UK regulators have opened the door for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to close their $69bn video games deal within as little as six weeks, as the companies scramble to restructure their agreement to satisfy competition concerns, FTreported.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Trade Commission failed in its last-ditch attempts to prevent the deal from closing in the US. Its request for a preliminary injunction to block the deal pending a separate action was denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals, the day after a similar injunction request was denied by a federal court in San Francisco. The actions left approval in the UK as the only hurdle left for the companies in their efforts to seal the deal.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said it would push back a July 18 deadline for it to block the deal until August 29, after receiving a “detailed and complex submission from Microsoft”. The company argued that the agency should re-examine its conclusions due to “material changes in circumstance and special reasons”. That timetable could allow Microsoft to complete the merger more quickly than the CMA had suggested earlier this week, when the agency said a restructured deal would trigger a new investigation, likely taking several months.
Korro Bio, a biotechnology company, agreed to merge with Frequency Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company, in a $170m deal. The financing is led by Surveyor Capital and Cormorant Asset Management and participation from Atlas Venture, NEA, Platanus, Qiming Venture Partners USA, MP Healthcare Venture Management, Eventide Asset Management, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Point72, Verition Fund Management, Monashee Investment Management, Sixty Degree Capital and additional investors.
“Following comprehensive review and consideration of our strategic options, management and our Board of Directors believe the merger with Korro Bio provides the best opportunity for the company and its stockholders. Korro Bio’s RNA editing technology leverages genetics transiently, expanding the target space to intervene in biology in a unique manner. We are confident in their ability to bring forward important genetic medicines with the potential to transform the lives of patients," David. L. Lucchino, Frequency Therapeutics CEO.
Frequency Therapeutics is advised by TD Cowen and Latham & Watkins (led by Bradley Faris, John Chory and Jennifer A. Yoon). Korro Bio is advised by Bank of America, JP Morgan, Piper Sandler, RBC Capital Markets, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Goodwin Procter and Finn Partners.
Pfizer's proposed $43bn takeover of Seagen will face an investigation from the European Union’s merger enforcer as the bloc continues to scrutinize large biotechnology deals.
Seagen disclosed in a regulatory filing that both firms have referred the deal to the European Commission, and the EU executive has accepted jurisdiction for investigating the proposal. The filings say that EU approval is a condition for the deal to close.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission will subject the proposed merger to an in-depth antitrust review, as is normal for major deals. The companies said when the takeover was announced that they expected close FTC scrutiny.
Public Investment Fund-backed Savvy Games Group, a games and esports company, completed the acquisition of Scopely, an interactive entertainment company and mobile-first video game developer and publisher, for $4.9bn.
“As part of the Savvy Games Group portfolio, we will be able to harness the collective power of our creativity, dedication to innovation, and world-class talent to shape the future of games. Together with Brian and the Savvy team, we will continue to build one of the world’s most diversified mobile-first games companies. Community and connection is at the heart of everything we do, and we look forward to delivering long-lasting franchises that delight players everywhere," Javier Ferreira, Scopely Co-CEO.
Eli Lilly and Company, an American pharmaceutical company, agreed to acquire Versanis, a private clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, for $1.9bn.
"It has been a privilege for our team to advance bimagrumab to address one of the greatest health crises of our time. As a global leader developing life-changing medicines, Lilly is ideally positioned to realize the potential of bimagrumab in combination with its incretin therapies to benefit people living with cardiometabolic diseases," Mark Pruzanski, Versanis Chairman and CEO.
Versanis is advised by JP Morgan, Cooley and Goodwin Procter. Eli Lilly and Company is advised by Kirkland & Ellis (led by Michael Brueck and Peter Fritz).
Integrated Media Company, a full-service digital marketing agency, agreed to acquire Toon Boom Animation, a Canadian software company, from Corus-backed Nelvana, a Canadian animation studio and entertainment company, for $112m.
"Corus is building a powerful multiplatform business aggregating premium video content. After an enterprise-wide review of our operating model and asset base, we have decided to exit the animation software business. This move will free up capital, increase Corus' financial flexibility, and sharpen our focus as we advance our strategic plan and priorities," Colin Bohm, Corus Entertainment Executive Vice President.
Integrated Media Company is advised by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg and Weil Gotshal and Manges. Corus is advised by LionTree Advisors and McCarthy Tetrault.
