roadshow, aims to raise up to $4.87bn in its US IPO.
Renk plans Frankfurt IPO this year. (FS)
Germany's Renk, which makes gearboxes for tanks, planned an initial public offering on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange this year to fund expansion of its international operations and gain access to new financing options,Reuters reported.
The offering would comprise existing shares owned by Renk's majority owner, private equity group Triton, which bought the company from carmaker Volkswagen three years ago.
Gulf sovereign fund, hedge fund tycoons bankroll biotech to fight aging. (FS)
Swiss biotech firm Rejuveron Life Sciences has attracted backing from sovereign fund Mubadala Investment to help bankroll its development of drugs targeting the effects of aging, Bloombergreported.
Rejuveron has raised about $75m from a Series B funding round and convertible loan deal. Investors in the fundraising include Catalio Capital Management, the life sciences-focused firm backed by hedge fund billionaires Stan Druckenmiller and Alan Howard.
KKR’s Kravis Scouts investments in Italy beyond Telecom Italia. (FS)
KKR Co-Founder Henry Kravis is scouting for opportunities in Italy, a move that could lead the US private equity giant to boost its investments in the country, Bloombergreported.
Kravis planned meetings in Milan at the end of this week with top officials from at least three Italian private companies in the technology, manufacturing and automation sectors to review their business plans.
Citigroup names heads for continental Europe investment banking. (People)
Citigroup has named new co-heads of its banking, capital markets and advisory division for continental Europe, Bloombergreported.
Linos Lekkas and Patrick Frowein will also represent the BCMA division as members of Citigroup’s Europe leadership team.
KKR, an American global investment company, agreed to invest $250m in Reliance Retail Ventures, an integrated omni-channel network operator.
"We are pleased to receive continued support from KKR as an investor in Reliance Retail Ventures Limited. We highly value our deepening partnership with KKR, and their latest investment in RRVL after their previous investment further reinforces their strong belief in RRVL's vision and capabilities. We look forward to continued engagement with KKR and to benefit from their global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise, in our journey towards driving transformation of the Indian retail sector," Isha Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Retail Ventures Director.
KKR is advised by Adfactors PR (led byGeorge Smith Alexander). Reliance Retail Ventures is advised by Morgan Stanley, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Davis Polk & Wardwell.
IndiaRF, an investment company, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Ivy Health and Life Sciences, a health care company, for $64m.
"Post Covid, there's significant emphasis on providing localised healthcare in the form of multi-speciality regional hospital networks. Ivy has demonstrated its prowess as a regional healthcare provider catering to all segments by providing quality medical services at affordable prices," Shantanu Nalavadi, IndiaRF Managing Director.
IndiaRF was advised by O3 Capital. Ivy Health and Life Sciences was advised by Unaprime Investment Advisors.
L Catterton, a global consumer-focused investment firm, completed the investment in Withmal, a veterinary services group. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Pets are treasured members of many families in Japan, and it is our mission to build a highly trusted veterinary services group that pet parents across the country can rely on for their pets' healthcare needs. L Catterton has an outstanding track record of growing pet care businesses across the world as well as deep consumer and industry insights. We are confident that we have found the right partner to help us realize our vision, and look forward to leveraging its expertise as we further grow over the coming years," Tomoki Yamasaki, Withmal Founder and CEO.
Australia’s richest woman buys into lithium bid target Liontown.
Australia’s richest woman has amassed a stake in lithium producer Albemarle’s AUD6.6bn ($4.3bn) takeover target Liontown Resources, and suggested she may push for a board seat, Bloombergreported.
Iron ore mining billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting had acquired a 7.72% stake in Liontown and said it believed it could help steer the company’s metal conversion and growth. The Australian lithium miner’s shares have been intermittently trading above the AUD3 ($1.9) per share offer price that won Albemarle four weeks of due diligence.
Ramsay and Sime Darby narrow bidders for $1.5bn hospital sale. (FS)
Australia’s biggest private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care, and Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby have shortlisted candidates for the sale of their hospital unit, which could fetch about $1.5bn in a deal, Bloomberg reported.
TPG-backed hospital group Columbia Asia and Sunway Medical Centre, a unit of Kuala Lumpur-listed Sunway, were picked to proceed to the next round of bidding. Macquarie Asset Management and PT Mitra Keluarga Karyasehat are also among the shortlisted suitors.
