M&A wrap: Del Frisco's, L Catterton, Hamilton Lane, Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez

Barcelona_FF_280-424x424.jpg

L Catterton is buying Del Frisco's Restaurant Group Inc. (Nasdaq: DFRG) for about $650 million in cash. The deal follows six months of pressure to sell from Engaged Capital, Del Frisco's' third largest shareholder, according to Reuters. Popular with business diners, Del Frisco's began seeking buyers in December. Del Frisco's operates 78 restaurants under the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, Del Frisco's Grille, Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco. Del Frisco's bought Barteca Restaurant Group from Rosser Capital Partners and General Atlantic for $325 million in 2018. "Del Frisco’s has four outstanding brands in two distinct and attractive categories – upscale regionally-inspired cuisine, and steak and grill," says managing partner Andrew Taub. "We’re excited to partner with the company to harness the power of these brands by operating the upscale regionally-inspired brands separately from the steak and grill concepts." The private equity firm has invested in nearly 30 restaurants including: Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin' Brands, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Crystal Jade, Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges and Uncle Julio’s. Advisors to Del Frisco's include: Piper Jaffray & Co. (NYSE: PJC) and Kirkland & Ellis. Advisors to L Catterton include: Credit Suisse and Gibson Dunn.

Alternative investment firm Hamilton Lane (Nasdaq: HLNE) has raised its fourth co-investment fund at $1.7 billion. The fund’s strategy is to provide direct equity in deals alongside general partners. “As interest in co-investing continues to grow, we believe the combination of Hamilton Lane’s scale, data and technology advantages and global platform offers a differentiated and positive experience for our investors," says Hamilton Lane managing director Jackie Rantanen.

DEAL NEWS
Eldorado Resorts Inc. is buying Caesars Entertainment Corp. for about $8.58 billion in a deal backed by activist billionaire Carl Icahn that will create the largest U.S. gaming operator. Caesars, whose properties include the flagship Caesars Palace and the Harrah’s chain, is still coping with the fallout of a 2008 leveraged buyout led by Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG that left it with a mountain of debt. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Eldorado buys Caesars in a deal backed by Carl Icahn.

Aurora Capital Partners has acquired Petroleum Services Corp. The target offers product handling and logistic services for the petrochemical, refining, midstream and marine transportation sectors. Advisors to the target include: Rothschild & Co. and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Advisors to Aurora include: Piper Jaffray & Co. (NYSE: PJC) and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) agreed to divest one of Celgene Corp.’s (Nasdaq: CELG) most lucrative drugs in order to close their planned $74 billion merger. Under an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, Bristol-Myers will sell off the psoriasis pill Otezla to satisfy antitrust regulators’ concerns. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Bristol-Myers will divest Celgene blockbuster to close deal.

IT services company Insight Enterprises has agreed to buy PCM Inc., a provider of hardware and software services to small and mid-sized businesses, for about $581 million.

Align Capital Partners bought a majority stake in E Source, a provider of research, data and consulting services for utilities.

Cybersecurity issues are increasingly becoming a concern in mergers and acquisitions, a new survey shows, and lapses can jeopardize deals or haunt purchasers long after the deal is done. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Cybersecurity risks are threatening deals.

For more deal announcements, see Weekly wrap: Pfizer, BidFair, Sekisui.

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Aquiline, Brightstar Capital, Centre Lane, Jade Equity.

FEATURED CONTENT
Alex Rodriguez is best known as the New York Yankees star who hit 696 home runs over the course of his 22-year baseball career, but today he’s making a name for himself as an investor as the founder and CEO of A-Rod Corp. One recent example: While serving as a guest judge on CNBC’s Shark Tank, Rodriguez backed Ice Shaker, an insulated bottle maker founded by former National Football League fullback Chris Gronkowski. Rodriguez talked about his life off the field as a savvy investor since his 20’s as the keynote speaker at EisnerAmper’s 4th annual Alternative Investment Summit at the The Museum of Modern Art on June 19. Among the topics discussed in a conversation led by Charles Weinstein, CEO of EisnerAmper: Rodriguez’ childhood as the son of a single mom; his investment thesis, which shares much with other middle-market investors; how he’s helping singer/dancer/actress Jennifer Lopez (to whom he became engaged in March) transition her business initiatives from licensing her brands to owning them; and how one day he just might buy a baseball team. Read the full story: A-Rod talks Ice Shaker, NRG eSports, J. Lo & maybe buying a baseball team.

Activity and urgency characterize the current dealmaking environment, say investment bankers and other M&A advisors interviewed by Mergers & Acquisitions. After a record-breaking 2018, forecasts for 2019 remain bullish. Advisors point to a lot of cash that must be deployed by strategic buyers and private equity firms alike; a healthy U.S. economy; and low interest rates. Competition for high-quality targets has never been more intense, especially for technology providers, they report, which means sellers are commanding high prices. It all adds up to a seller’s market. A mood of urgency prevails, as dealmakers seek to close deals quickly, while conditions remain favorable. The advisors interviewed for this story say they don’t see signs of a recession this year; however they are closely monitoring bellwethers, including corporate earnings, wage pressure, global supply chains and slowdowns abroad. They are recommending that clients be prepared for an economic slowdown in the next two years. Specialization is the name of the game, and investment bankers advise clients to seek targets with business-model stability, limited cyclical exposure and a recurring revenue business model. Technology, business services, healthcare, consumer and manufacturing are among the most promising sectors. Read the story: 8 M&A advisors urge closing deals now, while economy stays strong.

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.

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
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.

The Women's Connection Golf Clinic & Networking event takes place on July 17 at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, Massachussets. The event is being hosted by ACG Boston.

ACG Seattle hosts the Northwest Middle Market Growth Conference at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle on July 25.

ACG New York's summer dealmaking conference takes place at Gurney's Star Island Resort & Marina in Montauk, NY, July 31-Aug.1.

The Great Lakes ACG Capital Connection is being held at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel in Detroit from Sept. 4-6.

M&A East takes place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Oct. 21-23.

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