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Blackstone raises record-breaking RE fund; Goldman beefing up PE business

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of global private equity news stories and more published throughout the week.

Top news

* Blackstone Group LP plans to close its latest real estate in the first quarter at $20 billion, making Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX LP the largest property fund ever raised, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the fundraising. The firm plans to invest in select distribution centers near population centers and moderately priced rental housing, among other targets.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO David Solomon said the firm aims to boost its private equity fundraising efforts over the coming years. Speaking during an earnings call, Solomon said Goldman sees an opportunity to expand on its existing fundraising activities "given the uniqueness of [its] platforms and ... sourcing capability." While the firm will look to hire additional talent, the fundamental investing platforms are already in place and can be leveraged.

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A sign for The Blackstone Group LP investment firm stands in front of their offices.

Source: Associated Press

Taking the lion's share

* Ardian is in exclusive discussions with Revima from Argos Wityu, which bought the company in 2017. Revima provides maintenance, repair and overhaul solutions, specializing in engine parts, landing gear and auxiliary power units.

* Bain Capital Private Equity LP agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to buy a majority stake in Brillio, a global digital technology consulting company.

* API Heat Transfer Inc., which makes specialty heat exchangers and heat transfer products, was bought by an investor group led by middle-market private equity firm Littlejohn & Co. LLC and the asset management and investment advisory unit of Guggenheim Partners LLC.

* Talde Gestión SGEIC SA purchased a majority stake in electronic products and systems manufacturer P4Q Electronics.

* Mérieux Equity Partners SAS acquired a majority stake in Nutragroup. The acquisition of the food supplement company was made through Mérieux Participations 3, the firm's health and nutrition-focused fund.

On the block

* Navitas Ltd. received an increased buyout bid of A$5.825 per share from an investor consortium led by middle-market investment firm BGH Capital. The renewed offer comes after the Australia-based education services provider rejected a prior offer of A$5.50 per share.

* French caterer Elior Group SA wants potential buyers of its railway and motorway catering unit Areas to submit their offers by the end of January, a source told Reuters. Ten private equity funds, including Carlyle Group LP, KKR & Co., Lone Star Global Acquisitions Ltd. and Blackstone Group LP, are planning to submit bids, along with Italy-based catering group Autogrill SpA.

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A view of an Autogrill highway restaurant on the outskirts of Rome.

Source: Associated Press

* Ardian is planning to put Schleich GmbH up for sale, which could fetch more than €400 million, including debt, Reuters reported. Two people told the news outlet that the private equity firm, which bought the German toymaker in 2014, is working with JP Morgan on the sale process.

* Sweden-based buyout firm EQT Partners AB is considering the sale of VFS, a visa application processing company, in a deal worth CHF2 billion to CHF2.5 billion, Reuters reported. Sources said EQT hired Lazard to manage the sale. EQT may instead choose to take the company public if markets are favorable.

Done deals

* A Spanish unit of BP PLC, or British Petroleum, acquired Petrocorner Retail SL. JZ Capital Partners Ltd., which owned an 18.75% stake in Petrocorner via JZ International Ltd.-managed fund JZI Fund III LP, sold the company.

* Biocoat Inc., which makes medical devices with hydrophilic biomaterial coatings, was purchased by 1315 Capital LLC.

Fundraising efforts

* Capital available for private investments reached $2.099 trillion as of the end of June 2018, according to the latest data from Preqin Ltd., an increase from $1.779 trillion at year-end 2017. Private equity represents 62% of the total amount of dry powder.

* Lower-middle-market investor Sun Capital Partners Inc. secured about $1.87 billion for Sun Capital Partners VII LP, exceeding its target of $2.20 billion.

* London-based private equity firm Apax Partners LLP is planning to raise about $10 billion for its 10th fund, Private Equity International reported, citing a source familiar with the fundraising.

Sector intelligence

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Energy US LNG shipments to Europe spiked in November 2018 amid dispute with China

Markets US IPOs head into turbulent markets complicated by government shutdown

ESG Colo. lawmaker proposes low-cost bonds to make retiring coal plants easier

Fintech Payments would be a haven if economy turns, analysts say ahead of Q4'18 earnings

Healthcare Drug companies chase deals for cell and gene therapies, biotech's 'next wave'

Insurance Likely 2019 decline in insurance M&A volume may lag historical precedents

Technology, media and telecommunications Netflix price increase feeds pre-earnings bulls

Metals Australian potash hopefuls face 'deceptively simple' task as techniques debated

Real estate Investor 'skittishness' slowing industrial real estate deal flow

Retail, consumer products, gaming and leisure Retailers turn to new checkout tech in the age of Amazon Go