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Carry1st has $4M to invest in African mobile gaming

Gaming development startup Carry1st has raised a $2.5 million seed round led by CRE Venture Capital .

That brings the company’s total VC to $4 million, which Carry1st will deploy to support and invest in game publishing across Africa.

The startup — with offices in New York, Lagos, and South Africa — was co-founded in 2018 by Sierra Leonean Cordel Robbin-Coker, American Lucy Parry, and Zimbabwean software engineer Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu.

Robbin-Coker and Parry met while working in investment banking in New York, before forming Carry1st.

“I convinced her to avoid going to business school and instead come to South Africa to Cape Town,” Robbin-Coker told TechCrunch on a call.

“We launched with the idea that we wanted to bring the gaming industry…to the African continent.”

Carry1st looks to match gaming demand in Africa to the continent’s fast growing youth population, improving internet penetration and rapid smartphone adoption.

Carry1st has already launched two games as direct downloads from its site, Carry1st Trivia and Hyper!.

“In April, [Carry1st Trivia] did pretty well. It was the number one game in Nigeria, and Kenya for most of the year and did about one and a half million downloads.” Robbin-Coker said.

Image Credit: Carry1st

The startup will use a portion of its latest round and overall capital to bring more unique content onto its platform. “In order to do that, you need cash…to help a developer finish a game or entice a strong game to work with you,” said Robbin-Coker.

The company will also expand its distribution channels, such as partnerships with mobile operators and the Carry1st Brand Ambassador program — a network of sales agents who promote and sell games across the continent.

The company will also invest in the gaming market and itself.

“We want to dedicate at least a million dollars to actually going out and acquiring users and scaling our user base. And then, the final piece is really around the the tech platform that we’re looking to build,” said Robbin-Coker.

That entails creating multiple channels and revenue points to develop, distribute, and invest in games on the continent, he explained.

Image Credits: Carry1st

Robbin-Coker compared the Carry1st’s strategy in Africa as something similar to Sea: an Asia regional mobile entertainment distribution platform — publicly traded and partially owned by Tencent — that incubated the popular Fornite game.

“We’re looking to be the number one regional publisher of [gaming] content in the region…the publisher of record and the app store,” said Robbin-Coker.

That entails developing and distributing not only games originating from the continent, but also serving as channel for gaming content from other continents coming into Africa.

That generates a consistent revenue stream for the startup, Robbin-Coker explained, but also creates opportunities for big creative wins.

“It’s a hits driven business. A single studio will work and toil in obscurity for a decade and then they’ll make Candy Crush. And then that would be worth $6 billion, very quickly,” Carry1st’s CEO said.

He and his team will use a portion of their $4 million in VC to invest in that potential gaming success story in Africa.

The company’s co-founder Lucy Parry directs aspirants to the company’s homepage. “There’s a big blue button that says ‘Pitch Your Game’ at the bottom of our website.”

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JPMorgan profit sinks to lowest since 2013 on virus fallout

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said first-quarter profit tumbled 69% to the lowest in more than six years as credit costs surged, giving investors a first glimpse at the extent of the damage Covid-19 is wreaking on bank results.

The company set aside $8.29 billion for bad loans, the biggest provision in at least a decade and more than double what some analysts expected, as it grappled with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. That prompted JPMorgan’s first drop in profit since the fourth quarter of 2017.

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon warned earlier this month that the bank wouldn’t be immune to fallout from the pandemic, predicting in his annual letter to shareholders that the economy would suffer a “bad recession” and financial stress mirroring the 2008 financial crisis.

“Given the likelihood of a fairly severe recession, it was necessary to build credit reserves,” Dimon said in a statement Tuesday. “The first quarter delivered some unprecedented challenges and required us to focus on what we as a bank could do — outside of our ordinary course of business — to remain strong, resilient and well-positioned to support all of our stakeholders.”

The damage at JPMorgan hints at what’s to come when the rest of Wall Street reports results this week. Wells Fargo & Co., which also disclosed a surge in credit costs Tuesday, will be followed Wednesday by Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. Morgan Stanley is scheduled for Thursday.

Some of the declines at JPMorgan were offset by gains in the bank’s trading operation, which benefited from record volatility during the quarter as investors moved in and out of positions in response to the unfolding crisis. The bank generated $7.23 billion from trading stocks and bonds, the most on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The trading gains came off a wild three months for the markets, with stocks reaching record highs in January only to suffer the biggest decline since the 1987 crash as the extent of the pandemic started to become clear.

