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The US Federal Trade Commission filed its lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69bn takeover of gaming company Activision Blizzard in December partly to get ahead of its European counterparts and dissuade them from accepting a settlement allowing the deal, Bloomberg
The FTC filed a complaint challenging the merger on December 8, hours after a call between US and European Union officials about their respective probes. The EU officials indicated on the call they intended to begin talks with Microsoft about potential remedies.
Ideanomics, a global company focused on driving the adoption of commercial electric vehicles and associated energy consumption, completed the acquisition of VIA Motors, a manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles, for $630m.
"This is a transformative deal for Ideanomics. As we continue to grow into a leader in the commercial EV space VIA Motors adds valuable brand cachet and an exceptional manufacturing discipline to our portfolio. Bob's proven executive leadership has helped establish VIA as a market disruptor and we are excited to welcome him and his team to the Ideanomics family," Shane McMahon, Ideanomics Executive Chairman.
VIA Motors was advised by Blue Sea Advisors, Evercore and White & Case (led by Rodrigo Sotomayor
). Ideanomics was advised by UHY Advisors, BJ Arnold, Morgan Stanley, Han Santos, Venable, Skyya (led by Susan Donahue
) and UHY Advisors.
AE Industrial Partners, a US-based private equity firm, completed the acquisition of a stake in REDLattice, a pure-play cyber technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are excited to be partnering with the team at REDLattice as we embark on our vision of building the best technology-enabled cyber platform of scale in the market. The offensive cyber domain is evolving dramatically, and REDLattice's exquisite capabilities and outstanding reputation will afford us a differentiator as we look to execute on our strategy," Jeffrey Hart, AE Industrial Partners Principal.
Cetera, a provider of wealth management support services and brokerage, agreed to acquire the retail wealth business of Securian Financial, an insurance company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Our Wealth Hub, which uniquely brings choice and flexibility to our financial professionals as well as best-in-class growth capabilities, is complementary and synergistic to Securian Financial's operating model, and we envision untapped growth potential for the independent financial professionals joining the Cetera network. Our firms share several common values, including a purpose-driven, service-first mindset that is grounded in our mission to help financial professionals and financial institutions grow. This, coupled with the strength of the managing partner relationships that exist, not only offers a recipe for success but makes sense on so many levels," Adam Antoniades, Cetera CEO.
Cetera is advised by Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher (led by Jeffrey Poss
, Manuel Miranda
, and Thomas Sharkey
). Debt financing is provided by UBS. Securian Financial is advised by Goldman Sachs and Eversheds Sutherland.
Longevity Biomedical, a biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing new technologies across therapeutics, agreed to go public via a SPAC merger with Denali Capital Acquisition in a $236m deal.
"Longevity Biomedical is dedicated to advancing science-driven solutions to improve human health. This business combination will provide the platform to advance cutting-edge technologies spanning multiple areas of unmet medical need for the aging population. The proceeds from this transaction will allow Longevity to reach significant clinical development milestones for our four leading technologies that have demonstrated successful results in clinical studies. In addition, Longevity will retain an opportunistic, visionary approach to future health advancements in the areas of health monitoring and digital health solutions," Bradford A. Zakes, Longevity Biomedical CEO.
Longevity Biomedical is advised by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Kendall Investor Relations, and Rathbun Communications. Denali is advised by US Tiger Securities and Sidley Austin.
Encora, a global next-gen product engineering provider, completed the acquisition of Excellarate, a global technology solutions and services company, from Frontenac, a Chicago-based private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Excellarate has a long history serving a wide range of fast-growing clients in HealthTech, FinTech and InsurTech and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Encora family. Nick Sharma and his team will provide valuable expertise and capabilities to strengthen our customer offerings and further our mission of becoming the leading global engineering solutions provider," Venu Raghavan, Encora Founder and CEO.
Encora was advised by Brodeur Partners (led by Alec Robertson
). Excellarate was advised by Canaccord Genuity and DLA Piper.
University of California agreed to invest $500m in Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, a real estate investment trust of Blackstone.
This new investment, which is expected to close on March 1, 2023, at BREIT's public offering price on that date, will have the same structure, terms, and fees as UC Investments' initial $4bn investment
, including an effective 6-year minimum hold period.
BREIT is advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. University of California is advised by Goodwin Procter.
EnCap Investments, an American private equity firm, completed the investment in Linea Energy, an independent renewable energy developer, and power producer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are delighted to partner with the EnCap Energy Transition team to develop and operate a world-class portfolio of renewable energy and battery energy storage projects. With EnCap as our partner, we have the capital and strategic positioning to develop and manage a technology-diverse renewables portfolio in key liquid power markets across the US," Cassidy DeLine, Linea Energy CEO.
EnCap Investments was advised by Redbird Communications (led by Meredith Howard
). Linea Energy was advised by KPS3.
OpenWeb, a community engagement platform, completed the acquisition of Jeeng, a proprietary audience management platform, for $100m.
