M&A wrap: CoStar, STR, Q2, Precision Lender, Apollo, MidCap, PNC, Wynnchurch

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Real estate data and website company CoStar Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP) is buying hotel analytics firm STR for $450 million. Costar owns apartment websites: Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com, ForRent.com and ApartmentHomeLiving.com. STR collects data from more than 65,000 hotels and distributes over 1.2 million reports monthly. CoStar currently offers information on 4,500 hotels for sale, but the company says STR has more detailed analytics including: occupancy rates, average room rates, revenue per available room and forecasts. "We believe that the combination of the two companies’ offerings will allow us to create valuable new and improved tools for investors, lenders, and service providers for use in developing, financing, valuing, and selling hotel properties," CoStar says in a release. In addition, the two companies say there are global growth opportunities. STR sells data to about 15,000 out of 350,000 hotels outside the U.S. “CoStar brings leading technologies, analytics and sales capabilities that we believe will enable STR to accelerate growth and increase the value and insights we provide to our hospitality clients," says STR CEO Amanda Hite.

The private equity model has held up very well over the decades, continuing to outperform the public markets, even as economic cycles come and go. But the rate of growth has slowed, leading PE firms to seek adjacent areas of business to expand. As PE firms face increased pressure to produce higher returns on their investments, many of them are turning to a familiar area of business: lending. Middle-market loans offer a potential growth path for PE firms, Including Adams Street, Balance Point. Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG) and VSS , many of whom view credit as a natural extension of their bread-and-butter operations. Read our full coverage: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

At Mergers & Acquisitions, we've begun work on one of our most popular projects of the year: the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 14. Last year, we honored 36 women, including Marilyn Adler (Medley Capital), Jennifer Cotton (Madison Capital Funding), Nishita Cummings (Kayne Anderson), Venita Fields (Pelham S2K), Jeri Harman (Avante Mezzanine Partners), Pam Hendrickson (the Riverside Co.), Gretchen Perkins (Huron Capital) and Trisha Renner (Baird). Who will make it on this year's list? To be considered, candidates must be women who are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. Evidence of influence in the broader M&A industry is essential. When nominating a candidate, please explain how she outperforms her colleagues at her firm and in the industry. Please provide examples of deals she has led, initiatives she has launched and other instances that show evidence of her influence in the middle market. An important guide to what we're looking for can be found in the dealmakers we've honored in previous years. See profiles of, and Q&As with, past honorees here.

TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE, CLICK HERE.

DEAL NEWS
Digital technology company Q2 Holdings Inc. (NYSE: QTWO) is buying financial services data provider PrecisionLender for $510 million. The target's software is is used by approximately 150 banks to structure and negotiate commercial lending transactions. Advisors to Q2 are: Jefferies and DLA Piper. The target is being advised by William Blair and Cozen O’Connor.

Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO)-backed MidCap Financial has completed the acquisition of PNC Bank's franchise loan portfolio. As a result, Bernard Lajeunesse has joined MidCap and will lead the combined business. MidCap says the acquisition expands its middle-market lending services.

Leeds Equity Partners has acquired VitalSmarts, a provider of communication, execution and leadership development training, from TwentyEighty Inc. Advisors to the target include: Raymond James and Kirkland & Ellis. Leeds Equity was represented by Latham & Watkins.

Wynnchurch Capital has invested in Eastern Metal Supply, a distributor of aluminum products.

Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. has invested in Midwest Products & Engineering, a contract manufacturer for the medical device sector.

Behrman Capital-backed Ksaria Corp. has acquired has acquired Co-Operative Industries Aerospace & Defense, a maker of electrical wiring harnesses, ignition and metal parts.

Charter Oak Equity-backed Licaplast has bought M’Plast, a manufacturer of plastic products.

PEOPLE MOVES
Tom Bohn has been named CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth. He will begin his role Dec. 1. Bohn was most recentlty the CEO North American Veterinary Community (NAVC).

Irene Eddy has joined lender Accord Financial Corp. as a senior vice president, capital markets. She was most
recently with DBRS.

FEATURED CONTENT
It’s a milestone year for the Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX), which transitioned from a publicly-traded partnership to a corporation on July 1. Most recently, the New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund. With $20.5 billion of total capital commitments, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX is the largest real estate fund ever raised. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder, chairman and CEO, on the occasion of his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, published by Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, and released on Sept. 17. Schwarzman, who is speaking at the Economic Club of New York on Sept. 18, shared his perspective on the private equity model, its resilience during recessions and how the industry has evolved over three decades. Read the full story: "Complete control" is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone's Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Bank M&A has been soaring, creating the perfect backdrop for Piper Jaffray’s announced acquisition of Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. “There has been a lot of consolidation in the bank space,” Piper Jaffray CEO Chad Abraham told Mergers & Acquisitions. “But there are still 5,000 banks, and we expect the pace of consolidation to continue.” Piper Jaffray is determined to be the market leader in all the industries it does business in. The Minneapolis-based boutique investment bank currently dominates some of the sectors it serves, especially healthcare. With the acquisition of New York-based Sandler the renamed firm Piper Sandler will instantly become a leading investment bank in financial services, a sector Piper has sought to expand in for several years. For analysis of the deal, see Counting on bank M&A: Why Piper Jaffray bought Sandler O'Neill.

The New York Yankees finished first place in the American League East division with one of the best overall records in Major League Baseball. Alex Rodriguez is best known as the former 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 Leaguefullback Chris Gronkowski. Rodriguez talked about his life off the field at EisnerAmper’s 4th annual Alternative Investment Summit. Among the topics discussed: 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.

Looking for a glimpse of what’s to come in the private equity industry? Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. As the PE industry undergoes a generational shift, and many firm founders retire, it’s well worth getting to know these emerging leaders, including Branford's Austin Collier, Sterling Partners' Shawn Domanic and Summit Partners' Sophia Popova. 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.

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 Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. For more on the timeline and nomination process for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
The Virginia Capital Conference is being held on Oct. 2 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia.

Exponent Women is hosting a fall rooftop networking session at RSM in New York on Oct. 7.

M&A East is taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia Oct. 22-23.

ACG Charlotte is hosting Deal Crawl at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina Nov. 6-7.

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

ACG New York is hosting Middle Market Week in New York from Nov. 11-15.

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