M&A wrap: Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot, Platinum, Arsenal, Spirit AeroSystems, CI Capital

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Rival carmakers PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unveiled a plan to combine, pooling resources to confront an expensive new era of trade tariffs, emissions rules and electrification. A merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA, the No. 2 for car sales in Europe, would create a regional powerhouse to challenge Volkswagen AG. The tie-up would bring together the billionaire Agnelli clan in Italy and the Peugeot family of France as consolidation sweeps through an industry trying to finance major transformation. The announcement comes several months after Fiat Chrysler and PSA explored a partnership on pooling investment to build cars in Europe, and following the collapse in June of negotiations between Fiat and French competitor Renault SA. Both PSA and Fiat Chrysler lag on investments in electrification and neither has a strong presence in China, but a combination could help them grow in the lucrative commercial vehicle market in Europe. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Fiat and PSA plan carmaking tie-up to face expensive future.

Tritium Partners has invested in AutoVitals, a Software-as-a-Service provider to auto repair shops. The investment will allow AutoVitals to expand its software offerings to shop owners who want to improve their workflow and increase revenues.

DEAL NEWS
Platinum Equity has bought De Wave Group from Xenon Private Equity. De Wave designs ship interiors to ship builders and cruise companies. Brera Financial Advisory, Deloitte, E&Y Tax and Latham & Watkins advised Platinum. Fineurop Soditic and Pavia e Ansaldo Studio Legale advised Xenon.

Arsenal Capital Partners-backed Accumen has purchased 3DR Laboratoties, a provider of outsourced post-processing services to hospitals and radiology departments. Edgemont Partners advised the target.

Graham Partners has acquired Gatekeeper Systems from HKW. The target offers intelligent cart services to help reduce merchandises losses. Cowen and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP advised HKW.

Spirit AeroSystems is buying Bombardier's aerospace parts manufacturing assets in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS).

CI Capital has acquired a majority stake in WTS International. The latter provides management, consulting and design services to spas, fitness centers and residential lifestyle facilities.

FEATURED CONTENT
Overall M&A activity in the third quarter saw $600 billion worth of deals closed, according to PitchBoook. So far in 2019, more than 8,000 deals have closed, worth about $1.6 trillion. The activity is on pace with the first three quarters of 2018. Among the deals that closed include: Cox Automotive's purchase of Rivian Automotive; TPG Sixth St Partners' deal for Smartdrive Systems and Boathouse Capital backing TapClicks. Read the full story: Key middle-market M&A deals completed in Q3 2019

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. Adams Street Partners, Balance Point Capital, Carlyle and VSS are all actively engaged in lending. Read the full story: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

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. The New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund recently. 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
ACG Boston hosts The 2nd annual Healthcare Conference – Improving the Patient Experience - on Nov. 6 at the UMass Club in Boston, as a part of the ACG Northeast Industry Tour. Speakers include Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn, who is moderating a panel.

ACG Charlotte brings M&A pros together for 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. The 17th Annual Private Equity Wine Tasting Gala takes place on Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall.

Exponent Women is hosting a Family Office Event with Owens Group at LX Gallery in New York on Nov. 21. Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn is moderating a panel.

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