Mergers & Acquisitions is thrilled to share that our parent company has relaunched as Arizent. This new direction allows for our publication to continue to deepen our commitment to advancing the financial and professional service industries. Arizent will leverage our editorial brands and events to provide integrated content across our platforms, enhanced research, and peer networks—all to build communities that connect professionals around the most important ideas driving their industry forward. We are also launching a new offering, Arizent Leaders. Born out of our 17 years of honoring the Most Powerful Women in Banking, we have built this comprehensive, ongoing network to achieve tangible outcomes in gender equality, extending the significant impact to women across financial services as a whole. No other brands dive deeper into the topics that matter most to leaders in financial and professional services. From emerging business models and new customer behavior to artificial intelligence and data privacy to policy and regulatory trends, Arizent drives the conversations shaping the future of financial and professional services industries. Please explore and learn more at www.arizent.com and share if you have any questions. Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. For more information on the nomination process and what we seek in winning candidates, see Call for nominations: Submissions for the M&A Mid-Market Awards due Feb. 7. DEAL NEWS Gryphon Investors has acquired Ncontracts, a provider of risk management software for the financial services sector. Ncontracts is Gryphon's second deal in the risk and compliance industry, following the firm's 2018 investment in RegEd. “The risks facing financial institutions are multiplying and becoming more complex, and no bank, regardless of size, can justify using spreadsheets today to manage the process when the stakes are so high,” says Gryphon principal Jon Cheek. Ncontracts' software products are designed to help companies with compliance, vendor management and enterprise risk management. The target has more than 1,300 customers in the U.S. Gryphon invests up to $300 million in businesses that have up to $500 million in enterprise value. Raymond James and Kirkland & Ellis advised Gryphon. Atlas Technology Group and Choate Hall & Stewart advised Ncontracts. Moody's Corp. (NYSE: MCO) is acquiring Regulatory DataCorp., which offers, anti-money laundering, data and due diligence services, from Vista Equity Partners for $700 million. "RDC’s comprehensive data and leading technology are at the forefront of the global effort to identify sources of counterparty risk and to prevent criminal infiltration of the financial system,” says Dan Russell, executive director of the Bureau van Dijk division of Moody's Analytics. Paul Hastings is advising Vista. UBS Investment Bank and Kirkland & Ellis are advising the sellers. Fairway Group Holdings Corp. has gone bankrupt for the second time since 2016, overwhelmed by its lingering debt load and cutthroat price competition in the grocery business. The iconic New York grocer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with an agreement to sell five stores and a distribution facility to Village Supermarket Inc., owner of the ShopRite chain. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Fairway returns to bankruptcy with plans to sell five stores. BMO Financial Group is buying Clearpool Group, a provider of electronic trading services to broker-dealers. BMO Capital Markets, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP are advising BMO. Financial Technology Partners, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP, Murphy & McGonigle and Stikeman Elliott LLP are advising Clearpool. Bookend Capital Partners has acquired a minority stake in Luxury Brands Partners. The latter is a combination of a venture capital fund and brand operator that has backed companies such as R+Co, IGK, Becca and Oribe Hair Care. Bookend is a new consumer-focused private equity firm that was formed by former TSG Consumer Partners-executive Alexander Panos. L Catterton-backed Chop't Creative Salad co. has bought restaurant chain Dos Toros Taqueria. The two companies will be combined to form Founders Table Restaurant Group, and will be backed by L Catterton. Dos Toros is known for burritos and quesadillas. In 2016, Chop't CEO Nick Marsh acquired a minority stake in the target. Lovell Minnick Partners has completed its purchase of insurance technology company Charles Taylor. TPG Growth is buying Denali Water Solutions, a provider of waste, recycling and disposal services. PEOPLE MOVES The leadership and staff of Horvath & Giacin have joined EisnerAmper. Horvath president John Horvath has joined EisnerAmper as a partner. FEATURED CONTENT If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors. Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners' Kate Faust, William Blair's Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners' Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual. Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series: Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster? Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering 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 s for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women. EVENTS The 8th Independent Sponsors Summit is taking from Jan. 28-29 at the Harmonie Club In New York. ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27. InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.