Peak Rock Capital is buying Tyson Foods Inc.’s (NYSE: TSN) TNT pizza crust business, as Tyson sheds units to focus on its proteins division. The target makes baked crusts, self-rising crusts and flat breads for the foodservice and retail industries. Peak Rock is ramping up its dealmaking in the food and beverage sector. “This transaction is another example of Peak Rock’s deep experience in executing complex carveout transactions,” says Peak Rock CEO Anthony DiSimone. “It also highlights our continued interest in attractive investments in the food and beverage industry.” Some of Peak Rock’s other food and beverage investments include beverage and snacks producer Berner Food & Beverage; Diamond Crystal Brands, a manufacturer of single serve food and beverage products; Gold Coast Bakeries, a maker of organic breads and buns; and honey distributor Sweet Harvest Foods. Tyson is realigning its portfolio through M&A. The company is focusing on its core protein brands such as Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm. Tyson is selling its Sara Lee frozen bakery and Van’s businesses to Kohlberg & Co.. Aside from divestitures, Tyson said it will look for acquisitions for its core businesses. The company agreed to buy the poultry rendering and blending assets of American Proteins Inc. and Ampro Products Inc. for $850 million, and bought organic chicken producer Tecumseh Poultry LLC. “We are refining and growing our company as part of our strategic plan to sustainably feed the world with the fastest-growing protein brands,” Tyson CEO Thomas Hayes said on a recent earnings call. “We will be acquisitive where we believe it’s going to be in the best interest of our share owners, and it’s focused on continuing to try to stabilize margins, improve margins over time.” Goldman Sachs & Co. (NYSE: GS) is advising Tyson on the pizza crust business sale.

Private equity fundraising has slowed down in 2018, after a strong 8-year run. The amount of capital raised annually for new funds by U.S. private equity firms increased more than threefold from 2010 (when nearly $71 billion was raised) to 2017 (when $243 billion was raised). But U.S. PE firms closed only $69 billion worth of new funds during the first half of 2018, a far cry from 2017 and on pace for a six-year low, according to Pitchbook. See Mergers & Acquisitions’ look at 10 PE firms that have succeeded in raising new funds recently despite the slowdown, including the Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG), PPC Partners, Soundcore Capital Partners and Sycamore Partners. For fundraising news on an on-going basis, see our weekly column, PE fundraisng scorecard: Canson Capital and G Squared Opportunities.

Deal news
Harris Williams & Co. in July welcomed the largest analyst and associate class since the investment bank was founded in 1991. The firm enjoyed record growth in 2017 and added a new logo.

Amadeus is buying TravelClick from Thoma Bravo for $1.52 billion. TravelClick is a sofwtare provider for the hospitality industry that helps hotels improve digital interaction with guests, increase revenues and performance and reduce costs. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is advising Amadeus.

Graham Partners has invested in Nuconic Packaging, a portfolio company of Carlin Capital Partners. Nuconic is a supplier of plastic packaging products for commercial and industrial food processors. Mesirow Financial advised Nuconic.

Kao Corp. has bought Washing Systems from Gryphon Investors. Washing Systems is a provider of chemicals and technical services to the textile rental market. Harris Williams and Kirkland & Ellis advised the sellers.

Lydall Inc. (NYSE: LDL) is buying Interface Performance Materials from Wind Point Partners for $265 million. Interface manufactures fiber-reinforced gasket materials for heavy-duty diesel, small engine, transmission, compressor and automotive parts. Reed Smith is advising Wind Point.

Susquehanna Growth Equity has invested $50 million in PerkSpot, an HR technology company that helps employees save money on a variety of goods and services.

For more deal announcements, see The weekly wrap: AT&T, Boston Scientific, TH Lee.

For more on PE fundraising, see PE fundraisng scorecard: Canson Capital and G Squared Opportunities.

People moves
Robert Kuhn has joined restructuring firm Getzler Henrich & Associates as a managing director. Kuhn previously held roles at JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) and focuses on turnaround management, financial restructuring, and bankruptcy consulting.

Frank Miller has joined law firm BakerHostetler as a partner. Miller was previously a senior counsel for Kaiser Foundation Health plan and focuses on M&A in the healthcare sector.

Shana Ramirez was hired by law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP as a partner. Previously with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Ramirez represents financial institutions, corporate and private equity clients in acquisition financing and asset-based credit facilities.

Fetaured Content
Mergers & Acquisitions has announced the Rising Stars of Private Equity. These 11 up-and-coming investors are expected to play significant leadership roles in the future. Congratulations to:
Daniel Hopkin, Partner, Kainos Capital
John Kos, Principal, GTCR
Erik Latterell, Director, Stone Arch Capital
Ethan Liebermann, Principal, TA Associates
Jaime McKenzie, Director, Monomoy Capital
Jennifer Roach, Vice President, Yellow Wood Partners
Joseph Rondinelli, Principal, Frontenac
David Shainberg, Vice President, Balmoral
Tom Smithburg, Vice President, Shore Capital Partners
Nicholas Stone, Managing Director, Cyprium Partners
Afaf Ibraheem Warren, Senior Associate, Siris Capital
For profiles of the emerging leaders, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions’ 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity.

Exponent, a new group of women dealmakers, brought together 200 women from private equity funds, investment banks, entrepreneurs and advisors for the Exponent Exchange, featuring Sallie Krawcheck as the keynote speaker. Previously the CEO of Wall Streetbanks, including Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Citi Private Bank, Krawcheck serves as the CEO of Ellevest, an online investing platform for women. Mergers & Acquisitions participated in the event as an in-kind sponsor, and editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn moderated Spotlight Panel, From Startups to Showtime: Investment Case Studies. Check out our slideshow, Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

Summer reading list: From stories of star athletes Arnold Palmer, Keith Hernandez and Tiger Woods to advice from entrepreneurs Bridgewater AssociatesRay Dalio, KPCB’s John Doerr, Nike’s Phil Knight and Brava Investments’ Nathalie Molina Niño, plus strategies to help business leaders in general, and female dealmakers in particular, the 15 books on Mergers & Acquisitions’ list entertain, instruct and inspire. Check out our listicle: Dealmaker’s guide to summer reading: 15 new books.