M&A wrap: Samsung, DraftKings, Brookfield, Cincinnati Bell, Mastercard, Avathon, Most Influential Women

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Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. We’re also pleased to welcome many newcomers to the list, such as Shoshana Vernick of Avathon. "Avathon stands for bringing people together to make a lasting impact," says Vernick. Sterling Partners' Education Opportunity Fund recently became Avathon Capital, which focuses on the education and workforce management sectors. Avathon invests up to $50 million in equity in deals, also said it has doubled its assets to $404 million since the firm launched in 2015. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual.

Editor's Note: Over the holidays, Mergers & Acquisitions will publish the M&A wrap column and our Daily Briefing newsletter on Monday, Thursday and Friday during the last two weeks of the year.

DEAL NEWS
DraftKings Inc. is going public in a deal with former Hollywood executive Jeff Sagansky that values the sports betting firm at about $3.3 billion. The company agreed to be sold, alongside gaming technology giant SBTech, to Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. The combined gro up, which will house both DraftKings and SBTech, will trade under the name DraftKings Inc. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: DraftKings goes public in a deal with former Hollywood executive Jeff Sagansky

Brookfield Infrastructure (NYSE: BIP) is buying broadband services company Cincinnati Bell for $2.6 billion. White & Case is advising Brookfield. Morgan Stanley & Co., Moelis & Co., Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Morgan, Lewis & Blockius LLP and BosseLaw PLLC are advising Cincinnati Bell.

Sentinel Capital Partners has purchased ECM Industries from Genstar Capital. The target produces electrical products for the construction, maintenance and utility industries. Baird and Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised Genstar.

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is buying RiskRecon, a provider of artificial intelligence and data analytics services that helps companies protect their cyber systems and infrastructure.

Diversis Capital Partners has acquired data and workflow technology company WorldApp.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Genstar, New York Life, TiVo.

For more fundraising news, see PE fundraising scorecard: Abbott Capital, Bertram, North Haven.

DEAL TRENDS
Technology giants are increasingly designing their own semiconductors to optimize everything from artificial intelligence tasks to server performance and mobile battery life. Google has the Tensor Processing Unit, Apple Inc. has the A13 Bionic and Amazon.com Inc. has the Graviton2. What the titans all lack, however, is a factory to build the new chips they are dreaming up. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Behind Samsung’s bid for chip supremacy.

Material adverse change, or MAC, clauses are increasingly prevalent in M&A deals, finds a recent study conducted by Nixon Peabody. Out of the 200 deals the law firm reviewed, 196, or 98 percent, contained a MAC clause in the business, operations and financial conditions of the target, up from 87 percent in 2018. More buyers are seeking protection if a target suffers from an economic or industry downturn. Dick Langan, a partner in the law firm's corporate practice, led the study. Mergers & Acquisitions asked Langan how buyers and sellers benefit from MAC clauses. Read the full story: Why you need a MAC clause in your next deal.

PEOPLE MOVES
Bond Buyer executive editor Stephen Kleege is retiring as of Dec. 31. Kleege, who has been at Bond Buyer since 2013, previously spent time at National Thrift News covering the collapse of the savings and loan industry. He also spent about 12 years at Bloomberg News, where he edited real estate, economic and political news. Kleege also worked for American Banker for 10 years as a senior editor. American Banker and Bond Buyer are published by SourceMedia, owner of Mergers & Acquisitions.

FEATURED CONTENT
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, all eyes are on the retail industry, which is undergoing transformational changes. Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

Albertsons, Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Stop & Shop and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) are building automated mini-warehouses and "dark stores" to make deliveries and prepare pickup orders. Mini-warehouses are usually attached to existing stores, and in most cases, "dark stores" are completely separate. Both formats are closed off to customers, and are mostly automated. They use the assistance of robots for speed, save on labor, and get orders out faster. Kroger bought a five percent stake in robotics firm Ocado. Read our full coverage: Smart supermarkets become popular, as Kroger, Walmart add them.

It’s a milestone year for the Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX), which transitioned from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation on July 1. The New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund recently. With $20.5 billion of total capital commitments, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX is the largest real estate fund ever raised. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder, chairman and CEO. Read the full story: "Complete control" is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone's Stephen A. Schwarzman.

The private equity model has held up very well over the decades, continuing to outperform the public markets, even as economic cycles come and go. But the rate of growth has slowed, leading PE firms to seek adjacent areas of business to expand. As PE firms face increased pressure to produce higher returns on their investments, many of them are turning to a familiar area of business: lending. Adams Street Partners, Balance Point Capital, Carlyle and VSS are all actively engaged in lending. Read the full story: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. For more on the timeline and nomination process for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

During the holiday season, Mergers & Acquisitions is covering the philanthropic and volunteer initiatives underway in the private equity industry. At Mergers & Acquisitions, we're covering the philanthropic and volunteer initiatives underway in the private equity industry. Last year, we published The Big Give, an in-depth look at how private equity firms are contributing. Efforts have continued to flourish, fueled by younger Millennials seeking to build a better future and by mature partners considering the legacy they will leave behind. Read our full coverage: Private equity gives back: Vista's Robert F. Smith, Clearlake's José E. Feliciano, Riverside employees.

EVENTS
The Annual AM&AA Winter Conference is taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona Jan. 8-10.

Deal Wave is being hosted by ACG Orange Country at the Ritz-Carlton-Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California on Jan. 9.

ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

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