A US judge late on Tuesday granted the Federal Trade Commission's request to temporarily block Microsoft's $69bn acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard and set a hearing next week,Reutersreported.
US District Judge Edward Davila scheduled a two-day evidentiary hearing on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction for June 22-23 in San Francisco. Without a court order, Microsoft could have closed on the $69bn deal as early as Friday.
Veritone, an enterprise AI software and services provider, completed the acquisition of Broadbean, a human resources software developer, from CareerBuilder, an employment website developer, for $52m.
"This transformative acquisition signifies Veritone's focused approach to expanding and scaling our AI-powered HR Solutions portfolio globally. The acquisition will build on the strength of our organic growth, will expand our HR Solutions addressable market opportunity, is expected to be immediately accretive, and will unlock new sales growth and development opportunities as Veritone integrates PandoLogic's recruitment technology into Broadbean's global distribution software and network. The combination of our companies will extend the reach of leading AI technology and HR SaaS solutions globally to the world's largest multinational employers that require more efficient and scalable human resource and hiring solutions," Ryan Steelberg, Veritone President and Chief Executive Officer.
Veritone was advised by UBS, Cooley (led by Bram Couvreur), Global Results Communications (led by Valerie Christopherson) and Prosek Partners. CareerBuilder was advised by LionTree Advisors, PJT Partners and Sidley Austin.
Executives at Canaccord Genuity Group walked away from a plan to take the company private after they couldn’t get speedy approval from regulators for the deal, Bloombergreported.
A group led by Chief Executive Officer Dan Daviau and Chairman David Kassie in January offered about $825m for the Canadian financial firm, with the support of a large outside shareholder. But the company warned last month it was dealing with an “ongoing regulatory matter” at one of its foreign divisions that would prevent it from getting regulators’ consent for the leveraged buyout by the June 13 expiry.
Darden Restaurants, a multi-brand restaurant operator, completed the acquisition of Ruth's Hospitality Group, a restaurant company with a focus on American steakhouse restaurants, for $715m.
"Ruth's Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the fine dining segment with an impressive history of delivering elevated dining experiences to their loyal guests. It fits the criteria we have for adding a brand to our portfolio and supports our winning strategy. Ruth's Chris is a great complement to our portfolio of brands, and I'm pleased to welcome their nearly 5k team members to Darden," Rick Cardenas, Darden President and CEO.
Apollo, an American global private equity firm, agreed to invest in Intermodal Tank Transport, a global provider of ISO tank transportation logistics and depot services for bulk-liquid chemical and food-grade products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to partner with Apollo to help accelerate our next phase of growth. We have a number of compelling opportunities to strengthen our global platform, and we believe Apollo's deep understanding of our business, scale and extensive value-creation expertise will help us unlock the significant growth potential of our business. I look forward to continuing to lead the dedicated, hardworking team at ITT as we continue driving value and enhancing customer experience," Jon Hulsey, ITT President and CEO.
ITT is advised by Raymond James and McGinnis Lochridge. Apollo is advised by Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison (led by Brian P. FinneganandBrian Kim).
Ardian, a private investment house, agreed to invest in Tom Barrow Company, a provider of commercial HVAC solutions in the US Southeast. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The commercial HVAC industry benefits from particularly strong secular tailwinds. Building owners and tenants are increasingly focused on both indoor air quality and energy-efficient buildings. Healthcare facilities, Life sciences labs, EV and battery plants, solar panel plants, and data centers are also all HVAC-intensive, increasing the need for clean room levels of purity, specialized cooling, or both. We believe Tom Barrow is well positioned to capture significant share in this attractive market," Kevin Kruse, Ardian Managing Director.
Tom Barrow Company is advised by Truist Securities. Ardian is advised by Configure Partners and The Neibart Group (led byRachelle Gaynor).
