Photo credit: The Royal Family, Adobe Stock, Mergers & Acquisitions

In a nod to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Sat. May 19, Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at 5 private equity firms headquartered in London: 3i, BC Partners, Bridgepoint Capital, Cinven and CVC. Check out our slideshow. Markle, who was born in Los Angeles, has made an impact on the world since she was 11, when her letters to Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), covered by the local news, persuaded the consumer goods company to change its Ivory dishwashing soap commercials to say “people” instead of “women” were “fighting greasy pots and pans.” Prior to her engagement, Markle, who is biracial and divorced, was best known as the character Rachel Zane on the Suits TV series and the star of two Hallmark movies: When Sparks Fly; and Dater's Handbook. Markle is also well known for philanthropy. The royal wedding creates a “charity power couple,” declares the Chronicle of Philanthropy, citing Markle’s advocacy of women’s healthcare and work with the United Nations in Africa. “In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple has asked for donations to seven small organizations focused on women’s health, the environment, children of veterans, and more,” points out the publication.

Denise Morrison, the CEO of Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), is retiring abruptly with no explanation. Following significant acquisitions, the company beats quarterly forecasts but lowers its outlook for the year. Campbell, which won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Strategic Buyer of the Year, has been leveraging acquisitions to ensure the company known for comfort food for nearly 150 years remains relevant to millennials and future generations. Campbell recently closed two significant deals: the $4.8 billion acquisition of pretzel marker Snyder’s-Lance; and the $700 million purchase of organic soup maker Pacific Foods. But, like many other food producers, it faces significant challenges, including higher commodity costs and pressure to lower prices coming from Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and other retailers. Meanwhile, the number of female Fortune 500 CEOs dwindles. Read the full story here: Denise Morrison, CEO of active acquirer Campbell Soup, retires abruptly.

Black Tech Weekend NYC, presented by Etsy Inc. (Nasdaq: ETSY), is underway. Frank Baker, the co-founder and managing partner of Siris Capital, is among the featured speakers discussing Tech Opportunities At Non-Tech Companies at the Barclays BlackTech FinTech Demo Day at Rise New York. On May 19, events are being held at Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters. Blacktech Week is a non-profit group that brings innovators, founders, and investors together. Since its inception in 2014, the organization has convened more than 2,700 participants, 150 speakers, and 3 pitch competitions. Programming and content revolve around talks and workshops on: building tech ecosystems, STEAM educator resources, customer acquisition and growth, startup financial management, sales, marketing, resources for investors and more.

Madison Capital Funding, a subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Co., has long been a stellar source of capital in the middle market. Since its founding in 2001, the Chicago lender has invested $29.2 billion of net funded commitments in 1,075 transactions with 287 different private equity sponsors. With $9.5 billion in assets under management, Madison invests alongside private equity sponsors and other investors to provide cash-flow based debt products to companies with a minimum $3.5 million in Ebitda. To gain insights on how lenders evaluate potential transactions in today's highly competitive market, we asked Madison's chief underwriting officer Jennifer Cotton to share her thoughts. Cotton oversees Madison's underwriting and portfolio management teams and serves as a member of the Investment Committee as well as the Senior Leadership team. Read the full story here: Abundance of capital drives highly competitive loan process, says Madison Capital's chief underwriter.

Access, the largest privately-held records and information management (RIM) services provider in the U.S., has acquired Canadian firms: BCRM Services Ltd.; Calgary Archives Corp.; Crown Store-All Facilities, SecureShred, Crown Filing Systems; Phoenix Recycling Inc.; FileBank Record Centre Ltd.; and Docu Guard Ltd.

Covenant-lite loans are making a comeback, as competition in middle-market lending increases, says Ken Ken, CEO of Churchill Asset Management. Following on the heels of a record year of capital raising, debt financing provider Churchill recently closed a $300 million collateralized loan obligation fund, Churchill Middle Market CLO IV. Churchill is part of Nuveen, the asset management division of TIAA. Overall, Churchill manages more than $4.4 billion in committed capital. Read our Q&A: CLOs are huge draw for income-hungry investors, says Churchill CEO Ken Kencel.

For more 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 8back 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.

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.

For recent deal announcements, including Brynwood Partners' acquisition of Carolina Beverage, see The weekly wrap: Brynwood Partners; Kohlberg, Zoetis.

To see which private equity firms are raising funds, including Argonne Capital, CI Capital, Iconiq Strategic Partners, see PE fundraising scorecard.

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.

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.
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.