Legends in talks with private lenders to finance ASM acquisition. (FS)
Legends Hospitality is in talks with private credit firms to finance its potential acquisition of venue and events management company ASM Global, Bloombergreported.
Sixth Street Partners-backed Legends has been in discussions with lenders including Apollo Global Management, KKR and Oaktree Capital Management over the financing package, which would include a loan of around $1.5bn. Part of the proceeds would be used to refinance existing debt.
Vitol is selling $459m worth of shares in Viva Energy.
Dutch commodities trading firm Vitol is selling $459m worth of shares in Australian fuel retailer Viva Energy in a block trade, Reutersreported.
The deal is made up of 249m shares, which is 16.1% of Viva Energy's total shares, at a fixed price of $1.85 each.
Temasek, NTU and NUS join hands to invest $55m in SG deeptech startups. (FS)
Singapore's state investor Temasek has teamed up with two of the top local universities – Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) – to invest in deeptech startups in the city-state, DealStreetAsiareported.
"The collaboration sees [Temasek, NUS and NTU] synergising our expertise and resources to create opportunities for applications of emerging technologies, and empower startups and companies to create positive societal impact and economic growth through innovation," Tan Eng Chye, NUS President.
Saudi Arabian Airlines to list 30% stake in Cargo Firm.
Saudi Arabia’s biggest airline and another shareholder will list a 30% stake in cargo firm SAL Saudi Logistics Services in a Riyadh initial public offering, as the kingdom’s market for listings picks up after a slow start to the year, Bloombergreported.
Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia, and Tarabot Air Cargo Services are offering 24m shares in the cargo firm in the Tadawul listing. Saudia currently owns 70% of SAL while Tarabot owns 30% of the firm.
SG's Vertex Ventures closes SE Asia & India Fund V at $541m. (FS)
Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures has announced the final close of its fifth Southeast Asia & India fund at $541m, or about 80% bigger than the predecessor. The fifth fund also exceeded its target size of $450m amid the overall challenging fundraising environment, DealStreetAsiareported.
"Our earlier funds have had superior cash-on-cash returns and are outperforming benchmarks. This track record led most of our investors from Fund IV to return as investors in Fund V and increase their allocation," Ben Mathias, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India Managing Partner.
Edelweiss Alternatives raises $500m for its first climate fund.(FS)
Edelweiss Alternatives, a unit of India's Edelweiss Group, has launched its first climate fund with a corpus of $500m, DealStreetAsiareported.
The firm will invest in an array of climate-related projects ranging from climate mitigation to climate adaptation like renewable energy, transmission infrastructure, EV infrastructure, Green infrastructure, water treatment, transport decarbonisation, industrial decarbonisation, and other related verticals.
NordicNinja announces €200m Fund II to help founders tackle global challenges. (FS)
NordicNinja, largest Japanese VC in Europe, has announced a second, €200m ($215m) fund to continue investing in climate and deep technologies that create a more equitable, sustainable future. There are entire sectors NordicNinja believes still present huge opportunities for digitalisation, while also helping meet the urgent need for sustainable solutions. NordicNinja invests in building companies that sit at this intersection and which are tackling the world’s biggest problems with a focus on climate tech, deeptech and digital society.
Founded in 2019, NordicNinja is a team with a global mindset that unites world-class former founders, operators, and engineers turned investors from Northern Europe and Japan.
HK realty tycoon Adrian Cheng's C Capital closes its largest PE Fund to date. (FS)
C Capital, backed by Hong Kong's real estate tycoon Adrian Cheng, has closed its largest private equity fund to date, bringing the total investments from the principal fund and associated co-investment vehicles to over $250m,DealStreetAsiareported.
Founded in 2017 as "C Ventures" before its rebranding in 2022, C Capital raised capital commitments from over 20 new and existing limited partners for its Private Equity Fund IlI.
HSBC names ex-Goldman Sachs veteran Bill Chu to head China investment banking team. (People)
HSBC has hired former Goldman Sachs veteran Bill Chu as its China head of investment banking, DealStreetAsiareported.
Chu will work with the bank's sector, product and coverage teams to further grow its Greater China franchise and drive greater connectivity between China and its international markets.
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