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Sony has criticized the Competition and Markets Authority's recent decision to approve Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, calling it "surprising, unprecedented, and irrational." Sony's criticism of the CMA's decision to approve the deal is the latest pushback Microsoft has faced since the announcement of the acquisition.
Sony contest that CMA made a mistake in concluding that Activision Blizzard's acquisition by Xbox won't negatively impact the console industry. According to Sony, the CMA's study devalues the amount of money that could be made from Call of Duty players who would switch from PlayStation to Xbox if Microsoft restricted game access. Sony has been vocal in its opposition to the deal. The company believes that the acquisition will give Microsoft too much power in the gaming industry, particularly in the console market, Bloomberg
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.
Blue Sea Capital, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of Rhino Tool House, an automation machinery manufacturer. from Wincove Private Holdings, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Dan, Chip, and the entire team have done a tremendous job growing the Company and positioning it for future success. We are thrilled to partner with such an outstanding team and look forward to leveraging our expertise and resources to support Rhino Tool House," Eric Hansen, Blue Sea Capital Partner.
Blue Sea Capital was advised by Lincoln International and Kirkland & Ellis. Wincove Private Holdings was advised by Raymond James and Husch Blackwell.
Veterinary Practice Partners, a community of over 125 animal hospitals across the United States, completed the acquisition of Caring Hands Animal Hospital, a network of eight veterinary hospitals in Maryland and Virginia. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Dr. Vitulli is an amazing leader in the profession and an inspiration for younger doctors and for me. This partnership reflects our combined mission with Caring Hands to make ownership a reality for as many doctors as possible, particularly female leaders who have played a fundamental role advancing veterinary care in recent years. We're excited to welcome Dr. Michelle Vitulli and her partners to the VPP community," Doug Aspros, VPP Chief Veterinary Officer.
Veterinary Practice Partners was advised by Ropes & Gray and BackBay Communications.
Bernhard Capital-backed Grace Hebert Curtis, an architecture firm delivering innovative and functional projects for diverse market sectors, completed the acquisition of Bullock Tice Associates, a multi-generational, full-service architectural firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"BTA has a long legacy of delivering excellence for its clients with innovative design and a cost efficient, customer-centric approach, which has differentiated the business throughout the Southeastern US for more than six decades. We continue to see numerous long-term growth opportunities and macro tailwinds in this institutional sector, and I look forward to building on our momentum to date," Jerry Hebert, GHC CEO.
Bernhard Capital was advised by Joele Frank.
AEA Investors-backed Meritus Gas Partners, a packaged gas company, completed the acquisition of OXARC, a distributor of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"OXARC represents a platform opportunity for Meritus to serve the Pacific Northwest, one of the most diverse and growing economies in the country. OXARC's footprint is vast and its expansive bulk and packaged gas capabilities are unique for a distributor. OXARC is poised for extraordinary growth, and we are looking forward to supporting Jenna, Jason and their employees on this path," Scott Kaltrider, Meritus Chairman.
VettaFi, a data, analytics and digital distribution company, completed the acquisition of ROBO Global, an index and research company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Continuing to build the industry's most robust suite of thematic indexing solutions is at the core of our mission at VettaFi and one of the tasks that drew me to this team. Whether the focus is on innovative thematic investment ideas, mega-trends, or broad equity exposures, we can provide asset managers with a complete range of indexing solutions. With the intellectual property and talent we've acquired through this deal, we are better equipped than ever to develop highly customized and differentiated indexing approaches," Brian Coco, VettaFi Head of Index Products.
China Southern Power Grid, a state-owned enterprise, International to acquire the Peru assets of Enel, a manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, for $2.9bn.
"With this transaction, we are able to maximize the value of the investments carried out so far in grid digitalization and advanced energy services in Peru as we continue to implement the asset disposal plan announced to the markets during the presentation of Enel's Strategic Plan last November and aimed at finalizing the Group's streamlining process that has always been a cornerstone of our Strategy. It is also thanks to the expertise and dedication of the colleagues working in these companies that we leave the buyers with an excellent set of assets, which will continue to drive the sustainable development of the country through automated digital networks and innovative energy solutions," Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and General Manager.
Side View Ventures, a venture capital firm, completed the investment in tree3, a social e-commerce platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Members of Sideview Ventures has helped fund hundreds of consumer product businesses with over $6bn in products sold worldwide. We are proud to have their support and ready to power up their creators and brands with the tree3 platform," Katina Kenyon, tree3 CEO.
OKX, a crypto exchange and Web3 technology company, completed the investment in LayerZero, a blockchain messaging protocol company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"As messaging applications and blockchain technology become ever present in daily life, we are proud to partner with LayerZero, an innovator in both spaces. Through our investment, we're firmly committed to supporting the LayerZero team to expand its presence globally, and especially especially in the APAC region," Dora Yue, OKX Founder of venture arm.
