M&A wrap: BlackRock, ABG, Shaquille O’Neal, Leonard Green, Riverside, KKR, ParkerGale

shaquilleoneal
Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal, speaks during a featured session at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, March 9, 2014. The SXSW conferences and festivals converge original music, independent films, and emerging technologies while fostering creative and professional growth. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Shaquille O'Neal

BlackRock Inc.'s long term private capital group has invested $875 million in Authentic Brands Group. BlackRock will become ABG's largest investor and joins the existing investment consortium of: Leonard Green & Partners, General Atlantic, Lion Capital, Simon Property Group, Brookfield Properties’ retail group and Shaquille O’Neal (pictured). ABG is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company with a portfolio of 50 brands that has about $10 billion in annual revenue. ABG's brand portfolio includes: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Greg Norman, Thalia Sodi, Neil Lane, Nautica, Aéropostale, Vince Camuto, Nine West, Juicy Couture, Frye, Spyder, Prince and Judith Lieber. ABG recently acquired sports media company Sports illustrated. “BlackRock’s scale, global footprint and digital capabilities will enable us to build out our organization and continue our domestic and international growth trajectory," says ABG CEO Jamie Salter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised BlackRock.

“We know that different people from different walks of life make us a better firm,” said Adam Miller, director of global talent management at the Riverside Co., which employees more than 200 people across four continents, including two female co-fund managers and a female chief operating officer. “We’re creating more opportunities for broader demographics.” Indeed, just about every private equity firm you talk to these days seems intent on becoming attractive to diverse candidates—whether it’s by hiring a chief diversity officer and loosening its dress code (KKR); giving employees flexible hours to spend more time with children (Riverside); offering up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave and 16 weeks off altogether (ParkerGale); hosting weekly wine-and-cheese gatherings in the summer (Kinzie Capital); or providing on-site professional development and training (Riverside and ParkerGale). Check out: 5 hiring trends in private equity.

DEAL NEWS
KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR) is buying a majority stake in NVC Lighting Holding Ltd.'s China lighting business for $794 million. The target produces and sells branded lighting products in China. “China’s lighting market has experienced tremendous momentum over the past 20 years and continues to develop as technology advances and next generation products come online," says Paul Yang, head of KKR greater China. Advisors to KKR include: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Fangda Partners and Kirkland & Ellis. Advisors to NVC include: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance.

WebMD Health Corp. has acquired QxMD, a learning technology company that makes it easier for healthcare professionals to discover the latest evidence and decision support tools for use in clinical practice.

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) is buying Insitum, a service design and research firm.

For more deal announcements, see Weekly wrap: Liberty Tax, New Media, Roper.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Chicago Pacific, Cresset, Crossplane, Graycliff.

PEOPLE MOVES
Gretchen McClain was hired by the Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG) as an operating executive in the firm's industrials and transportation group. McClain was most recently the CEO of water technology company Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL).

John Sheputis was hired by private investment firm GI Partners, where he is leading the firm's real estate acquisition and development efforts. Sheputis is the former CEO of Fortunate Data Centers.

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 Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM) is holding its annual conference from Sept. 4-5 at Convene at 730 Third Avenue in New York.

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.

Third Annual Women in Alternative Investments Career Forum is taking place at the New York Hilton on Nov. 8.

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