Nike

Consumers are more demanding and specific with the products they buy. Retailers and apparel makers are under pressure to get a better grasp of shopper behavior, so they can tailor their marketing strategies and inventories to meet evolving consumer needs. In order to do this, companies are investing in technology companies, including data and analytics providers, snatching up targets in those fields through M&A. One prime example is Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), which has bolstered its digital capabilities with the acquisition of Invertex Ltd. of Tel Aviv. Invertex uses 3-D technology and mobile applications to analyze consumer buying behavior, aiming to provide retailers with information to customize products to meet specific customer needs. Invertex’s imaging technology can be used to analyze people’s feet in stores to suggest models and sizes that would fit them best. Invertex is not NIke’s only technology acquisition. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company bought consumer data analytics firm Zodiac Inc. Read the full story here.

“Business owners and CEOs of companies have a lot of choices as to who their investors are,” explains LLR Partners managing director Michael Sala. “They’re constantly being contacted for discussions and dialogues about how a private equity fund or growth investor could invest in them and bring value.” To stand out from the crowd, LLR has pioneered a digital strategy that involves embracing social media and devising new ways of connecting with prospective and existing portfolio companies, including content series called GrowthBits. A recent GrowthBits article outlined “must-have technologies for growth-focused companies,” written by Bill Sweeney, the chief technology officer of Kemberton Healthcare Services, a portfolio company LLR backed in 2017. The point of GrowthBits is so that when CEOs who are looking for an investor research the firm and visit its website, “they’ll start to see the value that LLR can bring around 5 main drivers: sales, marketing, technology, finance and leadership,” says Sala. “We’re not just trying to bring people to our site, we’re trying to convey why LLR can be a good partner that can add value over the long term.” LLR won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Private Equity Firm of the Year. It is one of the most active private equity firms in the middle market, having racked up 28 transactions in 2017, including 4 new platform investments, 18 add-on acquisitions and 6 exits. To discover more about the Philadelphia firm's strategy, watch our video interview with managing director Michael Sala. Check back later in the week for a second video with Sala, focused on the firm's use of social media.

Chicago-based GTCR recently sold Callcredit, a U.K. provider of real-time credit reports, to TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) for about $1.4 billion. GTCR acquired Callcredit in 2014, recruited CEO Mike Gordon to lead the company and built the business through organic expansion and three acquisitions. GTCR focuses on financial services and technology, healthcare, technology, media and telecommunications, and growth business services, and the firm touts its approach to finding and partnering with seasoned executives, dubbed The Leaders Strategy, as the core of its investment approach. Read our Q&A with managing director Aaron Cohen about the development of Callcredit and The Leaders Strategy.

Thousands of dealmakers are heading to sunny San Diego for three days of networking at the Association for Corporate Growth’s InterGrowth 2018 May 2-4. Mergers & Acquisitions will be there, shooting video interviews with M&A leaders. Jeff Immelt, who served as CEO and chairman of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) from 2001 to 2017, is the keynote speaker. In February, Immelt was named chairman of Athenahealth Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN), a provider of network-enabled services for hospital and ambulatory clients. While his legacy at GE is currently being reexamined by some observers, his bio argues that “Immelt transformed GE into a simpler, stronger and more focused digital industrial company. He revamped the company’s strategy, global footprint, workforce and culture, positioning GE for the future." In the middle market, the divestiture of GE Capital assets under Immelt's watch launched a highly competitive process for prolific lender Antares Capital, which ultimately was won by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a $12 billion deal that closed in August 2015. The discussion with Immelt will be moderated by Jay Jester, a dealmaker well known in the private equity industry. Jester joined Audax Private Equity at its inception in 2000. As a managing director, Jester leads the Boston firm’s marketing and business development efforts. Jester also serves on the board of ACG Global.

KKR, LLR Partners, the Riverside Co., Shore Capital Partners, TA Associates and other private equity firms and strategic buyers, including Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), are investing in eye doctors, dentists and veterinarians, plus revenue cycle management providers and other areas of healthcare that are ripe for consolidation, as Mergers & Acquisitions explores in our in-depth feature, Why private equity firms like veterinarians, opthamologists and dentists, and slideshow, 6 healthcare specialties driving M&A deals.

As Americans plan road trips and other summer vacations, car deals are thriving, especially in the nascent self-driving tech sector. Intel bought Israel's Mobileye for about $15 billion. Meanwhile, in a much smaller deal, Delphi bought NuTonomy. As the industry readies for autonomous driving, there's a big wave of consolidation going on among makers of traditional car parts. Buyers include CenterOakPartners, Clearlake Capital Group andWabash National. Meanwhile, Carl Icahn is among the sellers. Check out our slideshow on the rush of activity.

To see which private equity firms are currently raising funds, see PE fundraising scorecard: Ardian, Balance Point, BlackRock, Golub.

SunSource Holdings Inc., a distributor of fluid power and fluid process components and systems in the U.S. and Canada, has completed the acquisition of Ryan Herco Flow Solutions, a specialty distributor of flow solutions for mission-critical fluids, from Greenbriar Equity Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

For more recent deal announcements, including McKesson's purchase of Medical Specialties Distributors from New Mountain Capital, Square's acquisition of Weebly and 3i's investment in International Cruise & Excursions, see The weekly wrap: McKesson, Square, 3i Group.

Arma Partners, a London-based M&A advisory firm focused on the communications, media and technology sector, is expanding its senior team with the appointments of Paul Harvey, Abhimanyu Toor and Fabian Zimmer. Harvey joins Arma in the newly created role of group business development director. Harvey joins from Octo Telematics, where he led business development and M&A. Previously, he served as a managing director and head of technology investment banking in the EMEA region for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and held prior positions at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Toor has joined Arma as a director focused on M&A transaction execution, following over 10 years at Barclays, where he was most recently a director in the investment banking division. Zimmer has been appointed as a director focused on technology in the German-speaking DACH region; he will split his time between London and his native Munich. He joins Arma from Mooreland Partners.

For more recent hires, promotions and other dealmaker career news, including Baird'shiringBrett Skolnik as healthcare managing director and Tony Armand's joining Norwest Equity Partners as an operating partner, read People Moves.

Read full coverage of Mergers & Acquisitions' 11th annual M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Campbell Soup, Huron Capital, Idera CEO Randy Jacops, LLR Partners, McGuireWoods, Stryker, Twin Brook and William Blair.

Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn joined SourceMedia in 2011, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. MK oversees the brand’s content on all media platforms, including website, e-newsletters, video, slideshows, podcasts and print.