M&A wrap: Drive Capital, FarmLogs, Clarivate, Heska, Oaktree, Veritas, Most Influential Women, Call for Nominations, What's ahead for 2020


Drive Capital has raised its third venture capital fund at $350 million and its first growth equity fund at $300 million. The two funds will mainly invest in startup companies in the Midwest. "We started Drive because we believe that the Midwest is now the best place in the world to build great technology companies," the firm says in a release. Drive Capital is a venture capital firm that is led by Chris Olsen and Mark Kvamme. The two were previously with Sequoia Capital. Some of Drive's investments include farming technology company FarmLogs, Hologram, which makes software to connect devices and No Wait. The latter notifies diners via text of accurate restaurant wait times. VC firms have invested $136.5 billion in U.S. companies in 2019, surpassing the $130 billion-mark for the second consecutive year, according to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. In the fourth quarter, VC firms have invested $34.2 billion across 2,215 deals. One factor contributing to the increase in investments is that VC-backed companies are staying private longer. Jones Day advised Drive on the fundraises. For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Accolade, BlackRock, Bridgepoint, Pharos.

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 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. 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
Clarivate Analytics plc (NYSE: CCC) is buying Decision Resources Group from Piramal Enterprises Ltd. for $950 million. The target provides data and analytics to the healthcare sector. “The addition of DRG’s services and solutions to our portfolio supports our focus on creating exceptional customer value through delivering highly specialized analytics and expert insights and a wider range of Life Sciences solutions that help solve our customers’ most difficult challenges when discovering, developing and commercializing new drugs, medical devices and technologies," says Clarivate science group president Mukhtar Ahmed. Evercore and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are advising Clarivate. Covington & Burling LLP is advising PEL. Citi and Goldman Sachs are providing financing.

Heska Corp. (Nasdaq: HSKA) has bought Scil animal care GmbH, a provider of veterinary point-of-care diagnostics, from Covetrus for $125 million. Gibson Dunn advised Heska.

Oaktree Capital-backed WHP Global is buying the trademarks for men's fashion brand Joseph Abboud from Tailored Brands Inc. (NYSE: TLRD) for $115 million. PJ Solomon and Ferdinand IP Law Group are advising Tailored. Pryor Cashman LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP are advising WHP.

Veritas is acquiring Campus Management and Edcentric from Leeds Equity Partners. Campus Management provides cloud-based student information systems for more than 1,100 colleges and universities in over 30 countries. Edcentric is a Software-as-a-Service company that offers data around student and alumni engagement, retention, and compliance that assists over 1,400 higher education institutions make decisions. Raymond James is advising Campus Management and Edcentric.

For more deal news, see Weekly wrap: Goldman Sachs, Lilly, Visa.

PEOPLE MOVES
John Czapla has been named chair at valuation firm Valuation Research Corp. He succeeds Neil Kelly who will continue to serve as vice chair. Czapla joined VRC in 1999.

FEATURED CONTENT
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 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
ACG Boston is hosting The Big Deal at the Legal Harborside in Boston on Jan. 21.

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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