M&A wrap: Lowe's, Boomerang, Vista, Robert F. Smith, Thoma Bravo, Rising Stars

lowe's
A customer shops for paint brushes inside a Lowe's Cos. store in Burbank, California, U.S., on Friday, May 19, 2017. Lowe's Cos. is scheduled to release earnings figures on May 24. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. (NYSE: LOW) has acquired the retail analytics suite of products and services from Boomerang Commerce. Boomerang's technology offers retail analytics services that processes product and pricing datasets and converts them into insights. The acquisition is designed to assist Lowe's in modernizing and digitizing the company's approach to pricing. "One of the key components of our transformation here at Lowe's is to modernize our technology," says Lowe's chief information officer Seemantini Godbole. "Pricing and assortment planning have been identified as strategic areas in need of modernization. And when we find the right assets available to buy and advance our strategy, we'll do that." Founded by Guru Hariharan in 2012, Boomerang Commerce has raised more than $20 million in venture capital from firms including Shasta Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and Trinity Ventures. Lowe's acquisition includes the proprietary technology and tools for the Retail Analytics platform but excludes customer contracts and related confidential information and data. As part of the transaction, some associates from the retail analytics teams based in Bangalore and the United States will join Lowe's. After the acquisition, Boomerang Commerce's product CommerceIQ, which automates e-commerce growth for consumer brands, will operate as an independent business under the CommerceIQ.ai name with Hariharan as CEO. Strategic buyers in the retail sector are relying on data to improve their operations. For example, Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is making new bold moves through M&A to gain more insights to how its customers shop and what they need. In 2018, Nike bought Zodiac Inc., a consumer data analytics firm. Zodiac uses data models, customer analytics, and behavioral analysis to predict the future behaviors of individuals. Nike won Mergers & Acquisitions' 2018 M&A Mid-Market for Strategic Buyer of the Year for its tech acquisition strategy. Cleary Gottlieb represented Lowe's.

As the private equity industry matures, more of its leaders are focusing on building legacies in philanthropy. On May 19, Robert F. Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, announced in a commencement address at Morehouse College that he would pay off the student loans of every member of the class of 2019. “On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith said during a speech to the Atlanta college’s graduating class. “My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith added, according to a Twitter post by Morehouse College, an historically black college or university, or HCBU, for men. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans," he was quoted as saying. An official at Morehouse told a local news station that the gift was worth about $40 million. There are almost 400 graduating seniors in the class. Smith, the richest black person in the U.S. with a net worth of $4.5 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to Morehouse. In February, José E. Feliciano, the co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group LP, and his wife Kwanza Jones announced a $1 million to Bennett College, a women's HCBU in Greensboro, North Carolina. And earlier in May, Orlando Bravo, managing partner of private equity firm Thoma Bravo and founder of the Bravo Family Foundation, announced he will contribute $100 million to his foundation to promote entrepreneurship and economic development in Puerto Rico, where Bravo was raised, and his family still lives.

Deadline approaches for Mergers & Acquisitions' 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. 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. 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.

DEAL NEWS
DIsh Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) is purchasing EchoStar's broadcast satellite service business for $800 million. Advisors to Dish include: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Kelso & Co. is buying J.S. Held LLC, a consulting and insurance claims management firm for the construction sector, from Lovell Minnick Partners. Advisors to the sellers include: William Blair and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The legal advisor to Kelso is Debevoise & Plimpton.

ParkerGale has acquired a majority stake on editing and media management software company EditShare.

Shamrock Capital has made an investment in DeCurtis Corp., a software services provider for cruise lines, theme parks and restaurants. Q Advisors advised DeCurtis.

Huron Capital-backed Pueblo Mechanical & Controls has acquired HVAC services provider Westover Corp.

Monro Inc. (Nasdaq: MNRO) has acquired Certified Tire & Service Centers Inc. The target was advised by Matrix Capital Markets Group.

For more deal announcements, see Weekly wrap: Goldman Sachs, Kian, Lee Equity.

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Advent, Bloomfield Capital, Cloverlay, TH Lee.

PEOPLE MOVES
Robert Katz has joined law firm Latham & Watkins as a partner. Previously with Shearman & Sterling, Katz focuses on private equity and M&A.

Violetta Kokolus was hired by law firm Ropes & Gray as a partner. Most recently with Dechert, Kokolus advises clients on IP, data privacy and cybersecurity aspects of M&A.

FEATURED CONTENT
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. “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. And for recent transactions that showcase the trends, see 5 private equity-backed healthcare IT deals.

For more on how technology is driving M&A and private equity investments see:
Smart cities, IoT, AI, robots, edge computing will fuel next wave of tech M&A.
Why private equity firms still love technology
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.

At least two-thirds of U.S. homes have at least one pet, and people are spending more money on their pets than ever, driving M&A across the entire pet care sector. Read the full story: Demand for animal health products and services rises, driving deals.

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.

Read more about Mergers & Acquisitions' three annual special reports, including the M&A Mid-Market Awards, the Rising Stars of Private Equity, and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

EVENTS
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.

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