SK Capital buys AEB Global


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SK Capital Partners has acquired a controlling stake in AEB Global. Financial terms weren’t announced. Sellers include Investindustrial, which will retain a minority stake along with AEB management. Brescia, Italy-based AEB provides products and services for winemakers, beer brewers and other food and beverage producers. UniCredit S.p.A. acted as M&A advisor to SK Capital. BNP Paribas, Italian Branch and UniCredit provided committed debt financing for the transaction

PRESS RELEASE

BRESCIA, Italy–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling interest in AEB Group, a global leader in wine ingredients with growing positions in beer ingredients and food detergents. SK Capital’s majority ownership will be acquired via a capital increase to deleverage the Company’s balance sheet and a purchase of shares from existing investors including Investindustrial, one of Europe’s leading investment groups focused on Southern European companies. Investindustrial and AEB Group management will have minority ownership positions after the transaction.
AEB Group provides an integrated suite of products and related services – including a full spectrum of biotechnology solutions, processing aids, and specialized equipment – for winemakers, beer brewers, and other food and beverage producers. The Company’s customers utilize AEB Group’s proprietary formulations, customized in consultation with the Company’s sales force of oenologists and technical experts, to achieve consistent quality levels with optimal yields. AEB Group holds market leading positions in several of the top wine producing countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Argentina, and South Africa and the Company has been rapidly penetrating the growing wine ingredient markets in the United States, Germany, Chile, and Australia. Headquartered in Brescia, Italy, AEB Group operates a network of production facilities and laboratories throughout Europe and the Americas.
Aaron Davenport, a Managing Director of SK Capital, noted, “AEB Group is a niche market leader with similarities to our other investments in ingredient, additives, and solution services companies, including a combination of market reach and access, product development and customization capabilities, and customer intimacy. We are excited to partner with Investindustrial to support management’s strategic objectives with additional capital and resources.”
Philip Marxen, a Principal of SK Capital, noted, “AEB Group has consistently grown its share of the wine ingredients niche, which is characterized by long-term relationships with a fragmented customer base and products which are critical to winemaking yet represent a small portion of the cost and value of wine. We believe there are opportunities to accelerate growth and drive operational improvement through investments in people, processes, and facilities as well as add-on acquisitions to expand distribution and strengthen the product portfolio.”
Mario Tomasoni, AEB Group’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are excited to partner with SK Capital, an industry-focused investor with a track record of successfully supporting management teams in the development of higher performing businesses. We look forward to this next phase of AEB Group’s growth which will benefit from

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Court Square closes Research Now buy


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Court Square Capital Partners has completed its previously announced acquisition of Research Now Group Inc. Financial terms weren’t announced. Plano, Texas-based Research Now is a digital data collection provider.

PRESS RELEASE

PLANO, TX–(Marketwired – Mar 18, 2015) – Research Now Group, Inc. (“Research Now”) announced today that Court Square Capital Partners (“Court Square”), a leading private equity firm, has completed its previously announced acquisition of the company. Court Square acquired Research Now through the purchase of interests from the existing group of shareholders and the refinancing of existing debt. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Court Square’s history of investing in winning companies makes them an ideal partner to help us achieve our bold vision,” said Kurt Knapton, President and CEO of Research Now. “With our 15-year track record of industry-leading growth, we have established ourselves as the global standard for quality data collection and client satisfaction. We look forward to building on that momentum with new products and technology offerings that address market opportunities.”

Research Now, headquartered in Plano, Texas, is the leading digital data collection provider powering analytics and insights. Over the past decade, Research Now has been the fastest growing company in its sector. Its global, permission-based access to millions of deeply profiled consumers and business decision-makers provides online, mobile and behavioral data for over 3,000 market research, consulting, media and corporate clients. This actionable data drives key business decisions and processes such as: strategy, competitive intelligence, new product development, brand positioning and digital ad effectiveness.

About Court Square Capital Partners
Court Square is one of the most experienced teams in the private equity industry. Since 1979, the team has made over 200 investments, including several landmark transactions, and has developed numerous businesses into leaders in their respective markets. Based in New York, N.Y., Court Square invests in companies that have compelling growth potential. The firm manages over $5 billion in aggregate capital commitments while focusing on the following four sectors: business services, general industrial, healthcare and technology/telecommunications. For more information on Court Square, please visitwww.courtsquare.com.

About Research Now Group, Inc.
Research Now Group, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas, is the global leader in digital data collection to power analytics and insights. It enables data-driven decision making for clients who listen to and interact with the world’s consumers and business professionals through Research Now’s online panels, as well as mobile, digital and social media technologies. The company operates in 38 countries, from 24 offices across the globe, and is recognized as the market research industry’s leader in quality, scale and customer satisfaction. For more information, go to www.researchnow.com.

