M&A wrap: Clearlake, Bennett College, Aurora, Amazon, Sequoia

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José E. Feliciano, the co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group LP, and his wife Kwanza Jones are donating $1 million to Bennett College, a women's historically black college or university, or HCBU, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jones is an impact investor and the founder and CEO of Supercharged by Kwanza Jones, a lifestyle and personal development brand. The couple invests in education, entrepreneurship, equal opportunity and empowerment through the Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano Supercharged Initiative. The donation is one of the single largest grants in Bennett’s history and helped the college raise $8.2 million, as it was facing loss of accreditation and possible closure due to financing issues. Founded in 1873 as a coeducational institution, Bennett became women’s only in 1926. Spelman College in Atlanta is the country’s only other all-women’s HCBU. Bennett enjoys a rich history of educating women leaders, including: Dr. Dorothy Brown, the first woman to practice general surgery in the South, who served as chief of surgery at Nashville’s Riverside Hospital; Carolyn Robertson Payton, the first woman, and the first African American, to head the U.S. Peace Corps; and Yvonne Jeffers Johnson, the first African-American mayor of Greensboro. Feliciano and Jones made the gift on behalf of Jones’ mother, Dorothy Wilkerson Jones, who graduated from Bennett in 1965 with a degree in pre-law and a minor in political science, as well as Jones’ aunt, Brenda Wilkerson Hoover, who graduated in 1963 with a degree in elementary education. "Our gift to Bennett College comes, not only from a deep personal connection with many of its alumnae," says Feliciano. "Ultimately it is because we think that by investing in the education of these young ladies, we are investing in magnifying the greatness of our nation and in a better future for humanity -- one that involves women and minorities in all aspects of society, including business and science and other careers, where they can make a difference."

As the private equity industry matures, firms and their leaders are stepping up their involvement in philanthropy. GTCR managing director Phil Canfield and his wife Mary Beth Canfield recently announced a $20 million donation to The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. In recognition of the gift, the program has been renamed the Canfield Business Honors Program.

Related: GTCR's Phil Canfield donates $20M to UT's McCombs School of Business

Many private equity firms are developing programs to encourage employees to give back - from mentoring students in schools to organizing groceries at food pantries and from running races for cancer cures to cleaning pens at animal shelters.

Related: The Big Give. Mergers & Acquisitions highlights the philanthropy and volunteering initiatives of 5 PE firms: the Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG), Frontier Capital, Huron Capital, the Riverside Co. and Star Mountain Capital.

Call for nominations
Today is the last day to submit nominations for Mergers & Acquisitions' 12thAnnual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2018. Nominations must be submitted electronically. We are not accepting nominations via email. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS.

Deal news
Self-driving startup Aurora Innovation Inc. has raised $530 million from a group of investors led by Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley’s storied venture capital firm. Other Aurora backers include Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. Read the full story from Bloomberg News: Self-driving dream team gets $530 million from Sequoia, Amazon.

Carbonite Inc. (Nasdaq: CARB) is buying cybersecurity company Webroot for about $618 million. The target offers network protection, security awareness training and threat intelligence services. “With threats like ransomware evolving daily, our customers and partners are increasingly seeking a more comprehensive solution that is both powerful and easy to use," says Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali. RBC Capital Markets, Barclays and . Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are advising Carbonite. William Blair, Goodwin Procter and Holland & Hart are advising Webroot. Barclays, Citizens Banks, and RBC Capital Markets are providing financing.

One Rock Capital Partners is buying the plastics distribution business of Nexeo Solutions Inc. for $640 million. The deal will follow Nexeo’s pending acquisition by Univar Inc. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz are advising Univar. Moelis (NYSE: MC) and Weil Gotshal & Manges are advising Nexeo. Jefferies, Latham & Watkins and Hogan Lovells US are advising One Rock.

BrightView Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BV) has acquired BenchMark Landscapes, a commercial landscaping company. K&L Gates advised BrightView. Shepherd Law advised BenchMark.

Advent International-backed payment services provider Clearent bought Coolfront Technologies.

Alro Steel has acquired steel distributor Riverfront Steel Inc. Angle Advisors advised Alro and Katz Teller advised Riverfront.

Altor has raised its fifth fund at $2.8 billion. The PE firm has raised $9.4 billion since it was founded. Monument Group served as Altor's placement agent.

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Blackstone, Harkness, Oakley.

For more deal announcements, see The Weekly wrap: BB&T, Expedia, Tyson.

People moves
Steve Snyder has been named CEO at Mason Wells-backed Whitehall Specialties, a cheese and dairy products company. Snyder served on the company's board for the last four years, and is a former executive at Cargill.

Featured content
Technology M&A is thriving, and private equity firms are hot on the trail of innovations that will drive sustainable value to customers and make companies more efficient, more effective and less expensive to run. Among the developments appealing to PE investors are: artificial intelligence, data management, data virtualization, digital marketing, healthcare IT, industrial automation, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine learning, payment processing and Software-as-a-Service. To gain more insights into what kinds of tech deals will dominate the field in 2019, Mergers & Acquisitions reached out to 10 private equity firms that are active investors in technology: Francisco Partners, Genstar, Great Hill, HGGC, Insight, LLR, Riverside, Silver Lake, TA and Vista.

Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions asked leading dealmakers about their outlook for the middle market in 2019. Watch the video conversations, shot at ACG Philadelphia's M&A East: It is a seller's market, and deal activity is expected to remain steady, says Ramsey Goodrich of Carter Morse & Goodrich: Outlook 2019: Great time to sell. Private equity firms and strategic buyers will use their excess cash and capital to look for deals, says Bharat Ramprasad of Stifel Nicolaus: Outlook 2019: Excess capital to fuel M&A. Rising interest rates and regulatory changes may increase volatility, cautions Mark Emrich of Murray Devine: Outlook 2019: Keep an eye on rising interest rates.

Bank volume was steady, but deal values would have been the lowest in years if not for one big, and very intriguing, transaction. For more, see: Bank M&A: What January data hints about 2019.

Not only do carve-outs account for 10 percent of all M&A activity, the percentage of carve-outs conducted by buyout firms (as opposed to strategic buyers) is on the rise, and sharply at that. And that’s important, because, at the risk of overextending the curveball analogy, the carve-out is ‘filthy stuff.’ The inherent complexities of the deal can puzzle even serial acquirers. Write Accordion's Gary Appelbaum and Eric Salit in this guest article: Carve-out curveball: How to hit a home run.

Consumerization of healthcare, high-deductible health plans, and more self-payment by patients are contributing to the overall increased demand for PT services, write Battery Ventures general partner Chelsea Stoner in this guest article: Rising demand for physical therapy drives deals.

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
The SBIA and the AM&AA are hosting a Deal Summit at The Doral in Miami from Feb. 20-22. The gathering offers networking opportunities with senior-level M&A advisors and lower middle-market private equity investors.

ACG New York hosts the 11th Annual Healthcare Conference at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan on Feb. 28. Dealmakers network with healthcare-focused private equity investors and other industry professionals.

ACG Minnesota and Corvus North are hosting AIM: A Women's Leadership Conference at the Minneapolis Hyatt on March 7. The conference is designed to support and encourage female leaders to grow and achieve success throughout their career journeys.

ACG New York's Women of Leadership is hosting a golf event and reception on March 21 at Konnect Golf in Manhattan. The event brings together female dealmakers from private equity firms, investment banks and lenders.

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