Australia’s AMA Group calls off Blackstone deal after tax ruling, shares slide: Reuters

Australia’s AMA Group (AMA.AX) said on Friday it has halted a deal to sell its vehicle panel repair arm to Blackstone Group (BX.N) for A$508 million ($375 million) following an unfavorable ruling from the Australian Taxation Office. AMA shares fell as much as 5.6 percent on the news, hitting their lowest level since April 13, when the deal was announced. It said no break fees would be payable. AMA had also announced in April that it would separately spin off its automotive component, accessory and procurement business. Under the Blackstone deal, shareholders were to receive A$0.86 per share for their stake in the repair business either wholly in cash or through a cash and unlisted scrip mix. “The AMA Board is disappointed that the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation has taken a different view as to the requirements for demerger relief as compared with previous transactions,” AMA
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French group Danone’s venture capital fund eyes 20-25 deals by 2020: Reuters

Danone Manifesto Ventures (DANO.PA), an investment fund set up by the French food giant to target start-up companies challenging the dominance of big brands, expects to have invested in 20-25 such firms by 2020. Managing Director Laurent Marcel told Reuters the fund was looking at sectors ranging from healthy drinks, snacks and baby food, to the search for alternative protein sources and new ways to build up relationships with consumers. “Our ambition is to make between six and seven investments per year. We could have a portfolio of 20-25 companies by 2020,” said Marcel. New York-headquartered Danone Manifesto Ventures, set up in 2016, has now spent nearly half its initial $150 million budget. Changing consumer tastes are shaking up the mainstream food manufacturing industry, and a growing demand for healthy food produced in ways that protect the environment and communities has allowed newcomers to win market share. Danone and
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Walmart-Advent deal gets Brazil antitrust nod: Reuters

Brazil’s antitrust watchdog Cade on Friday approved buyout firm Advent International’s acquisition of Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) Brazilian operations, and sought no additional asset sales. Earlier this month, Walmart agreed to sell an 80 percent stake of its Brazilin unit to Advent, partially exiting an underperforming business and recording a noncash charge of roughly $4.5 billion. Advent plans to convert unprofitable hypermarkets into cash-and-carry wholesale stores and expand brands developed by Walmart in Brazil such as Maxxi and Todo Dia.

Shell sells $1.3 bln of oil and gas assets in Norway, Malaysia: Reuters

Royal Dutch Shell announced the sale on Wednesday of oil and gas assets in Norway and Malaysia for over $1.3 billion, bringing it closer to a target of $30 billion in disposals by year-end. The Anglo-Dutch company agreed to sell to OKEA, a Norwegian producer backed by private equity firm Seacrest Capital, its 45 percent interest in the Draugen Norwegian offshore field and a 12 percent in the Gjoa block for a total of $566 million, the two companies said. Earlier, Shell announced the completion of the sale of a 15 percent stake in Malaysia LNG (MLNG) Tiga to the Sarawak State Financial Secretary for $750 million. Shell committed to the ambitious three-year sale plan following the decision to acquire BG Group in 2015, a deal that was completed in February 2016 for $54 billion. The latest announcement bring the total assets Shell has sold or agreed to
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Siris Capital unit to buy for $2 billion: Reuters Group Inc, a provider of internet domain name registration services, said on Thursday an affiliate of private equity firm Siris Capital would buy the company for about $2 billion in cash. Shares of the company, which also helps businesses build websites, rose 8 percent in premarket trading, matching the offer price of $25 per share. The deal comes as the sector becomes increasingly crowded, with companies such as Ltd, Weebly Inc and Squarespace seeking to gain market share from established players such as GoDaddy Inc. Jacksonville, Florida-based will be open to other offers during a “go-shop” period until Aug. 5, the company said. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018. Morgan Stanley & Co LLC, RBC Capital Markets and Macquarie Capital are Siris’s financial advisers, while Sidley Austin LLP is its corporate counsel and Kirkland & Ellis LLP
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India’s Swiggy raises additional $210 mln funding led by Naspers, DST Global: Reuters

Indian online food delivery service provider Swiggy said on Thursday it raised another $210 million in its biggest ever funding, led by South African internet and entertainment group Naspers Ltd and Hong Kong-based internet investment group DST Global. Existing shareholder Meituan-Dianping, a China-based provider of on-demand online services, and new investor Coatue Management also participated in the Series G funding. Swiggy, which was founded in 2014 and has 35,000 restaurant partners and 40,000 delivery executives across 15 cities, would use the funds to ramp up its supply chain network and double its technology headcount, the company said. Swiggy has so far raised $465 million in seven rounds of funding.