Abry Partners and Parthenon Capital Partners-backed Millennium Trust, a provider of health, wealth, retirement, and benefits solutions, completed the acquisition of CIP Capital-backed Benefit Resource, a provider of FSAs, HRAs, HSAs, commuter plans, and COBRA administration services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our strategy is building a unified and interconnected range of services and solutions that take a holistic approach to financial wellness. BRI brings strong relationships, expanded offerings, and most importantly, a forward-thinking and client-focused team. Together we will create a best-in-class solution for our clients and the consultant and broker community as a health and benefits category leader," Dan Laszlo, Millennium Trust CEO.
Benefit Resource was advised by Raymond James (led by Chip Kelso and Reed Welch) and Willkie Farr & Gallagher (led by Jessica Sheridan). Millennium Trust was advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Carmell Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, went public via a SPAC merger with Alpha Healthcare Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, in a $328m deal.
“The business combination of Alpha and Carmell, allows us to advance the clinical development of our platform technology, to add significant regenerative medicine experience to the Carmell™ board of directors and to access high-quality institutional investors,” Randy Hubbell, Carmell Therapeutics President & CEO.
Entrepreneurial Equity Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, completed the acquisition of MBC Companies, a quick service restaurants operator, from Encore Consumer Capital, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“As MBC embarks on this exciting new chapter with e2p, it remains committed to upholding the values and traditions that have guided MBC Companies as both Murry's and Bake Crafters throughout their esteemed histories. The partnership represents a harmonious combination of investment expertise, operational excellence, and manufacturing capabilities, which we believe will allow MBC to continue to deliver exceptional products and service,” Jeff Ahlers, MBC Companies CEO.
Dominus Capital-backed Lockmasters, a locks, tools and hardware company, completed the acquisition of Allied Locksmith Supply, an automotive and commercial locksmith products distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are looking forward to carrying the torch on Allied's core automotive remote and transponder keys distribution business as the 40-year family owners transition into retirement. Now that all operations are integrated into Lockmasters and the product offerings have been made available on our e-commerce platform, we will be able to focus on delivering the best possible technical sales and rapid order fulfilment that customers have come to expect at both Lockmasters and Allied," Joe McCormack, Lockmasters CEO.
Francois-Henri Pinault is eyeing a majority stake in CAA at over $7bn. (FS)
French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault is in advanced talks to buy a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, an American talent and sports agency, in a $7bn deal.
CAA's talks with luxury sector tycoon Pinault, the CEO of Gucci-owner Kering, could end without agreement. If the talks conclude successfully, the deal would mark a big win for private equity firm TPG, which first invested in CAA in 2010, Reuters reported.
JSW steels mulls a $2bn bid for a 20% stake in Teck Resources' coal unit.
JSW Steel, India’s largest producer, is considering a bid for as much as a 20% stake in Teck Resources’ steelmaking coal business.
JSW has expressed preliminary interest. Mumbai-based JSW also is in discussions with banks over potential financing for the acquisition, which may total about $2bn. Deliberations are at an early stage, and details such as price and timing could change, Bloomberg reported.
Alpine Investors raises $4.5bn for its oversubscribed ninth fund. (FS)
Alpine Investors, a private equity firm, announced the completion of fundraising for Alpine Investors IX, reaching the fund’s hard cap of $4.5bn in limited partner capital commitments.
Fundraising for Fund IX launched with a target of $3.75bn and was oversubscribed. Fund IX is double the size of Alpine’s previous fund, Alpine Investors VIII, which was similarly oversubscribed and closed at its hard cap of $2.25bn of limited partner commitments in August 2021.
“We are thrilled with this outcome, particularly in a very challenging fundraising environment. We’re extremely grateful to have a wonderful group of like-minded investors and partners who have supported us along the way, and we are excited to continue this amazing journey together with them," Graham Weaver, Alpine Investors Founder and CEO.
Alpine is advised by Evercore and Kirkland & Ellis.
Shore Capital Partners raises over $640m for two new funds. (FS)
Shore Capital Partners, a private equity firm, announced the closing of its inaugural Industrial fund, Shore Capital Industrial Partners Fund I, and its fifth healthcare fund, Shore Capital Healthcare Partners Fund V. With the addition of the two funds, which closed within three months and total over $643m.
