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M&A wrap: Riverside, KPS, Sun Capital, Simon Property, Xerox, HP, Silver Lake, SoulCycle, AEI, Huron, Manufacturing M&A


Manufacturing in the U.S. has contracted to its lowest level in more than a decade. The Institute for Supply Management said that its manufacturing index fell in December 2019 to 47.2. That’s its lowest level since June 2009, when it hit 46.3. This, in addition to a tight labor market, China’s retaliatory tariffs and the upcoming presidential election, has made manufacturing a tricky sector to do business in these days. Still, despite some of the headwinds facing the manufacturing industry, the M&A deal market remains active. Interest rates are low, and companies as well as investors have cash to invest. Additional factors come into play, including the need for consolidation and globalization in the manufacturing industry. Robots are playing a role as well, and manufacturing automation has become appealing. “The tight labor market and increasing wages have led us to pursue a number of different initiatives at our companies to counteract the resulting pressures created,” says Brad Roberts, a partner with the Riverside Co. “Where economical, we are investing in increased automation to enable us to meet growing sales volume amidst this difficult hiring environment.” Read our full coverage: 5 trends driving manufacturing M&A.

DEAL NEWS
Xerox Holdings Corp. (NYSE: XRX) increased its offer price for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) to $24 a share, boosting the bid by $2 a share in an effort to win control of the computer hardware maker, which has previously refused to engage in takeover talks because it said the offer was too low. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Xerox increases offer for HP.

Silver Lake has invested in gym operator Equinox, the majority owner of SoulCycle. Equinox will use the capital to expand its digital platform and add more locations, as it tries to compete against Peloton.

Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) is buying a majority stake in Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE: TCO) for $3.6 billion. Taubman owns, manages or leases 26 shopping centers across the U.S. and Asia. “By joining together, we will enhance the ability of TRG to invest in innovative retail environments that create exciting shopping and entertainment experiences for consumers, immersive opportunities for retailers, and substantial new job prospects for local communities,” says Simon CEO David Simon. BofA Securities, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP are advising Simon. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Honigman LLP are advising Taubman. Kirkland & Ellis represented Taubman’s special committee.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) has bought machine learning company Dessa. Latham & Watkins advised Square.

American Industrial Partners-backed Rand Logistics is buying American Steamship Co. from GATX Corp. The target offers dry bulk transportation services.

Harvest Partners has completed its investment in MRI Software, joining existing investors TA Associates and GI Partners.

Huron Capital-backed Ronnoco Beverage Solutions has bought Trident Beverage, a provider of beverage and dispensing products for the foodservice sector.

Align Capital Partners-backed Alliance Source Testing has acquired Metco Environmental, an emissions testing services company, from Eurofins Scientific’s TestAmerica.

Varsity Healthcare Partners-backed Probo Medical has acquired Elite Medical Technologies and Future Medical Equipment.

Inflexion-backed Ocorian has acquired Estera, a provider of funds, coporate and trust services. Bridgepoint advised the target.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Advent, Crosspoint, Science Applications, Westrock Coffee.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Declaration Partners, KKR, Magnum, RC Advisors.

DEAL TRENDS
Global debt fundraising is on the rise, as funds look for alternative investments to park their excess capital. Middle-market loans aim to provide returns on investments in the high single-digit to low double-digit range. The average private debt fund size reached over $1.4 billion in 2019, the largest number on record, according to PitchBook’s H2 2019 Global Private Debt Report, while dry powder rose above $240 billion. Global private debt fundraising reached almost $126 billion across 89 funds in 2019. Direct lending accounted for about $72 billion, or nearly 57 percent of global capital raised in 2019.

PEOPLE MOVES
Dean Nordlinger has joined law firm Blank Rome as a partner. He was previously with Miles & Stockbridge, and focuses on private equity and M&A.

Margery Fischbein and Deborah Aghib were hired by investment bank Cassel Salpeter & Co. as managing directors where they are focusing on the healthcare sector. Fischbein was most recently with Seaport Global, while Aghib comes from CRG.

Michael Breit, Christopher Loiacono and Jay Weinstein have been promoted to vice chairs at EisnerAmper.

