GM CEO Mary Barra shows off one of the company’s self-driving cars at an event at one of GM’s manufacturing plants.
GM CEO Mary Barra shows off one of the company’s self-driving cars at an event at one of GM’s manufacturing plants. Photo credit: General Motors

SoftBank is pumping $2.25 billion in General Motor Co's (NYSE: GM) self driving car unit, GM Cruise Holdings LLC. Softbank is making the investment out of its $100 billion Vision Fund. The deal values GM Cruise at around $11.5 billion, and after it is completed, SoftBank will own a 19.6 percent stake in the target. “This gives GM Cruise the capital necessary to commercialize at scale,” GM CEO Mary Barra told reporters. GM is competing with Google parent Alphabet Inc (Nasdaq: GOOGL)., which owns Waymo, to commercialize self-driving cars. Waymo has a partnership with Fiat Chrysler, and the two recently announced plans to roll out 62,000 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. SoftBank's Vision Fund has invested in Uber, ride-sharing service Didi, India’s ride-hailing service Ola, chipmaker Nvidia Corp. and driver-behavior tracker Nauto Inc.

With summer road trips in mind, check out our slideshow on auto deals: Car parts makers fuel M&A, as industry readies for self-driving vehicles. Highlights include: Intel bought Mobileye, and Delphi bought nuTonomy. Meanwhile, Clearlake and Wabash National are scooping up makers of traditional car parts.

Mergers & Acquisitions seeks to profile Rising Stars of Private Equity, and we’d like your help identifying candidates. The individuals we select will be featured on our website, www.TheMiddleMarket.com, beginning in mid-July, and in the July/August issue of our magazine. We’re looking for individuals who are full-time private equity investors and whose best days are expected to be in the future. These are the folks you predict will one day play a key leadership role at your PE firm – or heading up their own. There is no specific criteria, but investing in middle-market companies and growing them should be the focus of day-to-day activities. Promising candidates may have been recently promoted, or have recently launched a new endeavor. Most will not be at the partner level yet. There is no age cut-off. The nomination process is informal, and all decisions will be made by our editorial team, which is headed by Editor-in-Chief Mary Kathleen Flynn. Please email suggestions, questions and comments to marykathleen.flynn@sourcemedia.com. In the email subject line, please include: “Rising Stars of Private Equity Candidate" and the PE professional's name and firm. Tell us why you think the individual stands out, and why his/her path is heading up. The deadline is Fri June 8. For more details, read the full story: Who are the Rising Stars of Private Equity? Nominate candidates by June 8. And for related content, see the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including our slideshow.

“The rise in private debt has been tremendous over the last three or four years,” says Sunil Mehta, managing director, Madison Capital Funding LLC, in this video interview shot at ACG InterGrowth 2018. Investors from all over the globe are attracted to this asset class. “There aren't very many asset classes that have performed this consistently over the last 10 or 15 years, and you have asset managers in the class that have been able to perform for not only two or three years but for decades.” Madison, a subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Co., has long been a stellar source of capital in the middle market. Watch the video: Investors from all over the globe are attracted to private debt, says Madison's Sunil Mehta.

Fitch Group, a unit of Hearst, has agreed to acquire Fulcrum Financial Data, a provider of leveraged finance and distressed debt analysis, news and data, from Leeds Equity Partners. The target owns the Covenant Review, LevFin Insights, CapitalStructure and PacerMonitor brands. DCS Advisory is advising Fitch. Houlihan Lokey Inc. (NYSE: HLI) and Goodwin Procter are advising Fulcrum.

Encore Consumer Capital has invested in bacon and pork provider Tender Belly. The target is known for dry-cured bacon that takes two weeks to make and comes from hogs that are crate-free and are fed vegetarian, antibiotic-free diets.

Gen Cap America has partnered with management to buy Mid America Metals. The target provides restoration services to architectural and commercial buildings throughout the U.S.

Aquiline Capital Partners has acquired healthcare software company Aspiron Health Resources. Aspiron helps hospitals and physicians recover otherwise lost claims revenue from motor vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation, the Veterans Administration, as well as underpayments and denials.

The private equity healthcare sector is thriving. Robust deal activity continues from 2017’s momentum in all size levels of the market, ranging from the lower middle-market to large buyout. Driven by healthy valuations in the public markets and funds flush with new capital, Stonington Capital Advisors expects these forces to continue to drive deal activity through 2018. Read the full story: Why lower mid-market healthcare M&A is poised for growth.

Ejaz Elahi has joined middle-market investment bank Dresner Partners as a managing director, where he will focus on the healthcare sector. Elahi was previously with Deloitte and PwC.

"You have to go out and make deals happen; they’re not going to occur on their own,” says TA Associates managing partner Ajit Nedungadi about the private equity firm’s focus on deal origination. Headquartered in Boston, TA has invested about $20 billion in nearly 500 companies since the firm was founded 50 years ago in 1968. We asked Nedungadi about TA’s investment strategy in Europe and the firm’s culture, including the focus on proprietary deal flow. Read the full story: At TA Associates, “you’re either working a live deal or hunting for the next one.”

“At the end of the day, it really matters how you behave if there’s a problem,” says Karin Kovacic, managing director, East Coast region, of middle-market lender Monroe Capital. Watch our video interview, which was shot at ACG InterGrowth 2018: Trust counts in lending to the middle market, says Monroe Capital’s Karin Kovacic.

More covenant-lite loans are “bleeding down” to the middle market, says Twin Brook Capital Partners co-founder Trevor Clark in this video interview, in which he discusses the downside of loosening lender protections. “There are clearly some groups out there that haven’t had as much experience lending through a credit crisis." Twin Brook won Mergers & Acquisitions' M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Lender of the Year.

To gain insights on how lenders evaluate potential transactions in today's highly competitive market, we asked Madison Capital Funding's chief underwriting officer Jennifer Cotton to share her thoughts. Read the full story here: Abundance of capital drives highly competitive loan process, says Madison Capital's chief underwriter.

In Mergers & Acquisitions’ updated Buyer’s Guide, we profile nine categories of product and services designed to help M&A professionals perform in today’s highly competitive dealmaking arena. Read the full story: From fund administrators to VDRs, dozens of firms help M&A pros compete.

Read full coverage of Mergers & Acquisitions' 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.

Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis joined SourceMedia in 2015 and serves as Managing Editor of Mergers & Acquisitions. He covers all aspects of middle-market deamaking, with a focus on strategic buyers and the consumer and retail sectors, and writes The Buyside column.
Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn joined SourceMedia in 2011, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. MK oversees the brand’s content on all media platforms, including website, e-newsletters, video, slideshows, podcasts and print.