M&A wrap: HGGC, Mi9, MyWebGrocer, General Atlantic, Sears, Most Influential Women

HGGC is investing in retail software provider Mi9 Retail and merging it with current portfolio company MyWebGrocer. Mi9's current owners, General Atlantic and Respida Capital are investing alongside HGGC. Mi9 offers software that measures data, such as shopping behavior, inventory management and sales per product. MyWebGrocer provides digital marketing services to grocery retailers and consumer packaged goods brands. The deal expands MWG software services while it extends Mi9's technology offerings into the grocery sector. The combined company will work with more than 500 retailers and consumer brands including: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), BevMo!, Cole Haan, Giant Eagle, Levi's, Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Shopko, ShopRite and Tommy Bahama. "Mi9 has a proven track record of successfully integrating best-of-breed retail technology companies, so adding MWG is a natural step for the company," says HGGC CEO Rich Lawson. "Consumers expect all retailers to offer a unified experience across their online and in-store channels, and retailers need to invest in omni-channel technology to keep up," adds Mi9 CEO Neil Moses. Retailers that are not adapting to shifting consumer shopping habits are struggling to survive, forcing some of them, including Sears Holdings Corp., to file for bankruptcy. Read the full story: Sears goes bankrupt, deserted by shoppers and mired in debt. Meanwhile, demand for retail data companies is picking up and that is driving deal activity. Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) and New Mountain Capital bought JDA Software; Carlyle acquired Claritas; and Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) bought Zodiac. Evercore Inc. (NYSE: EVR) is advsing Mi9 and Raymond James & Associates (NYSE: RJF) is advising HGGC. Jefferies is advising MWG.

Monday, October 15, is the last day to submit nominations for Mergers & Acquisitions' 2019 edition of The Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Click here to submit a nomination. By identifying and featuring dozens of influential women, Mergers & Acquisitions nurtures the community of female leaders and provides role models for women who are at earlier stages of their careers. 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. While considering the merits of candidates, it’s helpful to read about women who have met our criteria in the past. Read the previous edition here.

Mergers & Acquisitions identifies 15 cities that provide fertile environments for dealmaking, from Austin (where Michael Dell launched a PC business out of his dorm room back in the day and where thousands gather every year for SXSW) to St. Louis (home of private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners). Be sure to check out Milwaukee (with private equity firm Robert W. Baird & Co. and investment bank Clearly Gull) and Minneapolis (home of strategic buyers 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Hormel and Target). And don’t forget Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and more. See our list, Dealmaker's guide to 15 cities where M&A thrives.

Deal news
Nine Energy Service Inc. (NYSE: NINE) is buying Magnum Oil Tools International Ltd., a maker of technology products such as frac plugs, for the oil and gas industry, for $493 million. "At Nine, we constantly focus on adding differentiated technology to our portfolio of completion tools to enable operators to more reliably and effectively complete the horizontal wellbores of tomorrow," says Nine Energy CEO Ann Fox. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (NYSE: JPM) and Kirkland & Ellis LLP are advising Nine Energy. FMI and Porter Hedges LLP are advising Magnum. For more on tech-related energy deals, see our list: 14 Smart Energy Deals.

EagleTree Capital has acquired a majority stake in Gaylord Chemical Co., a producer of solvents and chemicals for the agriculture, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors. Lincoln International and Baker McKenzie advised Gaylord. Jones Day advised EagleTree. Twin Brook provided financing.

Auxo Investment Partners has invested in Prestige Stamping, a manufacturer of engineered stampings for the fastener industry.

Charlesbank Capital Partners and Partners Group-backed Hearthside Food Solutions is acquiring Greencore USA from Greencore Group plc. The target makes frozen and refrigerated sandwiches, entrees and salad kits. HSBC and Barclays are advising Hearthside. Ropes & Gray is representing CharlesBank and Partners Group.

Huron Capital-backed IQ Brands has acquired Wheel House Designs, a producer of novelty socks.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has purchased online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities. Morrison & Foerster LLP advised Walmart.

The Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG) is buying Apollo Aviation Group, an investment firm that focuses on buying mid-life commercial airplanes. Separately, Carlyle has invested in Adicon Holding Ltd., an independent clinical laboratory company in China.

