M&A daily wrap: Huron Capital, Verifone, Nike, Clearlake, ParkerGale, Halifax
Huron Capital has raised its first non-control private equity fund, called the Huron Flex Equity Fund LP, at $142 million. Through non-control investments, Huron Flex Equity aims to provide customized options designed to help business owners accomplish a variety of growth and liquidity objectives. "Our goal is to leverage our buy-and-build strategy in partnership with seasoned executives to improve and grow our businesses through strategic initiatives, operational improvements and add-on acquisitions throughout the lower middle market," says managing partner Brian Demkowicz. Sixpoint Partners served as Huron's placement agent. Michigan's most active private equity fund, Detroit-based Huron earned Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Seller of the Year for a stellar year that included completing 21 transactions, including 4 platforms and 14 add-ons and 3 exits. Middle-market firms are increasingly looking for ways to take minority stakes in portfolio companies. In 2017, the Riverside Co. completed fundraising for its first non-control investment fund, Riverside Strategic Capital Fund (RSCF), at $418 million.
The $3.4 billion deal to take Verifone private is more than just an effort to strengthen the company by placing it alongside the many other payments-related technology holdings owned by Francisco Partners. It's also a signal of how much the market has changed from the days when Verifone found itself scrambling to combat a newcomer called Square.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) has bolstered its digital capabilities with the acquisition of Invertex Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Israel. Invertex uses 3-D technology and mobile applications to analyze consumer buying behavior, aiming to provide retailers with information to customize products to meet specific customer needs. “The acquisition of Invertex will deepen our bench of digital talent and further our capabilities in computer vision and artificial intelligence, as we create the most compelling Nike consumer experience at every touchpoint," says Nike chief digital officer Adam Sussman. Nike recently bought consumer analytics firm Zodiac Inc.
Chicago tech-focused private equity firm ParkeGale has acquired CultureIQ, which develops software to survey employees about engagement and corporate culture. CultureIQ has also acquired the workforce surveys and analytics division of Corporate Executive Board. Read the full story here.
Bain Capital Double Impact has made an investment in Sustainable Restaurant Group, the operator of Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish. Kitchen Fund also co-invested. SRG operates five restaurants throughout Portland and Oregon. The company describes itself as "committed to expanding awareness of sustainability and health and wellness benefits of fish consumption through in-store green initiatives and consumer engagement programs." For example, SRG does not serve bluefin tuna or any other "red-listed" seafood. Bain Capital Double Impact recently announced its investment in vegan restaurant chain By Chloe.
Clearlake Capital Group has acquired Wheel Pros Holdings LLC. The Denver-based target makes and sells wheels and tires to more than 10,000 retailers out of 33 distribution centers. Wheel Pros owns 12 brands including American Racing, Asanti and Helo. "Custom wheels continue to be one of the most visible ways to personalize a vehicle, and our customers use it as an opportunity to express their personality," say Wheel Pros' co-founders Jody Groce and Randy White. William Blair advised the seller. Earlier in 2018, Clearlake closed its fifth fund at more than $3.6 billion.
Carl Icahn is selling car-parts maker Federal-Mogul LLC to competitor Tenneco Inc., which will split the combined businesses into two companies to better compete in the shifting transportation space. Kirkland & Ellis is advising Tenneco. Read the full story here.
Kelso & Co. and Blue Wolf Capital have acquired home care services provider Jordan Health services from Palladium Equity Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) has agreed to buy security threat detection and response provider Secdo. "We believe security operations teams need the most advanced and consistent approach to endpoint security," says Palo Alto CEO Mark McLaughlin. Earlier in 2018, Palo Alto said it will buy cloud security company Evident.io for $300 million.
Investment firm Hg has made an investment in the Access Group, a software provider to mid-sized businesses throughout the United Kingdom. TA Associates retains a minority stake in the target. The deal has an enterprise value of around $1.2 billion. Arma Partners is advising the Access Group and Harris Williams is advising the company's management team. Linklaters is representing Hg. Travers Smith is representing TA Associates and the Access Group.
Allegro Development Corp. has acquired Financial Engineering Associates, a provider of risk analytics software for traders and risk managers. Paul Hastings represented Allegro. Analytics providers have become attractive acquisition targets, especially in the financial sector.
Pritzker Group-backed ProAmpac has acquired Pactech Packaging, a packaging manufacturer for the consumer, industrial and healthcare sectors. Financial terms were not disclosed.
EQT has bought a majority stake in Spirit Communications and combined it with Lumos Networks. EQT backed Lumos in November 2017.
David Bard has joined the Halifax Group's Washington D.C. office as a managing director. In the role, he will be responsible for sourcing, evaluating, executing and working with the firm’s investments. Bard was previously a principal at American Securities.
For more new hires, promotions and other dealmaker career news, including Alvarez & Marsal's hiring Debra Richman as healthcare managing director and Karin Kovacic's joining the origination team as a managing director at Monroe Capital, read People Moves.
Read full coverage of Mergers & Acquisitions' 11th annual M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Campbell Soup, Huron Capital, Idera CEO Randy Jacops, LLR Partners, McGuireWoods, Stryker, Twin Brook and William Blair.