Marking its second deal in 12 months, Aakash Chemicals & Dye-Stuffs Inc., a portfolio company of Dallas private equity firm CenterOak Partners LLC, has acquired Sandream Impact LLC from Peter Zhang, owner of Sandream Impact, who remains as president of the business, for undisclosed terms. Sandream Impact is a value-added supplier of colorants and other specialty chemicals to the cosmetic, personal care, and nutritional markets with a broad base of customers across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The acquisition brings a complementary focus on colorants and cosmetics and expands the buyer’s product line in the special-effect pearlescent pigments category. "The Sandream acquisition represents a transformational investment for our business," says Aakash Chemicals CEO Aakash Shah. "Sandream Impact furthers our strategy of product and end-market expansion, which we initiated last year through our acquisition of Calico Food Ingredients, a food-colorant supplier.” For CenterOak, the deal continues the firm’s “longstanding history investing in family-owned and closely-held businesses in partnership with management and helping these companies grow through acquisitions and strategic initiatives," says managing partner Randall Fojtasek. "The CenterOak team has significant expertise in the highly fragmented specialty chemicals distribution industry, and we believe this latest deal helps position Aakash Chemicals for continued success."

Dallas, home to CenterOak Partners, is one of 15 cities identified by Mergers & Acquisitions as fertile environments for dealmaking. We look at metropolitan areas from Austin (where Michael Dell launched a PC business out of his dorm room back in the day and where thousands gather every year for SXSW) to St. Louis (home of private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners). Be sure to check out Milwaukee (with private equity firm Robert W. Baird & Co. and investment bank Clearly Gull) and Minneapolis (home of strategic buyers 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Hormel and Target). And don’t forget Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and more. See our list, Dealmaker's guide to 15 cities where M&A thrives.

Deal news
The sale of AJS Bancorp in Midlothian, Ill., was no small feat. The $192 million-asset company contacted 42 potential suitors — including a fintech firm and a credit union — over nearly two years before agreeing on July 31 to be sold to NorthWest Indiana Bancorp in Munster for $35 million. Read the full story: 2 years of searching, 42 potential suitors, $35M payoff.

Crestview Partners is buying Elo Touch Solutions, which offers point of sales terminals and interactive kiosks, from the Gores Group. Moelis & Co. (NYSE: MC), and Weil, Gotshal & Manges are advising Gores. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is advising Crestview.

LLR Partners has made a growth capital investment in Edlio, a community engagement services provider for K-12 public, private and charter schools. Berkery Noyes advised Edlio.

The Riverside Co.-backed Censis Technologies bought Applied Logic. The target provides software and third-party hardware used in the sterile processing department of hospitals and medical facilities.

J.W. Childs Associates-backed Outward Hound has acquired Planet Dog, a maker of dog toys.

Featured content
New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a stunning 43-40 win in NFL Week 6. Off the court, Brady recently teamed with former Giantsdefensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Many NFL players invest in companies. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. As Week 6 continues, Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at star players who invest in companies through private equity, venture capital and other investment vehicles.

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.

M&A East, hosted by ACG Philadelphia and held Oct. 24-25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, brings together 1,300 top strategic and financial dealmakers and leading middle-market advisors for deal sourcing and networking. Featured speakers include Walter Robb, former CEO Whole Foods, and Chris Voss, former FBI lead hostage negotiator. The Women in Dealmaking session will focus on Women in the Board Room.

Exponent Evening with Tequila Casa Dragones, hosted by Exponent Women LLC, a networking group for female dealmakers, held Oct. 25 at The Dream Downtown in New York, features tequila, food and a conversation between Bertha Gonzales Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Tequila Casa Dragones, and Mary Kathleen Flynn, editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. For more on networking group’s previous event, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

ACG Chicago's Family Office Conference, held Nov. 8, at the Westin Chicago River North, brings deamakers together for a "deep dive" into family offices. The event features a keynote by Laurent Roux, Gallatin Wealth Management, and panels, including: Current State of Family Office Direct & Co-Investment Activity, with Gary Levenstein, Nixon Peabody; and Impact of Millennial Generation on Family Office Investment Strategy including Social Impact Investing, with Adam Lieb and Tony Oommen, Fidelity Family Office Services.

ACG Florida Capital Connection, held Nov. 12-14, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, puts “sun and fun” into dealmaking for the middle market, bringing together hundreds of dealmakers. The keynote speaker is Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes, and the featured speaker for the Women’s Forum is Valerie Crites Fowler, who served as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 29 years, reaching the rank of Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service.

Middle Market Week, hosted by ACG New York and held Nov. 26-30 at various locations throughout New York, brings together leading global middle-market dealmaking professionals to develop and enhance their dealmaking activities, strengthen their long-term relationships, and provide numerous opportunities for networking all week long. Mark your calendar for the Private Equity Annual Wine Tasting Gala on Nov. 28 at Gotham Hall. The building was constructed in the 1920s as the headquarters of the Greenwich Savings Bank. The gala brings together the leading middle market private equity firms for an evening of fine wines and networking.