Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, completed the acquisition of Synthorx, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on prolonging and improving the lives of people suffering from cancer and autoimmune disorders, for $2.5bn. The $68 per share acquisition price represented a 172% premium to Synthorx's closing price on December 6, 2019.
"The acquisition of Synthorx perfectly aligns with our R&D strategy, enhancing our position as an emerging leader in the area of oncology and immunology. We gain access to both great scientists and science with THOR-707, an engineered not-alpha IL-2 for the treatment of solid tumors which induces strong immunological responses in vivo, additional intriguing pre-clinical assets, and a powerful platform that complements our ongoing oncology and immunology research," Paul Hudson, Sanofi Chief Executive Officer.
Synthorx is advised by Centerview Partners, Cooley, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Sullivan & Cromwell, Canale Communications and Stern IR. Sanofi is advised by Morgan Stanley and Weil Gotshal and Manges.
Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Ncontracts, a provider of integrated risk management software and services for the financial services industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The risks facing financial institutions are multiplying and becoming more complex, and no bank, regardless of size, can justify using spreadsheets today to manage the process when the stakes are so high. Ncontracts' software has made it easy for financial institutions of all sizes to manage the spectrum of complex risks and regulations facing them today," Jon Cheek, Gryphon Software Principal.
Ncontracts was advised by Atlas Technology Group and Choate Hall & Stewart. Gryphon was advised by Raymond James, Kirkland & Ellis and Lambert & Co.
Grain Management, an investor focused on the global communications sector, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Summit Broadband, a fiber-optic telecommunications provider in Central and Southwest Florida. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This is exciting news for Summit Broadband. The company is now positioned to accelerate its growth, expand the business and take advantage of the dynamic opportunities in Florida. For our employees, this sale is the culmination of their hard work, dedication and commitment to creating a successful and valuable company. For current and future customers, the partnership with Grain will help Summit Broadband to continue providing state-of-the-art products and services and a world-class customer experience," Mark Lipford, Summit Broadband Chief Operating Officer.
Summit was advised by RBC Capital Markets. Grain Management was advised by TD Securities, Alston & Bird and Lambert & Co. Debt financing was advised by Deutsche Bank.
Moody’s, a credit rating, research, and risk analysis firm, agreed to acquire Regulatory DataCorp, which provides comprehensive risk and compliance protection services, from Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm focused on enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Joining the Moody’s Analytics team is thrilling as it positions RDC to broaden our risk intelligence technology solutions as part of a leading provider of market and entity information and analytics to global financial institutions. Joining BvD, under the Moody’s Analytics umbrella, will help us to expand and extend our artificial intelligence leadership position. It also enables us to re-double our mission of preventing criminal infiltration of the world’s financial system and bringing global transparency to areas of social responsibility such as human trafficking,” Tom Walsh, RDC CEO.
Vista Equity Partners is advised by UBS and Kirkland & Ellis. Moody’s is advised by Paul Hastings. RDC is advised by Laurel Strategies.
Scopely, a company in the fast-growing mobile games space, agreed to acquire FoxNext Games, a video game developer, from The Walt Disney Company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We have been hugely impressed with the incredible game the team at FoxNext Games has built with MARVEL Strike Force and can't wait to see what more we can do together. In addition to successfully growing our existing business, we have been bullish on further expanding our portfolio through M&A, and FoxNext Games' player-first product approach aligns perfectly with our focus on delivering unforgettable game experiences. We are thrilled to combine forces with their world-class team and look forward to a big future together," Tim O'Brien, Scopely Chief Revenue Officer.
Scopely is advised by Moelis & Co. The Walt Disney Company is advised by LionTree Advisors.
Hg Capital agreed to invest in Intelerad Medical Systems, a provider of medical imaging software and enterprise workflow solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, Hg will acquire Intelerad from Novacap's TMT IV Fund, and its founders, management and employee shareholders who will all be re-investing into the business alongside Hg. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Partnering with Hg gives us access to a huge pool of knowledge in global healthcare technology and the opportunity to significantly advance the company's strategy. We are thrilled to continue making a difference in healthcare with such talented people. As well as welcoming our new investors, I also thank the Novacap team and our colleagues who all worked so hard to get us into this strong position, as well as our customers for their continued trust over the last 20 years. Looking forward to exciting times ahead," Paul Lepage, Intelerad Chief Executive Officer.
Hg Capital is advised by Bain & Co, Marwood, Ernst & Young, TripleTree and White & Case.
Material Handling Systems, a full-service provider of material handling systems, agreed to acquire eMotion Controls, a controls system integration and software company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"It's no secret that e-commerce is booming and hasn't even begun to approach its peak. Increasingly, logistics providers and retailers with major shipping operations are looking for end-to-end solutions that not only set them up for success but support their business on an ongoing basis - which is exactly what Lifecycle Performance Services does. eMotion Controls is an outstanding addition to our LPS division, made up of a wonderful bunch of people who we look forward to working well with into the future," Scott McReynolds, MHS Chief Executive Officer.
