M&A wrap: KKR, Henry Kravis, Serena Williams, Daily Harvest, Ares Management

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KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR), led by co-founder Henry Kravis, has closed its third infrastructure fund at $7.4 billion, more than double the previous fund. The firm has raised $7 billion from investors, and KKR and its employees are plowing about $360 million into the fund, explained Raj Agrawal, global head of infrastructure, in an interview with Bloomberg News. The fund will focus on deals in countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, mostly in North America and Western Europe. “We’re in the early innings and are excited to have the capital at a time when our deal pipeline is the busiest it’s ever been,” Agrawal said. The availability of opportunities reflects the fact that companies are increasingly turning to infrastructure investors such as KKR for capital as an alternative to debt or equity issuance in public markets or even non-infrastructure-focused private equity groups, he added. In 2017, KKR’s infrastructure arm spent $4.4 billion across six deals, or roughly eight times its annual average, making it the group’s most active year since it began investing in 2011. Read the full story: KKR closes infrastructure fund at $7.4 billion in deal boom. For ongoing coverage of private equity fundraising activity, see our weekly column, PE fundraising scorecard: Crescent and G Squared.

Serena Williams, 36, faces Japan’s 20-year-old Naomi Osaka in the final of the U.S. Open on Sept. 8, just over a year after giving birth and nearly dying from a post-labor pulmonary embolism. If she wins, Williams will achieve her 24th Grand Slam singles title and tie with Margaret Court for the all-time record of most Grand Slam singles titles. In addition to tennis and motherhood, Williams is an investor. She recently invested in Daily Harvest, a New York-based subscription service specializing in frozen, plant-based, one-step-prep foods and founded by CEO Rachel Drori. Other investors in Daily Harvest include: actress Haylie Duff, chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay, Oscar Award-winning actress and founder of Goop Gwyneth Paltrow, and venture capital firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and VMG Partners. Many star athletes, including LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Greg Norman and Danica Patrick, have put their winnings into the food and beverage business. Check out our slideshow: Serena Williams and other athletes invest in healthy meals and more.

Deal news
Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES) has bought Paradigm Energy Partners from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Sidley Austin represented Stonepeak.

Crestview Partners has purchased Protect My Car, a provider of extended warranty products for vehicles. Colonnade Securities LLC advised the target. Sandler O’Neill + Partners advised Crestview.

Rotunda Capital Partners-backed IF&P Foods LLC acquired Cibus Fresh, a packaged food company that offers sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, salads, snack packs and parfaits cups.

WJ Partners-backed has bought Mobile Communications America has bought Gately Communication Co., one of the largest Motorola Partners in Virginia. First Tennessee Bank is providing financing.

For more deal announcements see, The weekly wrap: Boston Scientific, SS&C Technologies, Thoma Bravo.

People moves
Cory Steffek has joined Ara Partners as a managing director, and Grant Haddix has joined as an operating partner. Steffek was most recently with Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, and Haddix most recently led development of Shell Chemicals’ enhanced oil recovery surfactants business.

Featured content
"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. Pendleton looks to invest in companies led by diverse entrepreneurs, which she defines as entrepreneurs of color, LGBT entrepreneurs, women, veterans, and disabled entrepreneurs. She also backs companies that have products and services that cater to those markets. "People think that they are niche markets, but they're actually growing in terms of spending dollars and market size." Pendleton spoke on a panel moderated by Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn at Exponent Exchange. For more, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.Watch the full video: M&A Insights: Inclusion investing.

The energy industry is teeming with M&A activity, as companies seek to improve operations. Hubbell and Ingersoll Rand are among the strategic buyers. Private equity firms acquiring include AE Industrial Partners, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Genstar Capital. Companies in the energy industry are focused on improving operational efficiencies and analytical capabilities. The issues are urgent for oil and gas companies, because depressed prices mean profits are hard to come by, says Caroline Blitzer Phillips, who advises clients on energy deals as a partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins. They are also essential for renewable energy, which “has been quite expensive in some cases, because the infrastructure is not in place.” From providers of “smart grids” to developers of energy management software, Mergers & Acquisitions looks at recently acquired targets. Read the full story: 14 smart energy deals.

While some of the firms that were instrumental in launching the middle market back in the 1980s and 1990s have long since been shuttered, their legacy lives on. They proved to be excellent training grounds for many successful dealmakers. Heller Financial certainly belongs in this category, and Mergers & Acquisitionsfeatured its alumni a few years ago. Another firm with a far reach is Holleb & Coff, a Chicago law firm that closed in 2000, after a nearly 50-year run. Many of the lawyers who worked at Holleb & Coff back in the day are making a significant impact on M&A today, including: John Corvino, general counsel to the Chicago White Sox; · Brian Kerwin, chair of Duane Morris’ global corporate practice; Theodore (Ted) Koenig, the founder and CEO of Monroe Capital; Kenneth Serota, president of Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co., and Michelle Warner, general counsel, USG Corp. (NYSE: US). Read the full story: Holleb & Coff alumni: Where are they now?

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