Arcline Investment Management, a private equity firm, completed the acquisition of International Water-Guard, a provider and servicer of proprietary potable water systems and components for use in business and commercial jet applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"IWG has established an exceptional reputation over its 35-year history as a technology and performance leader in the aircraft water systems space. The Company's steadfast commitment to its customers through design innovation, customer service, and aftermarket support underpin this reputation and provide a strong base for future growth. We look forward to partnering with the IWG management team to support the exciting opportunities that lie ahead," Arcline.
Arcline Investment was advised by Janes Capital Partners and Joele Frank (led byTim Ragones).
Michael Andlauer, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Andlauer Healthcare Group, agreed to acquire a 90% stake in Ottawa Senators, a professional ice hockey team based in Ottawa, for $950m.
"My family and I are very excited to be a part of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. I believe that the Senators' fanbase is one of the most passionate in the league and I'm excited to take the franchise's success both on and off the ice to the next level," Michael Andlauer.
Michael Andlauer is advised by Bulldog Capital Partners.
Canada Life, an insurance and financial services company, agreed to acquire Value Partners, a Winnipeg-based investment firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We started Value Partners to improve the lives of families across Canada by partnering with the best advisors and investing in the best businesses. Today, our clients have $1.45bn more than they initially invested. Together with Canada Life's world-class insurance and investment products and exceptional advisors, we're going to help far more Canadians build their wealth," Gregg Filmon, Value Partners President.
BurstIQ, a data-driven healthcare solutions provider, completed the acquisition of the business intelligence solution of Olive AI, a software company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to add Olive's business intelligence solution to our portfolio, allowing organizations to see and leverage their data in exciting new ways. In the future, we plan to enhance LifeGraph Intelligence to address crucial healthcare challenges such as total cost of care reduction, quality measure reporting, clinical trial matching, and supply chain management," Frank Ricotta, BurstIQ Founder and CEO.
MiCare Path, a digital health company, completed the acquisition of SmarTrac, a patient compliance sensor provider, from OnTracMD, a smart monitoring devices developer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Adding this virtual physical therapy solution to our portfolio is a testament to MiCare Path's commitment to providing solutions aimed at optimizing MSK care solutions, within a broad diversity of markets, such as remote therapeutic monitoring, managed care, worker's compensation and real-world evidence generation for med-tech manufacturers. The SmarTrac technology will be a great leaping off point to continue our focus to drive deep innovation in these markets that can see the biggest impact of savings by providing technology-driven, preventative solutions," Scott Laster, MiCare Path CEO and Co-Founder.
Audax Private Equity-backed Flow Control, a provider of sanitary-flow components to the pharmaceutical, food, and beverage end markets, completed the acquisition of Strahman, a manufacturer of washdown equipment, sampling valves, and valve automation products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to welcome the Strahman business and team to FCH. Strahman has an impressive line of products and a strong track record of innovation in the US dairy and washdown markets. The entire Strahman lineup is complementary to our offering of flow control components and in particular, we are excited about adding the Strahman brand of washdown equipment to the FCH portfolio," Scott Kerns, Flow Control Holdings CEO.
Resilience Capital, a private equity firm, and DealerShop, a distributor and paint application company to auto body shops and dealerships, completed the acquisition of Jobbers Automotive, a full-service supplier of automotive paint, janitorial supplies, body shop equipment, bulk oil, and WeatherTech products serving automotive dealerships and collision centers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Jobbers Automotive has a long-standing reputation for providing exceptional service and high-quality products to the Ohio market for over 70 years. We are delighted to have the talented and experienced Jobbers Automotive team join the DealerShop family of companies. The acquisition will enable us to provide our customers with a broader range of products and services and leverage the synergies from the consolidated footprint to drive growth and enhance value," Bill Gryzenia, DealerShop President and CEO.
Hidden River raises $245m for its new fund. (FS)
Hidden River Strategic Capital, a Philadelphia-based investment firm, announced that its inaugural fund, Hidden River Strategic Capital I, closed on $245m of committed capital, significantly above its initial target.