FEATURED CONTENT
Artificial intelligence in healthcare saw about $4 billion in funding across 367 deals in 2019, according to data and research firm CB Insights. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq; AMZN) is no exception. The tech conglomerate is using its recent deals for Health Navigator and PillPack to launch new software services in healthcare. Health Navigator works with companies like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in offering services such as remote diagnoses, and with triage to help patients figure out whether to stay at home, see a doctor or go straight to the emergency room. Read our full coverage: How Amazon is using M&A to revolutionize healthcare.

Pushed by a groundbreaking California law mandating it, more companies are putting women on their public corporate boards. The law faces pressure in court and may not stand, but its rippling effect has already started to increase the visibility and awareness of the important benefits of board diversity. Investors are taking notice and trying to get ahead of the curve. According to a study published by MSCI in March 2018, having three or more women on a company’s board of directors translates to a 1.2 percent median productivity above competitors. Read the full guest article by Venable’s Belinda Martinez Vega: Why businesses are adding women to their boards.

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald’s, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influenital Women in Mid-Market M&A. For each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

ACG Raleigh Durham’s 18th annual capital conference is being from March 31-April 1 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.

Source: The Latest

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M&A wrap: Riverside, KPS, Sun Capital, Simon Property, Xerox, HP, Silver Lake, SoulCycle, AEI, Huron, Manufacturing M&A


Manufacturing in the U.S. has contracted to its lowest level in more than a decade. The Institute for Supply Management said that its manufacturing index fell in December 2019 to 47.2. That’s its lowest level since June 2009, when it hit 46.3. This, in addition to a tight labor market, China’s retaliatory tariffs and the upcoming presidential election, has made manufacturing a tricky sector to do business in these days. Still, despite some of the headwinds facing the manufacturing industry, the M&A deal market remains active. Interest rates are low, and companies as well as investors have cash to invest. Additional factors come into play, including the need for consolidation and globalization in the manufacturing industry. Robots are playing a role as well, and manufacturing automation has become appealing. “The tight labor market and increasing wages have led us to pursue a number of different initiatives at our companies to counteract the resulting pressures created,” says Brad Roberts, a partner with the Riverside Co. “Where economical, we are investing in increased automation to enable us to meet growing sales volume amidst this difficult hiring environment.” Read our full coverage: 5 trends driving manufacturing M&A.

DEAL NEWS
Xerox Holdings Corp. (NYSE: XRX) increased its offer price for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) to $24 a share, boosting the bid by $2 a share in an effort to win control of the computer hardware maker, which has previously refused to engage in takeover talks because it said the offer was too low. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Xerox increases offer for HP.

Silver Lake has invested in gym operator Equinox, the majority owner of SoulCycle. Equinox will use the capital to expand its digital platform and add more locations, as it tries to compete against Peloton.

Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) is buying a majority stake in Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE: TCO) for $3.6 billion. Taubman owns, manages or leases 26 shopping centers across the U.S. and Asia. “By joining together, we will enhance the ability of TRG to invest in innovative retail environments that create exciting shopping and entertainment experiences for consumers, immersive opportunities for retailers, and substantial new job prospects for local communities,” says Simon CEO David Simon. BofA Securities, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP are advising Simon. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Honigman LLP are advising Taubman. Kirkland & Ellis represented Taubman’s special committee.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) has bought machine learning company Dessa. Latham & Watkins advised Square.

American Industrial Partners-backed Rand Logistics is buying American Steamship Co. from GATX Corp. The target offers dry bulk transportation services.

Harvest Partners has completed its investment in MRI Software, joining existing investors TA Associates and GI Partners.

Huron Capital-backed Ronnoco Beverage Solutions has bought Trident Beverage, a provider of beverage and dispensing products for the foodservice sector.

Align Capital Partners-backed Alliance Source Testing has acquired Metco Environmental, an emissions testing services company, from Eurofins Scientific’s TestAmerica.

Varsity Healthcare Partners-backed Probo Medical has acquired Elite Medical Technologies and Future Medical Equipment.

Inflexion-backed Ocorian has acquired Estera, a provider of funds, coporate and trust services. Bridgepoint advised the target.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Advent, Crosspoint, Science Applications, Westrock Coffee.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Declaration Partners, KKR, Magnum, RC Advisors.

