M&A wrap: Kroger, Lindsay Goldberg, PearlRock, Platinum Equity, American Express

Register now

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Lindsay Goldberg have formed PearlRock Partners, a new platform company that will invest in consumer brands. PearlRock will be part of Kroger's alternative profit streams portfolio. Grocery stores are under pressure to evolve with the rise of meal-kits, and consumers seeking more convenient options such as home delivery. In 2018, Kroger acquired Home Chef for up to $700 million. “We are transforming from grocer to growth company by deploying our assets to serve even more customers and create margin-rich alternative profit streams," says Stuart Aitken, Kroger's senior vice president of alternative business. Adds Lindsay Goldberg partner Brian Kelley: "Backed by a state-of-the-art predictive data platform, real-world consumer product expertise and unparalleled merchandising resources, these next-gen brands will be poised for growth and offer Kroger’s broad customer base greater choice, convenience and innovation.” PearlRock is part of Kroger's Restock Kroger strategy, which the company states is "leveraging its stores, logistics and data assets to create incremental new profit streams" and "will contribute to the small brand ecosystem, helping emerging brands grow and thrive in Kroger’s stores."

Healthcare companies are spending more on information technology than ever before. Private equity firms including Bain Capital, Great Hill Partners, GTCR, New Heritage Capital and the Riverside Co. are investing in the innovations most in demand, including big data, Software-as-a-Service and artificial intelligence. See 5 private equity-backed healthcare technology deals.

DEAL NEWS
Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) is buying the embedded power business from Platinum Equity-backed Artesyn Embedded Technologies for $400 million. The target makes power conversion products AC-DC power supplies, DC input devices and board mounted DC-DC modules. The advisors to the sellers include: J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Baker & McKenzie LLP.

CenterOak Partners has bought a majority stake in Service Champions and merged it with existing portfolio company Moore Home Services, to form a new HVAC maintenance and repair company. The legal advisor to Service Champions is Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP. The legal advisor to CenterOak is Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) is buying digital restaurant reservation and management company Resy. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is advising American Express.

Kian Capital Partners has acquired The Eastwood Co., an e-commerce provider of aftermarket automotive tools and equipment. Brown Gibbons Lang & Co. advised Eastwood.

Acorn Growth Cos. has bought Dimo Corp., a parts distributor for power and electromechanical aircraft systems.

B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS) has acquired Clabber Girl Corp., a maker of baking powder, baking soda and corn starch, from Hulman & Co. PJ Solomon advised B&G Foods.

TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) is acquiring TruSignal, an artificial intelligence and data provider for consumer credit.

PEOPLE MOVES
Anthony Bohnert has joined financial advisory firm Conway MacKenzie. He was most recently with KPMG.

Michael Brandt was hired by restructuring firm Gordon Brothers as chief operating officer. He most recently served as CFO of Prudential’s international insurance holdings and retirement services businesses.

Partick Doherty has joined law firm Polsinelli as a shareholder. Doherty focuses on private equity and M&A.

Christopher Keefe has been named leader of Nixon Peabody's corporate group, which compromises of M&A, private equity and family offices for the law firm.

Joseph Kopilak has joined PE firm Pine Brook as chief financial officer and chief compliance officer. Kopilak most recently as the CFO of J.P. Morgan Partners Global Investors fund.

Michael Spence has joined private equity firm General Atlantic as a special advisor. Spence serves as a co-chair of the commission on global economic transformation. Pedro Parente has also joined General Atlantic as chairman of Brazil. Parente most recently served as CEO of food company BRF.

FEATURED CONTENT
Call for nominations: Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the second annual 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. Last year, we named 11 PE investors to the list, including Ethan Liebermann, who was recently promoted from principal to director of TA Associates, and Jennifer Roach Pacini, a vice president of Yellow Wood Partners. For the Rising Stars of Private Equity, we look for individuals who are full-time private equity investors and whose best days are yet to come. These are the folks you predict will one day play a key leadership role at your PE firm – or will head up their own. There is no age cutoff. As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for candidates beyond entry-level investing but before making partner. We publish the list online in July and in the July/August issue of the magazine. The deadline for nominations is end of day Thursday, May 23, 2019. Nominations will be accepted only through our online form. There is no fee.

CLICK HERE TO NOMINATE A RISING STAR OF PRIVATE EQUITY
Click here for the 2018 Rising Stars of Private Equity.

Technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and fueling an explosion of transactions. Some of the most promising areas of innovation are: big data, medical devices, revenue cycle management, Software-as-a-Service and payment processing. “Healthcare IT is the largest cottage industry in the world,” says Sam Hendler, who leads healthcare IT deals at Harris Williams, which recently won Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2018 M&A Mid-Market Award for Investment Bank of the Year. “Healthcare IT is a highly fragmented, multi-billion-dollar market with thousands of companies focused on different $250 million to $500 million sub-markets. Savvy investors see there is an opportunity to aggregate assets and build platforms of scale. It’s an incredibly exciting time in healthcare IT.” For an in-depth look at five technologies driving M&A in healthcare, see Healthcare's must-have technologies.

Excelled. Innovated. Inspired. That’s what the eight winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 12th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards did in 2018. Our awards honor the leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market. In addition to Nike, award winners include: Fortive, TA Associates, the Riverside Co., Harris Williams, Monroe Capital, Goodwin and Luminate Capital Partners' Hollie Haynes. Read our full coverage: Meet the winners of the M&A Mid-Market Awards: Nike, Fortive, TA, Harris Williams.

Technology permeates dealmaking today. “Tech is, more or less, touching everything,” as the authors of the 2019 BDO Technology Outlook Survey put it. You can see the impact of tech throughout the 2018 winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Awards, especially Luminate Capital Partners founder Hollie Hayne scoring Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund to invest in enterprise software companies and TA Associates winning Private Equity Firm of the Year for investing a record $2.8 billion in new portfolio companies, most of which are infused with technology.

Related: Why private equity firms still love technology
Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

Genstar Capital, Audax and HarbourVest ranked as the top U.S. private equity firms of 2018, based on volume of completed deals, according to PitchBook. Check out Mergers & Acquisitions' profiles of 21 firms that led the league tables. Top private equity firms: Genstar, Audax, HarbourVest.

Also see: Top investment banks in PE-backed deals: KPMG, Houlihan, GS, William Blair.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named 36 leaders the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Kainos Capital's Sarah Bradley, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors' Nishita Cummings and Pelham S2K Managers' Venita Fields. All 36 are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. This year, we asked the featured dealmakers to tell their own stories through Q&As, including their advice for women. Related: Meet the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

EVENTS
Innovation Works holds its second annual AI/Robotics Venture Fair in Pittsburgh May 15-16.

ACG Chicago hosts the Midwest Capital Connection, at The Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, May 21-22.

ACG New York, ACG Boston and ACG Philadelphia are holding the Industrial Conference with Value Creation at the Infor in New York on June 6. The event is part of the Northeast Industry Tour.

ACG Minnesota hosts the the Upper Midwest ACG Capital Connection at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, June 10-11.

ACG Boston brings together 700-plus dealmakers for DealFest Northeast and DealSource Select 2019 at the Cyclorama and the State Room, June 12-13.

Exponent Women hosts the Annual Exchange, which brings a trusted network of women dealmakers together for a focused day of robust content and networking, at Second in New York, on July 11. The Exchange provides attendees with opportunities to establish new connections, reinforce existing ones and absorb timely and relevant knowledge from industry leaders.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.