M&A wrap: BC Partners, Blackstone, Silver Oak, Mastercard, Gannett, Fox

peminoritystakes2019

Blackstone Alternative Asset Management has acquired a minority stake in BC Partners. The investment was made by Blackstone's strategic capital group, which focuses on minority partnerships with alternative asset managers. “This investment is a testament to the growth and institutionalization of our business, and will enable us to take the firm to the next level for the benefit of our investors," says BC partner Raymond Svider. Advisors to BC include: Evercore (NYSE: EVR) and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The advisor to Blackstone is Kirkland & Ellis. For PE firms, selling minority stakes is a path to raising capital for expansion and for some general partners to gain liquidity. In 2019, Dyal Capital Partners, acquired a minority stake in HGGC; Siris Capital Group received a minority investment from Wafra and Landmark Partners; and in 2018, Dyal purchased minority stakes in Clearlake Capital Partners and Vector Capital.

Lower middle-market private equity firm Silver Oak Services Partners has raised its fourth fund at $500 million. The firm now has more than $1.1 billion in assets under management. Silver Oak, founded in 2005, focuses on on the business services, consumer and healthcare sectors, and invests in businesses that have up to $25 million in Ebitda. Forum Capital advised Silver Oak.

MORE DEAL NEWS
Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) agreed to buy a payments platform owned by Denmark-based Nets for 2.85 billion euros ($3.19 billion), using its biggest-ever acquisition to help extend a push into faster payments. With the purchase, Mastercard is getting an electronic-billing platform and clearing and instant-payment services. Companies and governments around the world have been launching real-time payment systems to speed up the movement of money between consumers and businesses, kicking off a race among banks and payment networks to capture those flows. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Mastercard buys Nets unit in its largest deal.

New Media Investment Group Inc. agreed to acquire Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) in a $1.38 billion deal that unites the two biggest U.S. daily newspaper chains in an industry that’s consolidating to survive. The merged entity will be a local news giant that owns more than one-sixth of all daily newspapers in the country, including USA Today, and reaches nearly 9 million print readers. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: New Media buys Gannett to form News Giant.

Fox Corp. (Nasdaq: FOXA) has agreed to buy a majority stake in the consumer finance marketplace Credible Labs for $265 million. The move comes at time when Fox is seeking new revenue opportunities after selling much of Twenty-First Century Fox's television and movie business to The Walt Disney Co. earlier this year for $71.3 billion. Read the full story: Fox agrees to buy fintech for $265 million.

Pernod Ricard has bought Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., the owner of the TX whiskey brand. Advisors to Pernod include: White & Case and Deloitte Finance. Advisors to Firestone include: Nomura Securities and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Aramak (NYSE: ARMK) has acquired app-based on-demand food delivery service Good Uncle. "As consumer dining habits evolve, we’re continually looking for new ways to disrupt the marketplace with innovative services," says Aramak CEO Eric Foss.

New State Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Mako Steel. The target builds single-story, multi-level, and custom storage facilities. Advisors to New State include: Morgan Lewis and CoveView Advisors.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Pfizer, HGGC, Thoma Bravo.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Arsenal, Blackstone, Golden Gate, Wind Point.

PEOPLE MOVES
Stacey Kern has joined law firm Eversheds Sutherland as a partner. Previously with Greenberg Traurig, Kern focuses on M&A and private equity across the manufacturing, technology, pharmaceuticals and energy sectors.

Timothy Milton has been promoted to partner at alternative credit asset manager DFG Investment Advisers. In Addition, Eduardo Cabral was hired by the firm as a managing director.

