KKR raising first Asia real estate fund, targeting $1.5 billion: Reuters


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HONG KONG (Reuters) – Global investment powerhouse KKR & Co Inc is raising its first Asia-focused real estate fund, targeting $1.5 billion as it looks to deepen its real estate portfolio in the region, said people with knowledge of the matter.

The New York-headquartered private equity firm is moving toward first-close of the fund late in the second quarter, the people said, declining to be named as the information is confidential.

The firm itself will commit about $250 million in capital, and potential investors – also known as limited partners – include sovereign funds and pension funds, they said.

KKR declined to comment.

The fundraising comes as private equity firms globally have expanded from a model of buying out companies to turn around and sell for profit. They now invest through a range of alternative asset management products, including infrastructure, real estate, hedge funds and credit.

Investment firms raised

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Makeup brand Glossier valued at over $1 billion in latest funding round: Reuters


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(Reuters) – Glossier Inc, the online cosmetics company with a cult following among millennials, was valued at over $1 billion in a latest funding round led by Sequoia Capital, joining a clutch of billion-dollar makeup brands that are powered by the founders’ social-media popularity.

The series D funding round, which raised $100 million, included some existing and new investors such as Tiger Global Management and Spark Capital, Glossier said.

Glossier’s products have been worn by Beyonce, Chrissy Teigen, Miranda Kerr and other celebrities, and are known for their “millennial pink” packaging.

The company, launched by U.S. lifestyle blogger Emily Weiss in 2014, has grown to over 200 employees and last year doubled its online sales to $100 million.

Glossier was valued at $390 million after a $52 million funding round one year ago, according to PitchBook Data.
With nearly 2 million Instagram followers, the brand

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Ride-hailing firm Lyft launches IPO road show in Uber’s shadow: Reuters


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(Reuters) – Lyft Inc kicked off the investor road show for its initial public offering on Monday, targeting a valuation of up to $23 billion and seeking to woo money managers before larger ride-hailing rival Uber Technologies Inc goes public in April.

The IPOs of Lyft and Uber represent a watershed for Silicon Valley’s technology unicorns, which for years have snubbed the stock market in favor of raising capital privately, with investors happy to back their frothy valuations.

The market rally of the last few years, however, coupled with the desire of some of the startups’ insiders to cash out, is leading many technology firms, including Airbnb Inc, Slack Technologies Inc and Stripe Inc, to plan market debuts.

Both Uber and Lyft are losing money, so like several unicorns before them, they will seek to tap investor anxiety about missing out on a red-hot technology IPO. Yet despite

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Tiger Global private equity head Lee Fixel to depart, says letter: Reuters


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Lee Fixel, a partner and head of the $13 billion private equity business at Tiger Global Management LLC, plans to leave the firm on June 30, according to a letter sent to clients on Thursday seen by Reuters.

Scott Shleifer and Chase Coleman will continue as co-portfolio managers of Tiger Global’s private equity business, with Shleifer to take over as its head, according to the letter.

Fixel, who joined Tiger Global in 2006, will invest his own money and “may start an investment firm in the future,” Tiger Global wrote in the letter.

“We are grateful for Lee’s innumerable contributions,” the letter said. “Lee has been a driving force behind the expansion of Tiger Global’s private equity investing activities in the United States and India, and he has distinguished himself as a world-class investor.”

A spokeswoman for Tiger Global, which manages $26 billion overall, declined to comment. Fixel

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Rent-A-Center not bound by merger deal with Vintage Capital, says judge: Reuters


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Retailer Rent-A-Center Inc was within its rights to back out of a $1.36 billion merger deal with private equity firm Vintage Capital Management last year, a Delaware state court ruled Thursday.

Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III of the Delaware Chancery Court said that Vintage’s failure to inform Rent-A-Center that it was extending the merger deal by an agreed-upon date triggered Rent-A-Center’s right to call it off under the two parties’ contract.

Rent-A-Center is a “rent-to-own” business, allowing customers to rent furniture, electronics and other goods with the option of eventually purchasing them.