Equities traders generated a record $2.24 billion in the quarter, 28% more than a year earlier, driven by derivatives. Bond-trading revenue rose 34% to $4.99 billion, the highest in nine years.

Revenue and profit fell in all but one of the bank’s four major business lines, driven by a 95% drop in net income in the massive consumer unit as the division set aside $5.77 billion of provisions for credit losses. The unit generated $191 million in profit.

The corporate and investment bank, which houses the trading and banking businesses, was the most profitable unit, earning $1.99 billion, or 39% less than last year. The asset and wealth management unit was the only division to see revenue rise, up 3% from last year’s first quarter.

The bank on Tuesday lowered its full-year outlook for net interest income — revenue from customers’ loan payments minus what the bank pays depositors — by $1.5 billion to $55.5 billion. The revenue source accounted for about half the company’s total last year, and in the past has helped counter more volatile results in the trading and investment-banking divisions.

The crisis is still relatively new, and net charge-offs actually fell from the fourth quarter. But the bank increased its loan-loss reserve by more than $11 billion as it braced for higher credit-card defaults and saw corporate borrowers tap $50 billion worth of existing credit lines. The total allowance for possible loan losses rose to $25.4 billion, the highest since 2012, boosted by a $4.3 billion increase from new rules the bank had previously announced and a $6.8 billion reserve build.

JPMorgan and other banks adopted a new accounting standard this year known as CECL, which aims to push banks to set aside provisions earlier in a cycle.

The Federal Reserve had two emergency rate cuts, bringing the central bank’s benchmark to virtually zero. The action came as more evidence emerged that the U.S. economy was being hit hard by the virus and the global economic shutdown.

For its part, JPMorgan has been waiving fees for some loans, allowing customers to defer payments on mortgages and auto loans, and removing minimum payment requirements on credit cards. It’s planning to lend an additional $150 billion to clients across the world.

The bank got caught with $13 billion of loans in its bridge book in the first quarter, which resulted in an $896 million pretax markdown as credit spreads widened. That’s about a quarter the size of the book going into the last crisis. Dimon said he expects some of the deals to get syndicated by the end of the second or third quarters.

“We’re adults, we’re going to have quarters” with losses, Dimon said on a conference call with analysts. “We’re a leader in leveraged lending, we’re a leader in high yield, and we intend to maintain that position,” he said.

Dimon also said the bank is willing to sustain losses to help support the economy.

“If we can help the country get through this, everybody’s better off,” he said. “If we lose a little more money in the meantime then so be it.”

Dimon, speaking less than six weeks after undergoing an emergency heart procedure that forced him to temporarily relinquish control of the firm, said his views on retirement haven’t changed. “I was eager to get back to work,” Dimon said on a call with reporters. “Having purpose in life is a good thing.”

KBW analysts led by Brian Kleinhanzl said in an April 8 report they expect provisions to peak in the second quarter as banks build reserves in advance of expected charge-offs under the newly adopted CECL accounting rules.

Investors and analysts are taking comfort in the fact that banks are entering the uncertain period with higher capital levels than they had during the 2008 financial crisis.

“The company entered this crisis in a position of strength, and we remain well capitalized and highly liquid – with a CET1 ratio of 11.5% and total liquidity resources of over $1 trillion,” Dimon said in the statement.

While the results offer a look at the impact of the virus, the picture is somewhat muddled because they include January and February, before government lockdown measures began in earnest. Analysts are expecting future quarters to show even more damage to consumer businesses, as near-zero interest rates and rising unemployment take a toll.

Analysts at Jefferies Financial Group warned before earnings were released that traditional credit metrics would be thrown off by “forbearance programs aimed at limiting long-term effects on the economy,” such as the payment deferrals JPMorgan has offered on consumer loans.

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M&A wrap: Audax, Vista, Robert F. Smith, Sumeru, Stifel, Piper Jaffray, Stifel, SoFi, Clearlake, M&A Mid-Market Awards

Audax, Vista, Sumeru, Stifel and Piper Jaffray win M&A Mid-Market Awards. SoFi buys payments firm Galileo. Clearlake and Levine Leichtman make deals.

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5 years of M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Piper Jaffray, Robert F. Smith, Audax and Twin Brook among this year’s honorees

Honors an individual who made a significant impact on M&A. The award goes to an individual. All dealmakers are eligible.

