Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) have formed a strategic partnership to create a car parts store on, beginning in 2019. The online store will offer customers access to Advance’s inventory of aftermarket automotive parts, accessories and maintenance items. “Partnering with Walmart enables us to share our extensive product offering and trusted advice with an increased number of do-it-yourself customers and supports our long-term strategic objectives,” says Advance CEO Tom Greco. The two companies will explore opportunities to offer home delivery, same-day day pickup in Walmart and Advance stores, and installation on certain Advance products. Advance operates around 6,400 stores worldwide. To compete with Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Walmart has been bolstering its e-commerce offerings through acquisitions. The company recently purchased online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities, and also bought Cornershop, an online delivery company of consumer products in Chile and Mexico.

Mergers & Acquisitions identifies 15 cities that provide fertile environments for dealmaking, from Austin (where Michael Dell launched a PC business out of his dorm room back in the day and where thousands gather every year for SXSW) to St. Louis (home of private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners). Be sure to check out Milwaukee (with private equity firm Robert W. Baird & Co. and investment bank Clearly Gull) and Minneapolis (home of strategic buyers 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Hormel and Target). And don’t forget Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and more. See our list, Dealmaker’s guide to 15 cities where M&A thrives.

Deal news
Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO) is buying SendGrid Inc. (NYSE: SEND) for $2 billion to boost its suite of communication tools. Twilio is a San Francisco-based cloud-computing company that helps businesses communicate with their customers through a variety of methods, including phone and text message. Its clients include Uber Technologies Inc., according to Bloomberg News. SenGrid offers automated e-mail services. Goldman Sachs & Co. (NYSE: GS) and Goodwin Procter are advising Twilio. Morgan Stanley, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Cooley are advising SendGrid.

Customers Bancorp is putting the proposed spinoff of its digital bank on hold. The $11 billion-asset, Customers Bancorp plans to keep BankMobile for the next two to three years, according to a slide presentation tied to the company’s investor day. Customers said the decision “reflects complications” with the regulatory process and the “value we expect from the launch” of its first white-label partner. Read the full story: Customers Bancorp suspends planned spinoff of digital bank.

SK Capital has acquired SI Group, a manufacturer of performance additives. Latham Watkins advised SK Capital. Baker Botts and HSBC Securities advised SI Group. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Bank of America, N.A., KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., and Citizens Bank, N.A. provided financing.

The Riverside Co.-backed Cardinal has invested in Woon-Tech, a glass manufacturer of shower enclosures. Jones Day and KPMG advised Riverside. Antares and John Hancock provided financing.

Transom Capital Group has acquired Gene Juarez Salons & Spas, which operates 10 locations in Seattle, from Evergreen Pacific Partners. O’Melveny advised Transom and Davidson & & Co. advised Gene Juarez.

Centre Partners has invested in Guy & O’Neill Inc., a maker of household cleaning and personal care products such as wet wipes. Twin Brook is providing financing.

Enlightenment Capital has formed EverWatch, which focuses on providing services to the defense and intelligence sectors. EverWatch was formed through the merger of four recent acquisitions.

Michigan Capital Advisors has invested Ventech LLC, a developer of mobile heating technology for the automotive and transportation sectors.

Featured content
New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a stunning 43-40 win in NFL Week 6. Off the court, Brady recently teamed with former Giantsdefensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Many NFL players invest in companies. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. As Week 6 continues, Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at star players who invest in companies through private equity, venture capital and other investment vehicles.

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.

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.

ACG Chicago’s Family Office Conference, held Nov. 8, at the Westin Chicago River North, brings deamakers together for a “deep dive” into family offices. The event features a keynote by Laurent Roux, Gallatin Wealth Management, and panels, including: Current State of Family Office Direct & Co-Investment Activity, with Gary Levenstein, Nixon Peabody; and Impact of Millennial Generation on Family Office Investment Strategy including Social Impact Investing, with Adam Lieb and Tony Oommen, Fidelity Family Office Services.

ACG Florida Capital Connection, held Nov. 12-14, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, puts “sun and fun” into dealmaking for the middle market, bringing together hundreds of dealmakers. The keynote speaker is Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes, and the featured speaker for the Women’s Forum is Valerie Crites Fowler, who served as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service for over 29 years, reaching the rank of Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service.

Middle Market Week, hosted by ACG New York and held Nov. 26-30 at various locations throughout New York, brings together leading global middle-market dealmaking professionals to develop and enhance their dealmaking activities, strengthen their long-term relationships, and provide numerous opportunities for networking all week long. Mark your calendar for the Private Equity Annual Wine Tasting Gala on Nov. 28 at Gotham Hall. The building was constructed in the 1920s as the headquarters of the Greenwich Savings Bank. The gala brings together the leading middle market private equity firms for an evening of fine wines and networking.