For more deal announcements, see the weekly wrap: DSW, Palladium, TransDigm.

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Atlus Capital and Golub Capital Partners.

People moves
Julia Boyd has joined Reed Smith as a partner. Previously with Goodwin Procter, Boyd represents private equity firms and their portfolio companies on M&A.

Jérôme Brassart was hired by Prerella Weinberg Partners as a managing director where he is focusing on the utilities and infrastructure sector. Brassart was most recently with Credit Suisse.

Featured content
New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a stunning 43-40 win in NFL Week 6. Off the court, Brady recently teamed with former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Many NFL players invest in companies. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. As Week 6 continues, Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at star players who invest in companies through private equity, venture capital and other investment vehicles.

Food & beverage M&A offers plenty of mouth-watering deals. Giants Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP) update their product lines with healthy offerings, while private equity firms, such as Brynwood Partners, breathe new life into tried and true brands, like Pillsbury. And lots of buyers experiment with meal kits and delivery methods, fueling M&A. Read the full story: 9 food & beverage companies loved by consumers and dealmakers alike.

Strategic buyers leverage data, sell more snacks and cater to seniors. Mergers & Acquisitions outlines the M&A strategies of 8 corporations, including Best Buy, Energizer, Fortune Brands, Hershey, Nike, P&G, Stanley Black & Decker and Tyson Foods. See the full story: Best Buy, Hershey, Nike, P&G and more wield M&A to grow.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), the owner of Hillshire Farm, wants to “feed the world” with its protein brands and will seek acquisitions to help. How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A.

Between 70 and 80 percent of all M&A integration projects fall short of delivering anticipated value. This isn't because the acquisition target is somehow subpar, it's because the acquiring firm lacks a strong integration strategy. Read the full story: How to accelerate value in the first 100 days after an acquisition.

Why investors like diversity. "Companies that are inclusive and also diverse tend to outperform companies that aren't," says investor Lorine Pendleton of Pipeline Angels and Portfolia in this video interview shot at Exponent Exchange, a gathering of 200 female dealmakers. Watch the full video: M&A Insights: Inclusion investing.

Events
M&A East, hosted by ACG Philadelphia and held Oct. 24-25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, brings together 1,300 top strategic and financial dealmakers and leading middle-market advisors for deal sourcing and networking. Featured speakers include Walter Robb, former CEO Whole Foods, and Chris Voss, former FBI lead hostage negotiator. The Women in Dealmaking session will focus on Women in the Board Room.

Exponent Evening with Tequila Casa Dragones, hosted by Exponent Women LLC, a networking group for female dealmakers, held Oct. 25 at The Dream Downtown in New York, features tequila, food and a conversation between Bertha Gonzales Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Tequila Casa Dragones, and Mary Kathleen Flynn, editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. For more on networking group’s previous event, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

ACG Chicago's Family Office Conference, held Nov. 8, at the Westin Chicago River North, brings deamakers together for a "deep dive" into family offices. The event features a keynote by Laurent Roux, Gallatin Wealth Management, and panels, including: Current State of Family Office Direct & Co-Investment Activity, with Gary Levenstein, Nixon Peabody; and Impact of Millennial Generation on Family Office Investment Strategy including Social Impact Investing, with Adam Lieb and Tony Oommen, Fidelity Family Office Services.

ACG Florida Capital Connection, held Nov. 12-14, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, puts “sun and fun” into dealmaking for the middle market, bringing together hundreds of dealmakers. The keynote speaker is Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes, and the featured speaker for the Women’s Forum is Valerie Crites Fowler, who served as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 29 years, reaching the rank of Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service.

Middle Market Week, hosted by ACG New York and held Nov. 26-30 at various locations throughout New York, brings together leading global middle-market dealmaking professionals to develop and enhance their dealmaking activities, strengthen their long-term relationships, and provide numerous opportunities for networking all week long. Mark your calendar for the Private Equity Annual Wine Tasting Gala on Nov. 28 at Gotham Hall. The building was constructed in the 1920s as the headquarters of the Greenwich Savings Bank. The gala brings together the leading middle market private equity firms for an evening of fine wines and networking.

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