M&A wrap: Gem Agency, Hicks Equity, NY Yankees, Silver Lake, Microsoft, Cameron Diaz

Divisional Series - Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One

Major League Baseball player agent Greg Genske has partnered with Hicks Equity Partners to launch Gem Agency. Hicks teamed up with family office Proficio Capital Partners. Gem Agency says it will "serve as a new model in the area of athlete representation, by focusing on a select number of exclusive clients and providing them with individualized and best-in-class services." The firm's client list includes: Roberto Osuna of the Houston Astros; Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (pictured and Tommy Pham of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are taking on the Astros in the MLB playoffs, while the Dodgers are hosting the Washington Nationals. “The baseball industry is healthy and lucrative economically, but, today more than ever, major tensions exist in the negotiating relationships between teams and players," says Genske. "Gem desires to provide a select number of clients with precedent-setting contracts, personalized care and attention to help them maximize their earnings and serve their interests in a comprehensive and first-class fashion.” Prior to launching Gem Agency, Genske founded Legacy Sports Group and served as its president and lead negotiator from 2004 until 2018. During that time, Genske negotiated over $4 billion in player contracts.

The New York Yankees are playing the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series in the playoffs. 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.

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.

DEAL NEWS
Silver Lake is buying TEG, a live entertainment and ticketing company in Asia, from Affinity Equity Partners. “High quality live sports and entertainment content is more sought after now than ever and represents a massive global addressable market for the company," says Silver Lake managing director Stephen Evans. TEG was advised by Goldman Sachs and King & Wood Mallesons. Latham & Watkins and Corrs Chambers Westgarth advised Silver Lake.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has acquired Movere, a Software-as-a-Service provider that provides data and insights that are used to plan cloud migrations. Cascadia Capital advised the target.

NexPhase Capital has invested in ready-to-eat popcorn maker Popcornopolis. The target was advised by Jefferies. Lowenstein Sandler LLP and Arnold Porter Kaye Scholer advised NexPhase.

The Jordan Co.-backed Capstone Logistics is buying software logistics firm MileZero.

Strand Equity and a group led by actress Cameron Diaz have made a minority investment in acupuncture franchise Modern Acupuncture.

FEATURED CONTENT
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.

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
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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