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The EU antitrust chief on defended the bloc's decision to approve Microsoft's $69bn takeover bid for US video game giant Activision Blizzard despite the UK's block on it, Barron
But competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager admitted the split with Britain "raises questions". Vestager, the European Commission vice president, told reporters in Brussels that the EU was satisfied with the commitments made by Microsoft that it would not make games "exclusive" to its own cloud gaming service.
"Where we diverged with the CMA was on remedies. We accepted a 10-year free licence to consumers to allow them to stream all Activision games for which they have a licence via any cloud service. And why did we do this instead of blocking the merger? Well, to us, this solution fully addressed our concerns. And on top of that, it had significant pro-competitive effects. And divergence raises important questions regarding our assessment, our remedies policy and our cooperation," Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition.
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.
KeHE Distributors, a distributor of fresh, natural & organic, and specialty products in North America, agreed to acquire DPI Specialty Foods, a food distributor, from Arbor Investments, a private equity firm.
“KeHE is dedicated to being a source for good, and this expansion provides an opportunity to deliver enhanced experiences for customers, suppliers, and ultimately, consumers. This year we’re celebrating seven decades of serving and feeding America, and this acquisition continues to position KeHE as the preferred supply chain partner in North America," Deb Conklin, KeHE President & CEO.
KeHE Distributors is advised by BMO Capital Markets.
Insight Partners, a private equity firm, completed an investment in Kabal, a logistics software services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The entire Kabal team is excited to work with Insight Partners. With their long history and success of scaling software companies, we look forward to working with Insight Partners as Kabal continues solving energy industry challenges for customers across the globe," Jan Inge Pedersen, Kabal Co-Founder and CEO.
Spire, a regional public utility holding company, agreed to acquire MoGas, an interstate natural gas pipeline company, and Omega, a connected gas distribution system, from CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust, a pipeline transportation company, for $175m.
"These businesses fit well with our existing natural gas midstream businesses and enhance our ability to serve customers in Missouri. We see great value in adding MoGas and Omega to our natural gas portfolio and expect them to support Spire's growth," Steve Lindsey, Spire COO.
Gilinski Group, an investment firm, JGDB, a holding company, and Nugil, a financial services company, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Nutresa, a food processing company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Brazil's Raizen mulls asset sales and partnerships to boost growth.
Brazilian energy company Raizen Energia is mulling divestment opportunities and strategic partnerships to drive growth across its business units, Reuters
Raizen, a joint-venture between Shell and Cosan, has many assets that could be monetized through sales or partnerships, its CEO Ricardo Mussa said during a meeting with investors and analysts.
TD plots share buybacks after First Horizon deal falls apart.
Toronto-Dominion Bank will repurchase 30m shares after the collapse of its $13.4bn deal for First Horizon left it with a bevy of surplus capital, Bloomberg
The buyback program will represent 1.6% of the firm’s outstanding shares. Still, abandoning the deal also forced the Toronto-based bank to say that it doesn’t expect to meet its medium-term adjusted earnings guidance of growing 7% to 10%.
GTCR closes fund XIV at $11.5bn. (FS)
GTCR, a private equity firm focused on the technology, healthcare, financial, and consumer services sectors, has held the final closing of closing of GTCR fund XIV with aggregate commitments of $11.5bn, exceeding its initial target of $9.25bn.
The fund includes total limited partner commitments of $11bn and a commitment from GTCR of approximately $500m. The predecessor fund, GTCR fund XIII, was raised and initiated in 2020 with aggregate commitments of approximately $7.9bn.
KKR starts private credit fund with more flexible access to cash. (FS)
KKR is seeking to raise a multi-billion-dollar direct lending fund in Europe that allows investors the option of depositing and withdrawing their cash more frequently than typical closed-ended vehicles.
The new euro-denominated fund, which primarily provides unitranche loans to European private equity-owned businesses, has a permanent capital structure, Bloomberg
BNP Paribas hires Evan Riley to head up US equity capital markets. (People)
BNP Paribas has poached a senior dealmaker from UBS to lead its equity capital markets business in the US as the French lender looks to bolster its Wall Street investment bank.