MHS is advised by Koroberi, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Kirkland & Ellis.
Goldman Sachs agreed to acquire an 8% stake in Karuna Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, from PureTech Health, a clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercialising highly differentiated medicines for devastating diseases, for $200m.
"As a founder of Karuna and co-inventor of the KarXT program, we are delighted to continue to be a major shareholder of Karuna going forward. With multiple efficacy studies validating both xanomeline and KarXT, Karuna is well-positioned to be a major player in the neuropsychiatry field. We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential for patients to have a new and differentiated treatment option for schizophrenia and related diseases. This is an area that - despite a large market where branded therapies have been blockbuster products - has been lacking innovation for decades. We have a high degree of confidence in the team, who have an impressive track record, to unlock the full potential of the growth opportunities that may be available to them," Daphne Zohar, PureTech Founder and CEO.
PureTech Health is advised by FTI Consulting and Ten Bridge Communications.
TPG Capital agreed to acquire Denali Water Solutions, a specialty waste and environmental services company, from The Firmament Group, a private capital provider to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Denali has established a broad and diverse customer base by providing essential, best-in-class recycling and environmental services to a number of key industries. Through strategic acquisitions and organic expansion, Denali has built an extensive network of beneficial use locations and firmly positioned itself as a top specialty waste provider to large industrial sub-sectors like the municipal market and industrial food processing market. We look forward to working with Denali's deeply-experienced management team to continue to build on their success," Ransom Langford, TPG Growth Partner.
SoftBank-led consortium completed its $161m investment in Memphis Meats, a lab-grown meat producer. Singapore’s wealth fund Temasek Holdings and Norwest Venture Partners also participated in the investment.
"There is just no way our planet can sustain that kind of demand on our land and water. We are super excited about Memphis and their team," Priti Youssef Choksi, Norwest partner.
Inszone Insurance, the national provider of personal and commercial lines insurance, agreed to acquire Brumfield & Peters Insurance Services, which provides personal and commercial insurance services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Our roots are deep in California, we are proud to be growing in our home state with the acquisition of Brumfield & Peters. The change is a win-win for customers of Brumfield & Peters. In addition to continuing to receive personal attention from local insurance professionals, customers will have access to the expanded market options provided by Inszone’s wider market reach, allowing for better options and faster service,” Norm Hudson, Inszone Insurance Services CEO.
Busuu, a language-learning platform, agreed to acquire Verbling, an online language learning platform that pairs individuals with language teachers via video chat. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"No matter how smart technology becomes, language will always be about human interaction – which is exactly why Busuu was built around a learning community. Offering live video tutoring through our acquisition of Verbling is a natural progression for our business, and gives us the potential to expand beyond just language learning in the future," Bernhard Niesner, Busuu Co-Founder and CEO.
PG&E reached a compromise with creditors over restructuring. (FS)
Bankrupt California power producer PG&E said it had reached a deal on its restructuring with creditors, who were pushing for a rival plan. PG&E said its creditors, led by Elliott Management and Pacific Investment Management Co, would drop their reorganization plan and support PG&E's proposal, pending approval by a bankruptcy court.
The bondholders had previously opposed PG&E's reorganization plan and, in December, came out with an updated proposal that included a sweetened offer to California wildfire victims, no debt at the reorganized holding company, and a new board with residents from California forming the majority of directors.
Liberty Global and Hemisphere Media are working on a bid for Univision. (FS)
Liberty Global's investment arm is working with Hemisphere Media Group on a bid for Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications, Bloomberg reported. Final offers are due in February. Private equity firm Platinum Equity is also interested, as well as former Viacom CFO Wade Davis, who has backing from institutional investors.
"This is a small investment that Liberty Global Ventures is exploring," Matt Beake, Liberty Global spokesman.
Anthem completed the acquisition of Medicaid plans in Missouri and Nebraska.
Anthem, a health benefits company, completed its acquisition of Medicaid plans in Missouri and Nebraska following the recent regulatory approval of WellCare's merger with Centene.
"We are excited for the opportunity to provide our Medicaid expertise and support services to more than 300k new consumers in Missouri and Nebraska. Anthem's focus on innovative, compassionate, and comprehensive care is having a positive impact on the people we serve, as well as our local communities and the broader health system overall," Gail K. Boudreaux, Anthem President, and Chief Executive Officer.
Online food ordering firm Takeaway.com said Britain’s competition watchdog may investigate its all-share buyout offer for London-listed Just Eat, possibly delaying the completion of the multi-billion dollar deal, Reuters reported.
