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T-Mobile edged closer to a takeover of Sprint after a federal judge approved the deal, rejecting a claim by a group of states that said the proposed transaction would violate antitrust laws and raise prices, Reuters reported. During a two-week trial in December, T-Mobile and Sprint argued the merger will better equip the new company to compete with top players Verizon Communications and AT&T.
"This is a big win and a big day for the New T-Mobile! Now we can get to work finishing what we set out to do – bringing a new standard for value, speed, coverage, quality, and customer service to US consumers everywhere and truly changing wireless for good. Now we’re laser-focused on finishing the few open items that remain, but our eye is on the prize: finally bringing this long-awaited merger and all the goodness it will deliver to a close as early as April 1, 2020. We are so ready to bring the New T-Mobile to life!" Mike Sievert, T-Mobile COO and President.
Sprint is advised by Centerview Partners, JP Morgan, Mizuho, SMBC, The Raine Group, Morrison & Foerster, Potter Anderson & Corroon, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. SoftBank is advised by Morrison & Foerster. Deutsche Telecom is advised by Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, PJT Partners, Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins, Richards Layton and Finger, and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.
Centerbridge Partners-backed Landscape Acquisition Holdings, a special purpose acquisition vehicle, completed the acquisition of AP WIP Investments, one of the largest global aggregators of real property interests underlying wireless telecommunications cell sites, for $860m.
"The Landscape team's decades of leadership experience in growing and managing public and private companies, broad real estate and capital markets knowledge, and disciplined acquisition strategy will be instrumental in further growing our current portfolio and expanding into adjacent digital infrastructure businesses and assets to meet that demand," Bill Berkman, AP WIP Investments CEO.
AP WIP Investments was advised by Cravath Swaine & Moore and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Landscape Acquisition was advised by Credit Suisse, Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Greenberg Traurig, Gladstone Place Partners, and ICR. Centerbridge Partners was advised by Ropes & Gray.
Embraer's top salesman expressed his concerns about European Union regulators for holding up an agreement to divest the company's commercial plane business to Boeing, Bloomberg reported.
“I am better at supporting my team in designing and building and selling new aircraft than I am at the tedious environment or the structured environment of going through antitrust approval. It is taking a lot of my time,” John Slattery, Embraer Head of Commercial Aircraft.
Embraer Commercial Aviation is advised by Pinheiro Neto. Boeing is advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Embraer is advised by Citigroup, Barbosa Mussnich & Aragao, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Platinum Equity-backed PAE, a provider of outsourced solutions for enduring missions of the United States government and international partners, completed its merger with Gores Holdings III, a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of The Gores Group, in a $1.55bn deal.
“Through a culmination of efforts by a workforce dedicated to excellence and professionalism, PAE has reached this milestone. We are grateful to Platinum Equity, Gores Holdings III, and the investors who share our optimism in PAE’s growth value. Although we are now a public company, nothing changes with respect to our commitment to our customers, our exceptional employees, and our focus on building on our nearly 65-year tradition of being a trusted partner to the US government and our allies worldwide,” John Heller, PAE CEO.
Platinum Equity was advised by Latham & Watkins. The Gores Group was advised by Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co, Weil Gotshal & Manges, and Sitrick and Company.
Wind Point-backed A&R Logistics, an American supply chain services company, agreed to acquire First Choice Logistics, a provider of bulk liquid transportation and logistics services to the chemical industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We spent significant time evaluating potential add-on candidates, and First Choice stood out for its enviable reputation among customers and competitors. The addition of First Choice expands on our chemical supply chain platform and enhances our ability to provide shippers end-to-end solutions," Mark Holden, A&R CEO.
First Choice Logistics is advised by Wells Fargo Securities and Hinshaw & Culbertson. A&R is advised by KPMG and Kirkland & Ellis.
I Squared Capital completed the acquisition of a stake in OCENSA pipeline, a crude oil pipeline in Colombia, from Advent International. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"I Squared Capital has built a strong franchise across Latin America with more than $1.5bn invested in the power generation, transmission and midstream sectors. I Squared Capital’s investment in Colombia reinforces our strategy to expand our footprint into high-growth emerging markets with positive business environments and institutional frameworks," Adil Rahmathulla, I Squared Capital Managing Partner.
I Squared Capital was advised by White & Case. Advent International was advised by Citigroup and Finsbury.
Permira-backed Axiom, the global provider of specialized on-demand legal talent, completed the acquisition of Bliss Lawyers, a provider of premier flexible legal services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Bliss shares Axiom’s purpose: to unite top legal talent with the future of legal work. This acquisition allows us to do that in greater numbers and at greater scale. It will provide our clients with an even deeper bench of curated talent from which to find the right expertise for their legal matters. And, it will provide even more lawyers with access to all of the things that make Axiom so unique, including our diverse and inclusive culture, our roster of leading and innovative clients, and a technology platform with the promise to transform the lawyer experience," Elena Donio, Axiom CEO.
