M&A wrap: LLR Partners, Edmunds & Assoc., Pfizer, InMotion, Advent


LLR Partners has made a growth capital investment in government software company Edmunds & Assoc. Edmunds, founded in 1972, offers software services to local governments that the target claims are easy to use. The company works with more than 850 government agencies across 13 states. “With LLR as our partner, we now have access to value-added resources that will help us continue to innovate our software, scale service and support, and seek out other like-minded, customer-centric businesses to partner with as we grow,” says Edmunds CEO Bob Edmunds. The government software space is attractive to investors because government agencies typically hold on to old software systems longer than most companies and are slower to replace them. LLR has recently made investments in businesses across other sectors such as: Edlio, a community engagement services provider for K-12 public, private and charter schools; Montgomery & Riddle Eyecare and the Surgery & Laser Center at Professional Park; and a led round of growth capital funding in the merger of cybersecurity firms PhishLabs and BrandProtect. In 2018, LLR raised its fifth fund at $1.2 billion. LLR earned Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Private Equity Firm of the Year.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is reviewing options including a sale of its women’s health portfolio as the U.S. pharmaceutical giant seeks to focus on developing treatments with higher growth potential, according to Bloomberg News. A sale of the division, which has annual sales of roughly $1.2 billion, could fetch about $2 billion and draw bids from both private equity firms and rival pharmaceutical companies. Read the full story: Pfizer to weigh sale of women’s health portfolio.

Deal news
WH Smith Plc is buying InMotion, an airport-based retailer of digital accessories, from BRS & Co. and Palladin Consumer Retail Partners for $198 million. Greenhill & Co. and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are advising WH Smith. Kirkland & Ellis is representing BRS and Palladin.

Sovos Brands is merging with Noosa Yoghurt LLC. Both companies are backed by Advent International. Deutsche Bank and Weil Gotshal & Manges are advising Noosa. McDemott Will and Emery is advising Sovos.

Chicago Pacific Founders Fund has invested in Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergence Care, a group of 80 veterinarians on the West Coast.

CenterOak Partners has bought a majority stake in GNAP, a distributor of industrial abrasive products and specialty ceramics.

Genstar Capital has acquired 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, a provider of home warranty products and new home builders.

Featured content
The Oakland Raiders take on the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night in NFL Week 9. Off the field, 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. 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.

Acknowledging today’s climate of amplified workplace challenges, private equity firms must consider potential risks, from liability to litigation, before investing, writes Seyfarth Shaw’s Gerald Maatman in this guest article. Read the full story: How to mitigate #MeToo risks before you buy.

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.

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.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, marking the first G7 nation and the second country in the world to enact full legalization. To investors in the still developing cannabis industry, many believe the market is just now approaching its own inflection point, as it transitions from a black to gray market, characterized by a more attractive risk profile and outsized growth potential. The sticking point is that as a Schedule I drug illegal under federal law, cannabis still presents imposing obstacles for traditional investors, ranging from capital markets that remain inaccessible to uncertainty over bankruptcy proceedings. Yet, ironically, it’s these very same obstacles that make the opportunity so appealing to investors willing to operate in an indefinite gray area to create an ecosystem for a market expected to reach $75 billion in size by 2030. Salveo Capital managing partner Jeffrey Howard shares advice about investing in cannabis in a guest article. Read the full story: How to seize M&A opportunities in marijuana’s gray market.

Events
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.


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.