S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of global private equity news stories and more published throughout the week.
Limited partners' concerns returned to worries "directly related to private equity, as opposed to the overall environment," a sign that investor sentiment has rebounded following the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
In an interview, Kelly DePonte, managing director at placement agent Probitas Partners LP, said the top concerns that LPs raised in Probitas' annual survey of investors were "traditional fears," adding, "If we'd done the same survey at the end of April, we would have gotten a very different response because there was so much uncertainty in the marketplace."
The top concern for LPs heading into 2021 is private equity firms' ability to deploy raised capital.
Globally, 69% of the 70 institutional investors surveyed in November 2020 plan to focus their investments toward U.S. middle-market buyouts, defined as $500 million to $2.5 billion in value, followed by European middle-market buyouts — country- or region-focused — with 54% of respondents declaring interest.
Although not picked up in the survey, DePonte said university endowments have heightened concerns about liquidity.
"Those investors are under pressure," DePonte said. "You're having to do a lot of education remotely. There are a lot of students and parents who are upset that they're paying universities full tuition, and in return they're not getting the full on-campus experience. And so [university endowments] are wondering whether or not they're going to have enough money to invest in the future."
CHART OF THE WEEK: HIGHS AMONG LOWS
➤ Silver Lake Management LLC topped the list of North America's largest private equity fundraisings in 2020.
➤ The technology-focused investor's latest flagship vehicle, Silver Lake Partners VI, brought in $18.3 billion just three months after its launch, surpassing its target of $16 billion, according to Preqin data.
➤ Read more about private equity's fundraising winners in 2020 here.
FUNDRAISING AND DEALS
* KKR & Co. Inc. received a $3.5 billion sweetened buyout offer for Kokusai Electric Corp. from semiconductor-equipment maker Applied Materials Inc., up from an initial bid of $2.2 billion.
* The Blackstone Group Inc.-managed funds agreed to sell Stearns Holdings LLC to retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate Inc. in a deal expected to be completed in the first quarter.
* Carlyle Group Inc. agreed to purchase Rigaku Corp. in partnership with the Japanese analytical instrument company's resident and CEO, Hikaru Shimura. The private equity giant will pay nearly ¥100 billion for an approximate 80% stake in Rigaku, Nikkei Asia reported.
* Bridgepoint Advisers Group Ltd. and Summit Partners LP could launch first-quarter auction for capital market software company Calypso Technology Inc., which could be worth up to $2 billion, four people familiar with the situation told Barron's.
* Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC is buying British plumbing and heating product distributor Wolseley UK Ltd. from Ferguson PLC for £308 million.
ELSEWHERE IN THE INDUSTRY
* Thomas H. Lee Partners LP wrapped up the sale of a 50% interest in cold chain shipping and air cargo service provider CSafe Global LLC to fellow buyout firm Frazier Management LLC.
* Venture capital-backed digital lending startup Affirm Holdings Inc. filed for an IPO of 24.6 million class A common shares for estimated net proceeds of up to $948.4 million.
* OEP Capital Advisors LP, or One Equity Partners, sold integrated managed security and payment card industry compliance software provider NuArx Inc. to cybersecurity and compliance solutions company Sysxnet Ltd.
* Revelstoke Capital Partners LLC acquired a majority stake in Orangetheory Fitness franchisee Empire Portfolio Group Holdings.
FOCUS ON: BLANK-CHECK COMPANIES
* Star Peak Corp. II, a blank-check company backed by Magnetar Capital and Triangle Peak Partners LP affiliates, priced its IPO of 35.0 million units at $10.00 apiece, or $350.0 million in the aggregate.
* Poema Global Holdings Corp., a blank-check company sponsored by Princeville Capital, priced its IPO of 30.0 million units at $10.00 apiece, for $300.0 million in gross proceeds.
* Fifth Wall Ventures Management LLC is looking to create a property-technology-focused special purpose acquisition company that will likely list as early as the first quarter, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.