“The close of the new healthcare and industrial funds is a testament to the team’s established ability to identify industry niches poised for growth. Partnering with premier management teams with a focus on long-term success has always been our highest priority and we will continue to double-down on our commitment to providing operational resources to the companies we partner with. I am immensely proud of the team that has helped to grow Shore into the firm it is today, and we look forward to welcoming more business owners to the Shore family and partnering with them in an effort to deliver transformational results," Justin Ishbia, Shore Founder and Managing Partner.
Shore Capital Partners was advised by Kirkland & Ellis.
Riverside closes Value Fund I at $350m. (FS)
The Riverside Company, a private investment firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market, has held the final close of the Riverside Value Fund I, at its target of $350m in capital commitments.
RVF I invests in businesses undergoing operational transformation or facing complex situations or unique challenges. The fund has a flexible mandate, but primarily targets control investments in North American businesses that generate revenue between $60m and $300m.
North Branch Capital raises $213m for its second fund. (FS)
North Branch Capital, a private equity firm, announced the first and final close of its oversubscribed second fund. Following a three-month fundraising process, the fund accepted $213m in total subscriptions, exceeding its $200m target.
North Branch received commitments from a well-respected group of limited partners, including strong support from existing Fund I investors. Fund II limited partners include insurance companies, fund-of-funds, family offices, charitable foundations, university endowments, and high net worth individuals. Importantly, every partner and employee of North Branch made commitments to the Fund alongside these limited partners.
North Branch was advised by M2O Private Fund and Latham & Watkins.
A consortium of investors led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from General Atlantic, KIRKBI and Glitrafjord, agreed to acquire Kahoot!, a Norwegian online game-based learning platform, in a $1.7bn deal.
"The Board believes the terms of the offer from Kangaroo BidCo AS are in the best interests of Kahoot! and our shareholders, and that the offer will benefit our employees, customers and partners. The Board recommends the offer as it represents a fair valuation of the company, as well as significant opportunities for accelerating the company's journey to become the leading learning platform in the world," Andreas Hansson, Kahoot! Chairman.
Kahoot! is advised by ABG Sundal Collier, Morgan Stanley and Thommessen. Goldman Sachs is advised by Danske Bank, Goldman Sachs, Linklaters, Sullivan & Cromwell, White & Case and Wiersholm. KIRKBI is advised by BAHR, Macfarlanes and Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Debt financing is provided by Goldman Sachs and KKR Capital Markets.
GAM's third largest shareholder is not supporting Liontrust Asset Management’s bid to take over the Swiss money manager. Gem, an alternatives manager headquartered in New York, has decided not to accept Liontrust’s offer. Gem held a stake of 6.5% in GAM through its Global Yield fund as of May, Bloombergreported.
The decision will create an extra hurdle for Liontrust as it tries to build support among GAM shareholders. In an open letter, Liontrust urged investors to tender their shares by July 25, saying the offer was “the only one on the table and the only proposal that provides a viable solution.”
GAM is advised by JP Morgan, UBS and Homburger (led by Claude Lambert). Liontrust is advised by Deloitte, Alantra, Singer Capital Markets (led by Tom Salvesen), Dentons and Teneo. Financial are advised by Norton Rose Fulbright.
Apollo, an American global private equity firm, agreed to invest €500m ($559m) in Air France-KLM, a Franco-Dutch airline holding company.
“Apollo is pleased to continue to serve as a long-term strategic capital partner to Air France-KLM, indicative of our ability to provide custom capital solutions like this to some of the world’s leading companies. This transaction will help Air France-KLM execute on its strategy through a highly attractive investment. Our ability to structure creative, scaled solutions at a wide range of capital costs differentiates us from many other platforms and provides attractive investment opportunities for both affiliated and third-party insurers as well as other institutional clients,” Jamshid Ehsani, Apollo Partner.
Apollo is advised by Jeantet and Milbank. Air France-KLM is advised by Deutsche Bank and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
MoonLake Immunotherapeutics explores a $3.1bn sale.
MoonLake Immunotherapeutics, a developer of an antibody-derived treatment for inflammatory skin conditions, is exploring a sale.
The company, which has a market value of $3.1bn, is working with an investment bank and is having early-stage conversations with drugmakers interested in a potential acquisition, Reuters reported.
Asterion, Telefonica explores a $1.12bn sale of Nabiax. (FS)
The owners of Nabiax, a Madrid-based operator of computer data centres, are exploring a sale of the group that could value it at close to $1.12bn.
Infrastructure fund Asterion Industrial Partners, which owns 80% of Nabiax, has engaged bankers at BBVA and Citi to gauge interest in its holding.
