M&A wrap: Novartis, Endocyte, FedEx, Manton Air-Sea, Salveo Capital

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Novartis AG has agreed to buy U.S. drugmaker Endocyte Inc. for $2.1 billion, snapping up a potential blockbuster therapy for prostate cancer, as the Swiss pharmaceutical giant broadens its arsenal against tumors. Novartis, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, will pay $24 a share for Endocyte, 54 percent more than its last closing price. Endocyte makes radioactive drugs coupled with targeting molecules to deliver treatments to tumors. The approach is one of three key areas, along with cell and gene therapies, where Novartis is keen to expand, and CEO Vas Narasimhan signaled that he still hasn’t finished raising the drugmaker’s profile in those fields. The company remains interested in bolt-on acquisitions.
“We believe we need to move into advanced-therapy platforms,” Narasimhan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. The Endocyte transaction “will give us the global footprint, capability and portfolio to really own” the so-called radioligand sector, he said. Read the full story: Novartis targets prostate cancer with Endocyte deal.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, marking the first G7 nation and the second country in the world to enact full legalization. To investors in the still developing cannabis industry, many believe the market is just now approaching its own inflection point, as it transitions from a black to gray market, characterized by a more attractive risk profile and outsized growth potential. The sticking point is that as a Schedule I drug illegal under federal law, cannabis still presents imposing obstacles for traditional investors, ranging from capital markets that remain inaccessible to uncertainty over bankruptcy proceedings. Yet, ironically, it’s these very same obstacles that make the opportunity so appealing to investors willing to operate in an indefinite gray area to create an ecosystem for a market expected to reach $75 billion in size by 2030. Salveo Capital managing partner Jeffrey Howard shares advice about investing in cannabis in a guest article. Read the full story: How to seize M&A opportunities in marijuana’s gray market.

Mergers & Acquisitions identifies15 cities as fertile communities for dealmaking. We look at metropolitan areas from Austin (where Michael Dell launched a PC business out of his dorm room back in the day and where thousands gather every year for SXSW) to St. Louis (home of private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners). Be sure to check out Milwaukee (with private equity firm Robert W. Baird & Co. and investment bank Clearly Gull) and Minneapolis (home of strategic buyers 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Hormel and Target). And don’t forget Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and more. See our list, Dealmaker's guide to 15 cities where M&A thrives.

Deal news
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) is buying Australian logistics company Manton Air-Sea Pty. Ltd. With operations across Australia, Manton connects customers to global markets through regional gateways and relationships with multiple air carriers. With specific expertise in the healthcare and automotive markets, Manton provides air and ocean freight forwarding services, as well as customs brokerage. “Adding Manton’s capabilities to FedEx Trade Networks and the broader FedEx portfolio will open up opportunities for us to continue to expand in Australia, a country with a strong GDP and a significant market in the Asia Pacific region,” says Richard Smith, CEO of FedEx Trade Networks.

Solar Capital Partners has raised $750 million in private credit funds that will invest in U.S. middle-market companies through senior secured cash flow loans, asset-based loans and life science loans. More than $750 million of equity capital was committed to the funds by access funds comprised of capital from Goldman Sachs & Co.'s (NYSE: GS) private wealth management clients.

Great Hill Partners has purchased Dorian Business Systems, a developer of web-based software for the music education sector. Generation Equity advised Dorian.

PPG (NYSE: PPG) is acquiring SEM Products Inc., a manufacturer of automotive refinish products such as color coatings.

Featured content
NFL Week 7 kicks off Thursday night with the Denver Broncos taking on the Arizona Cardinals. Off the court, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently teamed with former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Many NFL players invest in companies. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at star players who invest in companies through private equity, venture capital and other investment vehicles.

Food & beverage M&A offers plenty of mouth-watering deals. Giants Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP) update their product lines with healthy offerings, while private equity firms, such as Brynwood Partners, breathe new life into tried and true brands, like Pillsbury. And lots of buyers experiment with meal kits and delivery methods, fueling M&A. Read the full story: 9 food & beverage companies loved by consumers and dealmakers alike.

Strategic buyers leverage data, sell more snacks and cater to seniors. Mergers & Acquisitions outlines the M&A strategies of 8 corporations, including Best Buy, Energizer, Fortune Brands, Hershey, Nike, P&G, Stanley Black & Decker and Tyson Foods. See the full story: Best Buy, Hershey, Nike, P&G and more wield M&A to grow.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), the owner of Hillshire Farm, wants to “feed the world” with its protein brands and will seek acquisitions to help. How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A.

Between 70 and 80 percent of all M&A integration projects fall short of delivering anticipated value. This isn't because the acquisition target is somehow subpar, it's because the acquiring firm lacks a strong integration strategy. Read the full story: How to accelerate value in the first 100 days after an acquisition.

Why investors like diversity. "Companies that are inclusive and also diverse tend to outperform companies that aren't," says investor Lorine Pendleton of Pipeline Angels and Portfolia in this video interview shot at Exponent Exchange, a gathering of 200 female dealmakers. Watch the full video: M&A Insights: Inclusion investing.

Events
M&A East, hosted by ACG Philadelphia and held Oct. 24-25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, brings together 1,300 top strategic and financial dealmakers and leading middle-market advisors for deal sourcing and networking. Featured speakers include Walter Robb, former CEO Whole Foods, and Chris Voss, former FBI lead hostage negotiator. The Women in Dealmaking session will focus on Women in the Board Room.

Exponent Evening with Tequila Casa Dragones, hosted by Exponent Women LLC, a networking group for female dealmakers, held Oct. 25 at The Dream Downtown in New York, features tequila, food and a conversation between Bertha Gonzales Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Tequila Casa Dragones, and Mary Kathleen Flynn, editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. For more on networking group’s previous event, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

ACG Chicago's Family Office Conference, held Nov. 8, at the Westin Chicago River North, brings deamakers together for a "deep dive" into family offices. The event features a keynote by Laurent Roux, Gallatin Wealth Management, and panels, including: Current State of Family Office Direct & Co-Investment Activity, with Gary Levenstein, Nixon Peabody; and Impact of Millennial Generation on Family Office Investment Strategy including Social Impact Investing, with Adam Lieb and Tony Oommen, Fidelity Family Office Services.

ACG Florida Capital Connection, held Nov. 12-14, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, puts “sun and fun” into dealmaking for the middle market, bringing together hundreds of dealmakers. The keynote speaker is Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes, and the featured speaker for the Women’s Forum is Valerie Crites Fowler, who served as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 29 years, reaching the rank of Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service.

Middle Market Week, hosted by ACG New York and held Nov. 26-30 at various locations throughout New York, brings together leading global middle-market dealmaking professionals to develop and enhance their dealmaking activities, strengthen their long-term relationships, and provide numerous opportunities for networking all week long. Mark your calendar for the Private Equity Annual Wine Tasting Gala on Nov. 28 at Gotham Hall. The building was constructed in the 1920s as the headquarters of the Greenwich Savings Bank. The gala brings together the leading middle market private equity firms for an evening of fine wines and networking.

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