About 83 percent of U.S. executives expect the M&A market to improve, according to the EY 21st Capital Confidence Barometer, but only 46 percent plan to pursue dealmaking in the next year. "US business leaders are acting from a position of strength, building on the successes they've achieved, while remaining watchful for shifts in the macro environment and geopolitical chessboard," says Bill Casey, EY Americas vice chair, transaction advisory services. "They are keenly aware that risk to their business can take many forms. More than half tell us that regulations — such as supply chain disruptions from trade and tariff disputes, or climate change policies — could have an impact on their business growth." About 63 percent of survey respondents expect to see rising competition from private equity firms for targets, while 37 percent view strategic buyers as competition. "Dealmakers of all types are diligently vetting opportunities for strategic fit and sustainable growth," says Casey. "There's an understandable sense that the margin of error for mergers and acquisitions has shrunk, as conditions become challenging and unpredictable, and we see pressure for deals to deliver significant benefits over the long term." Looking ahead, 52 percent of respondents see no change in their M&A pipelines, while 47 percent expect an increase. Today is the deadline to nominate candidates for the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Submit nominations by end of day Mon. Oct. 14. TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE, CLICK HERE. DEAL NEWS Veritas Capital has raised its seventh fund at $6.5 billion. The firm invests in technology-focused businesses for the aerospace and defense and government sectors. “I believe the strength of our latest fundraise is a testament to our diverse team of investment professionals and associated intellectual property that enable us to identify attractive investment opportunities and drive unmatched growth," says Veritas CEO Ramzi Musallam. Apollo Global Management Inc. (NYSE: APO) made a first-round offer for Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. valuing the timeshare resort operator at about $40 per share, according to Bloomberg News. Elliott Management Corp. has built a position in Hilton Grand Vacations and was advocating for a sale prior to the company putting itself on the block. Read the full story from Bloomberg: Apollo makes offer for Hilton Grand Vacations. Wendel is buying Crisis Prevention Insitute from FFL Partners in a deal valued at $910 million. CPI offers behavior and crisis prevention training programs to the education and healthcare sectors. KKR (NYSE: KKR) has acquired Hyperoptic, U.K.'s largest broadband provider, from Newlight Partners and Mubadala Investment Co. LionTree Advisors advised the target. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP advised Newlight. Lovell Minnick Partners has bought payments software provider Billhighway. The latter provides accounting and transaction processing services to membership-based organizations such as fraternities, sororities and unions. Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss advised Lovell Minnick. TPG Sixth Street Partners and Wells Fargo provided financing. Lincolnshire Management has invested in Powerhouse, a facilities maintenance services company. The target was advised by Baird. Advisors to Lincolnshire include: Kirkland & Ellis and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Financing was provided by Cerberus Capital Management. Blue Wolf Capital Partners has acquired engineering and construction company Kirlin Design Build. D.A. Davidson advised Blue Wolf. Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. (NYSE: BR) has acquired Appatura from Havas Creative Inc. The target offers Software-as-a-Service for contnent management to asset managers. PEOPLE MOVES Jerome Brown has joined investment bank Houlihan Lokey (NYSE: HLI) as a managing director. Brown was previously with JMP Securities, and focuses on the healthcare sector. Jean-Luc Belingard was hired by private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice as an operating advisor. Belingard is the former CEO of Biomerieux. FEATURED CONTENT The New York Yankees advanced to the American League Championship Series this week. 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 and 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 at EisnerAmper’s 4th Annual Alternative Investment Summit. Read the full story: A-Rod talks Ice Shaker, NRG eSports, J. Lo & maybe buying a baseball team. 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. 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.” For analysis of the deal, see Counting on bank M&A: Why Piper Jaffray bought Sandler O'Neill. 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 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. The 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.