TA Associates has acquired Global Software Inc. and Insightsoftware.com International, two enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developers, for undisclosed terms. TA has invested in several ERP companies over the years. “It is a category of software that we know and like,” managing director Hythem El-Nazer tells Mergers & Acquisitions. “ERP software is the central nervous system for all of the mission-critical business processes for an enterprise. It is a suite of integrated applications that allow businesses on a real-time basis to collect, store, and manage data from various activities across the enterprise. Accessing and reporting on that valuable data from the ERP is critical for business leaders to be able to analyze and make informed decisions on their businesses.” TA is combining the two companies under the name Insightsoftware, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, with global offices in Denver, Colorado; London, England; and Perth, Australia. The combined company boasts 6,000 enterprise customers and 75,000 end users globally. CEO Michael Lipps is heading up Insightsoftware. Lipps held previous positions as COO, MercuryGate International; managing director, LexisNexis; and various executive posts during his 14-year career at Intuit Inc., including leading the company’s flagship Quickbooks Financial Software product line. For more on TA’s strategy, read our Q&A with managing partner Ajit Nedungadi: You’re either working a live deal, or hunting for the next one, at TA Associates.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) has agreed to buy a 66.7 percent stake in luxury cruise operator Silversea Cruises for about $1 billion. "The cruise industry has accelerated and evolved dramatically," Royal Caribbean CFO Jason Liberty tells Mergers & Acquisitions. "Cruises used to be people sitting around in lounge chairs having a drink. Now they have become floating cities." Customers are willing to pay more for higher-end experiences and services, like Broadway-caliber performances. Perella Weinberg Partners and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom are advising Royal Caribbean. Barclays and Morgan Lewis & Bockius are advising Silversea.

“We did very well last year in the massive tax reform bill,” says Patrick Morris, the CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth, in a video interview shot at InterGrowth 2018. “We need to keep an eye on what's going on with the decision makers, especially in Washington and to continue to educate them as to what the middle market really is.” Watch the video: ACG will keep promoting the middle market to lawmakers in DC.

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.

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.

Deal news
Thoma Bravo has bought and merged MeridianLink and CRIF Lending Solutions. The combined company is called MeridianLink. The latter is a web-based credit reporting, lending and financial services company. CRIF is a lending software provider. Kirkland & Ellis, Credit Suisse, and Krall & Co. advised Thoma Bravo. Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF) and Bryan Cave advised MeridianLink. Baker McKenzie represented CRIF.

Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) has acquired a minority stake in b8ta, which helps emerging brands launch retail stores. Among its services, b8ta assists with checkout, inventory management and staff scheduling. The target is partnering with The Market @ Macy's, which has 10 locations, and is designed to give brands in the apparel, accessories and beauty industries the opportunity to reach a wider customer range, while offering shoppers opportunities to try new products.

Hearst and West Street Capital Partners (a fund managed by the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division) have bought Slickdeals from Warburg Pincus. Slickdeals allows consumers to discover and discuss the best deals on products and services across thousands of popular retailers. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP represented Slickdeals and Warburg Pincus.

AE Industrial-backed Belcan has acquired Allegiant International LLC, a professional services and consulting firm to the automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, and industrial industries. Belcan provides engineering and technical staffing services to the aerospace, power generation and industrial sectors. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers advised Belcan. Faegre Baker Daniels and BKD Corporate Finance advised Allegiant.

Polar Star Capital Partners has bought a majority stake in Burger King franchisee Meridian Restaurants Unlimited. In addition to 114 Burger Kings, Meridian also operates 10 Chili's and two El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) restaurants.

WebMD, which is owned by KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR)-backed Internet Brands, has acquired Jobson Healthcare Information, a business-to-business publisher for the pharmaceutical and eye care sectors, from the Wicks Group. JEGI advised the target.

Carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. (Nasdaq: TILE) has agreed to buy rubber flooring products provider Nora Systems from Intermediate Capital Group for $420 million. Bank of America is providing financing.

Anglo American has agreed to buy a 21.9 percent stake in Anglo American Quellaveco S.A, a Peru-based copper mine project, from Mitsubishi Corp. for $600 million. Shearman & Sterling is advising the buyer.

People Moves
Seth Friedman was hired by investment firm Global Bankers Capital as a managing director. Previously with RLJ Credit Management, Friedman focuses on middle-market debt and borrowing.

Jon de Jong and Louis Mancini have been hired by Alvarez & Marsal as senior directors. They advise businesses on tax matters in M&A and private equity.

Featured content
“If there's one theme we're seeing across all of our deals, it is the digital transformation of all companies,” says Matt Conaty, director, financial sponsors, William Blair, in this video interview, shot at ACG InterGrowth 2018. William Blair won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Investment Bank of the Year. Watch the video: Digital transformation is the name of the game, says William Blair’s Matt Conaty.

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, private equity firms, including Clearlake, CenterOak Partners and Wabash National, are scooping up all sorts of car-related companies from parts makers to service providers.

In our 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.