 

Generation Partners sells Agility Recovery after 14 years


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Generation Partners expects to make 10x its money with the sale of Agility Recovery Solutions.

On Tuesday, LLR Partners announced it was acquiring a majority of Agility. Financial terms weren’t announced. Generation Partners will retain a minority stake, the statement said.

“It’s another 14-year overnight success,” quipped Mark Jennings, a Generation co-founder and a managing partner.

The private equity firm bought the company in 2001 when it acquired the assets of the GE Disaster Recovery division. Generation renamed the unit Agility Recovery and put in a new management team, Jennings said.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Agility provides disaster recovery solutions such as temporary office space, satellite-based telephone and data communications, and backup generators for power and computer equipment. Users pay a monthly fee and when disasters arise — such as an ice storm, a flood or even a server failure — Agility provides all the items a company needs to get back in business, Jennings said. “They have thousands of customers and have never failed in 25 years,” he said.

Generation’s investment came from its second, and last fund. Generation Capital Partners II LP closed at $165 million in 2000. The pool is producing 2.5x net to LPs, Jennings said.

With offices in Greenwich, Conn., Austin and Los Angeles, Generation invests in lower middle-market businesses. The PE firm doesn’t currently have a fund. Nearly four years ago, Generation decided to switch to single purpose vehicles, Jennings said. The firm raises money deal by deal. Usually, it will pitch a transaction to a group of high net worth individuals and institutions and let them decide if they want to invest. “We’ll say ‘This is the company we want to invest in,’” Jennings said.

The hold periods of Generation’s investments varies, he said. Some are the normal three-to-five-year range typical to private equity, but others are much longer, he said. Agility was Generation’s longest hold, he said.

The firm typically invests from $10 million equity to $40 million equity per deal for both minority and majority stakes. Sectors include healthcare services and software, business and information services, as well as media and communications.

Such a structure allows the firm to hold a company for a long period and to write a bigger equity check if needed, Jennings said. It also helps Generation invest in entrepreneurs, he said. The firm is able to offer choices to entrepreneurs with the assurance that Generation won’t need to sell in three years. “We’re longer term than a normal private equity fund,” he said

Last year, Generation acquired Captivate Network, a digital media company, from Gannett Co. The firm in 2011 acquired ReCept Specialty Pharmacy. It also reinvested in Donuts, the domain registry, in 2013 after its initial investment in 2012. Another deal, a healthcare transaction, is in the works, Jennings said.

“The model has worked extremely well for us,” he said. “It provides flexibility for us as principals.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Denham Capital partners with Thesis Energy for European power platform


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Denham Capital and Thesis Energy have partnered to form Thesis Energy Holdings Ltd, a platform to pursue opportunities in European power generation. Financial terms weren’t announced. London-based Thesis will buy and actively manage large-scale gas, coal and biomass-fired power generation and cogeneration assets across Western Europe. Christopher Picotte is Thesis Energy’s chairman and co-founder, while Luis Pais Correia is president and co-founder. Picotte was previously an ArcLight Capital Partners MD and is current chairman of px Group Ltd. Pais Correia was at Dalkia where he held director-level management positions. Other Thesis staff will include Irene Otero-Novas, who will be a Thesis Senior VP. Otero-Nevas was most recently an MD and the Head of the EMEA electricity, gas, coal and emissions desk at Morgan Stanley.

PRESS RELEASE

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Denham Capital, a leading global energy-focused private equity firm, and Thesis Energy, a London-based independent power management company, announced today a partnership to pursue opportunities in European power generation. The new platform, called Thesis Energy, will acquire and actively manage large-scale gas, coal and biomass-fired power generation and cogeneration assets across Western Europe.
Christopher Picotte, Thesis Energy Chairman and Co-Founder, stated, “The current complexity and rapid pace of change in the power markets in Europe create challenges for all market participants but also a significant opportunity for new entrants. We believe that a combination of competitive, regulatory and political factors will drive the market to a very different configuration – both physically and with respect to asset ownership – over the next decade. We are fortunate to have secured Denham’s backing and look forward to a long and successful partnership with them.”
Luis Pais Correia, President and Co-Founder, added, “We do not subscribe to the view that a viable future European market model will be devoid of all large-scale conventional generation. And, looking at the current market simply as an opportune time to deploy capital because utilities are selling assets is not sufficient. Denham contributes substantial capital resources and also a sophisticated understanding of the markets and experience in asset ownership.”
Picotte was a managing director at ArcLight Capital Partners from its formation in 2001 until 2013 and is currently the Chairman of px Group Ltd. Pais Correia previously held a variety of director-level management positions at Dalkia for more than 15 years and served as the Chief Executive Officer of several Dalkia subsidiaries. In the near future, the Partners at Thesis Energy will include Senior Vice Presidents Irene Otero-Novas, most recently a Managing Director and the Head of the EMEA electricity, gas, coal and emissions desk at Morgan Stanley, and Guido Fiebes, formerly the Director of Strategy and Business Development at a utility in the Benelux region.
Justin DeAngelis, a Director at Denham Capital, said, “Consistent with Denham’s strategy of backing the best management teams, the four Thesis Energy partners possess the senior level corporate and asset management, commodities and principal investment experience required to succeed during a transformational period in the European energy market. This team is

