M&A wrap: TPG Sixth Street Partners, Cision, Platinum Equity, M&A East, ACG Philadelphia

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More than 1,300 strategic and financial dealmakers are networking at ACG Philadelphia's M&A East at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Oct. 22-23. The manufacturing sector has seen two consecutive quarters of contraction, causing many analysts to conclude the industry is in a recession. Pennsylvania's industry mix is "weighted toward businesses reliant on capital and investors, like manufacturing and mining," points out NBC News. Nevertheless, attendees at M&A East seem "cautiously optimistic about the middle market's prospects in a potential economic downturn," reports Mergers & Acquisitions managing editor Demitri Diakantonis, who is covering the conference. "Compelling panel about women and the path to the C-suite," tweeted private equity firm Watermill Group, from the conference. Keynote speakers include: former professional poker player Annie Duke and Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

DEAL NEWS
TPG Sixth Street Partners, a global finance and investment business with over $32 billion in assets under management, and its TSSP Capital Solutions platform have announced the final close of its first Capital Solutions fund. In addition to commitments from the Sixth Street team, the fund raised approximately $2.2 billion of total third-party commitments, reaching its hard cap. Capital Solutions is actively investing out of the fund and has already deployed over $500 million. Capital Solutions makes non-control investments in growth-oriented companies. The team partners with companies to provide bespoke, accretive financing strategies that often differ from traditional growth equity. Capital Solutions invests in a range of opportunities from $25 million to over $500 million. The creation of a dedicated Capital Solutions platform formalizes a strategy Sixth Street incubated through its flagship investment vehicles investing over $3 billion across more than 30 growth-oriented portfolio. “Private companies are looking for more options and greater flexibility when funding their next phase of development, and we look forward to creating those solutions,” said Robert (Bo) Stanley, co-head of Capital Solutions. Current and past investments include: AirTrunk, AvidXchange, Clinicient, Kyriba, Lucidworks, Paycor, PayScale, PaySimple and Spotify.

For more fundraising news, see PE fundraising scorecard: PE fundraising scorecard: Carlyle Europe, Bain Capital, Square Mile.

Platinum Equity has agreed to acquire Cision Ltd. (NYSE: CISN), a global provider of software and services to public relations and marketing communications professionals, in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $2.74 billion. "Cision has a long history of leadership providing software and services to public relations and marketing communications professionals and has developed a growing portfolio of earned media management offerings for the world's leading brands," said Platinum Equity partner Jacob Kotzubei. "As a private company, Cision will be able to make strategic investments for sustainable and profitable growth, while remaining agile and focused on operational excellence." Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the members of Cision's board of directors, an affiliate of Platinum Equity will acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares of Cision Ltd. for $10.00 per share in cash. The purchase price represents a 34 percent premium over Cision Ltd.'s 60-day volume-weighted average price ended on Oct. 21. Cision may solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a "go-shop" period from the date of the agreement until Nov. 12. Equity financing will be provided by investment funds managed, advised or sponsored by Platinum Equity. Platinum Equity has secured committed debt financing for the transaction from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Rothschild & Co is serving as lead financial advisor to Cision and its Board of Directors. Centerview Partners LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. are also acting as financial advisors to Cision. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel to Cision, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is acting as M&A legal counsel and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is acting as financing legal counsel to Platinum Equity.

FEATURED CONTENT
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. 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
ACG Charlotte is hosting 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.

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