M&A wrap: Clearlake, Appriss, Arlington, Littlejohn, TH Lee, Wind Point

Clearlake Capital Group has raised $1.4 billion for its second Clearlake Opportunities Partners fund. The fund focuses on making non-control investments in middle-market businesses across the consumer, energy, industrials and software and technology-enabled services sectors. The fund recently invested in data and analytics provider Appriss Holdings. “We believe our continued strategic focus, backed by our financial discipline, systematic approach to operational improvement, O.P.S., and our cohesive team, provides our LPs with the partnership they seek, and we look forward to leveraging the firm’s capabilities to deliver on our strategy," says Clearlake co-founder José Feliciano (pictured right). Adds: Clearlake co-founder Behdad Eghbali (pictured left): We look forward to helping companies grow from the lower end of the middle market to the upper end with improving multiples, as we continue to demonstrate the power of the Clearlake platform.” Clearlake was founded in 2006 and has over $10 billion under management. Earlier in 2019, Clearlake-backed Unifrax materials provider acquired Stellar Materials, a manufacturer of chemicals and materials that are made under the Thermbond brand. The PE firm also bought Dude Solutions, a Software-as-a-Service provider of operations management from Warburg Pincus. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP advised Clearlake on the fundraise.

Arlington Capital Partners, a middle-market government services-focused private equity firm, has raised its fifth fund at $1.7 billion. The fund will invest in government-related sectors including aerospace and defense, business services, government services and technology. Since April 2018, Arlington has exited seven portfolio companies, invested in five new platforms and closed seven add-on acquisitions. Evercore (NYSE: EVR) served as Arlington's placement agent and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as fund counsel.

Lower middle-market private equity investor Private Advisors has closed its eighth PE fund at $420 million. The fund will invest in funds that are less than $500 million, along with making co-investments and secondary transactions. PA is an affiliate of New York Life Investment Management LLC, an indirect subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Co.

DEAL NEWS
Littlejohn is buying Kaman Corp.'s (NYSE: KAMN) distribution division for $700 million. The target supplies electro-mechanical, bearings, power transmission and fluid power parts. Advisors to Kaman include: Baird, J.P. Morgan and K&L Gates. The legal advisor to Littlejohn is Gibson Dunn. Financing is being provided by Antares, Bank of Montreal and Jefferies.

Software networking company Extreme Networks (Nasdaq: EXTR) is buying cloud-services company Aerohive Networks (NYSE: HIVE) for about $272 million. Advisors to Aerohive include: Evercore Group LLC (NYSE: EVR) and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. The buyer was advised by Latham & Watkins.

Thomas H. Lee Partners has acquired healthcare technology company Nextech from Francisco Partners. Advisors to the sellers include: Aeris Partners and Paul Hastings. Advisors to TH Lee incude: William Blair and PwC.

Wind Point Partners-backed ClockSpringINRI has acquired Milliken Infrastructure Solutions, a manufacturer of repair products for the infrastructure sector. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and KPMG advised ClockSpring. The target was advised by Jones Day. Financing was provided by Antares, Hartford Investment Management Co., Solar Capital, Northwestern Mutual Capital and Nuveen Private Markets.

Valley National Bancorp. has agreed to buy Oritani Financial for $740 million. Oritani is a former mutual bank that has 26 branches, $3.5 billion in loans and $2.9 billion in deposits. The deal will double Valley’s market share in New Jersey’s Bergen County. Read the full story: Valley National bulks up in N.J. with Oritani purchase.

Randa Duncan Williams, the chairperson of Houston pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP has bought Texas Monthly magazine.

PEOPLE MOVES
James Cline has joined Pamplona Capital Management-backed pool manufacturer Latham Pool Products as a non-executive director. Cline is the CEO of deck maker Trex Co.

Xiaonan Tian was hired by private investment firm. Commonfund Capital as a associate director and head of its investment office in Beijing. Tian was previously with HSBC.

FEATURED CONTENT
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.

Establishing trust, setting up goals and priorities, can help PE firms and portfolio companies increase the chances of success. Read the full guest article by Summit Leadership Partners' Dan Hawkins and Todd Fryling: Six steps to develop a post-close talent playbook.

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.

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.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named 36 leaders the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Kainos Capital's Sarah Bradley, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors' Nishita Cummings and Pelham S2K Managers' Venita Fields. All 36 are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. This year, we asked the featured dealmakers to tell their own stories through Q&As, including their advice for women. Related: Meet the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

EVENTS
Exponent Women hosts the Annual Exchange, which brings a trusted network of women dealmakers together for a focused day of robust content and networking, at Second in New York, on July 11. The Exchange provides attendees with opportunities to establish new connections, reinforce existing ones and absorb timely and relevant knowledge from industry leaders.

The Women's Connection Golf Clinic & Networking event takes place on July 17 at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, Massachussets. The event is being hosted by ACG Boston.

ACG Seattle hosts the Northwest Middle Market Growth Conference at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle on July 25.

ACG New York's summer dealmaking conference takes place at Gurney's Star Island Resort & Marina in Montauk, NY, July 31-Aug.1.

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

M&A East takes place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Oct. 21-23.

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