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River Hollow Partners invests in Kriser’s Natural Pet


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Pet retailer Kriser’s Natural Pet has secured an undisclosed amount of funding. River Hollow Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included Quadrant Capital Advisors and Alliance Consumer Growth. Meadow Lane Capital LLC provided financial advice to Kriser’s on the transaction. Also, Kriser’s has named Amy Wolf, a partner at River Hollow Partners, to its board of directors.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, NY, March 18, 2015 – River Hollow Partners announced today that it completed a growth capital investment in Kriser’s Natural Pet.

Named Best Overall Pet Retailer by Pet Product News International and at the Global Pet Expo, Kriser’s is a fast-growing pet retailer specializing in natural pet food, treats, supplies and grooming services. Kriser’s currently operates 26 stores in Chicagoland, Southern California, Houston and Denver, with plans for several new store openings in the years to come.

River Hollow Partners led this latest round, which also included investments from entities advised by Quadrant Capital Advisors and existing Kriser’s shareholder Alliance Consumer Growth. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006 and often referred to as “Whole Foods for pets,” Kriser’s is at the forefront of the flourishing $58 billion pet industry. Kriser’s stores are a one-stop shop for a pet’s natural lifestyle, and the company’s success to date is based on a model of consumer and employee education while providing an unparalleled shopping experience in a clean and inviting space. In addition to its well-curated selection of natural food and treats, Kriser’s also offers grooming services and a wide array of toys and supplies.

The company’s unwavering mission to help pets live happier, healthier lives, naturally, has led to both national and regional accolades, including being named America’s Best Pet Retailer for the past three years.

“Kriser’s visionary founders, expert store staff, customer loyalty, and fast growing market segment collectively position them for tremendous success,” says Amy Wolf, partner at River Hollow Partners. “We’re thrilledto be part of Kriser’s very bright future.” Ms. Wolf will be joining the Board of Directors.

“We are extremely proud and excited to add another outstanding partner and investor to our Kriser’s family,” says Brad Kriser, founder and CEO of Kriser’s Natural Pet. “River Hollow joins our existing equity partner Alliance Consumer Growth, in the midst of a great run of extraordinary comp store and overall revenue growth for Kriser’s. River Hollow’s retail operations expertise will further enhance Kriser’s ability to earn a leadership role in the fast-growing natural pet retail category. We’re excited for this partnership.”

“We have been tremendously impressed with the Kriser’s team,” says Christopher Spahr of Meadow Lane Capital, “and we are excited to see River Hollow Partners, with its unique operating experience and long term perspective, join ACG as a value added partner to the company.”

Meadow Lane Capital LLC served as financial advisor to Kriser’s, and Loeb & Loeb LLP acted as legal advisor to River Hollow Partners.

ABOUT RIVER HOLLOW PARTNERS
River Hollow Partners is a family office

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Freeport taps Goldman, Barclays to help find partners, say sources-Reuters


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(Reuters) – Natural resources conglomerate Freeport-McMoRan Inc has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Barclays Plc to help find private equity firms that will finance some of its projects, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move comes two years after Freeport acquired Plains Exploration & Production Co and McMoRan Exploration Co for $19 billion, including debt, in a bid to diversify into the U.S. energy industry as the copper sector’s prospects waned.

With crude oil prices down from $100 per barrel to a six-year low of $44 per barrel, that strategy has backfired. Not only is less cash generated from the oil and gas assets to fund Freeport’s mining projects, but the company now has to find ways to finance the development of assets it acquired.

Faced with a 20 percent drop in copper prices in addition to the 50 percent decline in oil prices, Freeport said in January it was looking for partners to help provide funding for its capital expenditure in the Gulf of Mexico.

Freeport is now speaking to the world’s largest private equity firms, including Blackstone Group LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC, about such partnerships, the people said this week.

The exact amount of capital Freeport is seeking could not be learned, but the sources said it would be several billion dollars.

The discussions are in a very early stage, said the people, who asked not to be named because discussions are private.