DEAL TRENDS
Global debt fundraising is on the rise, as funds look for alternative investments to park their excess capital. Middle-market loans aim to provide returns on investments in the high single-digit to low double-digit range. The average private debt fund size reached over $1.4 billion in 2019, the largest number on record, according to PitchBook’s H2 2019 Global Private Debt Report, while dry powder rose above $240 billion. Global private debt fundraising reached almost $126 billion across 89 funds in 2019. Direct lending accounted for about $72 billion, or nearly 57 percent of global capital raised in 2019.

PEOPLE MOVES
Dean Nordlinger has joined law firm Blank Rome as a partner. He was previously with Miles & Stockbridge, and focuses on private equity and M&A.

Margery Fischbein and Deborah Aghib were hired by investment bank Cassel Salpeter & Co. as managing directors where they are focusing on the healthcare sector. Fischbein was most recently with Seaport Global, while Aghib comes from CRG.

Michael Breit, Christopher Loiacono and Jay Weinstein have been promoted to vice chairs at EisnerAmper.

FEATURED CONTENT
Artificial intelligence in healthcare saw about $4 billion in funding across 367 deals in 2019, according to data and research firm CB Insights. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq; AMZN) is no exception. The tech conglomerate is using its recent deals for Health Navigator and PillPack to launch new software services in healthcare. Health Navigator works with companies like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in offering services such as remote diagnoses, and with triage to help patients figure out whether to stay at home, see a doctor or go straight to the emergency room. Read our full coverage: How Amazon is using M&A to revolutionize healthcare.

Pushed by a groundbreaking California law mandating it, more companies are putting women on their public corporate boards. The law faces pressure in court and may not stand, but its rippling effect has already started to increase the visibility and awareness of the important benefits of board diversity. Investors are taking notice and trying to get ahead of the curve. According to a study published by MSCI in March 2018, having three or more women on a company’s board of directors translates to a 1.2 percent median productivity above competitors. Read the full guest article by Venable’s Belinda Martinez Vega: Why businesses are adding women to their boards.

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald’s, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influenital Women in Mid-Market M&A. For each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

ACG Raleigh Durham’s 18th annual capital conference is being from March 31-April 1 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.

Source: The Latest

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M&A wrap: Last day for M&A Mid-Market Award nominations, Fidelity, Salesforce, Harsco, AEI, One Rock, Atlantic Street


Today is the last day to nominate M&A Mid-Market Award candidates. The awards honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Last year’s winners included TA Associates, Nike, Fortive and Hollie Haynes, who took home Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund for Luminate Capital Partners. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. For more information on the nomination process and what we seek in winning candidates, see Call for nominations: Submissions for the M&A Mid-Market Awards due Feb. 7.

DEAL NEWS
Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF) is buying the majority stake it does not already own in life insurance company FGL Holdings (NYSE: FG) for $2.7 billion. “Through our minority ownership position in F&G, we have come to know the business well,” says Fidelity CEO Raymond Quirk. Credit Suisse and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are advising the target. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is representing Fidelity.

Harsco Corp. (NYSE: HSC) is buying Stericycle Inc.s’ (Nasdaq: SRCL) domestic environmental solutions business for $463 million. Latham & Watkins is representing Stericycle. Simpson Thacher is advising Harsco.

AE Industrial Partners has acquired American Pacific Corp., a chemicals manufacturer for U.S. government programs, from Huntsman Family Investments, the family office of Jon Huntsman. Kirkland & Ellis and PwC advised AEI. Houlihan Lokey (NYSE: HLI) and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner advised American Pacific.

One Rock Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of ingredients producer Innophos. Lazard and Baker Botts advised Innophos. Latham & Watkins and RBC Capital Markets advised One Rock.

PNC Riverarch Capital has purchased Empire Group, a wholesale distributor of foodservice equipment, from Kian Capital Partners. Metronome Partners advised Empire, and Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. advised Kian.

Salesfore.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) bought Evergage, which was previously backed by Arrowroot Capital, G20 Ventures and Point Judith Capital. Evergage uses data to monitor customer behavior and helps retailers offer personalized services.

Hg Capital has acquired Keensight Capital’s and Pléiade Venture’s stakes in electonic trading services company SmartTrade Technologies. Arma Partners advised SmartTrade.

