M&A wrap: Apollo, Leon Black, 3M, Acelity, OpenTable, Venga

opentable
The OpenTable Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPad Air and iPhone 5s in this arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. OpenTable Inc. is expected to release earnings data on Feb. 6. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Booking Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: BKNG), the owner of online travel sites Kayak and Priceline.com, along with online restaurant reservations site OpenTable, is buying Venga. The target offers Software-as-a-Service technology that helps restaurants personalize customer experience. Venga will work closely with OpenTable to help improve services for its more than 51,000 restaurant partners. "Diners increasingly expect personalized experiences, and restaurants are looking for data to better serve their guests," says OpenTable chief operating officer Andrea Johnston. "We're eager to incorporate Venga's services directly into our GuestCenter platform and help our restaurant partners deliver superior hospitality." Businesses are vying to step up the services they offer to customers. Strategic buyers are using innovations as a means to achieve goals, such as improving the customer experience. McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), for example, is gobbling up digital startups rapidly to improve customer service. The world's largest restaurant chain has acquired a 10 percent stake in app developer developer Plexure and Dynmanic Yield, which develops technology for electronic meny boards. "We’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers," McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said at the time.

DEAL NEWS
Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) is converting to a corporation from a publicly traded partnership, following similar moves by other private equity firms, including KKR & Co. and the Blackstone Group LP. The change “will simplify our structure and enable a much broader set of shareholders to participate in the exceptional long-term growth and profitability that we have been delivering to our investors,” said Apollo chairman and CEO Leon Black. “Since Apollo’s initial public offering in 2011, our assets under management have grown by 20 percent, and our fee-related earnings have grown by 22 percent on a compound annual basis. Over the same timeframe, our stock has generated a total return of more than 17 percent on an annualized basis. The new tax law passed by the U.S. Congress in late 2017 lowered the highest corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, making becoming a “C corporation” an attractive option to PE firms, points out the Wall Street Journal. “Apollo initially was tepid about the prospects of converting, frequently highlighting the risks in public comments,” said James Gelfer, senior strategist, PitchBook. “Apollo’s decision to convert to a C corp is further validation of the strategy pursued by other PE firms to broaden their shareholder base and improve their stock’s valuation; Blackstone’s shares surged following its recent conversion, and both KKR and Ares enjoyed an uptick in institutional ownership from after they switched last year. Given these dynamics, we anticipate Carlyle will follow suit and convert to a C corp.”

3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) agreed to buy medical-products maker Acelity Inc. from Apax, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and PSP Investments for about $4.3 billion, its biggest acquisition ever, as new CEO Mike Roman takes a more aggressive approach to expanding the beleaguered company. Read the full story: 3M expands medical products unit with Acelity deal.

AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AMN) is buying Advanced Medical Personnel Services Inc. from Clearview Capital for $200 million. The target is a staffing company that places therapists and nurses in contract and permanent positions. Clearview is a lower middle-market PE firm that concentrates on the business services, healthcare services, manufacturing and distribution sectors.

TA Associates-backed Insightsoftware has acquired Jet Global Data Technologies, an analytics reporting company for Micrososft Dynamics.

Healthcare data company Capsule Technologies has bought healthcare analytics provider Bernouli Health.

Post Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POST) is acquiring TreeHouse Foods Inc.'s (NYSE: THS) ready-to-eat cereal business. The target generated about $260 million in sales in 2018. Advisors to TreeHouse include: William Blair and WInston & Strawn.

Gryphon Investors-backed Water's Edge Dermatology has bought a majority stake in PBC Dermatology, a dermatology practice West Palm Beach, Florida.

Snowmobiles and recreational water vehicle maker BRP (Nasdaq: DOOO) is buying an 80 percent stake in Australian aluminum boat and trailer manufacturer Telwater Pty Ltd.

Cresset Asset Management has acquired Cypress Wealth Advisors, an investment advisor with $500 million in assets under management.

Enlightenment Capital, which focuses on the middle-market aerospace, defense and government sectors, has raised its third fund at $250 million. Metric Point Capital served as placement agent for the fund while Hogan Lovells provided legal counsel.

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, which recently won Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2018 M&A Mid-Market Award for Investment Bank of the Year. “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.

Call for nominations: Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the second annual 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. Last year, we named 11 PE investors to the list, including Ethan Liebermann (pictured: top row, far right), who was recently promoted from principal to director of TA Associates, and Jennifer Roach Pacini (bottom row, far left), a vice president of Yellow Wood Partners. For the Rising Stars of Private Equity, 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. As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for candidates beyond entry-level investing but before making partner. 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.

Related: 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.

Technology permeates dealmaking today. “Tech is, more or less, touching everything,” as the authors of The 2019 BDO Technology Outlook Survey put it. You can see the impact of tech throughout the 2018 winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Awards especially: Luminate Capital Partners founder Hollie Hayne scoring Dealmaker of the Year for raising a second fund to invest in enterprise software companies; and TA Associates winning Private Equity Firm of the Year for investing a record $2.8 billion in new portfolio companies, most of which are infused with technology one way or the other.

Related: Why private equity firms still love technology
Related: 10 private equity firms share strategies for tech M&A.

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.

Genstar Capital, Audax, 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 and more

Also see: Top investment banks in PE-backed deals: KPMG, Houlihan, GS, William Blair.

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
InterGrowth 2019 takes place May 6-8 at the Waldorf Astoria & Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.

Innovation Works holds its second annual AI/Robotics Venture Fair in Pittsburgh May 15-16.

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 & 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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