Junior partner Telefonica may also sell its 20% stake as part of any deal. A sale process is expected to kick off after the summer lull. However, the plans may still be changed or dropped, Reutersreported.
PGE, Enea, Tauron, Energa get $1bn state offers for coal assets.
Polish state-controlled power utilities PGE, Enea, Tauron and Energa received offers from the state treasury for their coal-fired power plants in a planned overhaul of the energy sector.
The treasury offered $214m for PGE's mining and generation unit, $625m for Enea's Wytwarzanie unit and $159m for its Polaniec unit, and $39m for Energa's Ostroleka power generation unit. The offer for the Tauron Wytwarzanie unit was a token $0.25 along with repayment of some of the company's debt.
Poland plans to spin off the state-owned utilities' coal-fired power plants into a new state-owned company, NABE, making it easier for Warsaw to focus on green energy as many banks steer clear of financing coal-dependent companies. The move is a key step in a process which was due to be completed last year but which was delayed amid negotiations with trade unions and due diligence, Reuters reported.
Nissan in talks to invest some $725m in Renault's EV unit.
Nissan Motor is in talks to invest around $725m in Renault's new electric vehicle unit, potentially clearing a hurdle in drawn-out talks to reshape their automaking alliance.
The Japanese automaker settled on the terms for a contract to overhaul its partnership with Renault and agreed with its French partner on the investment amount in the EV unit, Ampere.
Nissan and Renault expect Ampere's enterprise value will come to $9bn to $11bn, with Nissan's investment ratio likely coming in below 10% of that amount. That would be short of the 15% maximum Nissan set in February for the investment, Reuters reported.
OMV enters talks with ADNOC to form global chemical giant.
OMV said it will enter negotiations with ADNOC Group with a view to creating a chemicals giant from the combination of two entities in which both companies own stakes.
The deal, if realized, would include a merger of petrochemicals group Borealis - which is owned by OMV and ADNOC in a 75:25 split - and Borouge which is 54:36 owned by ADNOC and Borealis.
Under the plan, OMV said both Borealis and Borouge would become "equal partners under a jointly controlled, listed platform for potential growth acquisitions to create a global polyolefin company". The potential tie-up, first reported last week, would create a global heavyweight with combined annual sales of more than $20bn, Bloomberg reported.
Mubadala is in advanced talks to lead a revised capital injection for Getir. (FS)
Getir, the grocery delivery app which is one of the biggest operators in Britain, is racing to finalise a major fundraising that it hopes will dispel intensifying rumours about its solvency. Getir is working with investors to announce a funding round by the end of the month.
The capital injection will be led by Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, although it is expected to involve a smaller sum than the $500m, Sky News reported.
ITV no longer actively exploring All3Media deal.
Britain's ITV is no longer actively exploring the possible acquisition of All3Media, the broadcaster and entertainment company said.
The broadcasting giant said it continues to monitor All3Media but is not longer actively exploring an acquisition.
A buyout would have boosted content for ITV Studios, which produces popular series like Love Island, The Voice, Queer Eye and Line Of Duty. The decision to pull out of the possible deal comes after the widely reported departure of former This Morning host Phillip Schofield, FT reported.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, a financial services company, completed the acquisition of an 18% stake in Groovenauts, an AI and quantum technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Through this alliance, MUFG Bank and Groovenauts will promote the Bank's digital transformation and strengthen the development of digital human resources, as well as collaborate in a variety of fields, including enhancing risk management in areas such as credit and market portfolios that link to optimization of asset liability management, refining analysis of reputation and operational risk, and improving administrative and operational efficiency.
Mitsubishi UFJ is advised by MUFG Bank.
Western Digital and Kioxia seek to reach merger deal by August.
Semiconductor giants Western Digital and Kioxia Group - after months of talks - aim to reach a merger agreement by August. A final agreement hasn’t been reached and the timing could change, or talks could still end without one.
The deal would be structured as a tax-free spinoff of Western Digital’s flash business, which would merge with Kioxia. Western Digital shareholders would own slightly more than 50% of the merged entity. The company would be run by Kioxia executives on a day-to-day basis, with Western Digital executives also being involved.
Both chipmakers would have board representation and the combined company would be domiciled in Japan. The merged entity would trade on the Nasdaq initially but eventually list in Tokyo. Bain Capital, which backs Kioxia, would be paid a special dividend, Bloomberg reported.
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