Freeport did not return calls seeking comment. Goldman Sachs and Barclays declined to comment. Representatives for Warburg Pincus and Blackstone declined comment. An Apollo representative had no immediate comment.

As part of the 2013 deals, Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport took on mountains of debt. It now has $18.4 billion in long-term debt and a market capitalization of around $19 billion.

To cut its debt pile, Freeport has also considered asset sales. It explored shedding some $5 billion worth of assets in California last year, but the sale stalled as oil prices dropped, people familiar with that deal have said.

Private equity firms view the capital expenditures of energy companies as an attractive investment opportunity. In January, for example, GSO Capital Partners LP, Blackstone’s credit investment arm, committed up to $500 million for five years to fund the drilling program of oil and natural gas exploration company LINN Energy LLC.

Freeport taps Goldman, Barclays to help find partners — Reuters


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(Reuters) – Natural resources conglomerate Freeport-McMoRan Inc has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Barclays Plc to help find private equity firms that will finance some of its projects, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move comes two years after Freeport acquired Plains Exploration & Production Co and McMoRan Exploration Co for $19 billion, including debt, in a bid to diversify into the U.S. energy industry as the copper sector’s prospects waned.

With crude oil prices down from $100 per barrel to a six-year low of $44 per barrel, that strategy has backfired. Not only is less cash generated from the oil and gas assets to fund Freeport’s mining projects, but the company now has to find ways to finance the development of assets it acquired.

Faced with a 20 percent drop in copper prices in addition to the 50 percent decline in oil prices, Freeport said in January it was looking for partners to help provide funding for its capital expenditure in the Gulf of Mexico.

Freeport is now speaking to the world’s largest private equity firms, including Blackstone Group LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC, about such partnerships, the people said this week.

The exact amount of capital Freeport is seeking could not be learned, but the sources said it would be several billion dollars.

The discussions are in a very early stage, said the people, who asked not to be named because discussions are private.

Freeport did not return calls seeking comment. Goldman Sachs and Barclays declined to comment. Representatives for Warburg Pincus and Blackstone declined comment. An Apollo representative had no immediate comment.

As part of the 2013 deals, Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport took on mountains of debt. It now has $18.4 billion in long-term debt and a market capitalization of around $19 billion.

To cut its debt pile, Freeport has also considered asset sales. It explored shedding some $5 billion worth of assets in California last year, but the sale stalled as oil prices dropped, people familiar with that deal have said.

Private equity firms view the capital expenditures of energy companies as an attractive investment opportunity. In January, for example, GSO Capital Partners LP, Blackstone’s credit investment arm, committed up to $500 million for five years to fund the drilling program of oil and natural gas exploration company LINN Energy LLC.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

 

Univita Health secures $40 mln loan


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Univita Health said Tuesday it secured a $40 million credit facility from Genstar Capital and a private lender. Miramar, Fla.-based Univita provides post-acute and home healthcare solutions. GLC Advisors & Co. acted as financial advisor to Univita.

PRESS RELEASE

MIRAMAR, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Univita Health, the nationwide leader in post-acute and home healthcare solutions, has secured a credit facility of $40M from Genstar Capital and a private lender. The credit facility will be used to fund Univita’s future growth supporting the expansion of the company’s health plan partners.

In 2014, Univita added 1 million Medicaid members in Florida. Univita manages care for more than 5 million health plan members and provided over 3.2 million home health, durable medical equipment and infusion pharmacy visits in 2014.
“We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Genstar Capital,” said Michael Muchnicki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Univita Health. “Univita is the leader in homecare innovation. We look forward to growing and expanding with proven solutions that are changing the way patients recover and heal in the comfort of their homes.”
“Genstar is committed to advancing Univita’s mission of transforming the healthcare experience in the home with trusted and caring solutions,” said Robert J. Weltman, Managing Director of Genstar Capital. “Today’s announcement reaffirms our commitment to Univita and paves the way for a successful continued partnership with the Univita team.”
Univita specializes in the management and utilization of complex, home health services, DME and infusion pharmacy services, primarily in the government sector. Univita is contracted with more than 20 Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans.
The home health industry is an $81.6 billion industry, with expected growth as the overall healthcare industry moves toward cost reductions in the acute setting and increased focus on less expensive care in the home.
Health expenditures are projected to grow 6.0 percent per year through 2023, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The growth is largely driven by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, faster projected economic growth and the aging of the population. Medicare spending alone is expected to rebound by 7.3 percent per year due to increased enrollment by baby boomers.
Univita’s unique business model and strategic positioning in the key Medicare markets of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are well attuned to meeting the projected growth trajectory of government health programs.
GLC Advisors & Co. acted as financial advisor to Univita and Latham & Watkins provided legal counsel.
About Univita Health
Univita is the nationwide leader in home healthcare solutions. We work collaboratively with health plans, health systems and physicians to improve quality and reduce hospital readmissions, while focusing on the health and well-being of patients in their homes. Our innovative home care model delivers evidence based, high quality care for individuals, including Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plan members. We offer a comprehensive home health program, which includes nursing and therapy services, durable medical equipment, infusion pharmacy services and our innovative Re-admission Reduction Solution.

