M&A wrap Friday | Mergers & Acquisitions


Photo credit: Bloomberg News

SoftBank has hired former Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) executive Kirthiga Reddy as a partner at its $100 billion Vision Fund, the first woman to join a group of just a dozen that oversees the world’s biggest pool of technology investments, reports Bloomberg News. Reddy has joined SoftBank Investment Advisors, which manages the giant fund globally, to focus on frontier and enterprise technology globally, according to a SoftBank representative. Reddy had worked at Facebook in India and the U.S. for eight years and serves as chair of the Stanford Business School Management Board, according to her LinkedIn page. She joins a crew that is helping SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son orchestrate an unprecedented wave of investment in Silicon Valley, China and beyond. The Vision Fund has committed more than $65 billion to acquire stakes in Uber Technologies Inc., WeWork Cos. and China’s Didi Chuxing. For perspective, in 2016, the entire U.S. venture capital industry invested $75.3 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association, Bloomberg points out. Read the full story: SoftBank hires first female partner to help manage vision fund

Dealmaking in November continued apace, with Glanbia’s acquisition of Slim-Fast, Grubhub’s deal for Tapingo and DSW’s purchase of Camuto are among the transactions that closed. The mid-term elections were also top of mind. For more on the month, see Glanbia, DSW and Grubhub closed notable deals in November.

For the latest in deal news, see Weekly wrap: Nexstar, Tribune Media, Thoma Bravo, TPG

For our weekly look at private equity firms seeking LPs, see PE fundraising scorecard: Aberdeen, Abry, Apollo, Caryle, KKR

Featured content
Private equity firms are giving back – organizing groceries at food pantries, mentoring students in schools, running races for cancer cures and pitching in at animal shelters. In time for the holidays, Mergers & Acquisitions highlights the philanthropic and volunteering initiatives of 5 PE firms: the Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG), Frontier Capital, Huron Capital, the Riverside Co. and Star Mountain Capital. At Carlyle, charity starts at the top, with CEO David Rubenstein’s signing of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Community involvement is more important than ever to today’s work force. Millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996 by the Pew Research Center, are “for sustainability, diversity, inclusion and giving back to the community,” says Carlyle managing director Christopher Ullman. “We are finding this more and more. Yes, we are here to make money, secure retirement for pensioners, but the firm wants to support people’s efforts to make the world a better place.” Frontier Capital supports several causes, including The Miracle League, a baseball organization for people who are mentally and physically challenged. “There’s more to life than work and material things, and our people understand that,” says Frontier managing partner Andrew Lindner. At Detroit-based Huron Capital, the firm’s philanthropic efforts are focused on local groups. “We want to leave our footprint in this community where we live and work while being as helpful as possible,” says partner Gretchen Perkins. “The charitable activities we do as a group, the ability for each employee to influence where Huron’s donations go, and the ability to perform community service during work hours, or receive matching funds for an employee’s personal non-profit passion, all contribute to a portion of an employee’s sense of purpose and contributing to the greater good.” Read the full story, The Big Give.

We asked dealmakers at ACG Philadelphia’s M&A East to share their thoughts on Giving Back. Check out our video interview with Baker Tilly Capital’s Judit Nagy-Eichelber: Volunteer work brings teams together. Also watch our conversation with Reed Smith’s Jonathan Moyer: For millennial dealmakers, giving back is part of who they are.

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the the pressure on retailers is more intense than ever. Consumers are choosing retailers that match their values. For example, Canadian retail giant Empire Company Ltd. (TSE: EMP.A) has agreed to buy fast-growing farm-to-table grocer Farm Boy for $800 million from Boston private equity firm Berkshire Partners LLC. Farm Boy offers fresh, ready-to-eat and private label offerings are particularly appealing to urban and suburban consumers. Technology is driving many of the transactions. Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY) recently agreed to spend $800 million to buy GreatCall, a provider of emergency response services for seniors, from Chicago private equity firm GTCR. Meanwhile, GreatCall announced a partnership with on-demand transportation provider Lyft to make it easier for seniors to get car service. “Many of the challenges that retailers are currently facing are due more to a lack of innovation and investment in technology, and that they are not able to compete with Amazon,” said Alex Monahan, a consumer products senior analyst at tax and consulting firm RSM US LLP. “Investors want to see that retailers are adjusting to consumer’s changing preferences and striving to provide seamless multi-channel experiences, while also investing in technology to address the tight labor markets.” Amazon, Walmart, Ikea, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Farm Boy are among the retailers turning to M&A. For more, see 5 trends driving retail M&A.

The Tennessee Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night. Off the field, many football players are building 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 CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthersand 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. View our slideshow, NFL stars Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, Steve Young go PE.

Events
ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit brings together women in the middle-market dealmaking community for a day focused on networking and knowledge sharing on Jan. 17 at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel. Alexa Von Tobel, chief innovation officer of Northwestern Mutual, keynotes.

Exponent Women kicks off the new year with an evening of networking on Jan. 24 at The Campbell, at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Jazz Age financier John W. Campbellconverted the space to his private office and reception hall in 1923, and it has recently been restored by design firm Ingrao Inc.

ACG Boston, ACG Connecticut, ACG New Jersey, ACG New York & ACG Philadelphia host ACG Northeast Dealmaking at the Mountain at Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont Jan. 27-29. The event provides a chance for middle-market M&A professionals from across the northeast to come together for two days of close knit networking, shared conversations and valuable time spent to deepen your relationships within the deal community.


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.


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 dealmaking, with a focus on strategic buyers and the consumer and retail sectors, and writes The Buyside column.