M&A wrap: Houlihan Lokey, Lincoln, Jefferies, William Blair, Piper Sandler, BV, Jack Welch, GE, Gilead, KKR, Palladium, Odyssey, Coronavirus

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Houlihan Lokey, Lincoln International, Jefferies Financial Group, William Blair and Piper Sandler Cos. rank as the top five most active M&A investment banks in 2019, based on the volume of completed private equity-backed deals in the U.S., according to PitchBook. Besides advising on M&A deals, the investment banks on the top 10 list also had a busy year with acquisitions of their own in 2019, including two acquisitions by Houlihan Lokey and three by Stifel Financial. Piper Sandler Cos., was created when Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray Cos. acquired New York-based Sandler O’Neill & Partners in a deal representing more than half of Piper Jaffray’s million market capitalization. The firm also had another acquisition in 2019 and sold a company to exit the traditional asset management business. See our full coverage: Top investment banks for PE-backed deals in 2019: Houlihan Lokey led the pack.

Audax, HarbourVest and Genstar ranked as the top three most active private equity firms in 2019, based on the volume of completed deals in the U.S., according to PitchBook. Three companies tied for fourth place: Abry, Carlyle and Shore Capital. Where were these PE firms looking for deals? Eight of the firms on our list name the software and technology sector among their top investment targets, and seven put healthcare companies on their priority list. Financial services and consumer services are each named by five of the firms as industries they focus on, with four naming business services companies. Fundraising from investors in 2019 led to two notable fund launches earlier in 2020: KKR’s Global Impact Fund and HarbourVest’s $2.6 billion HarbourVest Fund XI. See our full coverage: Top private equity firms in U.S. deals in 2019: Audax Private Equity ranked No. 1.

DEAL NEWS
BV Investment Partners has raised its tenth fund at $1.1 billion. The fund focuses on tech enabled businesses across the education, financial services, healthcare and insurance sectors. The fund expects to make around 15 investments and will invest up to $150 million per deal. "We are very excited about Fund X’s prospects and the ability to continue our strategy at a time when the landscape for investing in tech enabled business services and IT services companies providing solutions to rapidly growing segments of the economy is extremely attractive," says BV CEO Vik Raina. PE fundraising is expected to remain healthy in 2020. About three-quarters of PE managers raising fund in 2020 expect it to be larger than the prior money pool, according to an EY survey. In 2019, the average fund size increased by 32 percent to $846 million, according to EY's PE Pulse report. Other firms that recently raised funds include: Align Capital Partners, Corsair Capital, Odyssey Investment Partners and Pamlico Capital. Ropes & Gray advised BV and Evercore Private Funds Group served as placement agent.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) is buying Forty Seven Inc. for about $4.9 billion to advance into one of the hottest areas of pharmaceutical research: cancer treatments that harness the immune system to fight tumors. Read the full story by Bloomberg: Gilead buys Forty Seven to expand cancer research.

Portable storage providers WillScot Corp. (Nasdaq: WSC) and Mobile Mini Inc. (Nasdaq: MINI) are merging in a deal valued at around $6.6 billion. Morgan Stanley, Rothschild, BofA Securities Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (NYSE: JPM) and Allen & Overy are advising WillScot. Barclays, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Davis Polk are advising Mobile Mini.

KKR (NYSE: KKR)-backed BMC is buying Compuware, a mainframe software developer, from Thoma Bravo. Macquarie Capital, Jefferies and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are advising the buyers. Credit Suisse and Kirkland & Ellis are advising Compuware.

Palladium Equity Partners has bought ALC Schools and Red Rock Technology, a provider of transportaion services to school districts, from American Logistics LLC. Intrepid Investment Bankers and Morgan Lewis advised ALC. BlackArch, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Morrison & Foerster advised Palladium.

Odyssey Investment Partners has acquired NSi Industries from Blue Sea Capital LLC. NSi is a supplier of electrical connector, fitting, control and wire management products for the construction and maintenance and repair sectors.

For more deal announcements, see Weekly wrap: Intuit, Piper Sandler, Salesforce.

