M&A wrap: Duff & Phelps, Stone Point, Permira, Fairway, Ardian, Palladium, Call for Nominations, Most Influential Women


Stone Point Capital and Further Global are buying financial services services firm Duff & Phelps from Permira Funds for $4.2 billion. Permira is keeping a stake in the target. Duff & Phelps advises companies on valuation, corporate finance, investigations, disputes, cybersecurity, compliance and regulatory matters. Duff & Phelps' clients include 70 percent of top-tier private equity, law firms and hedge funds. The firm bought cybersecurity company Kroll in 2018 and claims and noticing administrator Prime Clerk in 2019. Duff & Phelps has about 3,500 professionals worldwide. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Duff & Phelps again and participate in the next phase of growth for the company,”says Stone Point CEO Chuck Davis. "The firm maintains a strong brand position and an outstanding entrepreneurial culture that will drive its continued success." Duff & Phelps is not the only bank to announce a deal recently. Earlier in January, Piper Jaffray completed its merger with Sandler O'Neil to become Piper Sandler Cos. (NYSE: PIPR). UBS Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Evercore and Kirkland & Ellis are advising Duff & Phelps. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is advising Permira. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and White & Case LLP are advising the buyers. Goldman Sachs is providing financing.

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
Ardian has raised $3.3 billion for its fourth private debt fund. The firm's debt team now manages about $7 billion in assets and has closed over 120 deals since 2005. “This fundraise demonstrates the momentum of Ardian private debt and the increasing attraction of the asset class as demand for financing from dynamic, middle-market European companies grows," says Mark Brenke, head of Ardian private debt.

GoldPoint Parners, the private equity affiliate of New York Life Investment Management LLC, has closed its fourth fund-of-funds, at $678 million. Since 2007, GoldPoint has committed $1.19 billion to 100 private equity funds and has invested $164 million into 55 direct equity co-investments

Grocery store chain Fairway Market is planning on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to the New York Post, which means the company will close all of its 14 stores. Shoprite owner Village Super Market has shown interest in buying some Fairway stores, according to the Post report.

Palladium Equity Partners has acquired Accupac Inc., a provider of outsourced manufacturing and packaging services for the beauty and personal care sectors, from J.H. Whitney Capital Partners. Accupac specializes in skin creams and toothpastes. Lincoln International and Gibson, Dunn & Cructher advised Accupac. Houlihan Lokey (NYSE: HLI) and Greenberg Traurig advised Palladium.

Frazier Healthcare Partners has bought Eptam Precision Solutions. The target is an outsourced manufacturer of medical devices and medical implants. William Blair and Choate Hall & Stewart advised Eptam. Goodwin Procter advised Frazier.

Summit Partners made a minority growth equity investment in Eclinical Solutions, a provider of software and data to the life sciences sector.

Vexcel Imaging is buying Verisk's (Nasdaq: BRSK) Geomni imagery surveying business.

Chinese giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. offered to buy Funcom NV in an all-cash offer that values the Norwegian game developer at 1.33 billion kroner ($148 million). Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Tencent offers to take over game maker Funcom.

Kian Capital has launched a resdesigned logo and website that "better aligns with the firm’s commitment to providing flexible financial resources and additional operational horsepower to scale its portfolio companies."

DEAL TRENDS
Private equity firms have big plans for 2020. About three-quarters of managers raising a private equity fund in the coming year expect it to be larger than the prior money pool, according to an EY survey. That’s the highest share since 2013, when EY first started posing the question to firms. Almost 60 percent of managers plan to raise a fund in the coming year, the survey found. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Private equity managers plan to raise larger funds in 2020.

About 70 percent of CFOs would like to spend more time on portfolio analytics and 69 percent want to spend more time on technology, according to EY's 6th annual global private equity CFO survey. About 81 percent of investors said they will see firms with ethnic and gender diversity in their leadership teams.

2019 was a record year for artificial intelligence investments with over $26 billion in funding, according to data and research firm CB Insights. There was also a record number of exits among AI companies with 231 M&A deals and 10 IPOs.

Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF) has announced a partnership with the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) of New York. The FWA is an organization that develops future women leaders and enhancing the role of women in finance. "The FWA partnership will bring even more opportunities for our female associates to collaborate, network, and expand their skillsets while also giving back to the community through mentoring,” says Stifel investment banking chief operating officer Carol DeNatale.

PEOPLE MOVES
Josh Kaufman was hired by middle-market private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners as a managing director and Luc Sandmann joined the same firm as an associate director. Kaufman was most recently with Inflexion Private Equity Partners, while Sandmann comes from Active Capital Co.

Mary Kate Bertke has been promoted to principal, head of investor relations, and Bob Anderson, Veda Eswarappa, John Stanley, and Greg Stewart have each been promoted to vice president at private equity firm Great Hill Partners.

Edward Jeffery has joined Hilco Valuation Services Europe as an associate director. He was previously with Sanderson Weatherall and Edward Symmons.

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
The 8th Independent Sponsors Summit is taking 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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