“We are pleased that the court has affirmed the validity of our termination of the merger agreement with Vintage Capital,” Rent-A-Center Chief Executive Mitch Fadel said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on executing our strategic plan to grow our business and enhance value for our stockholders.”

Rent-A-Center also maintains that Vintage

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Blackstone to buy drug maker in maiden Japan PE deal: Reuters


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Blackstone Group said on Friday it had agreed to buy Japanese drug maker Ayumi Pharmaceutical Corp, a deal one person said was worth around $1 billion.

The deal marks the first one in Japan by the U.S. private equity (PE) firm after it set up a local team in 2017 to broaden its focus beyond property transactions.

Blackstone will acquire the maker of anti-rheumatism drugs from PE firm Unison Capital and medical information site business M3, Blackstone said in a statement.

It did not provide any details on the deal value.

It will pay around $1 billion for Ayumi, including debt, a person familiar with the deal said, declining to be identified because the information has not been made public.

“We look forward to working with the company to leverage Blackstone’s global footprint and expertise in this sector to help Ayumi meet the growing need for its RA

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Payments processor Network International readies London listing: Reuters


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Network International, the largest payment processing firm across the Middle East and Africa, plans to list on the London Stock Exchange, it said on Thursday.

The Dubai-based company, jointly owned by Dubai bank Emirates NBD and private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic, said it would trade on the LSE’s main market and have a free float of at least 25 percent of its issued share capital.

The initial public offering (IPO) would be the first international IPO in London this year. The first domestic listing was that of law firm DWF Group on March 11, raising 75 million pounds ($99.6 million).

Network International’s listing would value the company at about $3 billion, banking sources said, with the company saying it would include stock to be sold by existing shareholders.

Tepid investor appetite for stock offerings against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, U.S. political tensions

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Russia, China to buy 10 percent in Onexim Group’s mining company: Reuters


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Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday it had completed a joint deal with the Russia-China Investment fund and a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund to acquire a 9.53 stake in Russian mining company Intergeo.

Intergeo, a part of Onexim Group, which manages the assets of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, is developing its Kingash deposit in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region and Ak-Sug deposit in the southern Siberian Tuva region.

RDIF said it and its partners were joining the project and that total investments aimed at developing the fields and constructing associated infrastructure would exceed 178 billion roubles ($2.72 billion).

Kingash, Russia’s second largest nickel deposit, is expected to start production in 2024, while Ak-Sug, one of Russia’s top-5 copper reserves, is expected to start in 2023, RDIF said.

RDIF said in January it was planning to set up a new company to supply base metals to China from

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Equitrans Midstream’s unit to buy gas pipeline assets for $1.03 billion: Reuters


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U.S. pipeline operator Equitrans Midstream Corp’s unit on Thursday signed a deal worth $1.03 billion to take control of two pipelines that connect the Marcellus and Utica shale basins, the nation’s biggest gas producing region.

The unit, EQM Midstream Partners LP, will buy a 60 percent stake in Eureka Midstream Holdings LLC and whole of Hornet Midstream Holdings LLC, from a fund managed by Morgan Stanley.

EQM will pay $860 million in cash and assume $170 million of debt, as part of the deal.

Gas companies have been betting heavily on pipeline infrastructure in the Utica and Marcellus shale basins, which span across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, after a resurgence in drilling activity over the last few years led to tight pipeline capacity.

Eureka Midstream is a 190-mile gathering pipeline system in Ohio and West Virginia that services both Utica and Marcellus production, while Hornet Midstream

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Uber hires more IPO underwriters as it prepares to go public: Reuters


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(Reuters) – Ride-hailing startup Uber Technologies Inc has hired a string of investment banks to its syndicate of initial public offering underwriters, as it ramps up preparations for a stock market debut, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Smaller rival Lyft Inc is racing to list in the stock market at the end of March. While Uber will not beat Lyft to an IPO, the preparations are aimed at giving it the flexibility to go public as early as the first half of 2019, the sources said.

Uber has added more than half a dozen investment banks, including Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc, Allen & Company, Deutsche Bank AG and JMP Securities, to its IPO underwriting lineup, the sources said.