UK’s Competition and Markets Authority changed its position on the deal and now believes a probe may be warranted, Takeaway said, adding that the regulator would be looking into whether it would have re-entered the UK market.
Just Eat is advised by Goldman Sachs, UBS, Oakley Advisory, Linklaters, and Brunswick Group. Prosus is advised by JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Allen & Overy, and Finsbury. Takeaway is advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Gleacher Shacklock, Lazard, Cravath Swaine & Moore, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, NautaDutilh, and Slaughter & May. Debt financing is provided by BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Investec, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley.
The £625m ($818m) merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson has been put on the back burner after the Financial Conduct Authority uncovered “a number of issues” with the current proposal.
"As a result, Tilney is engaging with the FCA to seek to address its concerns and understand what requirements need to be met for a new application that are consistent with the strategic rationale and investment case," Smith & Williamson and Tilney.
S&W is advised by Keefe Bruyette & Woods, Stifel, and Macfarlanes. Tilney is advised by Evercore and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. AGF is advised by Spencer House and DAC Beachcroft.
German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen secured unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $7bn bid for rival Wabco aimed at reinforcing its expertise in autonomous-driving technologies. The European Commission said the deal raised no competition issues.
ZF, which helps carmakers develop gearboxes and hybrid drivetrains, tried to acquire Wabco, maker of advanced driver assistance systems for trucks and trailers, in 2017, but the attempt was opposed by its controlling shareholder the Zeppelinstiftung.
Wabco is advised by Goldman Sachs, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and Kekst CNC. ZF is advised by JP Morgan, Lazard, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gleiss Lutz, Latham & Watkins, NautaDutilh, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Debt financing is provided by JP Morgan.
Pan-European private equity firm IK Investment Partners completed the acquisition of a minority stake in Groupe GEDH, a French chain of higher education schools controlled by Quilvest Capital Partners and Amin Khiari. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are delighted that the management of GEDH and Quilvest have decided to place their trust in us and to be able to contribute to the wider development of these schools. Our approach is based on a clear ambition: to build a champion in higher education in the fields of communication, culture and creation, in France and abroad," Thomas Grob, IK Investment Partner.
Groupe GEDH was advised by Gomel Avocats and AyacheSalama. IK Investment Partners was advised by PMSI Strategy, Eight Advisory, Goodwin Procter, CTCom, Maitland and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Quilvest Capital Partners was advised by Eurvad Finance, Exelmans, Finaxeed, Delsol, Mayer Brown and FTI Consulting. Debt financing was provided by CM-CIC Private Debt and Idinvest Partners. Debt providers were advised by Allen & Overy.
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, agreed to acquire an 80% stake in VSB Group, a European developer, owner and operator in the renewable energy sector. VSB's founder will retain the remaining equity stake alongside Partners Group. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"VSB has enjoyed great success to-date as an independent, multinational company. However, given the vast opportunity for renewable energy, we wanted a like-minded partner to accelerate our next phase of growth. In Partners Group, we have found a global partner with significant operational resources and a wealth of international experience in hands-on renewable energy investment. We are looking forward to building on our shared values as we grow VSB together," Andreas Dorner, VSB Group Founder and Managing Director.
AR Packaging, a packaging company in Lund, Sweden, completed its acquisition of K+D, rlc Packaging and BSC Drukarnia Opakowań, three packaging producers with substantial market presence in the central European market for healthcare and beauty products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to having received full clearance on the acquisitions and warmly welcome the new companies in our group. This is a very important step in the development of AR Packaging which will now encompass 28 plants in thirteen countries with 5.5k highly experienced employees. The customers of rlc packaging, BSC and Nampak will benefit from our Group’s unique product portfolio including multi substrate packaging for a wide range of applications,” Harald Schulz, AR Packaging President and CEO.
Tencent and DST Global led a $115m Series C round for Qonto, a French neobank for freelancers and SMEs. Existing investors New York-based venture capital fund Valar Ventures, and early-stage investment firm Alven, also poured money into the round. Other investors include TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, and Ingo Uytdehaage, CFO of global payment service Adyen.
The Series C funding will allow Qonto to strengthen its presence in France while accelerating growth in the three new markets launched in 2019: Italy, Spain and Germany. The capital will help the startup grow business, attract new SMEs, and improve offerings including making more adaptations to local customer needs. It will also be used to grow the Qonto team from 200 to 300 within a year.
Trafigura prepares to buy Angolan general's stake in Puma Energy.
Global commodities trader Trafigura is in advanced talks to buy more than 10% of an Angolan general’s stake in its retail fuel arm Puma Energy by the end of the year, Reuters reported.
