Mergers & Acquisitions has named the winners of the 2018 M&A Mid-Market Awards. Congratulations to:

  • Deal of the Year: Fortive Corp.’s (NYSE: FTV) $775 million acquisition of construction software developer Gordian fromWarburg Pincus LLC was a transformative deal for the buyer and for the construction industry as a whole.
  • Dealmaker of the Year: Hollie Haynes raised Luminate Capital Partners’ second fund with $425 million of capital, securing the technology-focused private equity firm’s position as a consummate investor in middle-market enterprise software companies.
  • Private Equity Firm of the Year: TA Associates invested a record $2.8 billion in new portfolio companies (more than double the previous year), celebrated its 50th anniversary and completed its 500th investment.
  • Private Equity Seller of the Year: The Riverside Co. completed 16 exits, made 60 investments, and delivered a record fundraising year, as the firm marked its 30th anniversary.
  • Strategic Buyer of the Year: Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) bought Zodiac Inc. and Invertex Ltd., bringing aboard “world-class data-science talent and best-in-class tools to power 1:1 relationships with consumers through digital and physical consumer experiences.”
  • Investment Bank of the Year: Harris Williams completed 87 transactions in 2018, the most in the firm’s history.
  • Lender of the Year: Monroe Capital grew AUM by $1.8 billion, or 35 percent, over the previous year, bringing the total to $7 billion.
  • Law Firm of the Year: Goodwin grew by double digits across key financial metrics, marking the firm’s sixth consecutive year of record revenue and profits, with technology-rich practice areas driving growth.

Related: For full coverage, see Meet the winners of the M&A Mid-Market Awards: Nike, Fortive, TA, Harris Williams.

Deal news
FIS has agreed to buy Worldpay Inc. (NYSE: WP) in a deal that is valued at $43 billion and allows FIS to counter the transaction processing scale Fiservreceived when it acquired First Data this year. The merger price is based on a $34 billion bid plus $9 billion of Worldpay’s debt. The deal builds on a number of previous acquisitions by FIS and its rivals. Read the full story: FIS in $43 billion deal for Worldpay as fintech consolidation ramps up.

The Jordan Co. is buying Sabre Industries, a manufacturer of engineered structures for the utilities and telecom sectors, from Kohlberg & Co. Advisors to Sabre include: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc., KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Jordan is being advised by Kirkland & Ellis.

An investment group led by actor Mark Wahlberg and FOD Capital have acquired a minority stake in fitness company F45 training. Wahlberg, who is known for films such as “The Departed,” describes himself as a “fitness fanatic” to help prepare for his acting roles. Advisors to the target include: Deutsche Bank Securities and Baker McKenzie. The investment group is being advised by Dickinson Wright.

ParlerGale has invested in auto dealership software company DealerBuilt. The target was advised by Presidio Technology Partners. ParkerGale recently raised its second fund at $375 million.

One Rock Capital Partners is buying Newell Brands Inc.’s (Nasdaq: NWL) process solutions business, which offers custom-designed plastic, nylon and zinc products for the consumer, healthcare and industrial sectors.

Ardian has acquired a minority stake in Eloquant, a Software-as-a-Service provider for customer relations.

For more deal news, see The weekly wrap: Huron, Mastercard, Smith & Nephew

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraising scorecard: Mill Road, Nautic Partners, Summit

Featured content
March Madness 2019 marks the first time the college basketball tournament has been played since the U.S. Supreme Court in May overturned the federal law that had confined legal sportsbooks to Nevada. More Americans are expected to place bets on the NCAA tournament than the Super Bowl. According to the American Gaming Association, about $8.5 billion in wagers will be placed on the tournament. Online betting and data companies, including those that work with the NCAA, have been gearing up, and M&A is rampant throughout the sector. Duke University Blue Devils, with Zion Williamson is expected to do well in the 2019 March Madness tournament as the number one overall seed.

Related: Place your bets on March Madness, thanks to new regs and new deals.

Technology M&A is thriving, and private equity firms are hot on the trail of innovations that will drive sustainable value to customers and make companies more efficient, more effective and less expensive to run. Among the developments appealing to PE investors are: artificial intelligence, data management, data virtualization, digital marketing, healthcare IT, industrial automation, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine learning, payment processing and Software-as-a-Service. To gain more insights into what kinds of tech deals will dominate the field in 2019, Mergers & Acquisitions reached out to 10 private equity firms that are active investors in technology: Francisco Partners, Genstar, Great Hill, HGGC, Insight, LLR, Riverside, Silver Lake, TA and Vista.

Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

In Mergers & Acquisitions’ annual look at strategic buyers, we see significant deals aimed at enhancing the customer relationship, including Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) purchase of PillPack, Nike Inc.’s (NYSE: NKE) acquisitions of Invertex Ltd. and Zodiac Inc. and Target Corp.s’ (NYSE: TGT) acquisition of Shipt. Technology plays a key role in many transactions. But while technology is enabling developments, it’s not an end unto itself for many corporations. Instead, strategic buyers are using innovations as a means to achieve goals. Based on analyzing hundreds of recent deals, Mergers & Acquisitions has identified seven goals corporate dealmakers hope to accomplish through M&A transactions today: Integrate data with software; improve the customer experience and relationship; expand and improve distribution; process payments more efficiently; leverage tech trends, like autonomous vehicles; make manufacturing processes more efficient; and achieve better outcomes and efficiencies in healthcare. “Strategics have been really active,” says John Neuner, managing director, Harris Williams. “They are aggressive in pursuing the assets they want, as long as it fits within their strategy. Scale is critical to them, and they have to meet consumer demands by adding new capabilities.”

Related: 7 reasons why smart companies Amazon, Nike, Target are doing M&A.

Mergers & Acquisitions profiles the top 28 investment banks of 2018, with KPMG, Houlihan Lokey, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), William Blair and Lincoln International ranking as the five most active in M&A. The list is based on volume of completed deals, with PitchBook as the data provider. It was a good year for dealmaking, with activity in the U.S. middle market exceeding $400 billion, the first year to achieve the milestone.

Related: Top investment banks: KPMG, Houlihan Lokey, Goldman Sachs, William Blair.
Related: M&A soared in 2018; companies confident about dealmaking in 2019.

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
The ACG Chicago Women’s Network is hosting a lunchtime conversation with Dorri McWhorter, the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, on March 19 at the University Club in Chicago.

ACG New York’s Women of Leadership is hosting a golf event and reception on March 21 at Konnect Golf in Manhattan. The event brings together female dealmakers from private equity firms, investment banks and lenders.

Exponent Women LLC is hosting an evening of networking and conversation with leading economists at the New York office of Alliance Bernstein on April 4. Speakers include Lindsey Piegza, chief economist, Stifel Fixed Income, and Kathleen Fisher, head of wealth and investment strategies, Alliance Bernstein.