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Uxin raises $170 mln from Baidu, KKR and Coatue


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Uxin said Wednesday it raised a $170 million round of funding from Baidu, KKR and Coatue. Uxin, of Beijing, is a used car auction company.

PRESS RELEASE

BEIJING–(BUSINESS WIRE)–China’s largest online used car auction company announced today that it has raised US$170 million from China’s leading search engine, Baidu, global investment firm KKR, and investment management firm Coatue in its latest round of funding.
This funding round, which closed on March 15, will be used to expand Uxin’s platform into the B2C used car market. Earlier this week, Uxin announced its launch of Uxin Used Car, a B2C platform that will connect auto retailers and used car buyers across China, at www.xin.com. Uxin also announced the launch of a Beta version of its mobile application for the service.
Founded in 2011, the company employs over 1,000 specialists in 50 Chinese cities, who inspect and certify the quality of used vehicles for sale on Uxin’s platforms. Uxin makes use of its proprietary “CheckAuto” system and advanced vehicle identification capabilities to ensure the quality of vehicles sold through its platform. Uxin offers all buyers a full guarantee, and will refund their purchase within 15 days if they discover undisclosed issues with any vehicle bought through Uxin.
Uxin’s existing B2B platform, Uxin Pai (www.youxinpai.com), already ranks as China’s largest used car auction site, with a 47.8 percent market share in online used car transaction volume in the first half of 2014, according to iResearch. Uxin handles over 150,000 annual transactions through its online and on-site auction platforms. In 2014, Uxin also launched Uxin Finance, which provides auto financing products to customers.
Chris Dai, CEO of Uxin, said, “With the launch of www.xin.com, we’re in a position to offer used car buyers wider choice, more transparency, and greater confidence. Uxin hopes to use the strengths of its Internet technologies and experience in the used car market to improve the efficiency of transactions, and to help dealers identify potential buyers with greater accuracy. Additionally, we want to provide more detailed information on vehicles, using our self-developed proprietary CheckAuto quality verification system to boost customer trust and confidence in used car transactions. This is what we’ve been working hard to achieve.”
Kaiser Kuo, Director of International Communications at Baidu, said, “Baidu is focused on connecting people with services, and on offering an end-to-end, closed loop experience from initial query to payment and fulfillment. We want to provide people in the market for used cars with all the information they need, to connect them with the best, most reliable sellers, and to make their transaction as efficient and transparent as possible. With Uxin, we have the opportunity to work closely with the leader in this important, fast-growing space. Together we can meaningfully improve the whole experience of buying a used car in China.”
Julian Wolhardt, Member of KKR, said, “China’s online used car market is set to boom in the coming years, and KKR is very positive

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Permira to exit Hugo Boss investment: Reuters


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(Reuters) – Hugo Boss (BOSSn.DE) on Monday said a 12 percent stake owned by investors, including private equity fund Permira [PERM.UL], was being sold off, a placement that would increase the luxury fashion retailer’s free float to 91 percent of its share capital.

The luxury goods company said the process to sell a stake of 8.4 million Hugo Boss shares held by investment vehicle Red & Black had already commenced.

Red & Black is majority controlled by private equity firm Permira [PERM.UL].

Earlier on Monday, a source told Reuters that Permira was selling a Hugo Boss stake worth 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) at price range of 112-118.6 euros per share.

Hugo Boss also said seven percent of the company’s shares would be owned by entities belonging to Marzotto family.

Italy’s Marzotto family has gradually bought up Hugo Boss shares, taking advantage of private equity firm Permira’s gradual exit.

Photo courtesy of Arseniy Krasnevsky/Shutterstock.com.

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Crestview Partners buys JR Automation


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Crestview Partners has acquired JR Automation from Huizenga Automation Group LLC. No financial terms were disclosed. Based in Holland, Michigan, JR Automation is a provider of automated manufacturing system solutions.

PRESS RELEASE

Holland MI – March 17, 2015 – JR Technology Group, LLC announces that funds managed by Crestview Advisors, L.L.C. (“Crestview” or “Crestview Partners”) together with members of management have completed the acquisition of JR Automation Technologies, LLC and Dane Systems, LLC (together “JR Automation” or “JR”) from the Huizenga Automation Group, LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed.

