M&A wrap: ATL, Pilot Freight, Rock-It Cargo, Blackstone, Cache Creek, Arlington

pilotfreight

ATL Partners has raised its second fund at $575 million. The PE firm, which focuses on the aerospace, logistics and transportation sectors, now has $1.6 billion under management. ATL has already made two investments out of its second fund in logistics companies Pilot Freight Services and Rock-It-Cargo. ATL invests up to $750 million in equity in businsses. “ATL will continue to leverage its deep sector expertise and industry experience to execute investments that are positioned to benefit from the secular growth trends in our focus sectors," says CEO Frank Nash. Nash, who is a former managing director at MidOcean Partners, co-founded ATL in 2014.

Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) has raised more than $22 billion for its flagship buyout fund, making it the largest in the firm’s history. Blackstone completed the first close for its eighth private equity fund last month, according to Bloomberg News. The firm hasn’t yet set a limit for the pool, which it expects to eclipse Apollo’s record $24.7 billion when it wraps up fundraising later in the year. Read the full story: Blackstone raises largest buyout fund.

In other PE fundraising news: lower middle-market firm DFW Capital Partners has raised its sixth fund at $500 million, and HealthQuest Capital raised its third fund at $440 million. For more, read our weekly column, PE fundraising scorecard: Aegis, AIP, Blackstone, First Reserve, SSP.

Deal news
Cache Creek Industries and Rockmont Capital Partners are buying Automated Business Power, a maker of communication and power systems for the military sector. Advisors to the target include: Eureka Capital Markets and Holzman Horner. The legal advisor to Cache Creek is Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP. Financing is being provided by Academy Bank and Medallion Capital.

Arlington Capital Partners has invested in Octo Consulting, a provider of technical services to the Federal government.

Wellspring Capital Management has acquired Lucky Strike Entertainment, an operator of food and beverage and entertainment venues, that offer bowling and other games. McDermott Will & Emery advised Wellspring.

Canadian real estate PE Firm Tricon Capital Group is buying a portfolio of 23 multi-family properties located primarily in the U.S. Sun Belt for $1.4 billion.

Gordon Brothers has acquired the assets formerly owned by Coalcliff Pty. Ltd. and will immediately put them up for sale. The assets include trucks, loaders, excavators, rollers, dump trucks, graders, dozers, and light vehicles.

Peak Event Services has bought event rental services company Be Our Guest.

People moves
Thomas DeSplinter has joined law firm McGuireWoods as a partner, where he is focusing on M&A in the utilities and energy sectors. He was most recently with Winston & Strawn.

Sebastian Fain and Paul Humphreys have been named partners at law firm Freshfields.

John Klauberg, Michael Espinoza and Charles Vandenburgh have joined law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. They focus on M&A in the electric power and gas industries.

Bernhardt Nadell was hired by law firm King & Spalding as a partner. He was previously with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and represents private equity firms, insurers, reinsurers and investment banks in complex insurance-related transactions including M&A.

Oliver Wriedt has joined Vibrant Capital Partners-backed credit asset manager DFG Investment Advisers as CEO. He most recently served as co-CEO at CIFC Asset Management.

Featured content
Excelled. Innovated. Inspired. That’s what the eight winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 12th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards did in 2018. Our awards honor the leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market. In addition to Nike, award winners include: Nike, Fortive, TA Associates, the Riverside Co., Harris Williams, Monroe Capital, Goodwin and Luminate Capital Partners' Hollie Haynes. Read our full coverage: Meet the winners of the M&A Mid-Market Awards: Nike, Fortive, TA, Harris Williams.

Related: Read more about Mergers & Acquisitions' three annual special reports, including the M&A Mid-Market Awards, the Rising Stars of Private Equity, and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions has produced a wealth of compelling content recently. In case you missed any of it, we've put together a short list of 5 M&A stories you don't want to miss, including the winners of the 2018 M&A Mid-Market Award winners, top investment banks and PE firms doing tech deals. Here are more details on our recent coverage: 5 M&A stories you don't want to miss

Michigan State beat overall No. 1 seed Duke, which means the Spartans advance to the NCAA Tournament's Final Four round on Saturday, along with Texas Tech. Virginia and Auburn. This year, March Madness offers fans unprecedented access to online betting, thanks to a May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. More Americans are expected to place bets on the college basketball tournament than the Super Bowl, with the American Gaming Association's predicting that about $8.5 billion in wagers will be placed on the tournament. Online betting and data companies, including sportsbooks from DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars, are drawing basketball fans and interest from investors. M&A is rampant throughout the sector. Here's a look at recent online gaming and sports data deals.

Related: March Madness: DraftKings, FanDuel, Action Network draw fans, dealmakers.

The way consumers shop continues to change. Customers want to put their own touch on products, not wait too long for them and in most cases, never step foot in a store to buy them. Apparel and sneaker retailers, such as Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), the winner of Mergers & Acquisitions' 2018 Mid-Market Award for Strategic Buyer of the Year, and Foot Locker, are embracing these challenges by snatching up companies that help provide customized products to customers. Read the full story: Sports retailers Nike, Foot Locker buy digital startups to help customize sneakers.

Technology M&A is thriving, and private equity firms are hot on the trail of innovations that will drive sustainable value to customers and make companies more efficient, more effective and less expensive to run. Among the developments appealing to PE investors are: artificial intelligence, data management, data virtualization, digital marketing, healthcare IT, industrial automation, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine learning, payment processing and Software-as-a-Service. To gain more insights into what kinds of tech deals will dominate the field in 2019, Mergers & Acquisitions reached out to 10 private equity firms that are active investors in technology: Francisco Partners, Genstar, Great Hill, HGGC, Insight, LLR, Riverside, Silver Lake, TA and Vista.

Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named 36 leaders the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Kainos Capital's Sarah Bradley, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors' Nishita Cummings and Pelham S2K Managers' Venita Fields. All 36 are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. This year, we asked the featured dealmakers to tell their own stories through Q&As, including their advice for women.

Related: Meet the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

Events
Exponent Women LLC is hosting an evening of networking and conversation with leading economists at the New York office of Alliance Bernstein on April 4. Speakers include Lindsey Piegza, chief economist, Stifel Fixed Income, and Kathleen Fisher, head of wealth and investment strategies, Alliance Bernstein.

InterGrowth 2019 is taking place from May 6-8 at the Waldorf Astoria & Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Innovation Works is holding its second annual AI/Robotics Venture Fair in Pittsburgh from on May 15 and 16.
ACG Chicago is hosting the Midwest Capital Connection at The Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile from May 21-22.

ACG New York, ACG Boston and ACG Philadlephia are holding the Industrial Conference with Value Creation at the Infor in New York on June 6. The event is part of the Northeast Industry Tour.

ACG Minnesota is hosting the The Upper Midwest ACG Capital Connection at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot from June 10-11.

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