Bliss Lawyers was advised by JEGI. Axiom was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
IAC, an American holding company that owns brands across 100 countries, completed its acquisition of Care.com, the provider of various care services, for $500m.
"Care.com has the potential to transform how families connect with all aspects of care while also empowering caregivers with new ways to grow income. Our immediate priority is to drive accelerating growth for Care.com as a safe, accessible, and reliable platform for families and high-quality caregivers. We are excited to begin this next chapter," Tim Allen, Care.com CEO.
Care.com was advised by Latham & Watkins, ICR and Sard Verbinnen. IAC was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
DealerSocket, a provider of automotive software solutions, completed its acquisition of Auto/Mate, a provider of dealer management systems for automotive dealerships. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The combination of DealerSocket and Auto/Mate gives dealers a long-awaited and much-needed alternative for an integrated, connected platform of mission-critical software for dealerships. Auto/Mate has built a reputation as a transformative, fast-growing DMS with an unmatched commitment to customer service. As we look at our combined company, there are tremendous opportunities for innovation, while we maintain our strong focus on support. I am excited about this acquisition and what it represents for us, dealers, and the broader market,” Sejal Pietrzak, DealerSocket CEO and President.
Auto/Mate was advised by Presidio Technology Partners.
Astra Capital Management, a private equity firm, completed the investment into Communication Technology Services, a US provider of wireless infrastructure services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The mobility industry is shifting, and cellular coverage within buildings and large facilities is becoming mission-critical. This investment from Astra allows CTS to continue to scale and strengthens our leadership position in the mobility marketplace. This will better enable us to assist our customers in navigating these ever-changing and evolving technological advances, while also accelerating the development of new service offerings related to the emergence of private wireless networks,” John Tegan III, CTS Chief Executive Officer.
Paragon Energy Solutions, which provides nuclear energy facilities with reductions in direct costs and parts inventory, agreed to acquire the nuclear logistics business of AZZ, a global provider of metal coating solutions, welding solutions, and specialty electrical equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to divest the NLI business with Paragon. I am convinced that Paragon will be a great partner to the NLI customer base, as well as a good employer for NLI’s workforce. We were successful in improving NLI operational performance but based upon a strategic review of our assets and product portfolio. We believe the divestment of NLI and redeployment of capital into our metal coatings business segment creates greater growth opportunities for AZZ. We will work with the Paragon team to affect a seamless transition and to ensure NLI’s customers receive the industry-leading service they deserve,” Tom Ferguson, AZZ Chief Executive Officer.
Dragoneer Investment Group and Salesforce Ventures led a $479m Series G funding round for Snowflake, the cloud data platform. Existing Snowflake investors, including Altimeter Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia, and Sutter Hill Ventures, are also participating in the round. This funding round raises Snowflake’s post-money valuation to over $12.4bn.
“Snowflake’s rapid growth and ability to unlock real value for customers have been impressive. We are confident Snowflake’s innovative and evolving technology, and its customer-first approach, will continue to drive sustainable momentum over the long-term,” Marc Stad, Dragoneer Founder, and Managing Partner.
Iora Health, an innovative primary care provider network, raised $126m in a Premji Invest-led Series F funding round. The funding round was joined by existing investors Cox Enterprises, Temasek, Devonshire Investors, .406 Ventures, Flare Capital Partners, Polaris Partners, and Khosla Ventures.
Iora will use the Series F funding to accelerate growth and refine and optimize their care model. Additionally, Iora is increasing its investment in its proprietary collaborative care platform, Chirp, to deliver new and improved features to be certified as a Medicare Certified Electronic Health Records system.
"The funding round is a testament to the model we have, the progress made and the industry's - and especially our investors' - confidence in the future impact Iora will make on the industry and more specifically on all of our patients' lives," Rushika Fernandopulle, Iora Health CEO and Co-Founder.
Rand Logistics, a provider of marine bulk freight shipping, ship repair, and logistics services, agreed to acquire the american steamships company business of GATX, the global railcar lessor, for $260m.
“As a leading operator of self-unloading vessels on the Great Lakes, ASC has been a strong contributor for GATX since 1973. This sale allows GATX to focus on our core franchises in global railcar and aircraft spare engine leasing,” Brian A. Kenney, GATX President, and Chief Executive Officer.