Atlantic Street Capital-backed All Star Auto Lights has bought Headlights 101, a provider of refurbished headlights for the auto repair industry.

Enhanced Healthcare Partners-backed Eventus Wholehealth has acquired Extended Care Specialists, a long term healthcare services provider.

Corfin Industries has made a combination with Micross Components. The latter offers microelectronic parts to the aerospace and defense, space, medical and industrials sectors. The deal is led by Behrman Capital, which owns a majority stake in Corfin.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Advent, Crosspoint, Science Applications, Westrock Coffee.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Declaration Partners, KKR, Magnum, RC Advisors.

DEAL TRENDS
Despite major challenges to potential investors, the IPO market was resilient in 2019, according to a report from law firm Paul Hastings. The report examines data from more than 60 IPOs, covering both domestic and foreign issuers, that priced in 2019. Among the findings: Approximately two-thirds of issuers priced at or above the midpoint of the pricing range set before their road show, and 39 percent of IPOs had two classes of stock. “This year’s report demonstrates that the IPO market was resilient in 2019,” says Frank Lopez, co-chair of global securities and capital markets at Paul Hastings.

Credit Suisse Group AG ousted CEO Tidjane Thiam, a move the bank’s chairman called an attempt to fix its reputation in the wake of a scandal that unnerved the Swiss establishment. Thomas Gottstein, 55, a two-decade Credit Suisse veteran, was named to succeed Thiam, making him the bank’s first Swiss-born CEO in almost two decades. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam ousted after firm cites loss of trust.

PEOPLE MOVES
Hendrik Kranenburg passed sudddenly from a heart attack at the age of 64 on Jan. 17 while hiking in Grenada. Kranenburg began his financial career at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York and joined S&P in 1984. He joined McGraw Hill in 2006 and he served as a senior advisor to Oaklins DeSilva + Phillips since 2010. Kranenburg is survived by his wife Linda Frankenbach; his children, Katharine Alice and Christopher Todd; and his sister Marion Spence.

Wendy Gugora, Tim Jamison and Dick Shuma have been named shareholders at investment bank Prairie Capital Advisors.

FEATURED CONTENT
Artificial intelligence in healthcare saw about $4 billion in funding across 367 deals in 2019, according to data and research firm CB Insights. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq; AMZN) is no exception. The tech conglomerate is using its recent deals for Health Navigator and PillPack to launch new software services in healthcare. Health Navigator works with companies like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in offering services such as remote diagnoses, and with triage to help patients figure out whether to stay at home, see a doctor or go straight to the emergency room. Read our full coverage: How Amazon is using M&A to revolutionize healthcare.

Pushed by a groundbreaking California law mandating it, more companies are putting women on their public corporate boards. The law faces pressure in court and may not stand, but its rippling effect has already started to increase the visibility and awareness of the important benefits of board diversity. Investors are taking notice and trying to get ahead of the curve. According to a study published by MSCI in March 2018, having three or more women on a company’s board of directors translates to a 1.2 percent median productivity above competitors. Read the full guest article by Venable’s Belinda Martinez Vega: Why businesses are adding women to their boards.

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald’s, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influenital Women in Mid-Market M&A. For each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

ACG Raleigh Durham’s 18th annual capital conference is being from March 31-April 1 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.

Source: The Latest

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M&A wrap: Huntington Bank, AEI, HBM Holdings, J.B. Hunt, Apple, Imagination Technologies, Most Influential Women

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. “This is somewhat of an unknown, if the coming election and the tone it will set for dealmaking will cause deceleration in M&A activity,” says Karen Davies, private equity managing director, Huntington Bank. “Often uncertainty may cause sellers to idle until the playing field is clear- i.e. push deal flow from 2020 to 2021. Certainly, change in U.S. Party could negatively affect Bank M&A, due to potential regulatory changes. The real unknowns and rationale for a global M&A 2020 slowdown are a combination of three linked variables: global recession indicators including the U.S. indicators, trade wars and geopolitical changes. Domestically, the U.S. could still outperform global M&A in 2020 like it did in 2019. Anecdotally, Huntington’s PE dealmakers and Middle Market CEOs remain evenly split on outperform optimism versus neutral/slow down for 2020 M&A deal activity.” Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners’ Kate Faust, William Blair’s Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners’ Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual.