RISING STARS
Looking for a glimpse of what’s to come in the private equity industry? Meet the 10 dealmakers named by Mergers & Acquisitions as the 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity:

Austin Collier, Branford Castle Partners
Kevin Cunningham, LNC Partners
Shawn Domanic, Sterling Partners
Stephen Jeschke, GTCR
Danielle Lalli, Huron Capital
Jason Mironov, TA Associates
James Oh, Transom Capital Group
Sophia Popova, Summit Partners
Pavan Tripathi, Bregal Sagemount
Christine Wang, Francisco Partners

The Rising Stars share a common set of core values. They are passionate about building companies. They are naturally curious and interested in changing things for the better. They enjoy working with portfolio company managers, investment bankers and other deal team members. They appreciate the responsibility and autonomy their firms have given them. They are grateful for the leaders who have helped shape their careers, and they are generous with their own time when it comes to nurturing the next generation. As the PE industry goes through a generational shift and many firm founders retire, it's well worth getting to know these emerging leaders. They represent the future of private equity. For profiles and video interviews, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity For Q&As, see 10 Rising Stars of Private Equity tell their tales.

MORE FEATURED CONTENT
Dealmaking in August began with a bang, as the London Stock Exchange Group Plc agreed to snap up Refinitiv in a $27 billion blockbuster deal. And M&A was hopping in July, with observers predicting the third quarter will be an active one. Meanwhile, here is a table of middle-market deals that closed in the first half of the year, including 3M Co.'s (NYSE: MMM) purchase of MModal's technology business; Apollo Global Management LLC's (NYSE: APO) acquisition of Smart & Final Stores; and KPS Capital Partners' purchase of Brunswick Corp.'s (NYSE: BC) fitness business. For more see, 3M's purchase of MModal's tech business a highlight of H1 dealmaking.

Alex Rodriguez is best known as the New York Yankees star who hit 696 home runs over the course of his 22-year baseball career, but today he’s making a name for himself as an investor as the founder and CEO of A-Rod Corp. One recent example: While serving as a guest judge on CNBC’s Shark Tank, Rodriguez backed Ice Shaker, an insulated bottle maker founded by former National Football League fullback Chris Gronkowski. Rodriguez talked about his life off the field as a savvy investor since his 20’s as the keynote speaker at EisnerAmper’s 4th annual Alternative Investment Summit at the The Museum of Modern Art on June 19. Among the topics discussed in a conversation led by Charles Weinstein, CEO of EisnerAmper: Rodriguez’ childhood as the son of a single mom; his investment thesis, which shares much with other middle-market investors; how he’s helping singer/dancer/actress Jennifer Lopez (to whom he became engaged in March) transition her business initiatives from licensing her brands to owning them; and how one day he just might buy a baseball team. Read the full story: A-Rod talks Ice Shaker, NRG eSports, J. Lo & maybe buying a baseball team.

Activity and urgency characterize the current dealmaking environment, say investment bankers and other M&A advisors interviewed by Mergers & Acquisitions. After a record-breaking 2018, forecasts for 2019 remain bullish. Advisors point to a lot of cash that must be deployed by strategic buyers and private equity firms alike; a healthy U.S. economy; and low interest rates. Competition for high-quality targets has never been more intense, especially for technology providers, they report, which means sellers are commanding high prices. It all adds up to a seller’s market. A mood of urgency prevails, as dealmakers seek to close deals quickly, while conditions remain favorable. The advisors interviewed for this story say they don’t see signs of a recession this year; however they are closely monitoring bellwethers, including corporate earnings, wage pressure, global supply chains and slowdowns abroad. They are recommending that clients be prepared for an economic slowdown in the next two years. Specialization is the name of the game, and investment bankers advise clients to seek targets with business-model stability, limited cyclical exposure and a recurring revenue business model. Technology, business services, healthcare, consumer and manufacturing are among the most promising sectors. Read the story: 8 M&A advisors urge closing deals now, while economy stays strong.

Organizations in industries, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, are using M&A to add automated technology in their processing systems. Advances in robotic technology are making it possible to complete more complex tasks at higher speeds and with improved control and outcomes. Read the full story: Accelerating automation through M&A.

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: 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.

EVENTS
The Great Lakes ACG Capital Connection is being held at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel in Detroit from Sept. 4-6.

ACG Boston and ACG Connecticut are hosting the 5th Annual ACG New England Fall Conference at Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina in Newport, Rhode Island from Sept. 17-18.

M&A East is taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Oct. 22-23.

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