"This acquisition brings us closer to our goal of 'OpenWeb Everywhere,' giving brands and publishers the ability to communicate with hundreds of millions of users across every online platform they encounter – messaging, email, notifications, newsreaders, interactive conversations, and more. With the demise of third-party cookies, collapsing trust in social media, and the segmentation of online audiences, publishers and advertisers need to talk to their users one-on-one in a personalized way. With Jeeng's capabilities, we can continue to build and strengthen those individual relationships," Nadav Shoval, OpenWeb CEO and Co-Founder.
Jeeng was advised by JMP Securities.
Juul is in talks with three tobacco companies.
Juul Labs, a provider of alternative combustible cigarettes, is in early-stage talks with three tobacco firms as the e-cigarette maker seeks a potential sale, investment, or partnership, WSJ
In recent weeks, Juul executives have had separate discussions with Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco, and Altria. A deal isn't imminent, and the talks might not result in a sale or partnership. Altria, which owns a 35% stake in Juul, valued the vaping company at $1bn in October.
Juul, which represents 27% of e-cigarettes sold in US stores tracked by Nielsen, reached the brink of bankruptcy last year amid a dispute with federal regulators over whether its products could remain on the US market.
International Paper to sell ownership interest in Ilim JV.
International Paper, a global supplier of renewable fiber-based products, agreed to sell its 50% interest in Ilim, a holding company for its Ilim joint venture, to its JV partners for a $484m equity value.
The sale is subject to regulatory approvals in Russia. This transaction indicates $3.5bn in total enterprise value for Ilim based on a 3.1X EBITDA multiple on 2022 full-year results.
Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis strikes a deal with Justice Bieber. (FS)
Blackstone-backed Hipgnoisis Song Management, a UK-based investment firm focussed on music catalogs and royalties, has acquired the rights to Justice Bieber's publishing and recorded music back-catalog in a deal valued at around $200m.
The deal covers more than 290 titles released by the Canadian singer before the end of 2021. Universal Music Group will retain ownership of Bieber's master recordings, or recorded music copyrights, in perpetuity.
SLR Capital secures $2.2bn for private credit strategies. (FS)
SLR Capital Partners, a boutique asset manager focused on direct lending with expertise across a range of financing solutions for US middle market companies, closed on $2.2bn of equity commitments for its direct cash flow lending and specialty finance strategies during the second half of 2022.
Inclusive of anticipated leverage, the commitments total $3.8bn of additional investment capital. The equity commitments were secured from a range of pension, insurance company, endowment, wealth management, and family office investors.
Vision Ridge Partners raises $700m for Annex fund. (FS)
Vision Ridge Partners, a sustainable real assets investor, announced the closing of SAF Annex Fund with $700m of capital commitments. The Fund received significant support from a diverse base of existing Vision Ridge clients as well as new institutional investors, including leading sovereign wealth fund, endowment, foundation, family office, public pension and consultant investors.
“As our world faces a seismic shift towards sustainability, we are pleased to help advance companies at the forefront of the energy transition by providing the capital, industry expertise and deep network of relationships they need to succeed for decades to come. We are grateful for the strong support we have received for the Fund, which reflects our investors’ confidence in the Vision Ridge team,” Reuben Munger, Vision Ridge Managing Partner.
Dimension launches a $350m fund. (FS)
Dimension, a venture capital firm focusing on biotechnology and medicine, is launching a $350m fund. The firm was started by three former general partners at Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures.
Dimension will target early-stage companies specializing in drug discovery platforms, machine learning, and software companies in the life sciences field. Dimension believes that the "long-term potential of technology and science is independent from market cycles."
Sapphire Sport to raise oversubscribed $181m second fund. (FS)
Sapphire Sport, an early-stage investment platform at the intersection of technology, sport, media, and entertainment, has convened several new investors to join existing LPs from their first fund platform to announce an oversubscribed $181m second fund vehicle backed by significant names across sport, business, and media.
This new effort will continue to focus on Seed to Series B companies powering the next generation of consumer behavior across media, digital commerce, gaming, health, human performance, culture, and community.
Lazard appoints BlackRock veteran as head of North American distribution. (FS, People)
Lazard Asset Management has appointed Jennifer Ryan as managing director and head of North American distribution, effective immediately. Based in New York, Ryan joins from BlackRock where she held leadership roles in both the firm's US and UK institutional client businesses.
In her newly created position at LAM, Ryan reports to CEO Evan Russo. As a member of the senior leadership team for Lazard’s Asset Management business, she will be responsible for LAM’s business development in North America and will oversee its institutional client group, financial institutions group, alternative investments sales, and consultant relations group.
Full EDF takeover suspended by market watchdog pending minority shareholder lawsuit.
The AMF market watchdog has decided to put the French state's total takeover of energy giant EDF on hold until a Paris court renders its decision on the merits of a lawsuit challenging the deal brought by minority shareholders, Reuters reported.
The French government, which intends to nationalize its debt-laden nuclear champion fully, cleared the bar needed for triggering squeeze-out proceedings when it announced it controls around 93% of voting rights but later said it would not push ahead with the buyout until the court ruling. EDF confirmed this decision in a press release, saying it had decided that the buyout would be closed until the ruling, expected by May 2.
The state had committed to proceed with the squeeze-out should the court clear the deal and to return securities acquired through the bid so far if minority shareholders win their bid to cancel the deal.