Founding Partners Steve Gord, Todd Morrissey and Kevin Condon are lower middle market veterans who were most recently founders and leaders at two well-regarded private equity firms. Hidden River was formed to focus exclusively on flexible junior capital for small business owner-operators, an area underserved by the well-worn investment approaches of growth equity, buyout, and mezzanine/credit funds.
Entain, the global sports-betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group, agreed to acquire STS, a sports-betting operator in Poland, for £690m ($868m).
"We are delighted to be acquiring the leading sports-betting operator in Poland, which is a hugely exciting and fast-growing market. STS is an exceptional business with a great brand, a compelling omnichannel offering, and an outstanding CEO and management team. The transaction is perfectly aligned with our Entain CEE strategy and our wider M&A strategy of acquiring high-quality businesses with leading positions in attractive, growing and regulated markets," Jette Nygaard-Anderson, Entain CEO.
STS is advised by Oakvale Capital and White & Case. Entain is advised by Ernst & Young, Bank of America (led byEdward Peel), Morgan Stanley (led byLaurence Hopkins), Santander, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Powerscourt (led byRory Godson).
Aliaxis, a global player in advanced fluid management solutions, withdrew its offer for Uponor after the announcement of Georg Fischer's competing public tender offer on June 12, 2023.
"Aliaxis is a company on the move as we have demonstrated over the past two years. We remain fully committed to delivering our "Growth with Purpose" strategy, with innovation and sustainability as main driving forces. As a global leader, we will continue deploying our external growth roadmap, leveraging our clear business strategy and our very robust balance sheet, while always maintaining a clear focus on value creation with financial discipline in any acquisition," Eric Olsen, Aliaxis CEO.
Uponor is advised by Goldman Sachs, Nordea Bank, Hannes Snellman and Hill+Knowlton Strategies. GF is advised by UBS, White & Case and Tekir (led by Niko Vartiainen).
Silver Lake Partners will no longer make its $2.4bn offer to invest in Germany's Software conditional on the private equity firm acquiring more than 50% of the shares,Reuters reported.
By midday on Tuesday, the investor had only secured 30.5% of shares, despite support from Software's management. By waiving the 50% threshold condition, the offer is automatically extended by two weeks until June 28.
Vodafone Group, a British multinational telecommunications company, and CK Hutchison Group, a Hong Kong–based and Cayman Islands–registered multinational conglomerate corporation, agreed to merge their UK telecommunication businesses, in a £7.3bn ($9.2bn) deal.
"The merger is great for customers, great for the country and great for competition. It's transformative as it will create a best-in-class - indeed best in Europe - 5G network, offering customers a superior experience. As a country, the UK will benefit from the creation of a sustainable, strongly competitive third-scaled operator - with a clear £11bn ($14bn) network investment plan - driving growth, employment and innovation. For Vodafone, this transaction is a game changer in our home market. This is a vote of confidence in the UK and its ambitions to be a centre for future technology," Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group CEO.
Albany International, a developer and manufacturer of engineered components, agreed to acquire Heimbach Group, a supplier of paper machine clothing, for €153m ($165m).
"The acquisition of Heimbach is an exciting opportunity to create significant value for our shareholders as well as for our customers as the partner of choice. With Heimbach, we gain increased scale and complementary technology, while broadening our geographic footprint to efficiently serve markets in Europe and Asia. This transaction also provides an opportunity to leverage Albany's expertise to drive meaningful margin expansion in Heimbach's operations and cash flows that can be reinvested in high-growth areas of the Company. We look forward to working with the Heimbach team and welcoming them to Albany," Bill Higgins, Albany President and CEO.
EQT weighs sale of $2bn Danish software maker. (FS)
EQT is considering options for Sitecore, including a potential sale that could value the digital marketing software provider at as much as $2bn, Bloombergreported.
The Stockholm-based investment firm is working with Goldman Sachs Group to gauge interest from potential buyers of the Danish business.
Billionaire Xavier Niel, partners make €1.1bn approach for French grocer Casino.