EnCap eyes nearly $3bn of Permian asset sales. (FS)
EnCap Investments is exploring the sale of two Permian basin-focused oil and gas producers that could collectively fetch the private equity firm nearly $3bn.
EnCap is working with an investment bank to independently sell Novo Oil & Gas Holdings and Forge Energy II. EnCap's efforts to offload the assets come as it attempts to exit older investments profitably on the back of higher energy prices. Returning cash to investors will also boost EnCap's attempts to secure commitments for its first flagship oil and gas fund since 2017.
Novo could be valued at more than $2bn, while Forge is expected to fetch over $600m, noting volatile commodity prices could influence the final valuations, Reuters
Exxon Mobil eyes potential megadeal with Pioneer.
Exxon Mobil has held preliminary talks with Pioneer Natural Resources about a possible acquisition of the US fracking giant, as the oil major hunts for a blockbuster deal in the shale patch.
Discussions between the two companies about a potential deal have been informal. Exxon is flush with cash and has been exploring options that could reshape a swath of the US oil-and-gas industry while pushing Exxon deeper into West Texas shale.
Any deal, if it happens, likely wouldn't come together until later this year or next year. Ad talks may not morph into formal negotiations at all, or Exxon may pursue another company. But they said Exxon is on the hunt for a seismic deal to put its windfall profits to use and sees Dallas area-based Pioneer as a top target, WSJ
BlackRock to dispose of the assets of Signature, SVB. (FS)
BlackRock, the chosen seller of a pile of securities once held by failed banks, faces a dilemma between flooding the market and risking higher costs to hold the debt.
The selection of a top-tier manager by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and assurances that the sales would be "gradual and orderly," helped assuage any concerns the government might choose to quickly offload the securities. Regulators amassed the assets, mostly in the form of mortgage backed securities, from failed lenders Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank.
BlackRock doesn't have an unlimited amount of time to conduct its sales. The FDIC hasn't given a timeline for the sales, but as a practical matter it can't wait forever. It's paying the Federal Reserve interest on credit lines to hold the securities, and holding the assets a long time brings other difficulties.
Lassonde plans to buy stake in Teck spinoff.
Canadian entrepreneur Pierre Lassonde is planning to buy a stake in Teck Resources' spinoff coal company to protect it from a foreign takeover.
The plan comes after Switzerland's Glencore said this week it is still pursuing its $23bn proposal to buy Teck
, undeterred by rejections from both the mining company's board and controlling shareholder. Lassonde plans to take a large position in the new metallurgical coal company that Teck plans to split off from its copper and zinc business to keep it in Canadian hands.
Teck has valued the spinoff company, Elk Valley Resources, at $8.5bn and its shares would be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange on June 6, Bloomberg
Matthew Brown steps in to rescue Virgin Orbit in a $200m deal.
As the fortunes of Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit were crashing to Earth last month, a little-known investor called Matthew Brown appeared offering a $200m rescue.
Within two days of being contacted by Brown, Virgin Orbit Chief Executive Dan Hart had secured board backing for a preliminary agreement with the 33-year-old Texas-based investor. The potential deal with Brown unraveled in less than a week with Virgin Orbit severing contact and threatening to take legal action against him if he revealed confidential details about the potential investment, Reuters
JP Morgan deal-making flurry being scrutinized by US regulator.
JP Morgan is being scrutinized by US regulators for the due diligence the bank conducted on a number of its past acquisitions.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency scheduled a specific audit of JP Morgan's deal making after the bank bought dozens of smaller companies in 2021 and 2022.
This comes after the US government filed criminal charges accusing Charlie Javice, the founder of the now-shuttered college financial aid company Frank, of defrauding JP Morgan into buying the startup for $175m in 2021
Canaan closes $850m or Fund XIII in additional commitments. (FS)
Canaan, an early-stage venture capital firm, raised $850m for Fund XIII and additional commitments.
The raise included Canaan XIII, a $650m fund intended to support seed and early-stage technology companies spanning enterprise, consumer, frontier tech, and fintech through exits including merger and acquisition activity and initial public offerings, and additional $200m of commitments to accelerate the growth of existing portfolio companies across all of Canaan's active funds.
"We are grateful for the support of our limited partners, many of whom have invested with Canaan over many years in numerous funds. Their belief in the firm and our consistent approach to venture allowed for a fast and efficient fundraising process despite market conditions," John J. Pacifico, Canaan General Partner, COO & CFO.
SATS, Asia's provider of food solutions and gateway services, completed the acquisition of Worldwide Flight Services, an air cargo logistics provider and providers of ground handling and technical services, from Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm, for €2.25bn ($2.45bn).
"This is a transformational opportunity for SATS and our proposed acquisition of WFS will create a global leader that can become the go-to provider of mission critical aviation services. From our hub in Singapore, and in our newly combined markets, SATS and WFS will be at the heart of global trade flows, operating in the world's busiest airports and supporting the biggest companies," Kerry Mok, SATS President and CEO.