Taiyo Nippon, Carlyle frontrunners to buy Linde and Praxair assets, say sources: Reuters

Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp (4091.T) and private equity firm Carlyle Group CG.N have emerged as frontrunners to buy assets that gases groups Linde (LIN1.DE) and Praxair (PX.N) need to divest to seal their planned merger, people close to the matter said. The bidders could finalize terms in the next few weeks on the sale of two packages of assets worth about $8 billion in total, the people added. Taiyo is in the frame to bag the European package, while Carlyle would take the U.S. assets, they said. The two deals could clear the way to secure the $83 billion all-share merger of equals that Munich-based Linde and Danbury, Connecticut-based Praxair struck to create a global leader in gas distribution, with revenues of almost $29 billion and 88,000 staff. Linde and Carlyle declined to comment, while Praxair and Taiyo were not immediately available for comment. Linde
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Goldman Sachs to invest $500 million in women-run companies: Reuters

Goldman Sachs Group Inc will pump $500 million into companies led, founded or owned by women, as it steps up efforts to close the gender investing gap, the Wall Street bank said on Tuesday. The program, Goldman Sachs’ second geared toward female entrepreneurs, will also help clients invest directly in private, late-stage companies or provide seed capital for women starting their own funds. “The bottom line is this makes sense for our business – because investing and helping companies grow is our business,” Stephanie Cohen, Goldman Sachs’ chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “We also hope it makes a difference for women who have big ideas but find themselves cut out of the funding ecosystem.” Cohen cited statistics showing that only 2 percent of U.S. venture capital in 2017 went to companies run entirely by women and just 12 percent went to teams with at least one
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BHP to sell Chilean copper mine to private equity fund: Reuters

BHP said on Tuesday it has agreed to sell the Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile to Australian private equity fund EMR Capital. The world’s biggest listed miner said it agreed a cash deal worth $230 million in addition to $40 million in proceeds from the post-closing sale of the mine’s copper inventory and a contingent payment of up to $50 million to be paid in the future, depending on copper price performance. Sources had said BHP hired Citi early in 2017 to sell the asset, which was then valued at up to $800 million. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, BHP said in a statement. BHP and other major miners are keen on copper as a mineral expected to be in high demand for both the traditional economy and for electric vehicles, but its preference is for large-scale projects. “We look forward to
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CrowdStrike raises $200 million, continues to evaluate IPO, says CEO: Reuters

CrowdStrike said on Tuesday it has raised $200 million in its latest round of funding, putting the cloud-based cybersecurity company’s valuation at more than $3 billion. Using artificial intelligence, CrowdStrike offers cloud-delivered protection that allows companies to detect possible threats before a breach occurs. The series E round of financing was led by General Atlantic, Accel and IVP, with participation from existing investors CapitalG, an investment arm of Google parent company Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), and March Capital, CrowdStrike said. The latest round of funding comes as investors have been wary of many companies’ ability to advance their software to stay ahead of hackers and attacks. In March, Reuters reported that Tenable, a cybersecurity software maker, was planning an initial public offering that could come as early as this fall. That would make it one of the few venture capital-backed cyber security companies to pull off an IPO in recent
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KKR close to signing deal for Altice’s telecom towers, say sources: Reuters

Private equity firm KKR (KKR.N) is close to buying a stake in the telecom towers business of Altice (ATCA.AS), three sources told Reuters, a deal that will help the telecoms and cable group to pay down debt and reshape its European operations. Under the deal, which is being finalised, KKR will use its infrastructure fund to take a minority interest in Altice’s towers subsidiary in France, the sources said. The U.S. buyout group has trumped rival bids from private equity firm Blackstone (BX.N) and a consortium led by the infrastructure investment arms of insurers Allianz (ALVG.DE) and Axa (AXAF.PA) which also made it to the final stages of the auction, the sources said. KKR declined to comment while Altice and the other bidders were not immediately available for comment.
Altice, whose debt equals more than twice its annual revenues, is rushing to finalize a
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Abu Dhabi Investment buys stake in UK insurer PIC: Reuters

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) said on Tuesday its private equity department would acquire a stake of up to 21.4 percent in Pension Insurance Corporation Group from funds advised by private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. The deal values Pension Insurance Corporation close to its embedded value of 2.9 billion pounds ($3.8 billion), according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Hamad Shahwan Aldhaheri, executive director of ADIA’s private equity department, said the investment, subject to regulatory approvals, demonstrates a strategy targeting “principal investments in market-leading businesses”. PIC Group has become one of the world’s biggest investors in bulk annuities, which cover the pension obligations of defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes for staff. ADIA was advised on the transaction by Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), Ernst & Young, Oliver Wyman and Allen & Overy. J.C. Flowers was advised by Evercore
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Private equity firm Veritas to buy Cotiviti in $4.9 billion deal: Reuters

Private equity firm Veritas Capital will buy Cotiviti Holdings Inc (COTV.N) in a deal valued at $4.9 billion, the U.S. healthcare analytics company said on Tuesday. Cotiviti shareholders will receive $44.75 per share in cash, representing a premium of 12.2 percent to the stock’s closing price on Monday. Veritas will assume Cotiviti’s outstanding debt. Atlanta-based Cotiviti, which provides payment accuracy and analytics services to health insurers and other healthcare companies, will combine with Veritas-controlled Verscend Technologies Inc. Cotiviti shares jumped 10.3 percent to $44 in premarket trading. Cotiviti shareholder Advent International – whose shares represent some 44 percent of the healthcare analytics firm’s voting power – will vote in favor of the deal. Goldman Sachs and William Blair were Cotiviti’s financial advisers. Latham & Watkins LLP provided legal counsel. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP was Veritas’ legal adviser.