Evan Riley is joining the French bank as head of equity capital markets for the US. Riley joins from UBS, where he was a managing director and head of industrials, consumer and energy transition ECM. He has worked at the Swiss bank since 2006. He will report into Christopher Blum, head of corporate finance for the Americas at BNP Paribas, Fn London
UBS gains EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse.
UBS won unconditional EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse as part of a government-orchestrated rescue of its Swiss rival. The European Commission said the deal would not raise competition concerns in Europe, Reuters reported.
"The combined entity will continue facing significant competitive pressure from a wide range of competitors in all of those markets, including several major global banks as well as specialist providers and strong local players," EU competition watchdog.
Credit Suisse is advised by Centerview Partners (led by Blair Effron), Rothschild & Co (led by Cyril de Mont-Marin), Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (led by David Lopez), Homburger (led by Claude Lambert, Benjamin Leisinger and Daniel Daeniker), Sullivan & Cromwell (led by Mitchell S. Eitel) and Community Group (led by Auro Palomba). UBS is advised by JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Bar & Karrer (led by Rolf Watter), Davis Polk & Wardwell (led by Evan Rosen, Luigi L. De Ghenghi and Marc O. Williams), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by Michael Raffan and Jennifer Bethlehem) and Community Group (led by Marco Rubino).
GHO Capital, a healthcare investment company, and Partners Group, a global private markets firm, agreed to invest in Sterling Pharma, a global contract development and manufacturing organisation. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We have achieved remarkable growth over the last four years becoming a trusted partner to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. We are proud of our success in meeting the often complex and demanding manufacturing needs of our customers on an international scale. Our continued sustainable growth has been underpinned by our partnership with GHO Capital, which has been instrumental in our success to date. We are delighted to welcome Partners Group, which, alongside GHO, will support our ambitious global growth trajectory. We look forward to continuing to provide industry leading service throughout the entire product lifecycle, to an ever-expanding international customer base,” Kevin Cook, Sterling Pharma CEO.
Sterling Pharma is advised LEK Consulting, Deloitte, Jefferies & Company and Macfarlanes. Partners Group is advised by Ernst & Young, Alvarez & Marsal, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ropes & Gray. GHO Capital is advised by Deloitte, Jefferies & Company, Kirkland & Ellis, Slaughter & May and Consilium Strategic Communications (led by Amber Fennell
US communication company Viasat is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $7.3bn bid for British satellite rival Inmarsat.
The Commission opened an investigation into the deal in February, voicing concerns about the companies' status as close competitors in Europe and globally for the supply of broadband inflight connectivity services to commercial airlines. The deal has already received the green light in the UK and US Federal Communications Commission.
Inmarsat is advised by Barclays (led by Osvaldo Ramos
), JP Morgan, Trinity Advisors Corporation, Clifford Chance (led by David Lewis
), Kirkland & Ellis (led by Rory Mullarkey
, Jacob Traff
, Carlo Zenkner
and Edward Lee
), Steptoe & Johnson, Kekst CNC (led by Oliver Mann
) and Teneo (led by Tim Burt
). Viasat is advised by PJT Partners (led by John Trousdale
and James Murray
), Latham & Watkins (led by Nick Cline
and Ann Buckingham
), Linklaters and Brunswick Group (led by Jonathan Doorley
and Christopher Charles Blundell
Stratasys, a 3D printing solutions provider, agreed to merge with Desktop Metal, a public American technology company, in a $1.8bn deal.
“We believe this is a landmark moment for the additive manufacturing industry. The combination of these two great companies marks a turning point in driving the next phase of additive manufacturing for mass production. We are excited to complement our portfolio of production metal, sand, ceramic and dental 3D printing solutions with Stratasys’ polymer offerings. Together, we will strive to build an even more resilient offering with a diversified customer base across industries and applications in order to drive long-term sustainable growth. We look forward to combining with Stratasys to deliver profitability while driving further innovation for a larger customer base and providing expanded opportunities for our employees,” Ric Fulop, Desktop Metal Co-founder, Chairman and CEO.