2019: Robert F. Smith 2018: Hollie Haynes, Luminate Capital Partners2017: Randy Jacops, Idera2016: Greg Sandfort, Tractor Supply2015: David Brackett, John Martin, Anatares

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Piper Jaffray takes home Deal of the Year for buying Sandler O’Neill

Getting to scaleAgainst the backdrop of soaring bank M&A last summer, Piper Jaffray Cos. announced the acquisition of Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, creating the newly formed Piper Sandler and instantly becoming a leading investment bank in financial services. While Piper Jaffray grew organically and through hiring over the …

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Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam ousted after firm cites loss of trust


Credit Suisse Group AG ousted Chief Executive Officer 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.

“We saw a deterioration in terms of trust, reputation and credibility among all our stakeholders,“ Chairman Urs Rohner said in an interview Friday after the board closed ranks to rebuff appeals from major shareholders in the U.S. and U.K. to back Thiam. “It became really relevant” because the damage was notably in Switzerland, source of 40% of the bank’s pretax income, Rohner said.

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. Investors will look to him to restore calm in a boardroom shaken by personal animosities and reverse a slump in the lender’s shares after they lost almost half their value during Thiam’s tenure.

Thiam’s exit represents the culmination of a conflict between the CEO and Rohner that escalated after it emerged that top management hired detectives to follow former executive Iqbal Khan. While Thiam, 57, was cleared in an internal probe and a close lieutenant was blamed, the bank struggled to move beyond the scandal following the disclosure of another spying episode in December. Swiss regulators have launched their own inquiry, raising questions about the culture at the top of the firm.

The second incident “made the situation worse,” Rohner said. It became clear “that there was more of a pattern.”

Top shareholders including Harris Associates, Silchester International Investors and Eminence Capital had warned the board of directors before Thursday’s meeting that if there was a choice to be made, Rohner should be the one to go. They urged the chairman to back Thiam or step down. Rohner’s backers saw the high-profile demands as an unseemly gambit, according to a person familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the chairman lined up support behind the scenes from other shareholders for the board, including Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the person said.

The chairman’s focus on the damage done in Credit Suisse’s home market — “among all of our stakeholders, clients, employees, regulators” — contrasts with complaints from non-Swiss investors, notably David Herro, deputy chairman of Harris Associates, who said concerns were limited to the Zurich financial district.

Herro stood by his criticism of Rohner, calling on him to quit. “Our worry is that you have this new CEO who is capable and talented but above him, a chairman who is less than capable and talented and a board who seems to just mimic, just follows blindly whatever he says,” Herro told Bloomberg TV.

“We agree to disagree,” Rohner said.

“Tidjane has made an enormous contribution to Credit Suisse since he joined us in 2015,” Rohner said in the statement. “It is to his credit that Credit Suisse is standing on a very solid foundation and has returned successfully to profit.”

For Thiam, who was born in Ivory Coast and previously held top roles at Aviva Plc and Prudential Plc before Rohner hired him in 2015, the departure blemishes a record that includes a pivot away from volatile trading and toward the more stable business of catering to affluent clients.

Thiam took over at Credit Suisse in mid-2015 and quickly outlined a plan to slash costs, boost profitability and increase his firm’s financial strength. A former politician and insurance executive, he had no direct experience in investment banking, a business that became one of his biggest headaches. He was blindsided by losses at the trading unit in 2016, pushing him to accelerate cost cuts.

The latest troubles started in September when Swiss media reported Khan, who had left for crosstown rival UBS Group AG, confronted his pursuers in downtown Zurich. Embarrassing disclosures followed, including accounts of the personal feud between Thiam and Khan and the suicide of a contractor, rattling business circles in a city that normally enjoys a reputation for quiet professionalism.

An internal probe concluded Thiam didn’t know about the spying, and that Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee was responsible. Bouee was fired late last year. It later came out that human resources chief Peter Goerke was also followed, which the bank also blamed on Bouee.

“I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues,” Thiam said in the Friday statement. “It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”

A third spying case, involving a former Credit Suisse employee in the U.S., was also probed and rejected by the bank. However, lawyers for Credit Suisse were still looking into the matter as recently as last week, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Thiam’s resignation after prominent overseas shareholders had backed him marks a victory for the Swiss establishment. A former lawyer who has been chairman of Credit Suisse for a decade, Rohner’s leadership “during this turbulent time” was praised by lead independent director Severin Schwan, CEO of Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche Holding AG.

