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Top 5 biggest M&A deals struck during the pandemic

Deal volumes rebounded by nearly 140% in June and July to $589.5bn, following the slump in April and and May

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The coronavirus crisis slammed the brakes on big mergers and acquisitions deals in March, with activity in the second quarter of 2020 slumping to an 11-year low of $485.3bn as company executives instead focused on stemming losses caused by the crisis.

While Microsoft’s potential TikTok takeover may be one of the most closely watched M&A transactions amid the pandemic, mega-deals have been making a comeback in recent months.

After deal volumes slumped to $248bn in April and May, according to Dealogic data, they jumped by nearly 140% in June and July to $589.5bn, even if this lags the same period last year.

These are the biggest M&A deals to come to the market during the pandemic.

 1. Petrochina’s $38.4bn oil and gas pipeline sale – July

State-owned oil and gas firm, PetroChina, announced it was selling a major part of its oil and gas pipelines – and storage facilities – to China Oil and Gas Pipeline network (also known as PipeChina) on 23 July. The deal, valued at $38.4bn, is the biggest of 2020, with Goldman Sachs and UBS the only international banks on the roster with a number of local advisors. The transaction has helped propel Chinese banks China International Corp and CITIC Securities into the top 10 M&A advisers so far this year.

2. Willis Towers Watson’s $30bn tie-up with rival Aon – March 

Just seven days before the UK went into full lockdown on 16 March, two insurance giants unveiled the biggest M&A deal of the year so far. The tie up between Willis Towers Watson and Aon had been on the cards for over a year, but the deal was formally announced on 9 March. The merger, due to complete in the first half of 2021, will create a global giant with a value of around $80bn. Advisers were Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.

3. Analog Devices’ $21bn acquisition of rival Maxim – July 

In what was seen as a sign of increasing consolidation in the US semiconductor industry, Analog Devices swooped on rival Maxim Integrated Products in July in a deal worth around $21bn in stock that will create a company with a combined market value of $68bn. JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America were named as advisers.

4. Seven & i’s $21bn purchase of Speedway – August 

Seven & i Holdings, the Japanese owner of US convenience store chain 7-Eleven, struck a $21bn all-cash deal to acquire petrol station owner Speedway, which is owned by the US’s biggest oil refiner Marathon Petroleum. The deal means that Seven & i will add around 4,000 stores across the US and Canada. The transaction was reportedly heavily contested, with Seven & i outbidding its competitors by $4bn. The companies were advised by Barclays, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Nomura and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

5. The $18.5bn merger of digital health groups Livongo and Teledoc – August 

Digital health groups Livongo and Teledoc announced plans to merge in August amid a surge in demand for their services during the pandemic. The deal, valued at $18.5bn, brings together two firms that offer high-tech solutions to healthcare problems including hypertension and diabetes. Morgan Stanley and Lazard were the banks on the deal.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/top-5-biggest-ma-deals-struck-during-the-pandemic-20200826

Private Equity

Bin ‘Dear Sirs’ in legal letters, litigation partner says

‘Dear colleagues’ or ‘Dear [Name of firm]’ are better ways of greeting other lawyers, says Hausfeld’s Craig

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A senior litigation partner has called for an end to the “outmoded” use of “Dear Sirs” as a form of address in legal letters.

Lianne Craig, head of commercial disputes at litigation firm Hausfeld, said the term “feels increasingly outmoded and incorrect,” in a post on Linkedin.

Craig said it was a “source of constant consternation that emails and letters from the other side on one of my matters are repeatedly addressed as ‘Dear Sirs’ when it is obvious that we are fielding an all-female team and that it might be polite to address us in some other (more appropriate) way”.

She said Hausfeld had decided to address opposing parties as “‘Dear [Name of firm]’” but said she had also seen “‘Dear Colleagues’ which is also Ok”.

“I’m not sure why firms that tout themselves as being progressive still use the old form: it feels increasingly outmoded and incorrect,” Craig wrote.