Stratasys is advised by JP Morgan, Meitar Law Offices and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Desktop Metal is advised by Stifel, Latham & Watkins, Shibolet & Co, Joele Frank (led by Kara Brickman
, Joseph Sala
and Ed Trissel
) and Scherf Communications (led by Yael Arnon
The UK Competition and Markets Authority said that it won't refer Electricite de France's proposed acquisition of General Electric's nuclear steam-power business to an in-depth investigation, clearing the way for the deal.
CMA, had been investigating the deal between the French state-controlled utility and the US-based conglomerate's GE Steam Power company to see if it substantially lessened competition in the UK.
EDF is advised by Societe Generale, De Pardieu Brocas Maffei and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by David N. Brooks
). General Electric is advised by Allen & Overy, Bredin Prat (led by Kate Romain
) and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (led by Akila Agrawal
Private equity firms Eurazeo, Trocadero Capital Partners and Bpifrance completed an investment in Eowin, an IT services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"After a first phase of development outside the Acolad group where Hivest provided us with valuable assistance, particularly during the acquisition of Xdemat, we are very pleased with the recognition and confidence shown by Eurazeo, TCP and Bpifrance in Eowin. They will provide us with the means for our ambitions thanks to their know-how in supporting ETIs so that we can both address the considerable challenges of the nuclear sector while being able to continue our development in other sectors of the economy," Marc Lestrade, Eowin President.
Eowin was advised by Rothschild & Co. Eurazeo was advised by Havas Paris.
Lufthansa close to buying 40% of Italy's ITA Airways.
Lufthansa is close to clinching a deal with the Italian Treasury to buy a 40% stake in state-owned ITA Airways, aiming to take full control of the airline in 2026.
The German carrier would pay between €320-330m ($352-363m) to purchase the initial minority stake in the Italian firm, who is close to ITA. CEO Carsten Spohr was due to meet Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti in Rome to finalise talks, Reuters
Yandex to offer investors choice of Russian or foreign assets.
Investors in Yandex will get to choose whether to keep a stake in the company’s profitable Russian business, take cash or receive a share of its international startups as the company attempts to split its assets, Bloomberg
Dutch-registered Yandex plans to offer Russian investors an opportunity to swap their holdings for a stake in the Russian unit if it agrees to a deal to sell a majority stake in that business. It is also considering offering several options for international investors, although any decisions will require shareholder approval.
Italy scrabbles to lure back sovereign wealth funds.
Italy is courting sovereign wealth funds to invest in a new scheme to provide resources to firms operating in strategically important sectors, but past experience suggests it will be hard to get them on board.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni plans to inject up to €1bn ($1.1bn) of state cash into a fund for firms operating in sectors including energy and procurement of raw materials, Reuters
Adnoc unit gets $125bn in orders for $769m IPO.
Adnoc Logistics & Services drew orders worth $125bn for its $769m initial public offering in Abu Dhabi, as investors flocked to the share sale amid a dearth in deals in other regions, Bloomberg
Abu Dhabi National Oil sold 1.41bn shares — or a 19% stake — in its maritime logistics unit at AED2.01($0.55) each, the top of a narrow range that started at AED1.99($0.54). That values the company at $4.05bn.
Medtronic, a medical device company, agreed to acquire EOFlow, a wearable insulin delivery pump manufacturer, for $738m.
"We're thrilled to accelerate our next phase of growth with a partner like Medtronic who shares our goal of simplifying diabetes management to make life easier for the customers we serve. Together, we'll work to advance innovation in wearable insulin patch technology to expand our reach to more individuals around the world living with diabetes. With a global footprint in over 100 countries, ability to scale up manufacturing quickly, and advanced software and sensor capabilities, Medtronic is the ideal strategic partner for EOFlow," Jesse J. Kim, EOFlow Founder and CEO.
EOFlow is advised by Goldman Sachs and Bae Kim & Lee. Medtronic is advised by JP Morgan, Kim & Chang and Ropes & Gray.
Air Products, an industrial gases company, agreed to acquire gas processing facility in Qashqadaryo from Republic of Uzbekistan and Uzbekneftegaz, an oil industry company, for $1bn.
"Air Products is proud to be deploying our knowledge, experience and technology to help nations around the world access and maximize their abundant energy sources more sustainably. With this strategic acquisition in Uzbekistan, a high-growth environment underpinned by strong government support, we will bring our best-in-class operational and supply competencies to bear. This will enable UNG to seamlessly produce low-cost, high-purity fuels that enable the Republic to meet its growing energy production and societal needs," Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products Chairman, President and CEO.