Gottstein is CEO of Credit Suisse Switzerland and has been in the banking industry for 30 years, including more than 20 at Credit Suisse. His experience includes 13 years in investment banking in London, as well as in private banking. The unit, known as the Swiss Universal Bank, is a sort of miniature Credit Suisse focused on the domestic market. It’s the biggest contributor to pretax profit and includes a private banking arm as well as investment banking.

The new CEO also sits on the board the regulator Finma. It’s unclear what impact the change in leadership at Credit Suisse will have on its investigation into the scandal. Finma said in December that it had appointed an independent auditor to investigate the case and that such probes typically take several months. No one at the regulator was immediately available on Friday morning to comment on the news.

“Gottstein is very Swiss, it’s a big contrast,” said Andreas Venditti, an analyst at Vontobel. Still, he “has a background in investment banking — he doesn’t know only Switzerland. I wouldn’t say that this is a retreat from a global ambition.”

Source: The Latest

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Today is the last day to nominate M&A Mid-Market Award candidates

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. Below is more information about the nomination process and what we look for in winning candidates.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION

What we look for:
To determine the winners, Mergers & Acquisitions considers a variety of factors. We look for companies and individuals who overcame the challenges the year brought, embodied the trends of the period and took their businesses to the next level. Market leadership and performance are important, but league tables aren’t everything. Growth counts for a lot, especially when the rate of growth outpaces peers and the overall industry. Innovation also counts. We value companies that businesses. Thought leadership in the industry is also relevant. Looking at past winners provides a good guide to what we’re seeking.

Last year’s winners included: Hollie Haynes, who took home Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund for Luminate Capital Partners, the tech-focused PE firm she founded after leaving Silver Lake; TA Associates, which won Private Equity Firm of the Year for growing significantly as the firm celebrated its 50th anniversary and completed its 500th transaction; Fortive, which scored Deal of the Year for its $775 million acquisition of Gordian, a provider of construction software in a transformative deal for the construction industry; and Nike, which was named Strategic Buyer of the Year, for buying Zodiac and Invertex, a pair of innovative digital startups helping the athletic apparel maker get closer to customers. Click here for full coverage of last year’s winners.

Eligibility:
To be eligible for our awards, deals must meet the following criteria: be valued at or below $1 billion and have been completed (not just announced) by Dec. 31 of 2019.

The nomination process:
Nominations are helpful but not required. The deadline for nominations is end of day Friday, February 7, 2020. There is no fee, and there is no limit on the number of nominations, or award categories, submitted by a firm. Please provide only information that we may publish. We do not accept anonymous nominations or confidential information for this project. All decisions are made by the editorial team, led by editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn. She can be reached at marykathleen.flynn@arizent.com .

Awards:
We bestow M&A Mid-Market Awards in the following eight categories:

Deal of the Year recognizes a transformative transaction that made a significant impact on the buyer’s strategy, or sector, or overall M&A. Note: The award goes only to the buyer. Corporations and private equity firms are eligible.

Dealmaker of the Year honors an individual who made a significant impact on M&A, or who led a transformative transaction. Note: The award goes to an individual dealmaker. All dealmakers are eligible.

Private Equity Firm of the Year recognizes a PE firm that stood out in a competitive landscape. We take into account the acquisitions, exits, fundraising and other activities made by the firm throughout the year, including growth. Thought leadership also plays a role. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible.

Investment Bank of the Year honors a bank that outshone the competition. We take into account the volume and total value of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the bank, and only full-service investment banks are eligible.

Private Equity Seller of the Year recognizes a private equity firm that produced stellar exits throughout the year. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible for this award.

Strategic Buyer of the Year honors a corporation that wielded M&A to transform or significantly expand its business, or sector or overall M&A. Acquisitions and divestitures emblematic of the company’s M&A strategy are considered. Note: The award goes to the company, and only corporations are eligible.

Law Firm of the Year recognizes a law firm that excelled. We take into account the volume of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only law firms are eligible.

Lender of the Year honors a lender that ran ahead of the pack. We take into account the volume of loans made, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the lender, and only lenders are eligible.

