Food processor Grupo Nutresa SA has acquired Cameron's Coffee from Goldner Hawn for $113 million. The deal expands Grupo Nutresa's U.S. presence, which the company calls "one of the largest and most dynamic coffee markets in the world." Cameron's is a producer of branded and private-label single-serve coffee pods, bagged whole bean and ground coffee and bulk whole bean coffee mainly for the grocery sector. Grupo Nutresa CEO Carlos Ignacio Gallego says: “This acquisition is a new step in Grupo Nutresa’s internationalization process and is aligned with our objective of improving the quality of life of consumers through conscious brands, affordable products and innovative, differentiated value propositions." The company, based in Medellin, Colombia, is a diversified food processing company that sells cold cuts, biscuits, chocolates, ice cream and pasta. Piper Jaffray (NYSE: PJC) advised Goldern Hawn. The buyer was advised by Tully & Holland, Nixon Peabody and EY. 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 on Sept. 11 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, on the occasion of his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, published by Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, and released on Sept. 17. Schwarzman, who is speaking at the Economic Club of New York on Sept. 18, shared his perspective on the private equity model, its resilience during recessions and how the industry has evolved over three decades. Read the full story: "Complete control" is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone's Stephen A. Schwarzman. Mergers & Acquisitions seeks nominations for the fifth edition of the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. The deadline is Oct. 14. 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. TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE, CLICK HERE. DEAL NEWS Payments platform Stripe Inc. became one of the most highly valued startups in the world on Thursday, after it announced a new funding round at a $35 billion valuation, not counting the more than $1 billion investors have poured into the company. In the U.S., only vaping giant Juul Labs Inc. and the troubled We Co. are more valuable. Stripe raised $250 million in funding in the new round, which the company said will be used to continue to expand around the world and launch new products. Read the full the stories: Stripe becomes third most valuable startup in the U.S. and Stripe's $35 billion valuation powers global battle against consolidating processors. Gamut Capital Management is buying American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc.'s (NYSE: AXL) U.S. iron casting operations, also known as Grege, for $245 million. The business being sold manufactures ductile, iron castings and machined parts for the automotive and industrials sectors. "The sale of Grede will enable us to streamline our business, accelerate our debt reduction initiatives and enhance our margin profile," says AAM CEO David Dauch. Crossplane Capital has acquired a controlling stake in Accent Family of Cos., which owns wire and building product distributors Accent Wire-Tie, Accent Wire-Tie United Kingdom and Accent Building Materials. High Road Capital Partners-backed U-C Coatings has acquired Eco Chemical Inc. The latter is a manufacturer of water-based stains and coatings that are used on pressure treated wood in the manufacturing of wood products such as fencing, decks and exteriors. The Riverside Co. has invested in Blue Moon Estate Sales. The target is a real estate franchise that offers estate sale and other services to assist seniors and their families when they are selling the senior’s residence to downsize or transition to a senior living facility. Shore Capital Partners has invested in Main Street Gourmet, a wholesale bakery that distributes frozen muffins, cookies and other baked products to the retail and foodservice sectors. FEATURED CONTENT 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.” Piper Jaffray is determined to be the market leader in all the industries it does business in. The Minneapolis-based boutique investment bank currently dominates some of the sectors it serves, especially healthcare. With the acquisition of New York-based Sandler the renamed firm Piper Sandler will instantly become a leading investment bank in financial services, a sector Piper has sought to expand in for several years. For analysis of the deal, see Counting on bank M&A: Why Piper Jaffray bought Sandler O'Neill. Activity and urgency characterize the current dealmaking environment, say investment bankers and other M&A advisors interviewed by Mergers & Acquisitions. After a record-breaking 2018, forecasts for 2019 remain bullish. Advisors point to a lot of cash that must be deployed by strategic buyers and private equity firms alike; a healthy U.S. economy; and low interest rates. Competition for high-quality targets has never been more intense, especially for technology providers, they report, which means sellers are commanding high prices. It all adds up to a sellers' market. Read the story: 8 M&A advisors urge closing deals now, while economy stays strong. The New York Yankees are in first place in the American League East division and have one of the best overall records in Major League Baseball. 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 as 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 Leaguefullback Chris Gronkowski. Rodriguez talked about his life off the field at EisnerAmper’s 4th annual Alternative Investment Summit. Among the topics discussed: Rodriguez’ childhood as the son of a single mom; his investment thesis, which shares much with other middle-market investors; how he’s helping singer/dancer/actress Jennifer Lopez (to whom he became engaged in March) transition her business initiatives from licensing her brands to owning them; and how one day he just might buy a baseball team. Read the full story: A-Rod talks Ice Shaker, NRG eSports, J. Lo & maybe buying a baseball team. 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 The Virginia Capital Conference is being held on Oct. 2 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. 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.