Engineering and industrial products manufacturer Barnes Group Inc. (NYSE: B) is buying Gimatc Srl from AGIC Capital, Xenon Capital Partners and the target's founder for about $435 million. Gimatic, based in Brescia, Italy, develops robotic grippers, end-of-arm tooling systems, sensors and other automation parts. Advances in robotic technology are making it possible to complete more complex tasks at higher speeds and with improved control and repeatability. With rising labor costs and greater affordability of robotics, Gimatic’s systems directly benefit from a large and growing global installed base of more than 2 million industrial robots, according to Barnes Group. Robots have become common in many industries, conducting tasks ranging from dispensing medications to assisting surgeons. "With accelerating adoption of automation and robotic technologies in the global industrial sector, market demand for Gimatic’s advanced solutions is anticipated to increase significantly in the future,” adds Barnes Group CEO Patrick Dempsey. Gimatic will operate as a new business unit within Barnes Group’s industrial segment. As the robotics market grows, it will create increasing opportunities for middle-market dealmakers. See our previous story: Robotics developers are ripe for investment, says Innovation Works CEO Rich Lunak

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the fourth edition of The Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Efforts to recruit and retain women in the financial services industry have increased in recent years; nevertheless, women still make up only about 14 percent of dealmakers in the middle market. By identifying and featuring dozens of influential women, Mergers & Acquisitions nurtures the community of female leaders and provides role models for women who are at earlier stages of their careers. To be considered, candidates must be women who are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. Evidence of influence in the broader M&A industry is essential. When nominating a candidate, please explain how she outperforms her colleagues at her firm and in the industry. Please provide examples of deals she has led, initiatives she has launched and other instances that show evidence of her influence in the middle market. While considering the merits of candidates, it’s helpful to read about women who have met our criteria in the past, such as Sarah Bradley, who co-founded private equity firm Kainos Capital and graced our 2018 cover. See the profiles of 35 women in our previous edition. Nominations must be received by Monday, October 15, 2018. Click here to learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination.

Deal news
The Riverside Co. has invested in Hiway Group, a provider of recycling services for road, rail and pavement stabilization. The deal marks Riverside's 45th investment in the business services industry. Previous deals in the sector include Area Wide Protective, a provider of outsourced traffic management services, and waste collector Waste Services Group. Deloitte, KPMG, Russell McVeagh and Herbert Smith Freehills advised Riverside on the Hiway deal. BNZ provided financing.

Nestlé’ SA is exploring strategic options for its Nestlé’ Skin Health unit that includes the Cetaphil, Proactiv, Epiduo, Azzalure, Restylane, Soolantra brands. The move is part of Nestlé’'s strategy to focus on its core food and beverage and nutritional health businesses. The company recently reached a deal to sell Gerber Life Insurance to Western & Southern Financial Group, and also sold its U.S. chocolate division to Ferrero SpA earlier in 2018. Read the full story: Nestle's step away from skin health reignites L'Oreal sale talk.

Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) is buying NewVoiceMedia, a contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) provider, for $350 million. "This acquisition accelerates Vonage’s growth strategy and leadership position in cloud communications, strengthens our presence with global mid-market and enterprise clients, and deepens our integrations and key go-to-market relationships with CRM providers, especially," says Vonage CEO Alan Masarek. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Morrison & Foerster LLP Morrison & Foerster LLP advised Vonage. Jefferies and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advised NewVoiceMedia.

Billboard has acquired live entertainment news website Amplify Media. The target is known for its newsletter, The Real.

Center Rock-backed Linc Systems has acquired Packaging Systems Design Inc., a distributor of industrial packagaing equipment and packaging products.

CVC Capital Partners has purchased a majority stake in UnitedLex, which offers legal services to businesses and law firms.

Elsevier has purchased Aries Systems, a provider of scientific publication workflow services. Aries' offerings are used by journals, books and other publications for manuscript submission, peer review, production tracking and e-commerce. Berkery Noyes represented Aries.

Hidden Harbor Capital Partners has acquired Anchor Danly and AWC Manufacturing, a manufacturer of industrial tooling and related parts. The target also offers metal fabrication services to mold companies. Configure Partners advised Hidden Harbor. Lincoln International advised Anchor Danly. Czech Asset Management provided financing.

Mason Wells has purchased Buffalo Games, a maker of jigsaw puzzles, board and party games. The target is known for games and titles such as Plingpong, Silly Street, and Watch Ya Mouth. Quarles & Brady advised Mason Wells.

Business Jet company Vista Global has acquired Xojet, a private plane operator ,from Mubadala Investment Co. The target's fleet consists of 43 mid-sized business jets. Jefferies and Latham & Watkins advised Vista Global. Perella Weinberg Partners and White & Case advised Mubdala. Jefferies and J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) provided financing.

People moves
JT Herman was hired by BTIG LLC as head of M&A in the firm's investment banking division. Herman was previously a managing director and head of industrials and industrial technology at GCA.

Andrew Mabey has joined Apex Leaders, a private equity-exclusive service provider, as vice president of business development. He was most recently with Third Bridge.

Amy Thiessen was hired by alternative investment manager HQ Capital as director of business development. Thiessen was previously with Park Madison Capital Partners.

Featured content
"Data and artificial intelligence are necessary conditions for private equity today,” says J. Taylor Crandall, a managing partner and a founding member of Oak Hill Capital Partners,which began investing in 1986 as the family office for Robert Bass, one of four brothers who founded Bass Brothers Enterprises, based in Fort Worth, Texas. “Historically, the data wasn’t available. Businesses were run on visceral intuitions. Now, the data is readily available and exponentially created. Every time you click on the Internet, it’s creating data for somebody to analyze how to run their businesses better. Data analytics is the low-hanging fruit to create value in every portfolio company we own.” For more, read the full story: Due diligence meets big data: Two Six Capital, Oak Hill, Clarion among pioneers.

Food & beverage M&A offers plenty of mouth-watering deals. Giants Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP) update their product lines with healthy offerings, while private equity firms, such as Brynwood Partners, breathe new life into tried and true brands, like Pillsbury. And lots of buyers experiment with meal kits and delivery methods, fueling M&A. Read the full story: 9 food & beverage companies loved by consumers and dealmakers alike.

Strategic buyers leverage data, sell more snacks and cater to seniors. Mergers & Acquisitions outlines the M&A strategies of 8 corporations, including Best Buy, Energizer, Fortune Brands, Hershey, Nike, P&G, Stanley Black & Decker and Tyson Foods. See the full story: Best Buy, Hershey, Nike, P&G and more wield M&A to grow.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), the owner of Hillshire Farm, wants to “feed the world” with its protein brands and will seek acquisitions to help. How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A.

Between 70 and 80 percent of all M&A integration projects fall short of delivering anticipated value. This isn't because the acquisition target is somehow subpar, it's because the acquiring firm lacks a strong integration strategy. Read the full story: How to accelerate value in the first 100 days after an acquisition.

Why investors like diversity. "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. Watch the full video: M&A Insights: Inclusion investing.

Meet Mergers & Acquisitions 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. See: Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity.