M&A wrap: Bristow, Columbia Helicopters, Fortune, Meredith, Hunt Capital, Brean


Photo credit: Bristow Group

Aviation company Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) is acquiring privately-held Columbia Helicopters Inc. for $560 million. The target operates a fleet of 21 helicopters that are used in rescue operations, charter and heavy-lift services by the construction, defense, infrastructure, firefighting, forestry and oil and gas industries. “We share a long-standing, proven commitment to safety and Columbia’s specialized heavy-lift capabilities are highly complementary to Bristow’s offshore capabilities,” says Bristow CEO Jonathan Baliff. The deal presents opportunities to leverage the combined company’s fleet, maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities, and certificates, to expand market opportunities globally, says Baliff. The transportation sector, including helicopter companies, is seeing consolidation as companies seek partners to help them pursue long-term growth strategies. In 2018, Cortec Group acquired a stake in shuttle services company Groome Holdings and in 2017, American Securities paid $2.5 billion for medical transportation provider Air Methods Corp. Jefferies, Baker Botts and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are advising Bristow. Greenhill & Co. and Tonkon Torp LLP are advising Columbia. Jefferies is providing financing.

The private equity industry will focus on educating lawmakers newly elected in the mid-terms. “As an industry, we will work to educate the nearly 100 new members of Congress about private equity’s positive impact in their communities and their constituents’ lives,” Pam Hendrickson, the chief operating officer of middle-market private equity firm the Riverside Co., tells Mergers & Acquisitions in a Q&A. “We will be talking with them about jobs, investment, and retirement security. We need to make the personal case to each of the new members as well as top leadership in both the House and the Senate. As an example, the incoming chair of the Ways and Means committee Richie Neal is from the State of Massachusetts which had a 15.4 percent annualized return from its PE portfolio over 10 years.” Hendrickson is currently a member of the board of the American Investment Council and a member of the advisory board of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. In the past, she has testified before Congress on behalf of the private equity industry. Read the full interview: Post-election priority for private equity: educating 100 new members of Congress. For more on how the mid-term election results are playing out in the middle market, including how former PE professionals Mitt Romney, Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker fared Tuesday night, see Dealmaker’s post-election guide: Mitt Romney, J.B. Pritzker, Dodd-Frank, Pam Hendrickson, Gretchen Perkins.

Deal news
Fortune Media Group Holdings Ltd., wholly owned by Chatchaval Jiaravanon (the executive chairman of Thailand’s biggest conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group), is buying Fortune magazine from Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) for $150 million. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Cooley are advising Meredith. Deloitte, Dechert and Zhong Lun Law Firm are advising Jiaravanon.

Hunt Capital Holdings has invested in broker-dealer Brean Capital LLC. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP represented Hunt. Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP represented Brean.

Boat Rocker Media has acquired production company Matador Content. The target is known for producing shows such as Lip Sync Battle. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Stikeman Elliott and TD Securities advised Boat Rocker. CAA, Evolution Capital, Sidley Austin and Hansen, Jacobson, Toberman, Heller and Newman advised Matador.

For more deal announcements, see The weekly wrap: CommScope, CVC, ResMed.

For ongoing coverage of private equity fundraising efforts, see our weekly column, PE fundraising scorecard: Genstar and ParkerGale.

Featured content
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Carolina Panthers 52-21 on Thursday night in NFL Week 10. Off the field, football stars team to build companies. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently teamed with former Giants defensive 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 CourtsideVCand 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. Mergers & Acquisitions takes a look at star players who invest in companies through private equity, venture capital and other investment vehicles.

U.S. middle-market dealmaking in the first three quarters of 2018 surpassed the same period in 2017, according to PitchBook. If the pace continues in the fourth quarter, middle-market deal value may surpass $400 billion for the first time ever. One important question: Will the momentum continue now that the power has shifted in Congress? Mergers & Acquisitions asked Matthew O’Loughlin, partner and co-chair of the mergers and acquisitions practice with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, to share his thoughts on how the mid-term elections will affect M&A. Read the full story: It’s been a good year for M&A. Will momentum continue post election?

Mergers & Acquisitions asked Dan Shea, a managing director at BDO Capital Advisors, to share his thoughts on the election results. Read the full story: Infrastructure investment is an area of potential agreement in Washington.

Mergers & Acquisitions asked Michael Gruber, managing partner at Salveo Capital, to share his thoughts on how the mid-term elections will affect M&A and the cannabis sector. Read the full story: Cannabis investments will likely benefit from new House leadership, Jeff Sessions’ departure.’

Mergers & Acquisitions identifies 15 cities as fertile communities for dealmaking. We look at metropolitan areas 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.

Events
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.


Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis joined SourceMedia in 2015 and serves as Managing Editor of Mergers & Acquisitions. He covers all aspects of middle-market deamaking, with a focus on strategic buyers and the consumer and retail sectors, and writes The Buyside column.


Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn

Mary Kathleen Flynn joined SourceMedia in 2011, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of Mergers & Acquisitions. MK oversees the brand’s content on all media platforms, including website, e-newsletters, video, slideshows, podcasts and print.