Exponent, a new networking group for female dealmakers, which launched at the end of 2017, is gearing up for its first marquee Exponent Exchange event on July 12. The event is designed to bring “the best people and the best content together,” explains co-founder Nanette Heide, a partner at law firm Duane Morris. Exponent Exchange features keynote speaker Sallie Krawcheck, who previously served as CEO of several banks, including Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and the Citi Private Bank, and is the current CEO of Ellevest, an online investing platform aimed at women. Other scheduled speakers include: Lisa Bernstein, global head of human capital, Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO); Sarah Bradley, partner, Kainos Capital; Mary Kathleen Flynn, the editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions; Jennifer Lu, executive director, Moelis & Co. (NYSE: MC); and Cheraé Robinson, founder, Tastemakers Africa. The organizers have succeeded in attracting an impressive group of sponsors for the event, including Apollo, Baird, BDO, Merrill Corp. and Moelis, underscoring increased interest in initiatives aimed at women dealmakers. Read the full story: Entrepreneurs Sallie Krawcheck, Cheraé Robinson to speak at Exponent Exchange.

Deal news
Equipment rental company United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) is acquiring BakerCorp International Holdings Inc. for $715 million. BakerCorp provides tank, pump and filtration rental services to industrial and construction companies. Centerview Partners and Sullivan Cromwell are advising United Rentals. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Fried Frank are advising BakerCorp.

Industrial technology company Fortive Corp. (NYSE: FTV) is buying construction software provider Gordian from Warburg Pincus for $775 million. Gordian offers data, finance and workflow management to contractors and facility managers. Credit Suisse and WilmerHale are advising Fortive.

Golden Gate Capital has bought the Learning Experience, a franchise operator of education academies for children between six weeks and six years old. Ropes & Gray and Nob Hill Law Group advised Golden Gate. Harris Williams, Goodwin Procter and Greenberg Traurig advised the Learning Experience.

Men's accessories company Randa Accessories has made an offer to acquire Perry Ellis International Inc. (Nasdaq: PERY) for $444 million. The bid is higher than the $437 million deal that Perry Ellis agreed to with founder George Feldenkreis. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is representing Randa.

Salveo Capital, an alternative investment firm specializing in the legalized cannabis sector, has acquired a minority equity interest in Flow Kana, which partners with "independent farmers who cultivate under full sun, sustainably, in small batches," according to a statement from the investment firm.

For deal more deal announcements, including acquisitions made by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG), read The weekly wrap: AT&T, Conagra, Twitter.

To see which private equity firms are raising funds, including Thoma Bravo, read PE fundraising scorecard: Clearview Capital and Thoma Bravo.

People Moves
Former Lazard International chairperson and former UBS global M&A head Ken Costa has joined LJ Partnership as a partner. In addition, Ali Bouzarif, the former head of investment execution at the Qatar Investment Authority has joined LJ as a partner. Costa is based in London and is serving as the firm's co-chairperson. Bouzarif is based in New York. LJ is a private wealth and real estate partnership and is expanding into M&A and private equity. Family office Dilmun has acquired a 40 percent stake in LJ, and the latter will rebrand to Alvarium Investments in 2019.

Christine Kaniak has joined Orrick's Munich office as a partner. Previously with Kirkland & Ellis, Kaniak focuses on financing in private equity and M&A.

Karen Lee was hired by Kirkland & Ellis' Palo Alto office as a partner. Most recently with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Lee concentrates on tax matters related to private equity and M&A.

Featured content
Consolidation has become a driving force for M&A among car dealerships, with autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing and other influences contributing as well. An estimated 1,080 car dealerships were sold to 612 buyers between 2014 and 2017, reports Kerrigan Advisors, an Irvine, California, sell-side advisor to auto dealers. We asked Stephen Dietrich, a Denver-based Holland & Knight attorney with an auto dealer M&A practice, for his thoughts on trends in the sector and what middle-market private equity firms should consider when looking at potential deals for car dealerships. Read the full story: Car dealerships sell, as self-driving vehicles shake up auto industry.

Check out our slideshow on auto-related deals: Car parts makers fuel M&A, as industry readies for self-driving vehicles. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP are advising Brunswick.

Today’s portfolio companies choose private equity funds “based on not just who's going to pay them the most money, but who's going to be more involved in helping them get to that next step, helping them to execute the strategy,” says BDO USA’s Bob Pearlman in this video interview shot at ACG InterGrowth 2018. Watch the full video: PE firms take a more strategic approach to portfolio companies than in the past.

"Clamoring to be the loudest person in the room” is not the way to bring more women into the middle market, says Suzie Doran of SingerLewak, in this video interview shot at ACG InterGrowth 2018. Doran serves as president of ACG Los Angeles, which recently took the Women of ACG Los Angeles on a private viewing of the 100th Anniversary Exhibition of King Tut at the California Science Center. “We're about making connections and being able to take those connections to the next level.” Watch the full video: No “clamoring to be the loudest person in the room” at women dealmaker events.

Peter Van Raalte, co-founder of Corinthian Capital, and Mary Kathleen Flynn, editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions, were featured speakers at the ACG NY Industrial Conference at the New York Athletic Club. The conference is part of the ACG Northeast Industry Tour, sponsored by ACG New York, ACG Boston and ACG Philadelphia. View our slideshow: Manufacturing M&A: high prices but plenty of opportunities.

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’ summer reading list entertain, instruct and inspire. Check out our listicle: Dealmaker’s guide to summer reading: 15 new books.

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.