JR Automation, based in Holland, Michigan, provides customized and highly engineered automated manufacturing system solutions to world class companies on a global basis. JR Automation has a 35 year track record of strong growth and an excellent reputation for robust products and services which enables the continued success of its customers. The Huizenga Automation Group had owned JR Automation since 1995.

Bryan Jones, Co-CEO of JR Automation, said, “We owe a great debt of gratitude to JC Huizenga and the team at Huizenga Automation Group. They provided support over a 20-year partnership enabling us to successfully compete and grow on a global basis.”

Scot Lindemann, Co-CEO of JR Automation, added, “We are excited about this next step in the evolution of our company as we transition to new ownership. Our partnership with Crestview will provide additional capital and support as we accelerate our growth trajectory, while holding true to the innovation, customer focus and team values that have been our core.

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Harbour Group buys PTI


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Harbour Group has acquired Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Phillips & Temro Industries Inc, a provider of thermal management systems and controls for the transportation and heavy equipment sectors. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

ST. LOUIS, March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Phillips & Temro Industries, Inc. has become part of the Harbour Group family of companies, Jeff Fox, Harbour Group’s chairman and chief executive officer, announced today. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The business of Phillips & Temro Industries, Inc. (“PTI”) was founded in 1920 and has grown to become the market leader in thermal management systems and controls for the transportation and heavy equipment markets. The company’s primary products include immersion, circulation, and air intake heaters; engine cooling equipment; and cab heating, cooling and electrification products. PTI’s technology is widely recognized for excelling in applications such as heavy-duty trucks, construction, agriculture, automotive, oil & gas, electric and hybrid vehicles, industrial, marine and power generation. The company is based in Eden Prairie, Minn., and, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, has a total of five manufacturing facilities globally.

“PTI’s highly-engineered products and powerful brands fit extremely well with our experience in the engineered products sector,” said Mr. Fox. “We are very impressed by the team at PTI and are eager to support them with our operational resources to help achieve their many growth opportunities. As we have done for nearly 40 years, we intend to invest heavily in new product development, customer service initiatives, and complementary acquisitions.

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RWE takes minority stake in Conergy-Reuters


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(Reuters) – Germany’s second-biggest utility RWE has bought a minority stake in solar group Conergy, hoping to expand its foothold in the embattled solar industry after having missed the trend for years.

The announcement follows last year’s joint deal to lease out solar systems for a monthly fee, hoping commercial clients would install the technology on factories, warehouses and offices to lower their energy bills.

“Having worked with Conergy successfully in Europe, we are pleased to be supporting the group’s worldwide expansion,” Andree Stracke, board member of RWE Supply & Trading, the utility’s trading arm, said in a statement.

No details on the size of the stake were disclosed but Conergy said RWE had made the single biggest investment in a $45 million funding round.
RWE is desperately looking for new ways to grow, after ultra-low wholesale power prices and a boom in renewable energy capacity has transformed the European energy sector and sent profits at the large established utilities into a tailspin.

Majority-owned by Miami-based asset manager Kawa Capital Management, Conergy made nearly $500 million in revenues last year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of less than $10 million.

Conergy, once Europe’s largest solar company by sales, expects revenues to grow this year to $700 million.

“We look forward to using this capital to develop more projects with new and existing partners in the solar industry as our global pipeline approached 4 gigawatt,” Conergy’s Chief Executive Andrew de Pass said.

Apollo in the lead to buy Digital First Media, say sources-Reuters


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(Reuters) – Buyout firm Apollo Global Management LLC is in advanced talks to acquire most of the assets of Digital First Media, publisher of the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, for around $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential deal illustrates private equity’s interest in the newspaper industry. Even though newspaper readership is declining, buyout firms say they believe they can squeeze out a profit through cost cuts and new digital offerings.

Apollo has so far prevailed over rival Cerberus Capital Management LP in the auction for Digital First Media, the people said.

Digital First Media has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $125 million, the people said. Assets generating $25 million in annual EBITDA are, however, being excluded from the sale, the people added. It could not be learned what those excluded assets were.

The negotiations could still fall apart or the outcome could change, the people cautioned, asking not to be named because the matter is not public. Representatives of Digital First Media, Apollo and Cerberus declined to comment.

The newspaper business has suffered as more people choose to read news on laptops, smartphones and tablets, and as advertisers turn to digital media to reach audiences.

Media companies including Gannett Co Inc, News Corp, Time Warner Inc and Tribune Media Co have spun off print businesses in recent years to focus on faster growth assets such as broadcasting.

Digital First Media, the second-largest U.S.

