M&A wrap: 21st Century Fox, Caffeine, Disney, Thoma Bravo, Q2

21st CenturyFox
Signage is displayed outside Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. headquarters in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on May 10. Photographer: Alexander F. Yuan/Bloomberg

21st Century Fox (Nasdaq: FOX) is leading a $100 million investment round in social broadcasting startup Caffeine. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners also participated in the round. The deal comes as consumers are watching more content across social media and mobile devices. Caffeine, which is has to yet officially launch, mainly focuses on broadcasting live e-sports events. The company will use the investment from 21st Century Fox towards funding a joint venture called Caffeine Studios, which will be owned by Fox Sports and Caffeine. Caffeine Studios will use Fox Sports resources to program live sports, e-sports and other entertainment. Caffeine also reached a content agreement with Live Nation to broadcast live concerts on Caffeine by the end of 2018. “The combination of the Caffeine platform with a content studio that benefits from Fox Sports’ expertise in live events and programming will help position Caffeine to deliver compelling experiences in esports, video gaming and entertainment,” says 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch. “We are excited to partner with Caffeine and build something special for fans in the growing live social streaming e-sports and gaming space.” Caffeine Studios will be formed after the pending $71 billion asset deal between 21st Century Fox and Walt Diesney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is completed.

Despite a growing threat of trade wars and other political disruptions, the global mergers and acquisitions market stayed strong in the second quarter, with 2,632 announced transactions reported worldwide, just over a 1 percent increase from 2,595 in the first quarter, according to Mergermarket data. As usual, North America led the world in M&A transactions, generating over half the volume with 1,434 deals of the 2,632 deals reported, down slightly from 1,452 reported in the first quarter. The next-largest market was the United Kingdom & Ireland with 397, a 15 percent increase from 344 in the prior quarter. The DACH and Nordics regions had 272 and 262, which was on par with 279 and 268 from the first quarter, respectively; and finally Indochina saw 147, compared to 139 and Iberia had 124 vs 113 in the same quarter. North America domestic deal volume stayed strong (1,132 domestic to 302 inbound), a 79 percent to 21 percent mix, and similar to Q1 which recorded 1,145 to 307, respectively. Read the full story: M&A activity stayed strong in Q2.

Deal news
Thoma Bravo is buying a majority stake in Apttus, a technology company that helps businesses automate and optimize revenue and commercial relationship management processes. "Our partnership with Thoma Bravo will allow Apttus to accelerate growth, scale to new heights, and capitalize on an enormous market opportunity," says Apttus co-founder Neehar Giri. Goldman Sachs & Co. (NYSE: GS) and Cooley LLP are advising Apttus. Kirkland & Ellis is representing Thoma Bravo. Deutsche Bank Credit Solutions is providing financing.

Accel-KKR has made a growth equity investment in Seequent, a visual data science company. Seequent uses data to help geologists make better environmental decisions. Murray & Co. and Chapman Tripp advised Seequent.

Atlantic Street Capital has bought OrthoBethesda, an operator of four orthopedic practices in and around Washington, D.C.

Auxo Investment Partners has raised its first fund at $50 million. The fund has already invested $30 million across four acquisitions. Auxo also purchased M/G Transport Services, a transportation and logistics company that carries more than 5 million tons of non-hazardous dry bulk cargo annually.

The Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG) is buying Noble Environmental Power's wind generation portfolio in New York. The target operates six wind farms in Northern and Western New York.

Core Industrial Partners has acquired Midwest Composite Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of prototype and low-volume production parts, for the aerospace, consumer, industrial and medical sectors. Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP represented Core. Monroe Capital provided financing.

Frontier Capital has made a growth investment in ListenFirst Media, a software provider of social media analytics. The target offers data and analytics to consumer brands to help them better understand their social media engagement. Digital Capital Advisors advised ListenFirst.

Wind Point Partners-backed food products producer Stir-Pacifica has purchased Sabra Dipping Co.'s salsa business, which includes the Santa Barbara and Chachies brands. Corporate Fuel Advisors and Hunton Andrews Kurth advised Sabra. Reed Smith represented Wind Point. BMO Harris Bank and Antares Capital provided financing.

WindRose Health Investors has invested in Kolmac Clinic, an outpatient addiction treatment company.

People Moves
Micaela Bulich has joined Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as an operating partner. Bulich is a former vice president of global supply chain for GE renewable energy’s onshore wind business.

Hilton Romanski was hired by Siris Capital as a partner and senior managing director where he will focus on the technology, media and telecom sectors. Romanski was previously a senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Featured content
"Companies that are inclusive and also diverse tend to outperform companies that aren't," says investor Lorine Pendleton of Pipeline Angels and Portfolia in this video interview shot at Exponent Exchange, a gathering of 200 female dealmakers. Pendleton looks to invest in companies led by diverse entrepreneurs, which she defines as entrepreneurs of color, LGBT entrepreneurs, women, veterans, and disabled entrepreneurs. She also backs companies that have products and services that cater to those markets. "People think that they are niche markets, but they're actually growing in terms of spending dollars and market size." Pendleton spoke on a panel moderated by Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn at Exponent Exchange. For more, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck. Watch the full video: M&A Insights: Inclusion investing.

The energy industry is teeming with M&A activity, as companies seek to improve operations. Hubbell and Ingersoll Rand are among the strategic buyers. Private equity firms acquiring include AE Industrial Partners, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Genstar Capital. Companies in the energy industry are focused on improving operational efficiencies and analytical capabilities. The issues are urgent for oil and gas companies, because depressed prices mean profits are hard to come by, says Caroline Blitzer Phillips, who advises clients on energy deals as a partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins. They are also essential for renewable energy, which “has been quite expensive in some cases, because the infrastructure is not in place.” From providers of “smart grids” to developers of energy management software, Mergers & Acquisitions looks at recently acquired targets. Read the full story: 14 smart energy deals.

While some of the firms that were instrumental in launching the middle market back in the 1980s and 1990s have long since been shuttered, their legacy lives on. They proved to be excellent training grounds for many successful dealmakers. Heller Financial certainly belongs in this category, and Mergers & Acquisitionsfeatured its alumni a few years ago. Another firm with a far reach is Holleb & Coff, a Chicago law firm that closed in 2000, after a nearly 50-year run. Many of the lawyers who worked at Holleb & Coff back in the day are making a significant impact on M&A today, including: John Corvino, general counsel to the Chicago White Sox; · Brian Kerwin, chair of Duane Morris’ global corporate practice; Theodore (Ted) Koenig, the founder and CEO of Monroe Capital; Kenneth Serota, president of Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co., and Michelle Warner, general counsel, USG Corp. (NYSE: US). Read the full story: Holleb & Coff alumni: Where are they now?

Mergers & Acquisitions has announced 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity, including John Kos, GTCR; Ethan Liebermann, TA Associates; Jennifer Roach, Yellow Wood Partners; and Afaf Ibraheem Warren, Siris Capital . The up-and-coming investors are expected to play significant leadership roles in the future. See: Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.