Catch up quick with the week’s news on funds, acquisitions, deals and other developments across the industry.
- Catalyst Capital Advisors and systematic investment manager Aspect Capital launched the Catalyst/Aspect Enhanced Multi-Asset Fund (CASIX), which deploys a multi-strategy approach designed to capitalize on investment in non-correlated asset classes. CASIX combines a long-only traditional 60/40 portfolio that provides strategic exposure to liquid U.S. equity and fixed-income securities through investments in S&P 500 futures and U.S. bond ETFs with a multi asset-based trend-following approach that potentially offers additional value to clients. The fund will trade under the tickers CASAX, CASCX, and CASIX.
- Sweetwater Investment Management announced the close of Sweetwater Private Equity III with $505 million in total commitments. The 2021 vintage fund had its final close in 2023, raising a record amount for the secondaries-focused firm.
- Toronto-based ArcTern Ventures (ArcTern) closed its Fund III with $335 million in commitments. The oversubscribed offering not only surpassed its $300 million target but more than doubled the size of the previous fund, thanks to institutional investors including flagship limited partners such as Allianz, TD Bank Group, Church Pension Group and Credit Suisse Asset Management. ArcTern invests in early growth-stage companies that have the greatest potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions over the lifespan of the fund, with a primary focus on the European and North American markets.
- Cordillera Investment Partners closed its Whiskey Opportunities Fund with $62 million in commitments from institutional investors including endowments and foundations, family offices and registered investment advisors. Cordillera focuses on niche, non-correlated assets, and this is the firm’s first fund focused exclusively on the buying and aging of whiskey barrels. The fund will target U.S. as well as non-U.S. whiskey assets.
- Digital platform Vinovest expanded its focus beyond fine wine investment with the launch of the Vinovest Capital Whiskey Fund, a $30 million five-year closed-end vehicle. The fund will focus on U.S. whiskies including Bourbon, Tennessee and American Single Malt, offering international diversification through Scotch.
- Vista Equity Partners completed its previously announced acquisition of EngageSmart, a Boston-based provider of customer engagement software and integrated payments solutions, for about $4 billion. EngageSmart shareholders approved the transaction on Tuesday, and the company’s common stock is no longer listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Carlyle acquired a $415 million private student loan portfolio from Monogram, an end-to-end provider of finance solutions for students and their families. Carlyle also made an undisclosed strategic investment into Boston-based Monogram, which will partner with Carlyle to originate, acquire and manage third-party private student loan assets. Monogram, led by the former management team of Cognition Financial, has more than $7 billion in private student loans under management.
- Private market investing platform Yieldstreet completed the acquisition of Cadre, an online investment platform focused on real estate serves institutional and high net worth investors. Cadre investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- BlackRock made a $500 million preferred equity investment commitment, convertible into common equity, to Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy, a global developer and owner of solar and energy storage assets. The investment, coming from a fund managed by BlackRock’s Climate Infrastructure business, is convertible into common equity and would represent 20% of the outstanding fully diluted shares of Recurrent Energy. Canadian Solar will retain majority ownership of Recurrent Energy.
- Koch Industries’ main investment and acquisition arm, Koch Equity Development (KED), made a $400 million strategic equity investment in CPM Holdings, a Minnesota-based supplier of engineered process equipment for diversified markets. Affiliates of private equity firm American Securities, the current controlling shareholder of CPM, will retain a majority of the company alongside KED and the company’s management team.
- Blackstone made a strategic minority growth investment in Salas O’Brien, an employee-owned engineering and technical services firm catering to the architectural, engineering and construction markets based in Irvine, Calif. Salas O’Brien’s team members will retain majority ownership as they work in partnership with Blackstone to scale the company. Terms were not disclosed.
- TPG’s middle market and growth equity platform, TPG Growth, made a significant strategic investment in Compass Surgical Partners, an independent full-service ambulatory surgery center (ASC) development and management partner based in Raleigh, N.C. TPG will work with existing investor Health Velocity Capital to help Compass grow and scale its capacity to meet its health system partners’ growing demand for ASC joint ventures. Terms were not disclosed.
