M&A wrap: Prologis, Liberty Property, Barneys, Authentic Brands Group, BlackRock, Martin Lipton

Warehouse giant Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) and Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) have entered into a definitive merger agreement by which Prologis will acquire Liberty in an all-stock transaction, valued at approximately $12.6 billion, including the assumption of debt. "The joining of these two platforms at this moment, when industrial logistics has become so pivotal to the new economy, will further the industry's ability to support the nation's supply chain and enhance value creation for our combined shareholders," said Bill Hankowsky, Liberty chairman and CEO. BofA Securities and Morgan Stanley are acting as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal advisor to Prologis. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are acting as financial advisors and Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP is serving as legal advisor to Liberty.

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Authentic Brands Group, backed by BlackRock Inc.'s private equity vehicle, has won the bid to purchase the intellectual property of Barneys New York Inc. for a reported $271 million. Once an icon of Manhattan fashion retail, Barneys filed for bankruptcy in August. Through the acquisition, ABG expects to enhance its luxury footprint and further establish its position as a leader in contemporary fashion. “Barneys is one of the most recognizable and iconic names in luxury lifestyle, and we see an incredible opportunity to extend the brand’s equity in current and new markets around the world," said Jamie Salter, founder, chairman, and CEO of ABG. "We are also excited to join forces with Saks Fifth Avenue, the preeminent luxury retailer that continues to bring innovation and fashion authority to the industry.” The deal is expected to close Nov. 1 after a hearing. Once it closes, Saks will become the retail partner for the brand in the U.S. and Canada. In August, BlackRock paid $875 million to procure a majority stake in ABG, which manages a wide range of brands, including Sports Illustrated, Marilyn Monroe and Juicy Couture.

Capitala Group, a provider of capital to lower middle market companies, has entered into a strategic partnership with, and sold a minority non-controlling interest of its management firm to Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a trading, investment, and service enterprise. The partnership combines Capitala’s 20-year track record with Mitsui USA’s global reach and capabilities, according to the companies.

SK Capital, a private investment firm focused on the specialty materials, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector, has completed its previously announced acquisition of the Performance Products & Solutions business from PolyOne Corp.The business has been renamed Geon Performance Solutions. Headquartered in Avon Lake, Ohio, Geon is a global provider of plastic compounded solutions.

Private equity firm Blue Water Energy and its co-investor, the privately owned Nixon Energy Investments, have agreed to buySandvik's drilling and completions in the oil and gas industry (known previously as Varel International Energy Services). Sandvik remains a minority owner of 30 percent of the company and holds a position on the board. Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP is advising Sandvik.

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Overall M&A activity in the third quarter saw $600 billion worth of deals closed, according to PitchBoook. So far in 2019, more than 8,000 deals have closed, worth about $1.6 trillion. The activity is on pace with the first three quarters of 2018. Among the deals that closed include: Cox Automotive's purchase of Rivian Automotive; TPG Sixth St Partners' deal for Smartdrive Systems and Boathouse Capital backing TapClicks. Read the full story: Key middle-market M&A deals completed in Q3 2019

The private equity model has held up very well over the decades, continuing to outperform the public markets, even as economic cycles come and go. But the rate of growth has slowed, leading PE firms to seek adjacent areas of business to expand. As PE firms face increased pressure to produce higher returns on their investments, many of them are turning to a familiar area of business: lending. Adams Street Partners, Balance Point Capital, Carlyle and VSS are all actively engaged in lending. Read the full story: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

It’s a milestone year for the Blackstone Group Inc. (NYSE: BX), which transitioned from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation on July 1. The New York firm announced the final close of its latest global real estate fund recently. With $20.5 billion of total capital commitments, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX is the largest real estate fund ever raised. Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder, chairman and CEO. Read the full story: "Complete control" is the beauty of private equity, says Blackstone's Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Bank M&A has been soaring, creating the perfect backdrop for Piper Jaffray’s announced acquisition of Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. “There has been a lot of consolidation in the bank space,” Piper Jaffray CEO Chad Abraham told Mergers & Acquisitions. “But there are still 5,000 banks, and we expect the pace of consolidation to continue.” For analysis of the deal, see Counting on bank M&A: Why Piper Jaffray bought Sandler O'Neill.

Looking for a glimpse of what’s to come in the private equity industry? Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. As the PE industry undergoes a generational shift, and many firm founders retire, it’s well worth getting to know these emerging leaders, including Branford's Austin Collier, Sterling Partners' Shawn Domanic and Summit Partners' Sophia Popova. For profiles and video interviews, see Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 2019 Rising Stars of Private Equity. For Q&As, see 10 Rising Stars of Private Equity tell their tales.

To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. For more on the timeline and nomination process for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women.

EVENTS
The Institute of International Education holds its 2019 IIE Centennial Gala at the Pierre in New York Oct. 30. The Gala honors Martin Lipton, founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz law firm, with the IIE Stephen P. Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding.

ACG Boston hosts The 2nd annual Healthcare Conference – Improving the Patient Experience - on Nov. 6 at the UMass Club in Boston, as a part of the ACG Northeast Industry Tour. Speakers include Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn, who is moderating a panel.

ACG Charlotte brings M&A pros together for Deal Crawl at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 6-7.

The Third Annual Women in Alternative Investments Career Forum is taking place at the New York Hilton on Nov. 8.

ACG New York is hosting Middle Market Week in New York from Nov. 11-15. The 17th Annual Private Equity Wine Tasting Gala takes place on Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall.

Exponent Women is hosting a Family Office Event with Owens Group at LX Gallery in New York on Nov. 21. Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn is moderating a panel.

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