M&A wrap: Platinum, TH Lee, Caltex, Insight Partners, Palladium, Clearlake, Halifax, Wind Point, William Blair, Most Influential Women

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If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. “Many companies will insulate themselves from this uncertainty by seeking to complete deals in the first half of 2020, before the Democratic National Convention in July,” explains Andrew Jessen, head of M&A, William Blair. “The biggest source of uncertainty is driven by who will win the Democratic nomination. If a more moderate candidate wins the nomination, volatility headed into November’s election should be relatively muted. But if a more progressive candidate wins the nomination, investors and business owners will be monitoring the campaigns very closely to see how the Democratic and Republican candidates’ proposed policies could affect specific sectors.” Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners' Kate Faust, William Blair's Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners' Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual.

DEAL NEWS
Platinum Equity has raised its fifth fund at $10 billion. “We have great momentum, with a well-oiled investment machine built on discipline, urgency and a relentless focus on execution, and fueled by the capital resources to pursue complex transactions anywhere in the world,” says Platinum founder Tom Gores. “We have the same fundamental investment strategy, the same sense of urgency and the same disciplined approach to investing that the firm was founded on." In 2019, Platinum reached a deal to buy Cision, a provider of software and services to public relations and marketing communications professionals, for $2.74 billion. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advised the PE firm on the fundraise.

Britain’s billionaire Issa brothers built one of the world’s largest independent gas station chains through a series of debt-fueled purchases. Now they’re weighing their biggest-ever acquisition. EG Group, the U.K. company led by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, is working with a financial adviser as it evaluates making a bid for Caltex Australia Ltd., reports Bloomberg News. Any offer for the $6 billion company could start a takeover battle with Canadian convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., whose initial bid for Caltex was rejected. Read the full story by Bloomberg: Gas station billionaires weigh biggest ever deal in Caltex.

Thomas H. Lee Partners is buying a majority stake in insurance and retirement services company AmeriLife Group from J.C. Flowers & Co. Evercore and Jefferies are advising AmeriLife. Credit Cuisse and Goldman Sachs are advising TH Lee.

Insight Partners is buying cybersecurity company Armis for $1.1 billion. "We considered growth rounds and strategic offers, but by partnering with Insight we have the best of both worlds," says Armis CEO Yevgeny Dibrov. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is representing Insight.

Home security company ADT Inc. (NYSE: ADT) has bought Defenders, its largest independent dealer, for $381 million. Citi advised Defenders Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP advised ADT.

Palladium Equity Partners-backed Kymera International is buying Ametek Inc.'s (NYSE: AME) reading alloys business for $250 million. The target makes alloys and coatings for the aerospace and defense, healthcare and industrials sectors.

Clearlake Capital-backed Provation Medical has acquired MD-Reports, a provider of electonic medical record, practice management and report writing software. District Capital Partners and Sidley Austin advised Provation.

The Halifax Group has invested in TriMech. The latter, which was previously backed by McCarthy Capital, offers computer-aided design and engineering software. Piper Sandler Cos. advised TriMech.

Wind Point Partners-backed Pestell Nutrition has acquired Origination O2D, a distributor of animal feed products. Kirkland & Ellis advised Pestell. BMO Sponsor Finance provided financing.

Sun Capital Partners has bought Cotton Holdings. The target provides property restoration and recovery, construction, roofing, consulting, temporary workforce housing and culinary services to public and private facilities.

Sheridan Capital Partners has invested in Tarrytown Expocare. Tarrytown is a closed-door long-term care pharmacy that is focused exclusively on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Crossplane Capital has acquired TransAxle, a remanufacturer of transmissions and pumps for trucks.

PEOPLE MOVES
Jim Schaper has been named CEO at Clearlake-backed-sofware company Ivanti. Schaper currently serves as Ivanti's chairperson.

Ethan Liebermann and Kevin Masse have been promoted to managing directors at PE firm TA Associates. Mergers & Acquisitions named Liebermann a Rising Star of Private Equity in 2018.

Robert Haile, Joseph Sparacino, and KC Hazarika were hired by investment bank Stifel as managing directors to expand the firm's presence in the food, agricultire and automotive sectors. All three were previously with BB&T Capital Markets.

Sasank Aleti and Michael Levenberg were promoted to partners at PE firm LLR Partners.

Eugene Goldenberg has joined healthcare-focused investment bank Edgemont Partners as a managing director. He was most recently with Cain Brothers.

Glenn Cummins was hired by PE firm Blue Wolf Capital Partners as chief operating officer. He was previously with Star America Infrastructure Partners.

Andrew Witt has been promoted to chief operatiing officer of global credit at investment firm Colony Capital Inc. (NYSE: CLNY). Kevin Smithen has been promoted to managing director, global head of strategy and capital formation at the same firm.

Eric Warren was hired by consulting firm Mercer, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC) as a partner, M&A transaction services, U.S. and Canada.

FEATURED CONTENT
Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

Albertsons, Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Stop & Shop and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) are building automated mini-warehouses and "dark stores" to make deliveries and prepare pickup orders. Mini-warehouses are usually attached to existing stores, and in most cases, "dark stores" are completely separate. Both formats are closed off to customers, and are mostly automated. They use the assistance of robots for speed, save on labor, and get orders out faster. Kroger bought a five percent stake in robotics firm Ocado. Read our full coverage: Smart supermarkets become popular, as Kroger, Walmart add them.

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 Annual AM&AA Winter Conference is taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona Jan. 8-10.

Deal Wave is being hosted by ACG Orange Country at the Ritz-Carlton-Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California on Jan. 9.

ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27.

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