M&A daily wrap: LLR Partners, Alerion, PhishLabs, BrandProtect, Arsenal, Flipkart, Alphabet
Cybersecurity firms PhishLabs and BrandProtect have joined forces, aiming to be the leading provider of threat intelligence and mitigation offerings. The combined company, which is keeping the PhishLabs name and headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as a facility in Toronto, Ontario, has closed a round of growth capital funding, led by private equity firm LLR Partners and including current PhishLabs investor Alerion Ventures. “With our combined visibility and mitigation capabilities, we can detect and stop attacks across a comprehensive range of threat vectors,” said Tony Prince, the current CEO of PhishLabs who is leading the combined company. “Not only are we very complementary from a market perspective, we are also a great cultural fit. We both put our clients first, do business with high integrity, and have a one team, one family approach to teamwork,” said Roberto Drassinower, CEO of BrandProtect. “Both PhishLabs and BrandProtect have long, successful track records in the industry. Their combined capabilities to help detect and stop threats targeting customers, employees, and brands present unique and compelling value to enterprises,” said LLR partner David Stienes. Pagemill Partners represented BrandProtect as the investment bank in the sale.
LLR Partners, which won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Private Equity Firm of the Year, wields social media and online content to help differentiate itself from competitors. The Philadelphia firm publishes an original series, called GrowthBits, to articulate the firm's value as a long-term investor, and then deploys social media to amplify its message. Watch our video interviews with managing director Michael Sala: LLR leverages social media, online content to stand out in crowded PE field and LR Partners: what makes an ideal portfolio company. Follow LLR on Twitter: @LLRPartners. Follow Mergers & Acquisitions: @themiddlemarket.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) , is said to be in talks to invest in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart alongside Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), according to two people familiar with the deal, reports CNBC. Walmart has agreed to buy a 77 percent stake in Flipkart for $16 billion, beating Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) in a reported bidding war. “Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, but it has struggled against Amazon as consumers migrate to online commerce,” explains Bloomberg News. “India is the next big potential prize after the U.S. and China, where foreign retailers have made little progress against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.”
Synchrony (NYSE: SYF) has agreed to acquire Loop Commerce, a technology provider for digital and in-store gifting services. “The acquisition of Loop Commerce allows Synchrony to move into an adjacent space by expanding our suite of products and services for retailers and consumers,” says Synchrony CEO Margaret Keane. Loop Commerce's software works with retailers' websites to make it easier for consumers to buy personalized gifts online. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Sidley Austin are advising Synchrony. Steelhead Advisors is advising Loop Commerce. Financial terms were not disclosed.
European private equity firm Astorg has agreed to buy IGM Resins from Arsenal Capital Partners. IGM, based in Waalwijk, Netherlands, is a manufacturer of additives and other chemicals that are used in 3-D printing, electronics, coatings and adhesives. Financial terms were not disclosed. Moelis & Co. (NYSE: MC) and Jones Day are advising the sellers. Houlihan Lokey Inc. (NYSE: HLI), Emendo Capital, Paul Hastings and Dechert are advising Astorg.
Atlantic Street Capital-backed Uniguest, a hospitality technology provider, has acquired Onelan, a Reading, U.K.-based maker of digital signs and other visuals. The target works with companies in the education, corporate, retail, hospitality, hotel and casino, restaurant, and transportation sectors. Financial terms were not disclosed. “Onelan helps us to quickly diversify our presence outside of the hospitality industry and offer our complementary products around the world,” says Uniguest CEO Jeff Hiscox. Onelan is Uniguest's fifth add-on acquisition since Atlantic Street bought the company in 2015.
LaSalle Capital has invested in Fresh Origins, a producer of microgreens and edible flowers for the restaurant and foodservice sectors. Based in San Macros, California, Fresh Origins' products are used by chefs to enhance dishes and beverages with color and flavor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG) has agreed to purchase auto insurance agency Pronto Holdco from Palladium Equity Partners. Pronto serves customers in Texas, California and Florida, and focuses on the Hispanic community. William Blair and Locke Lord advised Pronto. For more on auto-related deals, see our slideshow, Car parts makers fuel M&A, as industry readies for self-driving vehicles.
Former senior investment bankers from Corporate Finance Associate's Chicago office have formed a new middle-market investment bank called XLS Partners. Robert Contaldo serves as the firm's chairman. XLS is an independent member of global M&A network Geneva Capital Capital Group.
For more deal announcements, see The weekly wrap, including: Aveanna's purchase of Premier Healthcare; Blackstone Real Estate's acquisition of Gramercy Property; Del Frisco's buying Barteca; and Starbucks' partnership with Nestlé.
To see which private equity firms are raising funds, including Behring Capital, Blackstone York Partners and Mile Rock, see PE fundraising scorecard.
On the lender front, Twin Brook Capital Partners grew significantly in 2017, including doubling deal value from the previous year, raising a second fund of $2.3 billion, and building the three-year-old firm into a major source of loans in the lower middle market, earning the firm Mergers & Acquisitions' M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Lender of the Year. The Chicago firm is the middle-market direct lending subsidiary of Angelo, Gordon & Co., a $28 billion alternative investment firm focused on credit and real estate investing. Twin Brook was founded in 2014 by seasoned middle-market lenders Trevor Clark and Christopher Williams, who had previously co-founded Madison Capital Funding. Twin Brook announced recently that Williams has stepped back from his role to attend to a health issue with an immediate family member. Read our Q&A: Lenders must be active partners, says Twin Brook's Trevor Clark.
Private equity firms, including KKR, LLR Partners, the Riverside Co., Shore Capital Partners, TA Associates, and strategic buyers, including Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), are investing in eye doctors, dentists and veterinarians, plus revenue cycle management providers and other areas of healthcare that are ripe for consolidation, as Mergers & Acquisitions explores in our in-depth feature,Why private equity firms like veterinarians, opthamologists and dentists,and slideshow, 6 healthcare specialties driving M&A deals.
Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, wearable biometrics and precision medicine are transforming dealmaking in the healthcare sector, says Essam Abadir, the CEO of Aspire Ventures, which recently teamed with the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health network of hospitals to launch a $300 million fund to invest in personalized medical devices and practices. Read our Q&A with Abadir.
Read our Q&A with GTCR managing director Aaron Cohen about The Leaders Strategy and the Chicago private equity firm's sale of Callcredit, a U.K. provider of real-time credit reports, toTransUnion (NYSE:TRU) for about $1.4 billion.
Check out our Q&A with ParkerGale partner Devin Mathews about the tech-focused private equity firm's recent investment in CultureIQ/Corporate Executive Board, M&A investing trends and how the Chicago firm uses its weekly podcast.
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.