Infosys, a global company in next-generation digital services and consulting, agreed to acquire Simplus, which provides enterprise-wide digital transformation solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The acquisition reaffirms our continuous endeavor to strengthen our strategy of scaling our Agile Digital and cloud-first digital transformation capabilities. This acquisition is key to staying relevant to the digital priorities of our clients and demonstrates our commitment to the Salesforce ecosystem. The strategic combination of scalable and agile global delivery capabilities of Simplus complements our effort to help global enterprises to transform their businesses. We are excited to welcome Simplus and its leadership team into the Infosys family," Pravin Rao, Infosys Chief Operating Officer.
L Brands considers selling Victoria's Secret to Sycamore Partners. (FS)
L Brands is nearing a deal to sell its Victoria's Secret brand to private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal that could be announced as soon as next week, CNBC reported.
The two sides were discussing a deal for Victoria's Secret and that L Brands' 82-year-old CEO, Leslie Wexner, was considering stepping down. Victoria's Secret sales have slumped in recent years, and Wexner has drawn serious scrutiny for his connections to convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.
Brookfield is interested in buying Trans Mountain oil pipeline. (FS)
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners could be a potential buyer of the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline as the project expansion struggles with increasing costs arising from regulatory delays, Reuters reported.
In 2018, Ottawa bought the 67-year-old pipeline for C$4.5bn ($3.3bn) to ensure expansion proceeded but has faced opposition by environmental and some indigenous groups.
Brookfield could be a potential “dark horse,” as it recently completed a $20bn capital raise, and continues to have excellent access to capital markets.
Angelo Gordon raised $1.8bn for the Inaugural Credit Solutions Fund. (FS)
Angelo Gordon & Co, a $38bn alternative investment firm focused on credit and real estate investing, held the final closing of AG Credit Solutions Fund with $1.8bn of equity commitments.
The fund’s investment strategy seeks to align with companies and create customized financing solutions that can help resolve idiosyncratic liquidity and capital structure situations.
"We are grateful for the strong support from both longstanding clients and new investors to the firm. Our solutions-based, a partnership approach is differentiated, and we are committed to using our capital, creativity, and scale to help companies and drive performance for our investors,” Ryan Mollett, Angelo Gordon’s Global Head of Distressed & Corporate Special Situations and portfolio manager of the fund.
San Francisco pushes to buy a piece of PG&E.
San Francisco launched the “Our City, Our Power” campaign to rally public support for buying PG&E’s local wires and taking over electricity service within the city. It includes a website asking residents to sign up in favor of the effort, arguing the city can provide better service.
“Local control of the entire San Francisco electric system will provide increased affordability, safety, reliability and accountability,” London Breed, Mayor.
“While recent proposals for state or municipal ownership of PG&E’s infrastructure are not new concepts, we don’t agree that the outcomes of this type of framework will benefit customers, taxpayers, local communities, the state or our economy,” PG&E.
AMS could launch a planned $1.8bn rights issue as early as this month to help to fund its takeover of Osram, a German lighting group, Reuters reported.
The capital raise was backed by AMS shareholders last month, and the company is pushing ahead as quickly as possible in expectation that it will be able to close the Osram deal by the middle of the year to form a European leader in sensors and lighting.
Osram is advised by Lazard, Perella Weinberg Partners, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gleiss Lutz, and Hengeler Mueller. AMS is advised by PwC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC, UBS, Herbst Kinsky, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Schellenberg Wittmer, and Brunswick Group.
Britain's competition watchdog stated that a takeover of Footasylum, a sports retailer, by larger rival JD Sports could leave shoppers worse off, and a sale of the business might be the only way to protect consumer interests, Reuters reported.
The Competition and Markets Authority was concerned that the loss of High Street competition resulting from the merger could mean customers would see fewer discounts from clearance sales and promotions, lower quality of customer service, and less variety in stores and online.
Footasylum is advised by GCA Altium and Powerscourt. JD Sports is advised by Rothschild & Co, Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, and MHP Communications.
Sirius XM, an audio entertainment company, completed a $75m investment into SoundCloud, an open audio platform.
“SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways. We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms,” Jim Meyer, SiriusXM Chief Executive Officer.
SoundCloud was advised by The Raine Group and Morrison & Foerster. Sirius XM was advised by Allen & Company and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Finland's Kone is facing a difficult battle in its attempt to acquire Thyssenkrupp's prized elevator unit as a crucial deadline approaches, Bloomberg reported.
Thyssenkrupp labor representatives and some executives are becoming worried that a divestment to Kone and co-bidder CVC Capital Partners would face a lengthy, unpredictable competition review. The Thyssenkrupp Foundation, one of the company's major shareholders, has similar concerns.
Sanoma, a media group, agreed to acquire Alma Media’s regional news media business, a publisher of local newspapers like Aamulehti and Satakunnan Kansa, for $126m, including $46m of net debt. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, and is expected to be finalized in 2020.