DEAL NEWS
U.K. chip designer Imagination Technologies Group Plc said it’s struck a new license agreement with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), reviving a business relationship that had all but ended in recent years. The company, which was sold to Chinese buyout firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners for 500 million pounds ($663 million) in September 2017, said it “for med a new multi-year license agreement under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees.” Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Apple strikes new deal with U.K. chip designer it sidelined in 2017.

AE Industrial Partners-backed Gryphon Technologies has bought Omnitec Solutions. The target offers enterprise technology, cloud, analytical, strategic advisory and advanced engineering services to defense and other government agencies. Kirkland & Ellis and BDO advised Gryphon. Greenberg Traurig and Houlihan Lokey advised Omnitec.

HBM Holdings has acquired HarperLove Holdings, a provider of chemcials and services to packaging manufacturers, from Graycliff Partners. Piper Jaffray advised the sellers.

Paceline Equity Partners has bought Progress Rail Equipment Leasing Corp., a provider of railroad infrastructure and maintenance equipment from Progress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT).

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (Nasdaq: JBHT) has acquired RDI Last Mile Co. The latter offers logistics and delivery services.

Argand Partners-backed Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corp. has purchased Tooling Dynamics, a maker of precision metal stamping and screw machining parts.

Insurance underwriter Bold Penguin has acquired Xagent. The deal will allow to Bold Penguin to better serve insurance carriers, brokers and agents.

Clearview Capital-backed Controlled Products has acquired a majority stake in Purchase Green LLC and Path to Prosperity LLC. The target is a distributor synthetic turf for the landscaping industry. Separately, Clearview-backed Nielsen-Kellerman Co. has completed its deal for Ambient Weather, a maker of weather stations and monitoring systems.

DEAL TRENDS
U.S. M&A activity reached $1.8 trillion as of Dec. 30, 2019, an increase of 6 percent compared with the same period in 2018, according to data provider Refinitiv. The data is based on announced deals. Global private equity-backed M&A activity totaled $478.5 billion during the same timeframe, a 4 percent rise from 2018. Overall global deal activity totaled $3.9 trillion, a 3 percent drop from 2018.

PEOPLE MOVES
Atul Varma was hired by alternative asset management firm Hamilton Lane as chief financial officer. Varma was most recently head of business strategy and CFO of wealth management at the Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

FEATURED CONTENT
Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald’s, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

Albertsons, Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Stop & Shop and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) are building automated mini-warehouses and “dark stores” to make deliveries and prepare pickup orders. Mini-warehouses are usually attached to existing stores, and in most cases, “dark stores” are completely separate. Both formats are closed off to customers, and are mostly automated. They use the assistance of robots for speed, save on labor, and get orders out faster. Kroger bought a five percent stake in robotics firm Ocado. Read our full coverage: Smart supermarkets become popular, as Kroger, Walmart add them.

2019 was a milestone year for the Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX), which transitioned from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation on July 1. The New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund recently. With $20.5 billion of total capital commitments, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX is the largest real estate fund ever raised. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder, chairman and CEO. Read the full story: “Complete control” is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone’s Stephen A. Schwarzman.

The private equity model has held up very well over the decades, continuing to outperform the public markets, even as economic cycles come and go. But the rate of growth has slowed, leading PE firms to seek adjacent areas of business to expand. As PE firms face increased pressure to produce higher returns on their investments, many of them are turning to a familiar area of business: lending. Adams Street Partners, Balance Point Capital, Carlyle and VSS are all actively engaged in lending. Read the full story: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. For more on the timeline and nomination process for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

During the holiday season, Mergers & Acquisitions is covering the philanthropic and volunteer initiatives underway in the private equity industry. Last year, we published The Big Give, an in-depth look at how private equity firms are contributing. Efforts have continued to flourish, fueled by younger Millennials seeking to build a better future and by mature partners considering the legacy they will leave behind. Read our full coverage: Private equity gives back: Vista’s Robert F. Smith, Clearlake’s José E. Feliciano, Riverside employees.

EVENTS
The Annual AM&AA Winter Conference is taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona Jan. 8-10.

Deal Wave is being hosted by ACG Orange Country at the Ritz-Carlton-Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California on Jan. 9.

ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

Source: The Latest