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Platinum Equity is in advanced talks to acquire Securus Technologies, a Dallas-based provider of phone services to U.S. prisoners, from ABRY Partners for nearly $1.5 billion (including debt), according to Reuters.
- Why it's the BFD: This is a heady return for ABRY, which reportedly paid just $640 million to buy Securus four years ago from Castle Harlan. And it's particularly impressive, given that ABRY's tenure included a massive hack in late 2015 that one person told the NY Post "could be the nail in the coffin" for Securus.
- Bottom line: "The deal illustrates private equity firms' strong appetite for investments in prison phone service operators because of the strong cash flow they generate from facilitating phone calls, even as they attract criticism over the rates they charge." ― Greg Roumeliotis, Reuters
• Argenx, a Dutch developer of antibody-based therapies for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases and cancer, has increased the number of shares being offered in its IPO from 3.6 million to 5 million. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ARGX, with Cowen & Co. listed as left lead underwriter. Shareholders include Forbion Capital (10.56% pre-IPO stake), Life Sciences Partners (8.52%), Federated Investors (7.36%), Shire (7.01%) and Percentive Advisors (5.59%). www.argen-x.com
• La Quinta (NYSE: LQ), an Irving, Texas-based budget hotel operator with a market cap of around $1.6 billion, said that it is exploring a sale of the company as it seeks to spin off its real estate assets. The Blackstone Group still holds nearly a 30% stake in the company, which it took public in 2014. http://cnb.cx/2pW1vAa
• Sanjay Thapar has joined Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel as a partner in the law firm's leveraged finance group. He previously was a counsel at Shearman & Sterling. www.kramerlevin.com