Good luck to all!
Note: For more information on Mergers & Acquisitions’ annual special reports, including timelines, see: Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

Source: The Latest

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Time is running out: Nominate M&A Mid-Market Award candidates by Feb. 7

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. Below is more information about the nomination process and what we look for in winning candidates.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION

What we look for:
To determine the winners, Mergers & Acquisitions considers a variety of factors. We look for companies and individuals who overcame the challenges the year brought, embodied the trends of the period and took their businesses to the next level. Market leadership and performance are important, but league tables aren’t everything. Growth counts for a lot, especially when the rate of growth outpaces peers and the overall industry. Innovation also counts. We value companies that businesses. Thought leadership in the industry is also relevant. Looking at past winners provides a good guide to what we’re seeking.

Last year’s winners included: Hollie Haynes, who took home Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund for Luminate Capital Partners, the tech-focused PE firm she founded after leaving Silver Lake; TA Associates, which won Private Equity Firm of the Year for growing significantly as the firm celebrated its 50th anniversary and completed its 500th transaction; Fortive, which scored Deal of the Year for its $775 million acquisition of Gordian, a provider of construction software in a transformative deal for the construction industry; and Nike, which was named Strategic Buyer of the Year, for buying Zodiac and Invertex, a pair of innovative digital startups helping the athletic apparel maker get closer to customers. Click here for full coverage of last year’s winners.

Eligibility:
To be eligible for our awards, deals must meet the following criteria: be valued at or below $1 billion and have been completed (not just announced) by Dec. 31 of 2019.

The nomination process:
Nominations are helpful but not required. The deadline for nominations is end of day Friday, February 7, 2020. There is no fee, and there is no limit on the number of nominations, or award categories, submitted by a firm. Please provide only information that we may publish. We do not accept anonymous nominations or confidential information for this project. All decisions are made by the editorial team, led by editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn. She can be reached at marykathleen.flynn@arizent.com .

Awards:
We bestow M&A Mid-Market Awards in the following eight categories:

Deal of the Year recognizes a transformative transaction that made a significant impact on the buyer’s strategy, or sector, or overall M&A. Note: The award goes only to the buyer. Corporations and private equity firms are eligible.

Dealmaker of the Year honors an individual who made a significant impact on M&A, or who led a transformative transaction. Note: The award goes to an individual dealmaker. All dealmakers are eligible.

Private Equity Firm of the Year recognizes a PE firm that stood out in a competitive landscape. We take into account the acquisitions, exits, fundraising and other activities made by the firm throughout the year, including growth. Thought leadership also plays a role. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible.

Investment Bank of the Year honors a bank that outshone the competition. We take into account the volume and total value of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the bank, and only full-service investment banks are eligible.

Private Equity Seller of the Year recognizes a private equity firm that produced stellar exits throughout the year. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible for this award.

Strategic Buyer of the Year honors a corporation that wielded M&A to transform or significantly expand its business, or sector or overall M&A. Acquisitions and divestitures emblematic of the company’s M&A strategy are considered. Note: The award goes to the company, and only corporations are eligible.

Law Firm of the Year recognizes a law firm that excelled. We take into account the volume of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only law firms are eligible.

Lender of the Year honors a lender that ran ahead of the pack. We take into account the volume of loans made, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the lender, and only lenders are eligible.

Good luck to all!
Note: For more information on Mergers & Acquisitions’ annual special reports, including timelines, see: Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

Source: The Latest

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Who will win the M&A Mid-Market Awards? Nominations due Feb. 7

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. Below is more information about the nomination process and what we look for in winning candidates.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION

What we look for:
To determine the winners, Mergers & Acquisitions considers a variety of factors. We look for companies and individuals who overcame the challenges the year brought, embodied the trends of the period and took their businesses to the next level. Market leadership and performance are important, but league tables aren’t everything. Growth counts for a lot, especially when the rate of growth outpaces peers and the overall industry. Innovation also counts. We value companies that businesses. Thought leadership in the industry is also relevant. Looking at past winners provides a good guide to what we’re seeking.

Last year’s winners included: Hollie Haynes, who took home Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund for Luminate Capital Partners, the tech-focused PE firm she founded after leaving Silver Lake; TA Associates, which won Private Equity Firm of the Year for growing significantly as the firm celebrated its 50th anniversary and completed its 500th transaction; Fortive, which scored Deal of the Year for its $775 million acquisition of Gordian, a provider of construction software in a transformative deal for the construction industry; and Nike, which was named Strategic Buyer of the Year, for buying Zodiac and Invertex, a pair of innovative digital startups helping the athletic apparel maker get closer to customers. Click here for full coverage of last year’s winners.