Billionaire Xavier Niel and two partners approached ailing French grocer Casino Guichard-Perrachon with a €1.1bn ($1.2bn) rescue plan, seeking to counter a rival offer from another group of investors, Bloombergreported.
Casino received a preliminary letter of intent from the trio which seeks to boost the group’s equity by as much as €1.1bn ($1.2bn), including up to €300m ($322m) invested directly by them. The rest would be raised from new partners and current creditors wishing to reinvest in the debt-laden retailer.
SAP co-founder intends to sell nearly 1.5m shares.
Hasso Plattner, co-founder of German software firm SAP, concluded an agreement with a bank, which was not named, to dispose of nearly 1.46m shares of the company,Reuters reported.
Plattner, who according to Refinitiv data personally owns a 3.16% stake and a 3.44% stake via his foundation, intends to sell between 40-60% of the amount of shares until December 13 this year.
Nigeria’s Tinubu advised to sell state oil assets and refineries.
Nigeria’s state energy company should sell off assets, including stakes in oil blocks, to raise billions of dollars,Bloomberg reported.
The Nigerian National Petroleum should become a minority shareholder in projects it currently controls, potentially generating more than $17bn by the end of the decade, according to the study by a committee that advised President Bola Tinubu ahead of his inauguration last month.
Renault's Mobilize in talks with European retailer to provide charging boxes for EV.
Renault's new Mobilize unit is in advanced talks with a major European retailer to provide charging boxes for electric vehicles, Reuters reported.
Frederique Le Greves, STMicro France CEO, had told the VivaTech conference in Paris that this would the first contract for the Mobilize PowerBox, developed by Software Republique, a tech partnership that counts Renault and STMicro among its members.
Permira Credit raises €4.2bn for direct lending strategy. (FS)
Permira Credit, a debt management and advisory business, announced the successful completion of fundraising for its fifth direct lending fund, Permira Credit Solutions Fund V. Including associated vehicles and leverage, total investable capital for the strategy is €4.2bn ($4.5bn).
"The Permira Credit platform has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with our Direct Lending, CLO Management and Structured Credit strategies seeing continued demand from investors. Last year's appointment of Ian Jackson to launch Permira Credit's Strategic Opportunities strategy was another significant step forward, and today, with a large and growing team, we look forward to continuing to serve our investors and act as a trusted partner to companies and sponsors across Europe," James Greenwood, Permira Credit CEO.
UBS to keep Credit Suisse’s Asia wealth teams in growth bid. (People)
UBS Group plans to retain a few hundred Credit Suisse private bankers in the Asia Pacific region, bringing its total to more than 1.2k in one of the few areas spared from deep cuts, Bloomberg reported.
The move is being driven by global wealth chief Iqbal Khan, who is betting Asia will continue to generate lucrative clients. The integration will give UBS more relationship managers in the region than its closest rivals DBS Group and HSBC combined.
Zurich Insurance eyes $400m stake in the general insurance arm of India's Kotak.
Zurich Insurance Group is in talks to buy up to 51% of India's Kotak General Insurance. This deal would mark its first major bet on the fast-growing South Asian insurance market, Reutersreported.
Backed by Asia's richest banker Uday Kotak, the early-stage negotiations value the Indian company at around $800m, and Zurich Insurance has expressed interest in both a minority stake of 49% or taking up a majority 51% stake.
Shell plans to sell stake in the Pakistan unit amid the economic crisis.
Shell is planning to sell a stake in its Pakistan unit in a setback for the South Asian nation going through its worst economic crisis, Bloombergreported.
The oil giant has informed Shell Pakistan about its intent to sell shares.
Toyota shareholders reject climate resolution in win for automaker.
Toyota shareholders rejected a resolution urging greater disclosure of its climate lobbying, voting down the first investor proposal to come before the automaker's annual general meeting in almost two decades, Reuters reported.
Investors also backed all 10 members of the board, including Chairman Akio Toyoda, despite concerns about board independence raised by prominent US proxy advisers. The breakdowns of both votes won't be released until 15 June.
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