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Bertram launches ecommerce investing platform, also closes buy of Sandbox and OneKreate


This post is by Iris Dorbian from PE Hub Blog: Buyout Deals


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Bertram Capital has launched a holding company that will back businesses that create and manage digital content for ecommerce applications. The platform launch coincides with the completion of two Bertram acquisitions: Sandbox Studio LLC and KSC Studio LLC (dba OneKreate). Both of these companies provide ecommerce product photography and creative content solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Bertram Capital (“Bertram”) today announced that it has formed a holding company to invest in businesses that create and manage digital content for ecommerce applications. Bertram launched this platform today with the closing of two acquisitions: Sandbox Studio, LLC (“Sandbox”) and KSC Studio, LLC d/b/a OneKreate (“OneKreate”), two of the leading providers of ecommerce product photography and creative content services.

“We have strong conviction that the demand for digital content will continue to expand as brands strive to enrich the consumer experience across ecommerce, mobile and social,” said Jared Ruger, Partner at Bertram Capital. “Sandbox and OneKreate have demonstrated their ability to reliably and consistently deliver high-quality content in significant volume to serve this demonstrated market need. I would like to thank David Burns of Cross Keys Capital for his vision and diligence in bringing together this complicated transaction.”

Headquartered in New York and San Francisco, Sandbox focuses on delivering ecommerce product photography services to fashion apparel, accessories and domestics customers. Noteworthy clients include Calvin Klein, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Hudson’s Bay Co., Michael Kors, Restoration Hardware, The North Face, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, and Vans. OneKreate is headquartered in Hollywood, FL, and delivers product photography and creative content services to the fashion, retail and home goods markets, serving major brands such as Chico’s FAS, Express, Jarden Consumer Solutions, Lane Bryant, The Limited, Newell Rubbermaid, and Petco. Continuing Bertram Capital’s approach of partnering with business owners, the founders and existing shareholders of both Sandbox and OneKreate will be retaining nearly 50% of their ownership in the overall company.

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Armory invests in Capital Guardian


This post is by Iris Dorbian from PE Hub Blog: Buyout Deals


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Armory Merchant Holdings has made an undisclosed investment in Capital Guardian Holdings. Backed by Northern Star Capital Holdings, Capital Guardian is a financial services firm.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New York-based portfolio holding company and private equity investor Armory Merchant Holdings (“Armory”) today announced a strategic partnership and investment in Capital Guardian Holdings (“Capital Guardian”).

David Storper, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Armory said, “Capital Guardian is uniquely positioned to be a leading financial services firm offering both company advisors and independent advisors full service wealth management capabilities including RIA, Asset Management, International, Family Office, Trust and Insurance Services, capabilities which have historically been the exclusive domain of the large global banks.”

Added Storper, “Armory will help accelerate Capital Guardian’s geographic growth, as well as internal expansion of its client-focused product and service offerings. My partner, Stephen Smith, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Armory and Co-Founder of Seaport Global, a broker dealer with offices throughout the United States, and the rest of the Armory investment team, has great confidence in Capital Guardian’s new senior executive leadership led by Keith Gregg, CEO, and Rich Moran, President. We see Capital Guardian as an ideal investment for Armory’s patient, interest-aligned, value-added capital strategy.”

Patrick R. LeBedis, Managing Partner and co-Founder of Northern Star said, “The team at Armory, led by David Storper and Stephen Smith, are seasoned industry veterans with long-term vision for the industries and the companies in which they invest and appreciate their confidence in Capital Guardian as demonstrated by their co-investment.” Mr. LeBedis went on to say, “The marriage of global asset management with international retail distribution services and support is a core component of our strategy for Capital Guardian, and this vision is shared by our investment partners at Armory.”

Keith Gregg, CEO of Capital Guardian added, “I am very pleased to have David, Steve and the rest of the Armory team joining us as partners and investors in the future of Capital Guardian, and in the future of our valued clients and employees. Rarely do you see such a unique opportunity and extraordinary value proposition.”

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Raytheon in talks to buy Websense Inc: Bloomberg


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(Reuters) – U.S. arms maker Raytheon Co is in talks to buy network-security company Websense Inc, owned by private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners LLC, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Vista has hired Citigroup Inc to sell Austin-based Websense for more than $1 billion, according to the report.

The company bought Websense for about $900 million in 2013.

Websense makes software that protects companies and their networks from cybercrime, malware and data theft.

Raytheon also bought privately held Blackbird Technologies, which provides cybersecurity, surveillance and secure communications to spy agencies and special operations units, for $420 million in November last year.

Spokeswoman Pam Erickson said Raytheon did not comment on rumors and speculation.

Representatives for Vista and Websense were not immediately available for a comment.

