M&A wrap: Citizens Commercial Banking, Palladium Equity, Halifax, Fender, What's ahead for 2020, Most Influential Women

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Business leaders surveyed by Citizens Commercial Banking are feeling less urgency to engage in M&A, but sellers with standout businesses can still expect a relatively strong year. “The prevailing sense is that the backdrop is favorable, but the urgency to get deals done has ticked downward,” says Ralph Della Ratta, who co-leads M&A advisory at Citizens Capital Markets. “In this environment, mid-market leaders are approaching M&A with measure and restraint. The financing backdrop definitely facilitated the M&A market through 2019, and we see more of the same for the year ahead, especially with historically low interest rates.” The survey found that 44 percent of mid-market companies appear to be engaged in or open to a sale, which is the lowest reading since 2017. Only about 55 percent of mid-market leaders consider themselves active buyers, 16 percent fewer than a year ago. About 27 percent of sellers showed interest in selling their entire businesses, down from 47 percent in 2019. When it comes to buying, 32 percent of mid-market leaders "indicated interest in a transformative acquisition" for 2020, compared to 35 percent in 2019. More than half of potential buyers expect the financing environment to help with their acquisition strategies. The Middle Market M&A Outlook was fielded in November and December 2019 to C-suite executives at U.S. companies with annual revenue from $50 million to $3 billion.

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Last year’s winners included: Hollie Haynes, who took home Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund for Luminate Capital Partners. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. For more information on the nomination process and what we seek in winning candidates, see Call for nominations: Submissions for the M&A Mid-Market Awards due Feb. 7.

DEAL NEWS
Palladium Equity Partners has sold DolEx Dollar Express, a provider of electronic funds transfer sevices, to a group of investors including management. Stephens Inc. and Locker Lord LLP advised DolEx. Advanced Capital Partners and Goodwin Procter advised the buyers.

Halifax Group-backed Promptcare Cos., a home infusion services company, has acquired Premier Specialty Infusion. The target offers home infusion services to patients with neuroimmunology conditions. Goodwin Procter advised PromptCare.

Servco Pacific Inc. is buying TPG Growth's stake in Fender Musical Instruments Corp. The target is known for its Fender and Squier brands. Servco is a privately-held diversified conglomerate that operates in the automotive distribution and retail sectors.

Boyne Capital-backed Rapid Fire Protection Holdings has acquired Aegis Fire Systems. The target makes and installs fire suppression systems. Capitala Group is providing financing.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: FireEye, Stone Point, WHP Global.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Insight Partners, Madison Capital, Thoma Bravo.

PEOPLE MOVES
Julia Kellogg was hired by private equity firm Huron Capital as a partner, human capital, where she is reponsible for working with executives and human resources leaders at Huron's portfolio companies. Kellogg was previously with North American Bancard Holdings.

Cornelia Thaler has joined law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner, where she is concentrating on the German real estate sector.

FEATURED CONTENT
Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. 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. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners' Kate Faust, William Blair's Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners' Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual.

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

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 s for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
The 8th Independent Sponsors Summit is taking place from Jan. 28-29 at the Harmonie Club In New York.

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

InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.

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