Salesforce.com Inc.'s (NYSE: CRM) agreement to buy software analytics company Datorama is an effort to compete against rivals Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL). Datorama uses artificial-intelligence tools for marketing and analytics. The target's clients include Pepsico Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP), Unilever and Ticketmaster. "As Salesforce’s core sales cloud has saturated the customer-relationship management tool market, which it dominates, the San Francisco-based company has sought to drive growth in other areas, including marketing," reports Bloomberg News. "For Salesforce, the acquisition of Datorama is meant to bolster the company’s data analytics capabilities, so it can provide more useful insights to marketers as they target customers." In 2016, Salesforce paid $700 million for marketing software company Krux. Businesses are increasingly relying on data to help them make better decisions, making data providers attractive M&A targets. Some other deals include: ION Investment Group's purchase of Dealogic; Morningstar Inc.'s (Nasdaq: MORN) deal for PitchBook; and S&P Global's (NYSE: SPGI) acquisition of Kensho Technologies.

Mergers & Acquisitions has announced the Rising Stars of Private Equity. These 11 up-and-coming investors are expected to play significant leadership in the future. Among them are: Ethan Liebermann, who led TA Associates’ investments in Aldevron and MedRisk and co-sponsored CCRM, Datix and SoftWriters; and Jennifer Roach, who helped Yellow Wood Partners build PDC Brands and sell it to CVC Capital Partners. As we spoke with dealmakers about the 11 Rising Stars, common themes emerged. All have demonstrated the ability to handle many aspects of the PE business, including: fostering trusted relationships and developing deep networks throughout the sectors they invest in; forging and/or expanding their firm’s investments in key sectors; identifying add-on acquisitions and other opportunities for portfolio companies; representing their firms well in the marketplace; and taking on leadership roles within their firms, including developing new systems and tools and training other dealmakers.

Congratulations to Mergers & Acquisitions’ 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity:

Daniel Hopkin, Partner, Kainos Capital
John Kos, Principal, GTCR
Erik Latterell, Director, Stone Arch Capital
Ethan Liebermann, Principal, TA Associates
Jaime McKenzie, Director, Monomoy Capital
Jennifer Roach, Vice President, Yellow Wood Partners
Joseph Rondinelli, Principal, Frontenac
David Shainberg, Vice President, Balmoral
Tom Smithburg, Vice President, Shore Capital Partners
Nicholas Stone, Managing Director, Cyprium Partners
Afaf Ibraheem Warren, Senior Associate, Siris Capital

For profiles of the emerging leaders, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity.

Deal news
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice-backed NCI Building Systems Inc. (NYSE: NCS) is merging with Golden Gate Capital-backed Ply Gem Parent, a manufacturer of exterior building products for residential construction, for $5.5 billion. CD&R will own less than a 50 percent stake in the combined company, while Golden Gate will have a 16 percent stake. Evercore Inc. (NYSE: EVR) and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are advising NCI. Credit Suisse is advising Ply Gem. Debevoise & Plimpton is representing Ply Gem and CD&R. Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets LLC are providing financing.

Genstar Capital is buying a majority stake in Cetera Financial Group, which operates a network of 8,000 financial advisors. UBS Investment Bank, Deutsche Bank, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP are advising Genstar.

Gridiron Capital LLC has acquired a controlling stake in the Service Companies Inc., a provider of managed services, food & beverage staffing, and cleaning services for the hospitality and gaming industries. Finn Dixon & Herling LLP advised Gridiron on the transaction. Twin Brook Capital Partners provided financing.

SunSource Holdings Inc., a distributor of fluid power and fluid process parts and systems is buying the United Distribution Group Inc. The target is a distributor of fluid products for the maintenance, repair and operations, energy, mining and industrials sector. Barclays and Debevoise & Plimpton are advising SunSource, which is receiving financing from from Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank AG.

Stone Point Capital LLC is buying a majority stake in commercial real estate investment firm Sabal Capital Partners. Wells Fargo Securities LLC NYSE: WFC), Beekman Advisors, Arnold & Porter LLP, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP are advising Sabal. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is representing Stone Point.

People Moves
Jordan Hamburger has joined Sheppard Mullin's Century City, California office as a partner. He was most recently the national co-head of M&A at Manatt Phelps & Phillips.

Peter Jaffe was hired as a managing director at middle market lender Gordon Brothers Finance Co., where he will be leading the firm's financing services across Europe. Jaffe previously held roles at Grovepoint Credit and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM).

Scott Shotter has been named CEO at Axum Capital Partners-backed burger chain Back Yard Burgers. Shotter was previously the vice president of operations at Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Featured content
Serena Williams enjoyed a dazzling week at Wimbledon. Out of the grand slam game for 16 months as she started a family and suffered post-delivery complications, Williams, seeded 25th, fought her way into the finals. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watched from the All England Club's Royal Box, as Williams finished second to Angelique Kerber on July 14. Williams is among many star athletes who have excelled in business as well as in sports. If you’ve had a beer and chicken wings while waiting for a flight at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, or grabbed a smoothie while shopping at the Federal Plaza in Rockville, Maryland, or enjoyed a steak dinner at New York’s Grand Central terminal, you’ve got a sports celebrity athlete to thank. Among the athletes investing are Dale Earnhardt Jr., LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Greg Norman. View our slideshow: Serena Williams, heading to Wimbledon finals, and other athletes bet on restaurants, wineries, juice bars.

Justify recently joined the elite group of Triple Crown winners. But, as anyone who’s ever bet the ponies knows, they can’t all be Justifys. Sometimes you get a winner and sometimes, for reasons that aren’t quite clear to anyone, you get an underperformer. It’s a concept with which most fund sponsors may be intimately familiar. You bet on the investment because you foresee its potential and understand the path it needs to take in order to achieve it. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting a stuck-in-the-mudder into racing shape, written by Accordion's Rishi Jain and Anthony Horvat: 6 strategies to turn an underperformer into a "mudder."

Summer reading list: From stories of star athletes Arnold Palmer, Keith Hernandez and Tiger Woods to advice from entrepreneurs Bridgewater AssociatesRay Dalio, KPCB’s John Doerr, Nike’s Phil Knight and Brava Investments’ Nathalie Molina Niño, plus strategies to help business leaders in general, and female dealmakers in particular, the 15 books on Mergers & Acquisitions’ list entertain, instruct and inspire. Check out our listicle: Dealmaker’s guide to summer reading: 15 new books.

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.