Investcorp buys U.S. residential properties for about $300 million


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DUBAI (Reuters) – Investcorp INVB.BH, the Bahrain-listed alternative investment fund, has bought a portfolio of residential properties in the United States for around $300 million, it said on Tuesday.

The deals, made through its U.S. based property arm, bring the fund’s total purchases of properties in the country in the last 12 months to over $850 million, it said in a statement.

The latest properties, which total more than 2.1 million square feet, are in Washington D.C., Orlando, San Diego and Baltimore. They include around 1,900 family and student housing units with an occupancy rate of about 96 percent, offering potential for stable cash flow, it said.

The improving U.S. economic picture will stimulate further real-estate investments by the fund, with its main target being suburban offices and multi-family residential units in the top 30 U.S. metropolitan areas, Investcorp’s chief financial officer Rishi Kapoor told Reuters last month.

As of the end of last year, Investcorp’s real estate group had around $1.

Continue reading “Investcorp buys U.S. residential properties for about $300 million”

Norwest Equity Partners invests in eyebobs


This post is by Luisa Beltran from PE Hub Blog: Buyout Deals


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Norwest Equity Partners said Tuesday it invested in eyebobs. Financial terms weren’t announced. Minneapolis-based eyebobs designs a line of reading glasses. Imperial Capital served as financial advisor to eyebobs.

PRESS RELEASE

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Norwest Equity Partners (“NEP”), a leading middle market investment firm, has announced that it has made an investment in eyebobs, the most recognizable brand in the reading glasses market. The transaction closed on March 12, 2015; financial terms were not disclosed.

eyebobs was born from Founder and President, Julie Allinson’s, own frustration that she could not find high-quality, stylish readers at an affordable price. She set out on her own to study the eyewear business in Italy and Asia which led her to start eyebobs. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Minneapolis, eyebobs designs a unique line of readers which are branded for the irreverent and slightly jaded consumer.

 

Over the years, eyebobs has successfully created a niche in the eyewear market by developing a line of distinctive, high-quality reading glasses sold at an exceptional value. eyebobs products have changed consumers’ concept of reading glasses from an unwelcome necessity to a statement-making fashion accessory. eyebobs sells to high-end retail stores as well as direct to consumers through eyebobs.com. NEP’s investment capital is a significant milestone for eyebobs and will be leveraged to fuel further growth.

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Babson Capital provides loan to back Bridgepoint’s eFront buy


This post is by Luisa Beltran from PE Hub Blog: Buyout Deals


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Babson Capital Management said Monday that it acted as lead arranger of a loan to support Bridgepoint’s buy of eFront. Babson said it co-arranged the debt financing to support the acquisition alongside a group of banks. In January, peHUB reported that Bridgepoint was buying eFront, a Paris financial software company. Reuters News then reported that banks had lined up to provide 130 million euros ($145.89 million) of loans to back the sale to Bridgepoint.

PRESS REEASE

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Babson Capital Management, a leading global asset management firm with more than $212 billion in assets under management (together with its global affiliates, “Babson”), today announced that Babson acted as a mandated lead arranger of financing to support European private equity investor Bridgepoint’s acquisition of French financial industry software provider eFront.
Babson co-arranged the debt financing in support of the acquisition alongside a group of banks. Accounts managed by Babson, one of the largest managers of leveraged loans in Europe, participated in the term debt portion of the transaction, which also included a revolving credit facility and a capex/acquisition facility.
Headquartered in France and founded in 1999, eFront provides end-to-end solutions dedicated to the financial services industry, specializing in enterprise risk management and alternative investments. Its solutions serve more than 700 customers and 100,000 users in 40 countries, including some of the largest companies in the private equity, real estate investment, banking and insurance sectors.
“Babson greatly values our longstanding relationship with Bridgepoint and we are pleased to provide support for the investment in eFront,” said David Wilmot, Managing Director at Babson. “We are excited about the strength of eFront’s business model, its unique positioning with private equity sponsors and alternative investments managers, and its ability to provide customized solutions that create a highly loyal customer base. We are confident that Bridgepoint’s financial and operational support will help the company reach its potential to deliver robust revenue and profit growth.”
About Bridgepoint
Bridgepoint is a major international private equity group focused on investing in market-leading businesses valued between €200 million and €1 billion and working with management teams to create and realize significant value. Bridgepoint assembles the best European teams with the relevant sector and transaction experience in order to identify opportunities to position portfolio companies for long-term growth. Bridgepoint’s lower middle market business, Bridgepoint Development Capital, specializes in investments in businesses valued up to a €150 million.

Continue reading “Babson Capital provides loan to back Bridgepoint’s eFront buy”