Thoma Bravo LLC acquired Apttus in 2018, a business technology company that automates, optimizes and applies artificial intelligence to revenue generation and management of commercial relationships. Founded in 2006, Apttus was originally built to be used with the cloud-based software company Salesforce. Apttus provides contract lifecycle management and quote-to-cash technology as well as other technology services. Its customers include hundreds of Global 2,000 companies. Prior to its sale to Thoma Bravo, Apttus was once on track for an initial public offering and, at another point, thought Salesforce would be a logical buyer. “There are three main ways for us to exit – sale to a strategic player who wants to enter or strengthen its position in a market space, IPO or sale to another PE firm,” Apttus CEO Frank Holland tells Mergers & Acquisitions in an interview. “Right now, we are focused on building a strong company that is the standalone leader of the middle-office space for a very long time to come.” Read the full story: Thoma Bravo-backed Apttus wants bigger piece of middle office technology market.

Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) has made a $199 million offer to acquire Elegant Hotels Group, which operates seven hotels on the island of Barbados. “There is a strong and growing consumer demand for premium and luxury properties in the all-inclusive category,” says Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson. There has been a string of hotel and travel-related deals lately. Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) is buying the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International for $4.25 billion, and Apollo Global Management Inc. (NYSE: APO) made a first-round offer for Hilton Grand Vacations Inc., according to Bloomberg News.

Healthcare-focused PE firm RiverGlade Capital has raised its first fund at $325 million. The firm seeks to invest in businesses that have up to $150 million in enterprise value. RiverGlade was founded by Garick Rice and Danny Rosenberg, who previously led Sterling Partners’ healthcare group.

For more fundraising news, see PE fundraising scorecard: PE fundraising scorecard: Carlyle Europe, Bain Capital, Square Mile.

Nautic Partners has acquired plastic parts manufacturer Spartech from Arsenal Capital Partners. Baird and Kirkland & Ellis LLP advised Spartech and Arsenal. Locke Lord represented Nautic. BNP Paribas provided financing.

Kelso & Co. is buying a majority stake in Individual Foodservice, a distributor of foodservice disposable and sanitation products. Lincoln International LLC and Holland & Knight LLP advised the sellers. Current Capital Partners LLC and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP advised Kelso.

One Equity Partners has completed the acquisition of ORS Medco, a wholesaler of maintenance and repair focused automotive aftermarket products from Essendant Inc.

VSS has made a minority investment in Powerhouse, a provider of facilities management services, alongside Lincolnshire Management.

The New York Yankees advanced to the American League Championship Series. Alex Rodriguez is best known as the former 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 and 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 at EisnerAmper’s 4th Annual Alternative Investment Summit. Read the full story: A-Rod talks Ice Shaker, NRG eSports, J. Lo & maybe buying a baseball team.

It’s a milestone year for the Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX), which transitioned from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation on July 1. Most recently, the New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund With $20.5 billion of total capital commitments, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX is the largest real estate fund ever raised. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder, chairman and CEO. Read the full story: “Complete control” is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone’s Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Bank M&A has been soaring, creating the perfect backdrop for Piper Jaffray’s announced acquisition of Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. “There has been a lot of consolidation in the bank space,” Piper Jaffray CEO Chad Abraham told Mergers & Acquisitions. “But there are still 5,000 banks, and we expect the pace of consolidation to continue.” For analysis of the deal, see Counting on bank M&A: Why Piper Jaffray bought Sandler O’Neill.

Looking for a glimpse of what’s to come in the private equity industry? Meet Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. As the PE industry undergoes a generational shift, and many firm founders retire, it’s well worth getting to know these emerging leaders, including Branford’s Austin Collier, Sterling Partners’ Shawn Domanic and Summit Partners’ Sophia Popova. For profiles and video interviews, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. For Q&As, see 10 Rising Stars of Private Equity tell their tales.

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. For more on the timeline and nomination process for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

M&A East is taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Oct. 22-23. Managing editor Demitri Diakantonis is covering the conference for Mergers & Acquisitions.

ACG Charlotte is hosting Deal Crawl at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 6-7.

The Third Annual Women in Alternative Investments Career Forum is taking place at the New York Hilton on Nov. 8.

ACG New York is hosting Middle Market Week in New York from Nov. 11-15.