These banks will support Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, which Uber hired late last year to lead

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BioNtech hires banks for IPO worth up to $800 million, say sources: Reuters


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BioNTech, Europe’s largest unlisted biotech firm by staff numbers, has hired banks to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) worth as much as $800 million as early as this year, people familiar with the plan told Reuters.

Bank of America and JP Morgan have been retained as global coordinators for the planned listing on the U.S. Nasdaq exchange some time in the fourth quarter or in early 2020, the sources said.

The transaction could value the firm at roughly $4 billion, though deal terms and timing could be subject to change, they added.

BioNtech, which has previously said it was looking at a future public listing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The two banks declined to comment.

Mainz-based BioNtech raised $270 million from investors in a January 2018 financing round, valuing the firm at $2.3 billion at the time.

It specializes in

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SoftBank’s Son finds more love for early-stage investing, new fund planned: Reuters


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SoftBank Group Corp has expanded its appetite for early-stage startups, with a venture capital unit set to launch its biggest fund for early investments as it opens new offices in Asia.

The global fund from newly rebranded Seoul-based SoftBank Ventures Asia will be worth as much as $500 million and could launch next month, its CEO JP Lee told Reuters in an interview.

By contrast, the average size of similar funds raised last year was just over $100 million, according to data provider Preqin.

SoftBank, South Korea’s National Pension Service as well as other companies and asset management firms will provide funding, Lee said, declining to provide further details on investors.

“It’s an important signal within the SoftBank Group that SoftBank thinks early-stage investments are important and will make continued efforts on them,” said Lee.
The move comes as SoftBank rapidly transforms beyond telecoms into a tech investing giant.

In

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Spain’s Enagas to partner with Blackstone, GIC for stake in TGE: Reuters


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Spain’s Enagas will pay, as part of a consortium deal, $590 million for a 10.93 percent indirect ownership interest in U.S. energy infrastructure company Tallgrass Energy (TGE), the company said in a statement on Monday.

Enagas will partner with affiliates of U.S. investment firm Blackstone and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC on the deal for a stake in Tallgrass Energy, a U.S. energy infrastructure company which owns several interstate pipelines.

Blackstone will retain a majority, GIC will retain a minority stake and Enagas will own almost 25 percent of the holding company at closing, the Spanish energy company said in the statement.

Enagas has also agreed, following the closing, to acquire an additional 3.5 percent of the holding company for approximately $83 million, subject to the completion of conditions, the company said.

Luckin Coffee chief taps banks for $200 million loan in exchange for IPO role, say sources: Reuters


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Chinese startup Luckin Coffee’s chairman is seeking a loan of at least $200 million from banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley under a deal that would award them mandates in the firm’s planned U.S. IPO, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The coffee chain, which aims to overtake Starbucks in China this year, has already mandated Credit Suisse to lead the initial public offering (IPO), which could take place as soon as May and give it a valuation of about $3 billion, sources told Reuters last month.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman are also advising Luckin on the preparatory work for the IPO.

Lu Zhengyao, also known as Charles Lu, Luckin’s non-executive chairman and angel investor, is asking to borrow the sum backed primarily by his Luckin shares, the people said.

While it is not uncommon for Chinese companies to raise loans from banks hoping for a

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U.S. fund Advent drops takeover bid for Italy’s Cerved: Reuters


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U.S. private equity fund Advent has decided for the moment not to go ahead with its takeover bid for Italian credit data provider Cerved after news of its offer was leaked to the market, Cerved said in a statement on Monday.

The leaked bid boosted Cerved’s share price, making the outcome of the bid uncertain in Advent’s view, Cerved said. After Monday’s statement, the stock tumbled 15 percent.

A source familiar with the matter has said any bid could value the Milan-based business at about 1.8 billion euros ($2.02 billion).

Last week, Cerved confirmed its board had received on Feb. 13 from Advent International Corporation a non-binding letter in relation to a possible transaction involving Cerved shares.

Advent is increasingly focusing on publicly listed companies that it deems undervalued.