For more on fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Hamilton Lane, Neuberger Berman, Plexus Fund.

PEOPLE MOVES
Jack Welch, the champion of corporate efficiency who built General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) into one of the world’s largest companies and influenced generations of business leaders, has died. He was 84. GE, under Welch, spent more than $25 billion on acquisitions. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Former GE CEO Jack Welch passes away at 84.

Maggie Carter, Justin Garrison, Jonathan Holmes, Jason Kustka and Sean Wilder have been promoted to managing directors at private equity firm BV Investment Partners.

Joel D Van Dusen has joined Mashreq as head of investment banking. He was most recently global head of large corporates at HSBC.

Abtin Jalali and Chris Harding were hired by law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as partners. They were most recently with Kirkland & Ellis and focus on private equity.

FEATURED CONTENT
Stock market volatility continues Monday, following the worst week for stocks since the financial crisis, driven by fears of global supply shortages and other economic effects of the coronavirus. But yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond fell to 1.08 percent. "The drop, driven by rising bond prices, suggests that investors are still looking for safe places to park their money, as well as growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to support the economy," reports The New York Times. "The virus, now detected in at least 61 countries, has shuttered factories and squeezed businesses across the globe. Companies are also readjusting their annual profit expectations, economists are lowering their forecasts for global growth, and policymakers have signaled that they are ready, if needed, to act to stabilize the economy." To get a sense of the impact on the middle market, Mergers & Acquisitions asked executives from private equity firm the Riverside Co., virtual data room provider Merrill Corp. and law firm Paul Hastings to weigh in. Read our full coverage: Viral impact: How COVID-19 is affecting M&A and private equity

The coronavirus may cause a drastic change in payment habits, as consumers shift to digital channels to reduce their risk of infection from handling cash, reports PaymentsSource, published by Mergers & Acquisitions parent company, Arizent. Many regions are already seeing a rise in contactless transactions, which could be seen as less prone to spreading disease than the handling of cash or paper checks. Travel advisories could lead to a drastic drop in tourism spending, which could hurt the growth of global payment systems that rely on foreign travel for growth. At the same time, companies that have been undergoing a digital transformation, or promoting new technologies such as cashier-free checkout, may see more rapid adoption if their offerings can reduce the risks of transmitting the virus through human interactions. See the full story, How coronavirus could change the payments industry.

“The manufacturing industry is changing so quickly, and on a global basis, that the sector presents an enormous investment opportunity,” says Michael Psaros, co-founder and managing partner of KPS Capital Partners, a manufacturing-focused private equity firm that recently raised $6 billion and $1 billion funds in four weeks. “Companies and entire industries are being transformed by technology and by globalization, We see value in manufacturing where others do not and we make these manufacturers better. It’s a great time to invest in the sector and we are excited about what’s to come.” Mergers & Acquisitions explores five trends fueling manufacturing deals. Read our full coverage: 5 trends driving manufacturing M&A.

Pushed by a groundbreaking California law mandating it, more companies are putting women on their public corporate boards. The law faces pressure in court and may not stand, but its rippling effect has already started to increase the visibility and awareness of the important benefits of board diversity. Investors are taking notice and trying to get ahead of the curve. According to a study published by MSCI in March 2018, having three or more women on a company’s board of directors translates to a 1.2 percent median productivity above competitors. Read the full guest article by Venable's Belinda Martinez Vega: Why businesses are adding women to their boards.

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.

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 Influenital Women in Mid-Market M&A. For an overview of what we're looking for in each project, including timelines, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
ACG Raleigh Durham's 18th annual capital conference is being held from March 31-April 1 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.

The Most Power Women in Banking is hosting LEAD at Pier 60 in New Tork on May 12. The industry’s rising stars get to hear from American Banker's The Most Powerful Women in Banking honorees.

Digital Banking 2020 is taking from June 8-10 at the Austin Convention Center.

The 4th annual Emerging Manager Connect conference is taking place at the Harvard Club in New York on July 22.

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