Bloomberg News

The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), led by CEO Stephen Schwarzman, acquired a minority stake in middle-market private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. Blackstone made the investment out of the firm's strategic capital holds fund, which is part of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management. "With this investment, Kohlberg is well positioned to build upon its 30 year history with continued growth in the years ahead," says Kohlberg managing partner Sam Frieder. Kohlberg, based in Mt. Kisco, New York, typically invests up to $300 million in businesses across the manufacturing, consumer, business services, healthcare and financial services sectors. An increasing number of private equity firms are selling minority stakes to fund future growth. In 2017, the Riverside Co. sold a minority stake to Parkwood and Accel-KKR sold a minority equity investment in the firm to Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Petershill program. Evercore Inc. (NYSE: EVR) and Ropes & gray advised Kohlberg. SImpson & Thacher represented Blackstone. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) bought consumer data analytics firm Zodiac Inc. in an effort to ramp up its digital presence. “The acquisition of Zodiac demonstrates our commitment to further accelerating Nike’s digital transformation and enhancing our consumer data and analytics capabilities to help us serve consumers globally," says NIke chief digital officer Adam Sussman. Based in Philadelphia and New York, Zodiac uses "proven data models, customer analytics, and behavioral analysis to predict the future behaviors of individuals." Both strategic and private equity buyers are going after analytic firms to monitor consumer behavior and help with their e-commerce strategies. For example, in 2017, the Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG) acquired consumer data provider Claritas from Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN).

Industrial products maker U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA) agreed to buy EP Minerals for $750 million. The target produces additives and absorbents that are derived from minerals such as clay. U.S. Silica says the deal complements the company's oil and gas business, and gives it additional opportunities to pursue add-on acquisitions. EP serves the food and beverage, energy and infrastructure sectors, among others. Centerview Partners and Baker Botts are advising U.S. Silica.

Private equity firm Liebman Group acquired a majority stake in mobile device accessory maker C-Slide. Financial terms were not disclosed. Liebman focuses on middle-market investments in companies that have to $100 million in revenue. Crewe Capital advised C-Slide.

Blue Point Capital acquired FM Sylvan Inc. Based in Pontiac, Michigan, provides pipe fabrication and installation along with boiler repair and maintenance services. Angle Advisors advised FM Sylvan.

Dunes Point Capital-backed Harvey Building Products purchased windows and doors maker Thermo-Tech Windows & Doors from Bounds Equity Partners and Orix Mezzanine & Private Equity. Financial terms were not disclosed. BB&T Capital Markets advised the target.

Computer Software company IAR Systems Group purchased Secure Things, a developer of embedded security products that are used in connected devices. Morrison & Foerster is representing IAR.

Acquiring skilled talent – “acquihiring” – has become a driver of M&A transactions and a top objective of middle-market businesses, according to a recent Business Pulse Survey conducted by SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI). Read the full story here.

Read full coverage of the 11th annual M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Campbell Soup, Huron Capital, Idera CEO Randy Jacops, LLR Partners, McGuireWoods, Stryker, Twin Brook and William Blair.

Read about the week's deals here.

Read about the week's private equity fundraising here.

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