Hausfeld is not the first law firm to ban the phrase Dear Sirs. Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer scrapped the use of the term in 2016 – replacing it with “Dear Sir or Madam” in the UK and “Dear Ladies and Gentlemen” in the US.

Earlier this year US litigation firm Quinn Emanuel told staff they should use “Dear Colleagues” or “Dear Counsel” in correspondence with opposing parties.

Craig told Financial News, Private Equity News‘ sister publication, that Hausfeld updated its style of greeting in early 2020.

“The workforce is much more diverse than it was when ‘Dear Sirs’ developed as a customary form of address and society has moved on,” Craig wrote in an email. “We must also take into account a wider range of gender identities than male/female.

“It’s good to talk about the issue because it’s easy to allow inertia to prevent progress,” she added. “In my experience, most people do not object to updating the customary form once it’s pointed out to them that it’s no longer relevant.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/litigation-partner-calls-for-end-use-of-dear-sirs-in-legal-letters-20201127

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Private Equity

EU negotiator en route to London for Friday evening Brexit talks

The UK’s transition period is set to end on 31 December, leaving just five weeks for a deal to be agreed

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The EU’s team of negotiators tasked with finding a post-Brexit trade deal are on their way to London, ahead of another week of crunch talks with the UK.

Having been in self-isolation for two weeks in Brussels after one member of the team tested positive for coronavirus, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in a tweet that the group will be travelling to London later on 27 November for more talks.

He added that he will be briefing members of the European Parliament and representatives from member states before the expedition, giving an update that the “same significant divergences persist” between the two sides.

Sticking points in the deal talks thus far have included fishing rights, a level-playing field, governance of the agreement and the question of border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“In line with Belgian rules, my team and I are no longer in quarantine. Physical negotiations can continue,” he said.

President-elect Joe Biden waded into the debate on the Irish protocol earlier this week, telling reporters that the US does not want to see a “guarded border” between the two countries.

He said he had been speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and officials in France and elsewhere to lend support to a deal on the matter.

Johnson was also expected to have a call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen this week to give an update on the teams’ progress.

Investment bank JPMorgan raised its assessment of the talks to 80% in favour of a deal being agreed ahead of the talks on 24 November, on reports of stronger signs of the two sides reaching a consensus.

The UK’s transition period is set to end on 31 December, leaving just five weeks for a deal to be agreed.

JPMorgan analyst Malcolm Barr said that the EU and UK may now be working on flexible arrangements so that a provisional version of a deal could be in place by 1 January, with EU parliament members to vote on that agreement on 28 December.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/eu-negotiator-en-route-to-london-for-friday-evening-brexit-talks-20201127

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Private Equity

VC firms help B2B software-as-a-service specialist Paddle to $68m Series C round

Paddle, a B2B software-as-a-service platform, has closed its Series C round on $68m to continue its growth momentum.

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Paddle, a B2B software-as-a-service platform, has closed its Series C round on $68m to continue its growth momentum.

The investment was supported by FTV Capital, Kindred Capital, Notion Capital and 83 North.

Paddle offers an all-in-one revenue delivery platform that supports acquisition, renewals, and expansion of companies.

Services available include managed payments, checkout, compliance, data management and more.

Its revenue delivery platform is designed to remove friction for B2B SaaS companies, empowering them to increase their net dollar retention by responding faster to growth opportunities.

Over the past four years, the company has seen an average annual revenue growth of more than 175%. It has doubled in the last year alone, it claims.

In a blog post from Paddle CEO Christian Owens said, “We created Paddle because we’ve seen first-hand the things that limit the growth of a SaaS company often have very little to do with the quality of your product.

“Dealing with payments, managing subscriptions, localizing checkouts in multiple languages, and handling tax and compliance across dozens of markets is hugely complex and each of these challenges makes it harder for businesses to scale quickly.”

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

Source: https://www.altassets.net/private-equity-news/by-news-type/deal-news/vc-firms-help-b2b-software-as-a-service-specialist-paddle-to-68m-series-c-round.html

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