M&A wrap: Salesforce, Time, Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Coca-Cola

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Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne agreed to acquire Time magazine from Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) for $190 million in cash, joining Jeff Bezos among tech billionaires buying venerable print publications, reports Bloomberg News. The move thrusts the brash 53-year-old entrepreneur, who helped lead the shift of software to an on-demand model, into a new role: media baron. It’s a transaction reminiscent of Bezos’s $250 million acquisition of the Washington Post in 2013. Benioff, who has a net worth of $6.5 billion, serves as the co-CEO of Salesforce, but the deal is unrelated to the tech company, according to the statement. The Benioffs are buying the media brand personally. “We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands,” the Benioffs said in a statement. “Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.” Meredith, known for publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, acquired Time as part of its $1.8 billion takeover of Time Inc. in January. But it soon put some of the business’s biggest titles up for sale, including Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Time itself. Meredith said that it’s selling Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Time because they have different audiences and advertisers than most of its other magazines -- a collection that focuses on entertainment, food, lifestyle, home, parenting, beauty and fashion. Meredith said that deals for the other titles are expected in “the near future.” Goodwin is advising the Benioffs. Read the full story: Time to be bought by Benioffs, following in Bezos footsteps.

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. “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,” says Tyson CEO Thomas Hayes. “We are refining and growing our company as part of our strategic plan to sustainably feed the world with the fastest-growing protein brands.” Read the full story: How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A.

Networking season kicks off with the ACG New England Fall Conference & Clambake, hosted by ACG Boston and ACG Connecticut, held Sept. 17-18, at the Newport Marriott and Newport Vineyards. The event brings together 200 M&A professionals from across the region to foster new relationships and reconnect after the summer. The gathering also provides opportunities to hear updates from seasoned executives on hot industry specific topics, such as disruptive technologies. Featured speakers include: Brian Cooke of Thomas H. Lee Partners; Matthew Hamilton of Summit Partners; Jay Hernandez of Moelis & Co.; Andy O'Brien of Augmenteum Inc.; and Stuart Rose of Mirus Capital Advisors. A private sailboat ride shows off the beauty of Newport Harbor and the Narragansett Bay. For more on other upcoming conferences, see ACG New England Clambake kicks off fall networking.

Deal news
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is eyeing the cannabis drinks market, according to BNN Bloomberg Television. Coca-Cola is interested in drinks infused with CBD -- the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that treats pain. The company is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the beverages, according to the report. Coca-Cola recently bought a minority stake in sports drink maker BodyArmor and said it will buy Costa Coffee for $5.1 billion in moves to diversify beyond traditional soft drinks.

H.I.G. Capital has acquired Reliant Rehabilitation from DW Healthcare Partners. The target offers contract therapy services to post-acute facilities. Deutsche Bank and Paul Hastings advised DW Healthcare.

Graycliff Partners has invested in Graybill Processing Inc., a food-by-product recycling company. NCK Capital provided financing and also invested alongside Graycliff.

Snow Phipps has acquired BlackHawk Industrial Distribution Inc., a distributor of cutting tools and abrasives, from Brazos Private Equity Partners. Houlihan Lokey Inc. (NYSE: HLI) and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher advised Brazos.

Thompson Street Capital Partners has invested in LifeSpan Biosciences Inc., a developer and distributor of antibodies and reagents servicing the pharmaceutical and academic research market. BroadOak Capital Partners advised LifeSpan. Achelous Partners advised Thompson Street.

For more deal announcements, see The weekly wrap: Carlyle, Stanley Black & Decker, Stryker.

For coverage of private equity firms that have recently raised funds, see our weekly column, PE fundraising scorecard: Hellman & Friedman and Pine Brook.

People moves
Matthew Kretzman was hired by H.I.G . Capital as a managing director where he is responsible for capital markets and execution across the North American private equity portfolio. Kretzman was most recently with KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR).

Chris Kennedy and Alex Lawson have joined Alvarez & Marsal as managing directors, and Barry Lynch has joined as a senior director, where they will be co-leading the firm's new Cayman Islands office. They will be working alongside the firm's asset management team in the U.S. in wind-down scenarios, liquidity issues and take-privates.

Featured content
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.

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.

The energy industry is teeming with M&A activity, as companies seek to improve operations. Hubbell and Ingersoll Rand are among the strategic buyers. Private equity firms acquiring include AE Industrial Partners, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Genstar Capital. From providers of “smart grids” to developers of energy management software, Mergers & Acquisitions looks at recently acquired targets. Read the full story: 14 smart energy deals.

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.

Meet Mergers & Acquisitions 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity, including John Kos, GTCR; Ethan Liebermann, TA Associates; Jennifer Roach, Yellow Wood Partners; and Afaf Ibraheem Warren, Siris Capital. See: Meet Mergers & Acquisitions' 11 Rising Stars of Private Equity.

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