Private equity delivered a bumper crop in 2018, making it the most active year the industry has ever recorded, as measured by deal volume, according to Preqin. At the top of the heap when it came to closing deals were PE firms Genstar Capital, Audax, HarbourVest, Stone Point and Abry. They ranked as the top five most active U.S.-based PE firms of the year, based on the volume of completed deals, according to PitchBook. Continuing the mometum in 2019, Genstar, which invests in financial services, software, industrial technology and healthcare and is based in San Francisco, recently raised its largest fund ever. Also among the most active firms were TA Associates, which won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for Private Equity Firm of the Year, and the Riverside Co., which won Private Equity Seller of the Year.

Check out Mergers & Acquisitions’ profiles of 21 firms that led the league tables. Top private equity firms: Genstar, Audax, HarbourVest and more
Also see: Top investment banks in PE-backed deals: KPMG, Houlihan, GS, William Blair.

The mortgage industry’s march to consolidation accelerates, as margin pressures intensify and origination volumes fail to grow fast enough to keep every last originator viable. The number of transactions jumped each of the last two years, according to data from Stratmor Group. A total of 32 M&A deals were announced within the industry in 2018, and the association expects even more in 2019. The real test comes in the execution after the deal is inked. National Mortgage News, published by Mergers & Acquisitions‘ owner SourceMedia, talked to a range of executives in the mortgage industry who recently have been involved in deals to get their thoughts on handling strategy, compliance, technology, and personnel in a merger. Read the full story: After the deal is done.

Virginia and Texas Tech compete for the NCAA basketball championship Monday. Fans have unprecedented access to online sportsbooks, and dealmakers are getting in on the M&A action. This year, March Madness offers fans unprecedented access to online betting, thanks to a May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. More Americans are expected to place bets on the college basketball tournament than the Super Bowl, with the American Gaming Association’s predicting that about $8.5 billion in wagers will be placed on the tournament. Online betting and data companies, including sportsbooks from DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars, are drawing basketball fans and interest from investors. For more, read: March Madness: DraftKings, FanDuel, Action Network draw fans, dealmakers

Deal news
Summit Partners has invested $150 million in Klaviyo, a Software-as-a-Service provider of data and marketing services. The funding will be used to hire hundreds of engineers, build the corporate development team and expand in other areas, predominantly in the company’s Boston headquarters. “Klaviyo’s data and marketing automation platform is powerful, intuitive and cost-effective – allowing marketers to measure and immediately understand what matters most, revenue,” said Andrew Bialecki, CEO and co-founder of Klaviyo. More than 12,000 brands – including e-commerce leaders such as Bonobos, CustomInk, Colourpop, Steve Madden and Untuckit – use Klaviyo to drive sales with marketing campaigns and other customer experiences, according to the company. “Klaviyo continues to change the playing field in commerce, allowing companies of all sizes to harness the power of data-driven customer engagement activity to grow sales – and the results are impressive,” said Michael Medici, a managing director at Summit Partners who has joined the Klaviyo board of directors.

Featured content
Excelled. Innovated. Inspired. That’s what the eight winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 12th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards did in 2018. Our awards honor the leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market. In addition to Nike, award winners include: Nike, Fortive, TA Associates, the Riverside Co., Harris Williams, Monroe Capital, Goodwin and Luminate Capital Partners’ Hollie Haynes. Read our full coverage: Meet the winners of the M&A Mid-Market Awards: Nike, Fortive, TA, Harris Williams.

Related: Read more about Mergers & Acquisitions’ three annual special reports, including the M&A Mid-Market Awards, the Rising Stars of Private Equity, and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions has produced a wealth of compelling content recently. In case you missed any of it, we’ve put together a short list of 5 M&A stories you don’t want to miss, including the winners of the 2018 M&A Mid-Market Award winners, top investment banks and PE firms doing tech deals. Here are more details on our recent coverage: 5 M&A stories you don’t want to miss

The way consumers shop continues to change. Customers want to put their own touch on products, not wait too long for them and in most cases, never step foot in a store to buy them. Apparel and sneaker retailers, such as Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), the winner of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2018 Mid-Market Award for Strategic Buyer of the Year, and Foot Locker, are embracing these challenges by snatching up companies that help provide customized products to customers. Read the full story: Sports retailers Nike, Foot Locker buy digital startups to help customize sneakers.

Technology M&A is thriving, and private equity firms are hot on the trail of innovations that will drive sustainable value to customers and make companies more efficient, more effective and less expensive to run. Among the developments appealing to PE investors are: artificial intelligence, data management, data virtualization, digital marketing, healthcare IT, industrial automation, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine learning, payment processing and Software-as-a-Service. To gain more insights into what kinds of tech deals will dominate the field in 2019, Mergers & Acquisitions reached out to 10 private equity firms that are active investors in technology: Francisco Partners, Genstar, Great Hill, HGGC, Insight, LLR, Riverside, Silver Lake, TA and Vista. Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named 36 leaders the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Kainos Capital’s Sarah Bradley, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors’ Nishita Cummings and Pelham S2K Managers’ Venita Fields. All 36 are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. This year, we asked the featured dealmakers to tell their own stories through Q&As, including their advice for women. Related: Meet the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

Events
InterGrowth 2019 is taking place from May 6-8 at the Waldorf Astoria & Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Innovation Works is holding its second annual AI/Robotics Venture Fair in Pittsburgh from on May 15 and 16.

ACG Chicago is hosting the Midwest Capital Connection at The Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile from May 21-22.

ACG New York, ACG Boston and ACG Philadlephia are holding the Industrial Conference with Value Creation at the Infor in New York on June 6. The event is part of the Northeast Industry Tour.

ACG Minnesota is hosting the The Upper Midwest ACG Capital Connection at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot from June 10-11.