- TPG’s U.S. and European private equity platform, TPG Capital, is investing an undisclosed amount in G&A Partners alongside the company’s management team and employees. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, G&A a human resources and technology services platform serving more than 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the U.S. TPG’s experience investing in technology-enabled services companies will help G&A expand its capabilities and service offerings.
- Capricorn Investment Group’s Sustainable Investors Fund made a strategic minority investment in SER Capital Partners, which invests in middle-market North American businesses and has closed on more than $500 million of capital commitments and invested in six portfolio companies in sectors including battery storage, distributed renewables and environmental remediation.
- Stellus Capital Management affiliates backed Interlock Equity’s investment in evolv Consulting via a senior debt financing and an equity co-investment. Interlock invests in lower-middle market people-based businesses; Dallas-based evolv is a data-driven digital consulting firm offering services including business strategy and digital transformation to enterprise customers in industries including financial services, manufacturing and healthcare.
- Warburg Pincus and minority investor TA Associates agreed to sell Procare Solutions to industrial technology company Roper Technologies for a total enterprise value of $1.86 billion. Denver-based Procare is a provider of integrated management software and payments processing for childcare centers. Warburg Pincus and TA Associates invested in Procare in 2018 and 2015, respectively. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.
- BluWave’s latest Private Equity Insights Report found dealmakers are gaining confidence in an improving economic environment. BluWave data showed that in the second quarter of 2023, private equity firms increased their year-over-year portfolio company project activity related to sales and marketing by about 20%, compared with 10% in technology and 8% in human capital. In the fourth quarter of 2023, private equity firms advanced diligence projects at a 38% greater rate than in the same period of 2022, and increased the amounts spent on due diligence projects by more than 25% during this same time.
- SMA Technologies’ first-ever State of Automation in Financial Services Report found that 92% of financial executives and decision-makers expect to spend the same or more on automation this year as in 2023, while 61% are planning to grow their spending on automation over the next 12 months than they did last year.
- Insurance asset management firm Conning’s third annual survey of insurers found 51% of U.S. insurers expect their portfolios to consist of at least 20% in private assets in two years. The survey was completed by 300 investment decision makers at U.S. insurance companies, of whom 61% said they expect to grow their private equity exposure, while 52% expect to increase their real assets exposure and 48% expect to boost their infrastructure exposure.
- Reorg released its 2023 European Direct Lender league tables data, which showed that unitranche deals dominated the market, accounting for 71.1% of the deals. Ares Management led the tally with a total of 42 deals, followed by Eurazio with 36, Barings Privat Debt with 30 and Tikehau Capital with 25.
- S&P Global Ratings introduced new proprietary secondary markets research based on analyses of S&P Global Market Intelligence Loan Pricing Data and Loan Reference Data. Among other findings, the inaugural edition showed that the average bid on loans is currently at a nearly two-year high, and levels of distressed loans have recovered from 2023 highs, continuing to show improvement through mid-January.
- Ares Management launched Automated Industrial Robotics (AIR), a newly formed company targeting the global demand for manufacturing automation solutions. AIR’s goal is to acquire and grow industrial automation companies with strong operational histories and experienced management teams serving diverse segments. An Ares private equity fund invested an undisclosed amount of equity capital to support AIR’s acquisition and organic growth strategy.
- The $4.5 billion global real estate investment firm GTIS Partners and commercial real estate investment and development company Clyde Capital announced partnered to develop a $250 million mixed-use, master-planned community in Surprise, Az. The project will be built on 90 acres of land acquired by GTIS and Clyde in the Phoenix metropolitan area and will include a build-to-rent community, retail space and a medical facility.
- Blue Owl Capital Corporation III, a business development company specializing in lending to U.S. upper middle-market companies, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “OBDE.” The company is externally managed by Blue Owl Diversified Credit Advisors, an indirect affiliate of Blue Owl Capital.
- Nuveen Churchill Direct Lending began trading on the NYSE under the symbol “NCDL.” NCDL is a business development company externally managed by its investment adviser, Churchill DLC Advisor, and by its sub-adviser, Churchill Asset Management.