"Growing our news subscription base is important for all titles as success in the digital era requires scale, and we believe this transaction will equally benefit all readers, advertisers, employees, as well as our shareholders. The benefits of consolidation in the news media industry can already be seen in many other European countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, while the diversity of the media landscape is maintained," Susan Duinhoven, Sanoma President and CEO.
Veolia and EQT are interested in Pennon’s $5bn Viridor. (FS)
Pennon Group’s sale of its waste-management arm is attracting initial interest from suitors including EQT, KKR, and Macquarie Group’s infrastructure arm, Bloomberg reported.
The UK company’s Viridor unit could fetch as much as $5bn. Pennon has also been gauging interest from potential bidders, including UK-based Dalmore Capital, French water company Suez, Equitix, and Veolia Environnement. Pennon kicked off a sale process and started sending information memoranda with details on the business to prospective bidders last week.
KKR denies interest in NMC. (FS)
KKR has ruled itself out of a bid for NMC Health only a day after the troubled private hospitals group said that it had been approached. KKR said this morning that it had “not made a proposal nor discussed the terms of any possible offer” and that it did not intend to make a bid. Shares in NMC fell 13.7%.
Aurelius files criminal complaint against short seller. (FS)
Aurelius Equity Opportunities, a private equity firm, filed a criminal complaint with the German authorities against a short seller for alleged market manipulation, PE News reported.
The Germany-listed group sent its complaint to the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt regarding Ontake Research’s alleged “short attack.” The move comes after Ontake Research published a note accusing Aurelius’ management of having overstated the value of its investments.
Omnipol considers acquiring Aero Vodochody.
Czech defense technology group Omnipol is in talks to acquire aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody from investment group Penta, Omnipol’s biggest shareholder, Reuters reported.
“We have an agreement with Penta that until there is a final decision, we will not comment. Negotiations are taking place correctly, and we are trying to find the best way,” Richard Hava, Penta spokesman.
Harmony Gold Mining is interested in buying AngloGold Ashanti's remaining South African operations.
AngloGold Ashanti picked Harmony Gold Mining as the buyer for its last remaining South African operations, Bloomberg reported. The two companies are finalizing the exact terms of the deal for the Mponeng mine and surface facilities.
AngloGold is selling the assets as Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Dushnisky focuses on more profitable mines in Ghana, Australia and the Americas. Harmony - backed by billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals - is hunting for deals to replenish declining reserves in South Africa. Harmony paid $300m for AngloGold’s Moab Khotsong mine in 2017.
EG Group, a British retailer, considers teaming up with Macquarie Group in its attempt to acquire Caltex Australia, a gas station and convenience store operator.
EG Group is in talks with an arm of Macquarie to partner on the potential deal. If their bid is successful, EG Group will keep Caltex's main retail business, while Macquarie would take on its refinery unit and some infrastructure assets.
Caltex is advised by Grant Samuel, UBS and Herbert Smith Freehills. Alimentation is advised by Goldman Sachs, Allens and Domestique.
Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm, agreed to invest in Circles.Life, a mobile virtual network operator based in Singapore. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We see a tremendous growth opportunity for Circles.Life, particularly within the rapidly digitizing mobile market in Asia Pacific. The industry has not adapted quickly enough to provide a seamless experience to its customers in this new age, creating a large white space for technology-enabled challengers. We are excited about our partnership with Circles and expect the company to capture a significant share of the highly valuable digital-savvy customers across multiple markets,” Saurabh Agarwal, Warburg Pincus Managing Director.
Titan, a watchmaking firm, agreed to acquire HUG Innovations, an Internet of things platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"HUG Innovations has finally sailed to a safe harbor. Titan acquired HUG Innovations. And yes, this is a cash positive exit with 100% employee retention with bonus and a great career ahead," Raj Neravati, HUG Innovations Founder.
Sequoia-backed Rebel Foods seeks $1bn valuation in new funding. (FS)
Rebel Foods, best known for its cloud-kitchen brands Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, and Oven Story Pizza, is looking to raise a fresh round of funding of $100-150m at a valuation of $1bn, The Times of India reported.
The Indian foodtech startup had attained a valuation of over $500m when it raised $125m from Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital, and Indonesia’s GOJEK and others about six months ago.
CMC Capital Partners raised $154m for the third $ fund. (FS)
CMC Capital Partners, a media and entertainment investor, raised $154m for its third $-denominated fund, CMC Capital Partners III. The latest fund could potentially focus on investments in the fields of media and entertainment, internet and mobile, as well as consumption and lifestyle, following the model of CMC’s first two $-denominated funds.
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