G42, an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company, led a $108m Series D round in eFishery, an agtech company, with participation from SoftBank Vision Fund II and Northstar Group.
42XFund contributed $100m to the round, while SoftBank Vision Fund II chipped in nearly $5m, per eFishery’s filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Meanwhile, Southeast Asian private equity major Northstar Group invested $3m.
Australian tech tycoon nears rescue of $20bn solar project.
A consortium led by billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes that includes Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners is in final discussions to acquire collapsed solar megaproject Sun Cable.
The technology tycoon’s family office, Grok Ventures, is nearing a deal with FTI Consulting, administrators for Sun Cable, after vying for the asset against Squadron Energy, Bloomberg
IFC, M&G invest in Vivriti Retail Asset Fund. (FS)
Global investment firms IFC and M&G have invested in Vivriti Asset Management’s securitisation fund Vivriti India Retail Asset Fund, which is domiciled in GIFT City IFSC. The fund, which has a target size of $250m, has raised $106m from these two investors.
The fund will generate a return of 12% in rupee terms, which translates to around 8% in dollar terms. Equity will make more than 8% return while debt will be lower. M&G Catalyst has provided equity investment for 10 years, while the IFC has extended a debt exposure for a term of four years.
“In countries like South Korea, China, Australia and the US, international participation in ABS markets is common. However, India's ABS market has predominantly relied on domestic investors. Vivriti aims to create a proof of concept by bringing in renowned global investors," Vineet Sukumar, Vivriti Asset Management Managing Director.
M&G Investments is advised by TT&A
Shenyang weighing takeover of Brilliance China’s major owner.
The northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang is drawing up plans to take over the biggest shareholder of Hong Kong-listed Brilliance China Automotive for about RMB16bn ($2.3bn), as the municipal government seeks to rescue the state-backed defaulter.
Shenyang is in talks to secure financing for acquiring Brilliance Automotive Group, which is undergoing a court-led restructuring process. Brilliance Auto’s creditor committee may vote on the government’s proposal as soon as next week, Bloomberg
Australian bus operator Ventura Group exploring sale.
Ventura Group, a closely held Australian bus company, is considering a potential sale, Bloomberg
The Melbourne-based firm, which describes itself as the largest bus operator in the state of Victoria, has held discussions with financial advisers about a deal. A sale could value the family-owned company in the hundreds of millions of Australian dollars.
Boyu, Hillhouse, others vie for HK-based medical device firm Quasar. (FS)
Private equity firms Boyu Capital, Hillhouse Capital and BPEA EQT are among bidders vying for Longreach Group's Hong Kong-based medical device maker Quasar.
Longreach, an Asia-focused private equity firm, is targeting a valuation of as much as $600m or more for the entire company, Reuters
IQiyi revives HK listing plan.
IQiyi, a Chinese online video platform, is again exploring a second listing in Hong Kong.
The US-listed Baidu subsidiary is keen to bring new investors onboard as it finances more original programming and steps up the use of AI to draw viewers from rivals such as Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group. IQiyi had picked banks for a second Hong Kong listing as far back as 2021, during Beijing’s crackdown. The company is now working on “technical details” for a Hong Kong share float, Bloomberg
India-focused PE firm Kedaara Capital gears up to raise over $1bn for fourth fund. (FS)
Kedaara Capital, an India-focused private equity firm, has initiated discussions to raise its fourth investment vehicle targeting a corpus of at least $1bn, DealStreetAsia
The initial preparation is being done as it looks to raise the new fund. They are already talking to both foreign and domestic but the formal process will be started in a couple of months.
Matrix Partners India closes its fourth fund at $550m. (FS)
Matrix Partners India, an early backer of ride aggregator Ola and payments startup Razorpay, it has hit the final close of its fourth fund with over $550m in commitments.
Matrix, which floated its fourth fund in June 2022, initially planned to raise $450m. The venture capital firm had increased its fund size to $525m as it looks to ramp up investments in India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, DealStreetAsia