Retired general Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, known as General Dino, holds a 15% stake in Puma via his company Cochan Holdings. Trafigura holds 49% and Angola’s state firm Sonangol 28%.
The move comes as Angola itself is reviewing its assets. The government announced a cross-sector privatization drive last year, including its aim to list state oil firm Sonangol by 2022 and divest its stake in Puma.
GSOL considers takeovers to expand ferronickel business. (FS)
GSOL, a private equity fund, which has grown in five years to be the world's second-biggest producer of stainless steel ingredient ferronickel, is holding talks about four or five potential acquisitions, Reuters reported.
"We're on the lookout for additional projects in the nickel space, both in terms of ferronickel industrial assets, plants, and also in terms of undeveloped greenfield projects in mining. We have had active discussions with four or five different assets, some very preliminary to more advanced," Marcos Camhis, GSOL director.
CIMIC expects to divest BIC Contracting stake for $1.2bn.
Australia's CIMIC Group said it was planning to exit the Middle East with the sale of its stake in BIC Contracting and expects to take a one-off charge of $1.2bn. The company said it has begun confidential talks with buyers to sell its 45% stake in BICC due to the "accelerated deterioration" of market conditions in the region.
As a result, the engineering contractor said it would not declare a final dividend and expects to spend about $481m in 2020 on financial guarantees of certain BICC liabilities.
Total and Tullow to launch a joint sale of stakes in the Kenyan oil project.
Total and Tullow Oil aim to reduce their stakes in Kenya's first oil development with a joint sale that could see Tullow exit completely amid uncertainty over the project's launch, Reuters reported.
The two oil and gas producers hired French bank Natixis to run the joint sale process for Blocks 10 BA, 10 BB, and 13T in the South Lokichar Basin. London-listed Tullow, which operates the project, last year indicated it intended to sell up to 20% of its 50% stake in the blocks.
Galp bets on solar power in a deal with ACS.
Portuguese oil and gas company Galp Energia will buy solar power projects from Spain’s ACS, envisaging total spending of €2.2bn ($2.4bn) in the next four years and making Galp the leading solar power producer in Iberia.
Galp said in a statement it would pay ACS €450m ($499m) when the deal is closed, and assume €430m ($477m) worth of project finance debt. The rest will be invested in the development and construction of the projects.
Telecom Italia CEO says negotiations with Open Fiber ongoing, but 'there is always a plan B.'
Discussions between Telecom Italia and Open Fiber to merge their fibre-optic assets are still ongoing but "in life, there is always a plan B," according to Luigi Gubitosi, CEO of Telecom Italia.
Telecom Italia has been talking since last June with Open Fiber's owners - utility Enel and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti - about ways to combine their fibre broadband operations.
"Funds have shown an interest in investing, even at valuations that could appear aggressive," Luigi Gubitosi, Telecom Italia CEO.
CITIC Capital bids for a 22% stake in McDonald's China. (FS)
Chinese private equity firm CITIC Capital is actively bidding for a 22% stake in McDonald’s mainland China and Hong Kong businesses, Reuters reported.
Bain Capital considers buying Japan's Showa Aircraft for $633m. (FS)
Bain Capital is in talks to buy Showa Aircraft Industry, a Japanese maker of transportation equipment from heavy industry firm Mitsui E&S Holdings for $633m.
Bain Capital said in a statement it planned to launch a tender offer to buy all of the shares in Showa Aircraft at $19.3 per share. Shareholders would receive an additional $5.72 if they tender their shares, which makes the entire deal worth $816m.
Mitsui E&S has agreed to sell all of its shares in Showa Aircraft, which accounts for 65.53% of the company, Bain said. It aims to buy at least 66.67% of the outstanding shares.
Fonterra looks for more deals in 2020 amid restructuring.
New Zealand's Fonterra said that fiscal 2020 would see more deals as the world's biggest dairy exporter reviews its assets and shifts focus back home.
The company, which reported a record annual loss in September, decided to end its ambitious overseas expansion plans and vowed to cut debt by focusing on domestic production.
Fonterra said it earned NZ$554m ($365m) in cash from the sale of its 50% stake in DFE Pharma to CVC Strategic Opportunities II, a fund managed by British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.
UN-backed SDG500 to invest $500m in Asia and other emerging markets. (FS)
A coalition of private and public sector organizations, including United Nations entities and private equity firms, launched SDG500, a new investment platform that seeks to invest $500m in businesses in emerging and frontier markets.
The platform is dedicated to helping achieve the UN sustainable development goals and will offer exposure to six different underlying funds that will be managed by European impact asset manager Bamboo Capital Partners.
The funds will use debt and equity to invest at Seed, Series A, and Series B stages in hundreds of businesses, with some of the funds specifically investing in businesses that empower and provide jobs for women.
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