“Data and artificial intelligence are necessary conditions for private equity today,” says J. Taylor Crandall, a managing partner and a founding member of Oak Hill Capital Partners, which began investing in 1986 as the family office for Robert Bass, one of four brothers who founded Bass Brothers Enterprises, based in Fort Worth, Texas. “Historically, the data wasn’t available. Businesses were run on visceral intuitions. Now, the data is readily available and exponentially created. Every time you click on the Internet, it’s creating data for somebody to analyze how to run their businesses better. Data analytics is the low-hanging fruit to create value in every portfolio company we own.” For more, read the full story: Due diligence meets big data: Two Six Capital, Oak Hill, Clarion among pioneers.

Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 2019 edition of The Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Efforts to recruit and retain women in the financial services industry have increased in recent years; nevertheless, women still make up only about 14 percent of dealmakers in the middle market. By identifying and featuring dozens of influential women, Mergers & Acquisitions nurtures the community of female leaders and provides role models for women who are at earlier stages of their careers. To be considered, candidates must be women who are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. Evidence of influence in the broader M&A industry is essential. When nominating a candidate, please explain how she outperforms her colleagues at her firm and in the industry. Please provide examples of deals she has led, initiatives she has launched and other instances that show evidence of her influence in the middle market. While considering the merits of candidates, it’s helpful to read about women who have met our criteria in the past, such as Kainos Capital co-founder Sarah Bradley, who graced our 2018 cover. See the profiles of 35 women in our previous edition. Nominations must be received by Monday, October 15, 2018. Click here to learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination.

Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group, delivers the closing keynote at the LA Business Conference on Sept. 26. The event, hosted by ACG Los Angeles at the glamorous Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, brings together 1,200 dealmakers. Other featured speakers include: Peter Guber, CEO, Mandalay Group and owner of the Golden State Warriors and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; John Hennessy, chairperson of Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), parent company of Google, and the former president of Stanford University; and Therese Tucker, the CEO of enterprise software developer BlackLine.

Deal news
Cargill Inc. CEO David MacLennan says he’s open to major acquisitions as the largest closely held U.S. company looks to tap growing demand for alternative proteins. As U.S. consumers become more health conscious, demand is increasing for alternative forms of protein, such as meat produced from plants or in a lab. As a result, Minneapolis-based Cargill may have to make uncharacteristically large purchases to grow its presence, MacLennan told Bloomberg Television’s Commodities Edge show. Read the full srtory: Cargill to look for big deals to tap health-conscious consumers.

Arsenal Capital-backed Meridian Adhesives Group has acquired W.F. Taylor, a manufacturer of flooring adhesives and sealants, from Dominus Capital LP. Lazard Middle Market and White & Case advised Taylor.

Nashville-based investment bank Bailey Soithwell & Co. has launched BSC Capital Partners, an equity fund that will invest in growth and late-stage healthcare and tech-enabled services companies. “We have built a strong investment banking engine that includes a robust network and research process that will enable us to identify businesses that have the opportunity to become market leaders,” says Bailey Southwell co-founder Jeff Bailey.

Brooks Automation Inc. (Nasdaq: BRKS) is acquiring Genewiz Group for $450 million. The target offers genomics services that enable research scientists to advance their discoveries within the pharmaceutical, academic, biotechnology and agriculture sectors. Shearman & Sterling is advising Genewiz.

Lariat Partners-backed Offen Petroleum bought Overland Petroleum, a distributor of branded fuel to retailers in the West and Southwest.

Lightyear Capital has purchased a majority stake in Augeo FI, a provider of outsourced loyalty programs for banks and credit unions, from Augeo Affinity for $140 million.

Global impact firm Palladium has acquired financial advisory firm Enclude to merge with its economic development and impact investing practices. Palladium bought the company from Triodos Ventures, an independent fund managed by Netherlands-based Triodos Bank.

Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: F) and Hong Kong’s Everbright Sun Hung Kai Co. have formed a strategic partnership to help U.S. and Chinese companies with advisory services across global markets. The partnership will focus on cross-border capital raising, new issue offerings and M&A.

Events
M&A East, hosted by ACG Philadelphia and held Oct. 24-25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, brings together 1,300 top strategic and financial dealmakers and leading middle-market advisors for deal sourcing and networking. Featured speakers include Walter Robb, former CEO Whole Foods, and Chris Voss, former FBI lead hostage negotiator. The Women in Dealmaking session will focus on Women in the Board Room.

Exponent Evening with Tequila Casa Dragones, hosted by Exponent Women LLC, a networking group for female dealmakers, held Oct. 25 at The Dream Downtown in New York, features tequila, food and a conversation between Bertha Gonzales Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Tequila Casa Dragones, and Mary Kathleen Flynn, editor-in-chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. For more on networking group’s previous event, see Exponent drew 200 women dealmakers to event featuring Sallie Krawcheck.

People Moves
Michael Balistreri has joined Alvarez & Marsal’s corporate finance practice in New York. Previously with Canaccord Genuity, Balistreri provides investment banking and financial advisory services to corporations, creditors and shareholders.

Trevor Meyers was hired by Turnspire Capital Partners as executive in residence where he is helping the PE firm seek investments in the automotive parts sector. Meyers was previously the CEO of Cloyes Gear and Products.

Featured content
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.

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.

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. How Tyson is focusing on what it does best through M&A.

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.