Worldwide Flight Services was advised by Goldman Sachs, Linklaters (led by Robert Cleaver
and Tracey Lochhead
), Brunswick Group and Deloitte. SATS was advised by Bank of America, Citigroup, DBS Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AZB & Partners (led by Nandish Vyas
), Accura Advokatpartnerselskab (led by Kaare Stolt
), Allen & Gledhill, Latham & Watkins (led by Sharon Lau
and Michael Sturrock
) and FGS Global. Cerberus Capital was advised by WongPartnership (led by NG Wai King
) and Joele Frank.
LANXESS, a specialty chemicals company, and Advent International, a private equity investor, completed the acquisition of the engineering materials business of Royal DSM, a corporation active in the fields of health, nutrition and materials, for €3.7bn ($4bn).
"LANXESS will once again become significantly less dependent on economic fluctuations. In addition, we as LANXESS will strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds from the transaction and gain new scope for the further development of our Group. With the new joint venture, we are forging a strong global player in the field of high-performance polymers. The portfolios, value chains and global positioning of the two businesses complement each other perfectly. With its innovative products, the joint venture will be able to play a key role in shaping future developments - for example in the field of electromobility. In Advent, we have a strong and reliable partner with profound experience in the chemical industry and our customer industries," Matthias Zachert, LANXESS CEO.
GLP, a global real estate logistics provider and investment manager, completed the acquisition of M3 Capital Partners, an advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
M3 Capital Partners will continue to operate as M3CP and offer capital advisory services to GCP and other real asset companies and fund managers from its global offices across London, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
Paramount explores sale of majority stake in Noggin.
Paramount Pictures is exploring selling a majority stake in Noggin, its online learning service for preschool children, according to people familiar with the situation, part of the entertainment company's efforts to give priority to its Paramount+ and Pluto TV streaming services.
Paramount sees an opportunity to develop Noggin into more of an interactive learning platform and is seeking an investor to help it do that. Paramount wants to retain a stake in Noggin, believing there is a revenue opportunity from the digital service as a minority investor if someone else develops it.
The stake sale explorations are the latest example of Paramount's strategy to review all of its businesses to align them with supporting Paramount+, WSJ
PPF seeks to sell Kodak Alaris. (FS)
The Pension Protection Fund is close to hiring bankers to oversee a sale of Kodak Alaris, the photographic equipment company it took ownership of in 2020.
The PPF, which is funded through a levy on companies with defined benefit schemes, has owned Kodak Alaris since 2020, and has had an involvement in payments to its retirees since 2013, Sky News
Italy races to review deal to sell Russia-owned refinery in Sicily.
Italian officials are racing to review a deal to sell the country's largest refinery after the US government privately raised concerns about the sale of the Russian-owned site to a little-known fund in Cyprus.
Russia's Lukoil agreed in January to sell its Sicilian ISAB refinery to GOI Energy, a newly established branch of the Cypriot private equity group Argus.
The €1.5bn ($1.8bn) deal, which overtook a competing offer from US-based Crossbridge Energy Partners and oil trader Vitol, also involves commodity trader Trafigura. Trafigura will provide working capital and crude oil to the facility, and market the refined fuels its produces. The transaction was expected to close by March 31, but Italian officials are taking extra time to review crucial details, FT
Telkom-backed Telkomsel, an internet services provider, and Singtel, a network services provider, to spin off IndiHome, a fixed broadband services provider, in a $3.9bn deal.
"Telkomsel is enthusiastic about the achievement of the ongoing spin-off agreement process. Together with our shareholders, Telkom and Singtel, we believe that integrating IndiHome services will further strengthen Telkomsel's position in the telecommunications and digital industry in Indonesia while proving our commitment to advance and expand our business portfolio, especially in Fixed Mobile Convergence services. Telkomsel is committed to moving beyond expectations by providing cutting-edge products and services to our customers and consistently developing various integrated innovative services that can accelerate sustainable and inclusive digital access," Hendri Mulya Syam, Telkomsel President Director.
Singtel is advised by Citigroup and Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung. Telkom is advised by Goldman Sachs, Mandiri Sekuritas and Hadiputranto Hadinoto and Partners. Telkomsel is advised by HSBC, MHP Law, NKN Legal and Purbadi & Associates.
Coller Capital reaches the first close of its maiden RMB secondaries fund. (FS)
Coller Capital, a private equity firm, has reached the first close of its maiden RMB secondaries fund, with a target size of 1.5bn yuan ($218m).
The fund – Coller Capital Secondaries RMB I Fund – did not disclose the size of its first close. The fund is the first RMB secondaries fund in China raised by a global private capital secondaries manager with support from local institutional investors, per the statement. It is the first of its kind that has been filed with China's self-regulatory association of fund management companies.
The fund will focus on providing liquidity solutions for investors and general partners in the RMB-denominated private capital market in China, DealStreetAsia