M&A wrap: Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, Fleet Complete, Madison Dearborn, GM, Toyota, Fiat, Wind Point


Photo credit: Fleet Complete

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is acquiring a stake in vehicle technology provider Fleet Complete from Madison Dearborn Partners, which retains a stake. The target offers vehicle tracking, video and audio recording, along with driver management software. Fleet Complete has 500,000 customers and serves 30,000 businesses across the globe. The company installs software directly on vehicles, and also works with car makers, such as General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Toyota, to embed the company’s technology in vehicles. “Fleet Complete has a proven track record of robust growth, underpinned by its successful global expansion strategy and product innovation,” says OTTP senior managing director Jane Rowe. Auto technology makers are receiving buyer interest. For instance, in 2017, Ingersoll-Rand plc (NYSE; IR) reached a deal to acquire GPSi Holdings LLC from Falconhead Capital. GPSi makes GPS devices and real-time engine diagnostic systems. Lazard, Barclays, Kirkland & Ellis and Dentons Canada are advising Fleet Complete and MDP. Torys LLP is representing OTTP.

Cyber Monday and holiday shopping shine a a spotlight on the retail industry, and the pressure on purveyors is more intense than ever, with Sears’ recent bankruptcy filing serving as a cautionary tale. It’s been a year since Amazon bought Whole Foods, a game-changing deal for the sector. 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.

Capital Roundtable hosts Best Practices for Sourcing Private Equity Investment Opportunities, chaired by Kate Faust, Rockwood Equity Partners LLC, at the University Club on Nov. 27. Mergers & Acquisitions editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn chairs a panel on Going Beyond One Handshake at a Time: How to Use Branding & Marketing to Source Deals, with panelists Sash Rentala, Moelis & Co.; Cortney Stapleton, Bliss Integrated Communication; and Amy Weisman, Sterling Investment Partners LP.

In New York, it’s Middle Market Week. Hosted by ACG New York Nov. 26-30, events throughout the city bring together leading global middle-market dealmaking professionals. The highlight is 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 evening brings together the leading middle market private equity firms for fine wines and networking.

Deal news
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is considering options for its robotics arm Comau, including a potential sale at a value of 1.5 billion euros to 2 billion euros ($1.7 billion to $2.3 billion), according to Bloomberg News. Read the full story: Fiat weighs robotics arm sale.

Wind Point Partners is buying engineering firm the Kleinfelder Group. KPMG and Winston & Strawn are advising Wind Point. BNP Paribas is providing financing.

Mandom Corp. has acquired cosmetics company Alliance Cosmetics Group from Navis Capital Partners. BDA Partners advised Navis.

For more deal news, see The weekly wrap: Audax, Autodesk, Blackberry.

For ongoing news about private equity firms and their fundraising efforts, see our weekly column, PE fundraising scorecard: Lovell Minnick and Vista Equity.

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 the spirit of holiday giving, 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 M&A East to share their thoughts on Giving Back. Check out our video interviews with Baker Tilly Capital’s Judit Nagy-Eichelber: Volunteer work brings teams together and Reed Smith’s Jonathan Moyer: For millennial dealmakers, giving back is part of who they are.

People moves: Gregg Byers joins Baird. Former DOJ attorney Katherine Forrest moves to Cravath. Jennifer Zhao joins Genstar Capital. Check out our slideshow: 12 top dealmakers take on new jobs.

The Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers. The Philadelphia Eagles prevailed against the New York Giants. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Carolina Panthers, and the Buffalo Bills bested the Jacksonville Jaguars (but not before a brawl broke out). Wrapping up NFL Week 12 on Monday night, the Tennessee Titans will take on the Houston Texans. The Texans are expected to wear on their helmets the initials of team founder and owner Robert McNair, who died Nov. 23 at the age of 81, after battles with multiple cancers. Off the field, many football players invest in 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. 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. View our slideshow, NFL stars Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, Steve Young go PE.


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.