EDF is advised by Barclays (led by Ghislain De Brondeau, Thomas Fureder, and Gauthier Le Milon), Credit Agricole, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley. France is advised by Societe Generale (led by Patrick Perreault and Louis Aynard de Clermont-Tonnerre) and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (led by Pierre-Yves Chabert).
Crown Bioscience to acquire IndivuServ business unit of Indivumed.
Crown Bioscience, a global contract research organization, agreed to acquire the IndivuServ business unit of Indivumed, a firm engaged in the provision and analysis of clinical biospecimens. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The acquisition of 'Indivumed Services' reflects Crown Bioscience's commitment to expanding our translational research platforms to provide our customers with superior options for bridging the gap between preclinical and clinical research. Everyone at Crown Bioscience is delighted to be welcoming the talented staff of 'Indivumed Services' to the company, and excited about the long-term potential of our new relationship," Armin Spura, Crown Bioscience CEO.
Indivumed is advised by UBS.
Qatar in talks to join TotalEnergies' $27bn Iraqi energy project.
Qatar is in talks to acquire a stake from French company TotalEnergies' $27bn cluster of energy projects in Iraq, as Baghdad hopes to stem efforts by Western energy companies to exit the country.
A major investment by a Gulf state would mark an important win for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, who took office last October following more than a year of political turmoil, and would also be considered a step towards countering Iranian influence, Reuters
Spain's Iberdrola sounds out sale of $700m wind, gas portfolio.
Iberdrola is looking to sell a portfolio of gas, wind and solar assets in Spain which could raise more than $700m, Reuters
The Spanish company has said it aims to divest assets in order to finance a three-year plan to invest up to €47bn ($51bn), keep its credit ratings and maintain a dividend pay-out of up to 75% of its earnings per share.
US investment firm MSP Sports eyes stake in Premier League’s Everton FC. (FS)
US investment firm MSP Sports Capital is considering a potential investment in England’s Everton Football Club.
MSP has held preliminary discussions about buying a stake in Everton, which is controlled by businessman Farhad Moshiri, Bloomberg
SAP plans to sell Qualtrics stake, cut 3k jobs.
SAP is planning to cut about 3k jobs this year while exploring a sale of its remaining stake in Qualtrics International as the company looks for ways to boost profit.
The German software company expects adjusted operating profit for 2023 to rise to a range of $9.6bn to $9.9bn at constant currencies, Bloomberg
Prime Group raises $2.5bn for oversubscribed third self storage fund. (FS)
Prime Group, a vertically-integrated private equity real estate firm, today announced that it successfully closed its third flagship self storage fund, Prime Storage Fund III, at the Fund’s hard cap of $2.5bn, exceeding its $1.5bn target. Fund III, which closed in December 2022, is the company’s largest fund to date, and the largest fund ever raised focused exclusively on self storage.
“We are pleased to have closed our third flagship fund, the largest in history in the self storage sector. This achievement is a testament to the strength of our platform, our differentiated, data-driven investment approach and experienced team. We are grateful for the support from our new and existing investors as we seek to continue to capitalize on a resilient asset class to deliver market-leading investment performance,” Robert Moser, Prime Group Founder, Principal, and CEO.
Hapag-Lloyd, a German international shipping and container transportation company, agreed to acquire a 35% stake in J M Baxi Ports & Logistics, a marine shipping and logistics services provider, from Bain Capital, an American private investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Terminal and infrastructure investments are a crucial element of our strategic agenda and India is one of our key growth markets. Acquiring a significant share in J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Limited will significantly boost our presence in India with a trusted local partner and it is another important step to build up our terminal and infrastructure business,” Rolf Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd CEO.
J M Baxi Ports & Logistics is advised by Credit Suisse. Bain Capital is advised by Credit Suisse and Kotak Investment Banking.
China's open borders and push to stoke economy may revive dealmaking.
China's reopened borders and renewed focus on boosting the sagging economy have brightened the deals outlook, with bankers starting to field interest for mergers, acquisitions and fundraising involving the world's second-largest economy, Reuters
"We see strategic sectors, hardcore industrial technology, automation, semiconductor-related to be a focus for outbound activity. Healthcare opportunities are proving of interest, both domestically and outbound, including in Southeast Asia. Geographically, Indonesia in particular is attracting a lot of attention," Mark Webster, BDA Partners Partner and Head of Singapore.
Impact investor Elevar Equity raises at least $126m for latest India fund. (FS)
Venture capital firm Elevar Equity Advisors, which is currently on the road to raise its fifth India-focused fund, has garnered as much as $126m so far from US investors, per a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The total corpus that the social impact investor is targeting to raise for Elevar India V is $225m as it looks to invest in growth-stage companies that cater to the marginalised and weaker sections in the country, DealStreetAsia
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to step down and become chairman. (People)
Motor Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, a scion of the founding family who has led the company since 2009, will step down from his current roles and become chairman in April.
Chief Branding Officer Koji Sato, a 53-year-old executive who has led Toyota’s luxury Lexus division since 2020, will become president and chief executive in April. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s chairman, will step down from that post, WSJ