Eligibility:
To be eligible for our awards, deals must meet the following criteria: be valued at or below $1 billion and have been completed (not just announced) by Dec. 31 of 2019.

The nomination process:
Nominations are helpful but not required. The deadline for nominations is end of day Friday, February 7, 2020. There is no fee, and there is no limit on the number of nominations, or award categories, submitted by a firm. Please provide only information that we may publish. We do not accept anonymous nominations or confidential information for this project. All decisions are made by the editorial team, led by editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn. She can be reached at marykathleen.flynn@arizent.com .

Awards:
We bestow M&A Mid-Market Awards in the following eight categories:

Deal of the Year recognizes a transformative transaction that made a significant impact on the buyer’s strategy, or sector, or overall M&A. Note: The award goes only to the buyer. Corporations and private equity firms are eligible.

Dealmaker of the Year honors an individual who made a significant impact on M&A, or who led a transformative transaction. Note: The award goes to an individual dealmaker. All dealmakers are eligible.

Private Equity Firm of the Year recognizes a PE firm that stood out in a competitive landscape. We take into account the acquisitions, exits, fundraising and other activities made by the firm throughout the year, including growth. Thought leadership also plays a role. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible.

Investment Bank of the Year honors a bank that outshone the competition. We take into account the volume and total value of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the bank, and only full-service investment banks are eligible.

Private Equity Seller of the Year recognizes a private equity firm that produced stellar exits throughout the year. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only private equity firms are eligible for this award.

Strategic Buyer of the Year honors a corporation that wielded M&A to transform or significantly expand its business, or sector or overall M&A. Acquisitions and divestitures emblematic of the company’s M&A strategy are considered. Note: The award goes to the company, and only corporations are eligible.

Law Firm of the Year recognizes a law firm that excelled. We take into account the volume of deals advised on, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the firm, and only law firms are eligible.

Lender of the Year honors a lender that ran ahead of the pack. We take into account the volume of loans made, as well as their significance. We also consider the firm’s growth, thought leadership and influence on the M&A industry. Note: The award goes to the lender, and only lenders are eligible.

Good luck to all!
Note: For more information on Mergers & Acquisitions’ annual special reports, including timelines, see: Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

Source: The Latest

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Special reports: Advancing the middle market through Most Influential Women, M&A Mid-Market Awards and Rising Stars

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A; the M&A Mid-Market Awards; and the Rising Stars of Private Equity. These projects embody the mission of our recently relaunched and renamed parent company, Arizent, which is to advance the financial and professional service industries, including the middle market M&A community.

We encourage our audience to nominate candidates for all our special reports. Here’s an overview, including timelines. Note: There are no fees associated with any of them. Nominations are accepted only through electronic forms on our website, themiddlemarket.com.

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN MID-MARKET M&A
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. We open up the nomination process in September.

M&A MID-MARKET AWARDS
We are currently seeking nominations for the 13th annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, due Feb. 7. As with all our special reports, nominations are helpful but not required. There is no limit on the number of nominations, for any award category or categories, submitted by a firm or individual. The awards honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in the previous year. We look for companies and individuals who overcame the challenges the year brought, embodied the trends of the period and took their businesses to the next level. We bestow awards in eight categories: Deal of the Year, Dealmaker of the Year, Private Equity Firm of the Year, Investment Bank of the Year, Private Equity Seller of the Year, Strategic Buyer of the Year, Law Firm of the Year, and Lender of the Year. We announce the winners on TheMiddleMarket.com in late March and in the April issue of the magazine. The 2018 winners marked the 12th edition of the awards and included among the winners: Nike, Fortive, TA Associates, the Riverside Co., Luminate Capital Partners founder Hollie Haynes and more. For full coverage, see Meet the winners of the M&A Mid-Market Awards: Nike, Fortive, TA, Harris Williams.

THE RISING STARS OF PRIVATE EQUITY
We open up the nominations in April, and the deadline is in May. We look for individuals who are full-time private equity investors and whose best days are yet to come. These are the folks you predict will one day play a key leadership role at your PE firm – or will head up their own. There is no age cutoff. We publish the list online in July and in the July/August issue of the magazine. In 2019, we named 10 Rising Stars of Private Equity, including Austin Collier, Branford Castle Partners; Shawn Domanic, Sterling Partners; and Sophia Popova, Summit Partners. For profiles and video interviews, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. For Q&As, see 10 Rising Stars of Private Equity tell their tales.

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