Apax tests appetite for $1.6 billion sale of IT firm Engineering. say sources: Reuters


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European private equity firm Apax is sounding out prospective bidders for Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, a deal that could value the Italian IT services firm at more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion), sources told Reuters.

Apax bought about 37 percent of the firm in 2016 in tandem with investment firm NB Renaissance. The pair have since taken majority control and delisted the business from the Milan stock market.

Apax is now exploring strategic options to cash out of the company in a bid to take advantage of its strong performance, the sources said.

Rome-based Engineering – which serves various public sector institutions, banks, telecoms and utilities – is one of Italy’s biggest technology firms providing anything from big data and analytics to business process management and cloud computing.

In 2017 its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose 13.5 percent to about 123 million

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Chinese private-equity firm Boyu closes largest fund yet with $3.6 billion, say sources: Reuters


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Chinese private-equity (PE) firm Boyu Capital, known for cutting lucrative deals at home, has closed its latest U.S. dollar-denominated fund with $3.6 billion in committed capital, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The fund, Boyu’s fourth and largest to date, has received strong backing from its existing investors, including family offices, sovereign funds and pension funds, the people said, declining to be named as the information is confidential.

Reuters reported in November that the Hong Kong-based Boyu was raising a new dollar fund targeting at least $3 billion, the latest among a slew of global and regional investment firms that have raised record-sized capital for a region seeing a surge in deal-making.

Boyu’s success in this round underscores investor confidence in the firm’s ability to land lucrative deals in China’s fast-growing new-economy sectors despite a slowdown in the nation’s growth and Sino-U.S. trade tensions,

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Berry Global trumps Apollo with $4.37 billion offer for RPC: Reuters


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British packaging company RPC Group has agreed to a higher takeover offer from plastics maker Berry Global Group Inc worth 3.34 billion pounds ($4.37 billion), and has ditched a lower bid from Apollo Global Management LLC.

RPC, Europe’s biggest plastic packaging group, said on Friday it had revoked support for Apollo’s offer in favor of Berry Global and said its directors would recommend shareholders to vote in favor of the new offer.
Berry’s offer of 793 pence in cash for each RPC share is 1.4 percent higher than Apollo’s offer, and represents a premium of 3.5 percent to RPC’s closing price on Jan. 30, the last day before Berry said it was weighing a bid for RPC.

The new offer values RPC at 3.34 billion pounds.

Apollo was not immediately available to comment.

RPC shares were down more than 1.3 percent at 785.4

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Germany’s Linde agrees to sell South Korea assets to IMM for $1.2 billion, say sources: Reuters


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German industrial gases group Linde has agreed to sell its South Korean assets to local private equity firm IMM for 1.3 trillion won ($1.15 billion), two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The move is seen as part of Linde’s efforts to divest assets in South Korea and elsewhere to win antitrust clearance for its $86 billion merger with rival Praxair, which will create an industry leader.

South Korea’s competition watchdog in October said Linde and Praxair would have to sell some of their assets, raising concerns that their combination would restrict competition.

The sources said Macquarie Group Ltd, Air Liquide SA had also bid for Linde’s South Korean assets.

IMM will buy Linde’s industrial gas business in South Korea, while Linde will retain its special gas operations in the country, one of the sources said.

The person said the two firms aim to close

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SoftBank launches $5 billion fund to invest in LatAm tech firms: Reuters


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Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp said on Thursday it had launched a new $5 billion innovation fund to invest in technology companies in Latin America.

The fund will be headed by SoftBank’s Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, it said in a statement, with the Japanese tech conglomerate committing an initial $2 billion and serving as the fund’s general partner.

The launch marks a ramping up of SoftBank’s tech investing ambitions beyond its Saudi-backed $100 billion Vision Fund, which has shaken up the tech industry with splashy investments in late-stage startups like ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc and shared office space provider WeWork Cos.

The fund also gives Bolivian-born billionaire Claure greater responsibility in the group beyond his roles managing SoftBank’s existing investments and overseeing the takeover of SoftBank’s U.S. telecoms unit Sprint Corp by Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile.

“Latin America presents significant opportunities for SoftBank Group and the Vision Fund will

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