Lower middle-market private equity firm LLR Partners has raised its sixth fund at $1.8 billion. This firm has now raised over $5.3 billion across six funds since it was founded in 1999. While overall private equity fundraising is down in the pandemic, several firms have announced fundraising news recently including BC Partners, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners and Long Ridge Equity Partners. A total of 237 private equity funds closed in the third quarter, the lowest number since 2015, according to Preqin. On the plus side, the average fund size increased to $536 million. Fundraising efforts remained strong with a record 3,968 funds on the road. LLR focuses on the technology and healthcare sectors, investing between $25 million and $100 million in companies. LLR has invested in 108 companies since it was formed. The firm recently acquired YCharts, a cloud-based investment analytics and communications provider for broker-dealers and asset managers, and invested in TrueLearn, a provider of online test preparation and data analytics to healthcare education and training institutions. “The sector experience of our investment professionals, along with our value creation and sourcing resources, allow LLR to help companies accelerate organic and inorganic growth and become market leaders,” says LLR partner Mitchell Hollin. Asante Capital Group served as LLR's placement agent and Latham & Watkins provided legal counsel. To see which other firms are raising funds, check out: PE Fundraising Scorecard: Accel-KKR, CVC, Golub, Wind Point. M&A is heating up quickly. One service provider very familiar to the readers of Mergers & Acquisitions just announced its acquisition. Datasite, maker of the popular virtual data room used in many transactions, is being acquired by CapVest Partners. "CapVest’s long track record of transforming the size and scale of their portfolio companies and enabling them to realize their potential makes them an exciting partner for our next phase of growth," says Datasite CEO Rusty Wiley. In 2019, Datasite increased revenue by more than 30 percent, as it facilitated close to 10,000 deals. "With the recent launch of the Prepare, Outreach, and Acquire products to augment the company’s flagship Diligence offering, Datasite is the comprehensive solution provider for the dealmaking community," adds CapVest partner Christopher Campbell. Mergers & Acquisitions recently conducted an interview with Datasite CEO Rusty Wiley about all the M&A activity the company has seen recently, highlighted by a survey Datasite performed. Wiley to shared the results of the survey and his perspective on end-of-the-year dealmaking. Deal-Ready: Companies Prepare for Opportunities, as M&A Activity Picks Up in Q4 Mergers and Acquisitions has announced our Call for Nominations, and we are seeking candidates for the 2021 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Deadline is Monday, December 7, 2020. Click here to learn more and nominate a candidate. It will mark the sixth 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. Last 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 were new to our 2020 list, including Rockwood Equity Partners' Kate Faust 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. We will publish the 2021 list in the February issue of Mergers & Acquisitions. DEAL NEWS ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) has agreed to buy Concho Resources Inc. for about $9.7 billion, the largest shale industry deal since the collapse in energy demand earlier this year and one that will create a heavyweight driller in America’s most prolific oil field. The pandemic-induced price crash and lackluster global economic recovery have accelerated the push for consolidation across the shale patch, which is under severe financial strain after years of debt-fueled growth. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Conoco Buys Concho for $9.7 Billion to Create Shale Giant. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will invest about $3.6 billion to double its stake in Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., taking control of China’s largest chain of hypermarts to try and fend off rivals like JD.com Inc. in e-commerce’s hottest growth arena. The deal signals the intention of Asia’s most valuable corporation to accelerate an effort to dominate one of Chinese e-commerce’s largest untapped frontiers. Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang has made expansion into physical retail and the grocery business in particular a cornerstone of his growth strategy, an effort that paid off during the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story by Bloomberg: Alibaba Takes Over China’s Sun Art for $3.6 Billion. Kainos Capital is acquiring direct-to-consumer weight management brand Nutrisystem from Tivity Health (Nasdaq: TVTY) for $575 million. Nutrisystem offers portion-controlled foods specifically designed to meet consumer needs and delivered directly to their doors. "Customers don’t need to leave their homes to travel to a weight loss center for scheduled appointments, and they don’t need to weigh their food or count calories," says Kainos partner Bob Sperry. "Everything customers need to accomplish and sustain their weight management goals is delivered right to their doors." Rabobank is providing financing for the transaction and is acting as financial advisor to Kainos. Winston & Strawn is Kainos' legal counsel. Thoma Bravo is buying a majority stake in AxiomSL, a cloud-based risk management and regulatory software provider for banking, investment management, broker dealers and commodity trading institutions. Evercore and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP are advisng AxiomSL. Kirkland & Ellis is advising Thoma Bravo. Bansk Group is acquiring Woodstream, a maker of branded pest and animal control products, from Vestar Capital Partners. Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Goldman Sachs and William Blair are advising Woodstream and Vestar. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC are advising Bansk. Ares Management is financing. Sheridan Capital-backed long-term pharmacy Tarrytown Expocare has acquired Long’s Drugs in Thomson, Georgia, Long’s Closed-Door Pharmacy in Columbia, South Carolina and Adler’s Pharmacy LTC, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The acquisitions are part of Tarrytown's strategy to expand geographically to serve more intellectually and developmentally disabled populations. EVENTS Exponent Women is hosting: Raising Your M&A Career to the Next Power on Oct., 20. The event features talented, tenured investment professionals from top private equity and investment banking firms who will share their perspective on building a career and the challenges they faced along the way. Panelists include: Katie Harris Storer, principal, Blackstone Growth Equity; Julia Karol, president & COO, Watermill Group; Gillian Marcott, director, healthcare corporate finance, Citizens Financial Group. The ACG Fall Summit is taking place virtually from Nov. 10-11. The event features programming that centers on strategic acquirers, family offices and PE-backed executives that are involved middle-market dealmaking. PEOPLE MOVES Scott Paton was hired by William Blair as a managing director in the firm's financial sponsors group. “The addition of Scott demonstrates our commitment to providing world-class service to the financial sponsor community,” says Bryan Doherty, managing director, financial sponsors. Paton was most recently with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Robert Caporale has joined private equity fund administrator Gen II Fund Services LLC as head of strategic business development. He was previoysly the CEO of Exchangelodge. IN THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS "When Covid-19 hit, everything stopped,” says Jeri Harman, the founder of Avante Capital Partners, in the October cover story of Mergers & Acquisitions, written by contributing editor Danielle Fugazy. “We were looking internally to understand where our portfolio was and figure out how we could help existing portfolio companies. That lasted until May. Now we are busy again. It’s not like last year, but there is good deal flow.” To find out what we can expect in the months to come, we turned to Churchill Asset Management’s Randy Schwimmer, the founder and publisher of The Lead Left, for a contributed article on predictions for 2021. “Transaction efficiency is key to getting deals done,” he says. Mergers & Acquisitions interviewed Pam Hendrickson, COO of the Riverside Co., who serves on the board of American Investment Council. Hendrickson urges: “We must remain engaged before, during, and after election day.” For the full October issue of Mergers & Acquisitions, download the Digital Edition. For the full versions of these stories, click on the links below. SPECIAL REPORTS Most Influential Women of Mid-Market M&A is one of three special projects Mergers & Acquisitions publishes annually. For more details, see: Special reports: Advancing the middle market through Most Influential Women, M&A Mid-Market Awards and Rising Stars. The M&A Wrap is a bi-weekly column that is published on Mondays and Thursdays.