Bain Capital nears deal to buy Varsity Brands for $2.5 billion: CNBC

Bain Capital Private Equity is nearing a deal to buy cheerleading uniform and equipment retailer Varsity Brands for $2.5 billion, CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Varsity Brands, which even organizes cheerleading competitions in the United States, was bought by Charlesbank Capital Partners-led investment group in 2014 for about $1.5 billion, according to the report.

GameStop in talks with buyout firms after drawing interest: Reuters

(Reuters) – Video game and electronics retailer GameStop Corp is holding talks with private equity firms about a potential transaction after receiving buyout interest, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Like most brick-and-mortar retailers, GameStop has suffered from heightened competition from online companies including Amazon Inc. Games retailers have also had to cope with a decline in physical video game sales, although GameStop has partly weathered these declines by expanding into used video games and devices as well as digital products. Shares of the Grapevine, Texas-based company rose as much as 11 percent to $15.50 on Monday on news of the interest, having been up 2.5 percent earlier in the day. The stock was up 9 percent in late afternoon.
The company has hired a financial adviser to assist in these discussions, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
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CITIC Capital offers to buy China Biologic for $110 per share: Reuters

A unit of Chinese investment firm CITIC Capital Holdings Ltd said on Monday it has offered to buy U.S.-listed biotech firm China Biologic Products Holdings Inc (CBPO.O), in a deal valuing the company at $3.65 billion. China Biologic makes and sells plasma products, such as human immunoglobin, to prevent diseases such as measles and hepatitis. The company’s shares rose 15.8 percent to $95 in premarket trading. The unit, CCRE, offered $110 in cash for each share of China Biologic it does not already own. (
As of June 8, CCRE owned a 5.1 percent stake in China Biologic. CCRE said it plans to finance the transaction with a combination of debt and equity.

Tensions rise as private equity-backed companies push limits: Reuters

NEW YORK, June 15 (LPC) – Investors are taking the fight against an assault on leveraged loan documentation to the courts as more private equity-backed companies, such as troubled retailer PetSmart, seek flexibility that could lead to raising new debt. Private equity firms have been able to exploit red-hot investor demand for floating rate US leveraged loans and weaken loan documentation as demand continues to outstrip supply, but this has already produced at least two court cases as investors fight back. Legal conflicts have erupted among lenders to US retailers such as Not Your Daughters Jeans (NYDJ) and J Crew in the last 12 months, as issuers added extra debt by exploiting loopholes in their credit documents. PetSmart’s owners took steps on June 4 to potentially create additional flexibility by creating a new unrestricted subsidiary and transferring 16.5% of its online company Chewy into the new facility. Investment
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Qualcomm-NXP deal still waiting for China nod: Reuters

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is yet to approve U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) proposed $44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O), three people close to the talks said, dismissing an earlier media report that said Beijing had already greenlit the deal. Chinese clearance would remove a long-running roadblock to the deal that has become entangled with broader trade tensions between the United States and China. The acquisition has already got a nod from eight of the nine required global regulators, with China being the only hold-out. Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Friday morning that China had given its go-ahead to the deal, citing people with knowledge of the matter, driving up shares of the U.S. firm in extended trade. But Reuters sources, who are close to the Qualcomm-NXP deal, said they were not aware of any Chinese approval. One of them said
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Intesa CEO talking to several investors over wealth management deal: Reuters

Intesa SanPaolo (ISP.MI) is still in the early stages of looking for an investor in its wealth management unit and is talking to several potential partners, the chief executive of Italy’s biggest retail bank said on Friday. Intesa Sanpaolo said in February that it would seek a partnership with a global player in asset management via the sale of a minority stake in its Eurizon unit. The Financial Times reported this week that BlackRock (BLK.N), the world’s largest asset manager, was in talks about buying a 10 percent stake in Eurizon. “We’re assessing various options with a number of global international players and clearly the world’s best ones,” CEO Carlo Messina told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Marghera, Italy, when asked about the report.
“But we haven’t decided anything yet and there isn’t just one (potential partner) we’re talking to … We’re still in an
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Apollo pauses plans to sell security firm Constellis, say sources: Reuters

Apollo Global Management (APO.N) has halted plans to sell U.S. military security services business Constellis after talks with Canada’s Garda World Security Corp [GWSC.UL] broke down, according to people familiar with the matter. The New York-based private equity firm bought Constellis, founded in 1997 as Blackwater, for about $1 billion in 2016 and had been pursuing a so-called dual track sale process looking at an outright sale or an initial public offering (IPO), sources said this week, asking not to be named because the matter is private. A representative for Apollo declined to comment. Garda and Constellis did not respond to requests for comment.
Rising U.S. government defense spending has fueled dealmaking in the government services industry, and Apollo, hoping to tap that momentum, was aiming for Constellis to fetch between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, including debt, in a potential sale, the sources said.
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