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M&A wrap: Google, CloudSimple, Luminate, Wind Point, York Capital, Walmart, McDonald’s


Photo credit: Bloomberg News

Google is buying enterprise software firm CloudSimple Inc., another sign the search giant isn’t letting a flurry of antitrust investigations interrupt its expansion strategy. CloudSimple will join Google Cloud, a priority business for the Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) unit. CloudSimple builds tools that help companies move information, applications, databases and other systems from in-house data centers to the cloud. The acquisition could help Google get a foothold in a corner of the cloud-computing market where larger rivals, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), have run ahead. U.S. regulators and Congress have opened multiple inquiries into Google over competition concerns, including the company’s history of acquisitions. Since those probes began, Google has announced multibillion-dollar takeovers of Looker Data Sciences Inc., a cloud company, and Fitbit Inc., a device-maker. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: Google makes another cloud deal.

As the retail industry’s busiest season begins, Mergers & Acquisitions is covering many M&A trends in the sector. We’ve launched a weekly series on the 7 technologies retailers are investing in: The Internet of Things enables enhanced personalization, such as custom drive-thru menus. Artificial intelligence applications predict customers’ needs. Modern data centers and warehouses fill orders quickly. Robots assist with sorting and packing consumer goods. Voice- and text-assisted technology provides customers with hands-free shopping experiences. Analytics give retailers a better understanding of consumer behavior and habits. Mobile payment processing provides consumers with on-the-go convenience. This week, we’re focusing on AI and Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups. We’ve also written about the role warehouses are playing. See: Amazon and Walmart open more logistics centers, driving warehouse M&A. Check back each Friday from now until Christmas for another installment.

Luminate Capital Partners has invested in Quantivate, a Software-as-a-Service provider that helps financial services companies manage risk and maintain regulatory compliance. Kirkland & Ellis advised Luminate. Marks Baughan and Reed Pruett Walters Larsen PLLC advised Quantivate. Luminate is a tech-focused private equity firm founded by former Silver Lake partner Hollie Haynes, who won Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2018 Dealmaker of the Year.

York Capital Management-backed Mode Transportation is merging with Comvest Partners-backed SunteckTTS. After the deal closes, the two logistics companies will have $2 billion in annual revenue. “In today’s increasingly competitive logistics market, the importance of scale, service diversity, and technology cannot be overstated,” says SunteckTTS CEO Ken Forster. Kirkland & Ellis is advising Mode. Piper Jaffray (NYSE: PJC) and McDermott Will & Emery are advising SunteckTTS.

Wind Point Partners-backed A&R Logistics has acquired Plantgistix Holdings. The target offers packaging, warehousing and export services to the plastics sector. Kirkland & Ellis and KPMG advised A&R. Statesman Corporate Finance and Foley and Lardner LLP advised Plantgistix.

Providence Equity Partners has bought a majority stake in N2y LLC, a provider of personalized education software and tools, from the Riverside Co. Baird, Citizens Capital Markets, Jones Day and KPMG advised the sellers.

Bluestone Investment Parners-backed Intrepid Solutions and Services has acquired cybersecurity company BWM Outcomes. Holland and Knight and Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP advised Intrepid. PilleroMazza PLLC advised BWM.

Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO)-backed Alteri Investors has purchased furniture retailer and manufactur Blue Group Hold Co. from Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. The target owns the Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture brands. Fried Frank advised Alteri.

Roark Capital-backed Driven Brands has acquired Clairus Group, a provider of automotive glass repair and claims management services. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP advised Driven Brands. Jefferies advised Clairus.

Digital content management company Episerver is buying Idio, a content personalization and analytics platform. Idio uses analytics to help businesses better connect with customers. Some of Idio’s clients include IHS Market, FitchRatings and OppenheimerFunds.

Esteemed M&A attorney Martin (“Marty”) Lipton was honored at a black-tie event hosted by the Institute of International Education at The Pierre in New York on Oct. 30. Called the “the king of M&A,” the co-founder of New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, is well known to dealmakers as the architect of the anti-takeover defense strategy known as the “poison pill.” Lipton was awarded the IIE Stephen P. Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding “in recognition of his lifetime of extraordinary achievement and his lasting contribution to international higher education. Read the full story: Martin Lipton, inventor of the “poison pill” anti-takeover defense honored by IIE.

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.

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. Adams Street Partners, Balance Point Capital, Carlyle and VSS are all actively engaged in lending. Read the full story: Private equity firms are becoming lenders. Here’s why.

Prokanga is a unique recruiting firm that offers full-time and flexible recruiting services. Prokanga is managed by co-founders Jamie Cheney and Lesley Finer (pictured). Mergers & Acquisitions spoke with Finer, who has more than 10 years of recruiting for the finance industry and leads the finance practice at Prokanga. For more, see Why financial services pros need flexibility.

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.

Online retailers, including Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), are adding more fulfillment centers to meet consumer demands for faster shipping times. The owners of these properties along with the contractors that build them are becoming prime M&A targets. More local fulfillment centers means faster delivery times and lower last-mile costs to both retailers and customers. Read the full story: Amazon and Walmart open more logistics centers, driving warehouse M&A.

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.

Exponent Women is hosting a Family Office Event with Owens Group at LX Gallery in New York on Nov. 21. Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn is moderating a panel.

The Annual Winter Conference AM&AA is taking place in Scottsdale, Arizon fron 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.

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