M&A daily wrap: LLR, GTCR, Callcredit, TransUnion, ACG, Jeff Immelt
“Business owners and CEOs of companies have a lot of choices as to who their investors are,” explains LLR Partners managing director Michael Sala. “They’re constantly being contacted for discussions and dialogues about how a private equity fund or growth investor could invest in them and bring value.” To stand out from the crowd, LLR has pioneered a digital strategy that involves embracing social media and devising new ways of connecting with prospective and existing portfolio companies, including content series called GrowthBits. A recent GrowthBits article outlined “must-have technologies for growth-focused companies,” written by Bill Sweeney, the chief technology officer of Kemberton Healthcare Services, a portfolio company LLR backed in 2017. The point of GrowthBits is so that when CEOs who are looking for an investor research the firm and visit its website, “they’ll start to see the value that LLR can bring around 5 main drivers: sales, marketing, technology, finance and leadership,” says Sala. “We’re not just trying to bring people to our site, we’re trying to convey why LLR can be a good partner that can add value over the long term.” LLR won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Private Equity Firm of the Year. It is one of the most active private equity firms in the middle market, having racked up 28 transactions in 2017, including 4 new platform investments, 18 add-on acquisitions and 6 exits. To discover more about the Philadelphia firm's strategy, watch our video interview with managing director Michael Sala. Check back later in the week for a second video with Sala, focused on the firm's use of social media.
Chicago-based GTCR recently sold Callcredit, a U.K. provider of real-time credit reports, to TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) for about $1.4 billion. GTCR acquired Callcredit in 2014, recruited CEO Mike Gordon to lead the company and built the business through organic expansion and three acquisitions. GTCR focuses on financial services and technology, healthcare, technology, media and telecommunications, and growth business services, and the firm touts its approach to finding and partnering with seasoned executives, dubbed The Leaders Strategy, as the core of its investment approach. Read our Q&A with managing director Aaron Cohen about the development of Callcredit and The Leaders Strategy.
"Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) suffered its worst stock decline in almost six months, rocked by fears that a proposed $26.5 billion takeover by T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) will get rejected by antitrust enforcers," reports Bloomberg News. "The deal, announced on Sunday, would combine two of the four biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. That sets the stage for an in-depth investigation by the Justice Department over whether the tie-up would harm competition in the industry, and some analysts are giving the transaction only 50-50 odds of passage."
Littlejohn & Co., a middle market private investment firm based in Greenwich, CT, has agreed to buy Motion Recruitment Partners, a global recruitment firm, in partnership with the target's management from Gridiron Capital LLC for undisclosed terms.
Headquartered in Boston, with services spanning 47 countries, Motion Recruitment provides specialized IT staffing through its Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates businesses and offers global recruitment outsourcing services through its Sevenstep business for a broad range of industries in need of both permanent and contract labor. Brian Ramsay, president of Littlejohn, said, “As the global talent needs of large and small businesses continue to increase, we believe Motion Recruitment’s family of companies are well positioned to continue to expand through their highly innovative and technology-driven business model.” Beth Gilfeather, CEO of Motion Recruitment Partners, added, “We’re aiming to capitalize on the massive opportunities in the talent acquisition space, and Littlejohn has a proven track record of helping companies like ours accelerate their growth plans."
"For Prologis Inc., the world’s largest warehouse owner, the biggest challenge to growth has been acquiring land in the markets most important to its e-commerce tenants. The solution: buy a rival," writes Bloomberg News. "The real estate investment trust agreed to acquire DCT Industrial Trust Inc. for $8.4 billion in stock and assumed debt. Stockholders in DCT will receive 1.02 Prologis shares for each of theirs, the companies said in a statement Sunday. That represents a premium of about 16 percent over DCT’s closing price of $58.75 on Friday. DCT shareholders will receive a 36 percent increase in their dividend, executives said on a conference call Monday."
A couple thousand dealmakers will be heading to sunny San Diego for three days of networking at the Association for Corporate Growth’s InterGrowth 2018 May 2-4. Mergers & Acquisitions will be there, shooting video interviews with M&A leaders. Jeff Immelt, who served as CEO and chairman of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) from 2001 to 2017, is the keynote speaker. In February, Immelt was named chairman of Athenahealth Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN), a provider of network-enabled services for hospital and ambulatory clients. While his legacy at GE is currently being reexamined by some observers, his bio argues that “Immelt transformed GE into a simpler, stronger and more focused digital industrial company. He revamped the company’s strategy, global footprint, workforce and culture, positioning GE for the future." In the middle market, the divestiture of GE Capital assets under Immelt's watch launched a highly competitive process for prolific lender Antares Capital, which ultimately was won by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a $12 billion deal that closed in August 2015. The discussion with Immelt will be moderated by Jay Jester, a dealmaker well known in the private equity industry. Jester joined Audax Private Equity at its inception in 2000. As a managing director, Jester leads the Boston firm’s marketing and business development efforts. His team sources more than 1,000 new investment opportunities per year, according to Audax. Jester also serves on the board of ACG Global.
KKR, LLR Partners, the Riverside Co., Shore Capital Partners, TA Associates and other private equity firms 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.
As Americans plan road trips and other summer vacations, car deals are thriving, especially in the nascent self-driving tech sector. Intel bought Israel's Mobileye for about $15 billion. Meanwhile, in a much smaller deal, Delphi bought NuTonomy. As the industry readies for autonomous driving, there's a big wave of consolidation going on among makers of traditional car parts. Buyers include CenterOakPartners, Clearlake Capital Group and Wabash National. Meanwhile, Carl Icahn is among the sellers. Check out our slideshow on the rush of activity.
To see which private equity firms are currently raising funds, see PE fundraising scorecard: Ardian, Balance Point, BlackRock, Golub.
For more recent deal announcements, including McKesson's purchase of Medical Specialties Distributors from New Mountain Capital, Square's acquisition of Weebly and 3i's investment in International Cruise & Excursions, see The weekly wrap: McKesson, Square, 3i Group.
For recent hires, promotions and other dealmaker career news, including Baird'shiringBrett Skolnik as healthcare managing director and Tony Armand's joining Norwest Equity Partners as an operating partner, read People Moves.
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.