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.

John LeBoutiller is joining Brynwood Partners as a managing director. LeBoutillier was most recently president and CEO of Harvest Hill Beverage Co., a Brynwood Partners portfolio company. Harvest Hill owns the Juicy Juice, SunnyD, and Nutrament brands. Prior to joining Harvest Hill, LeBoutiller held senior management positions at Kraft Foods for 15 years and was at Unilever, where he was president of Unilever Canada. Robert Mortati is taking the reins as president and CEO of Harvest Hill. Mortati was formerly chief marketing officer of Apple & Eve LLC. Before that, he held a succession of senior roles in Kraft Foods’ beverage and coffee divisions. Mortati reports to LeBoutillier. Mortati is joining the Harvest Hill board of directors, and LeBoutillier will remain on the board. Founded in 1984 and based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Brynwood is an operationally-focused private equity firm that makes control investments in North American-based lower middle market companies. The firm targets non-core brands and companies operating exclusively in the consumer sector. Since inception, Brynwood has acquired 52 brands from 19 different corporate sellers. Brynwood currently manages more than $1 billion of private equity capital for limited partners, which include U.S. and international pension funds, fund-of-funds, endowments, high net worth family investment offices and financial institutions.

Deal news
Wright Medical Group NV (NASDAQ:WMGI) has agreed to acquire Cartiva Inc., a private orthopedic medical device maker focused on treatment of osteoarthritis of the big toe. The transaction is expected to accelerates growth opportunities in Wright’s extremities business. Cartiva’s lead product, a Synthetic Cartilage Implant (SCI) for treating arthritis at the base of the big toe, received U.S. Premarket Approval (PMA) in July 2016. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as financial advisor to Wright, and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and Ropes & Gray LLP are serving as legal advisors. Additionally, Guggenheim Securities is acting as financial advisor to Cartiva, and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP is serving as legal advisor.

People moves
Dmitri Sedov has joined Preqin, which provides data and insights on the alternative asset industry, as chief product and marketing officer. The newly-created role unites Preqin’s product, marketing and communication functions. The appointment comes as Preqin is expanding its data capabilities to include machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as developing new tools that support alternative assets investors, fund managers and other industry participants throughout the entire fund lifecycle. Many of the tools are being developed in Preqin’s new Innovation Lab, which prototypes and tests new product concepts with customers. Prior to joining Preqin, Dmitri was a managing partner at Evocado Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on sustainability fintech. He previously worked as head of innovation at S&P Global. Sedov was the founder of Esgine, an artifical intelligence-enabled sustainability reporting platform, and Digiteye Group, a digital consultancy. Preqin CEO Mark O’Hare commented: “Preqin’s alternative assets intelligence, benchmarks and fundraising data have been at the forefront of the alternatives industry for more than a decade. We are looking beyond data to develop due diligence, portfolio monitoring and deal origination solutions. With Dmitri’s experience in venture capital and at large-scale financial information providers, I believe he is ideally placed to lead this new chapter in Preqin’s product innovation.”

Featured content
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.

As Indra Nooyi ends her 12-year run in the top job at PepsiCo Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), the number of women CEOs in the S&P 500 drops to 24. But in the middle market, a growing movement is nurturing women-led companies. For example, Lorine Pendleton, a member of Pipeline Angels, focuses on inclusion investing, backing companies led by diverse entrepreneurs. Read the full story: Inclusion investing nurtures companies led by women and minorities.

Exponent, a new group of women dealmakers, brought together 200 women from private equity funds, investment banks, startups and M&A advisory firms for the Exponent Exchange, featuring Sallie Krawcheck as the keynote speaker. Previously the CEO of Wall Street banks, including Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Citi Private Bank, Krawcheck serves as the CEO of Ellevest, an online investing platform for women. Mergers & Acquisitions participated as an in-kind sponsor, and editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn moderated a panel. Check out our slideshow, Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

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 & Acquisitions featured 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. Founded by Marshall Holleb and Morris Coff in 1951, the firm advised prestigious clients, such as American National Bank, Hollinger International Inc.and LaSalle Bank. Revenue topped $40 million in 1997. In its heyday, Holleb & Coff employed 130-plus attorneys; it was the law firm to work for in the Midwest. Drawn to the supportive culture, new associates and seasoned partners alike enjoyed working at the venerated firm. 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?

See Mergers & Acquisitions’ look at 10 PE firms that have succeeded in raising new funds recently despite an overall slowdown in PE fundraising, including the Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG), PPC Partners, Soundcore Capital Partners and Sycamore Partners. For the latest on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: TPG Asia and Versey Street Capital.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is focusing on growing its top 25 brands, including Bounty paper towels, Charmin toilet paper, Crest toothpaste, Pampers diapers, Nyquil cough and cold medicine, and Tide laundry detergent, while seeking acquisitions. In April, P&G announced plans to buy Merck KGaA’s consumer-health business for $4.2 billion. The deal includes the Femibion and Neurobion over-the-counter healthcare brands. P&G is also purchasing skincare brand First Aid Beauty. “What you have to have is the brand consumers prefer, because then retailers want to carry it, because it builds the basket,” P&G CEO David Taylor explains. Read the full story: Why P&G is changing its M&A strategy.

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.