The BFD: It's Not Easy
Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is exploring a sale to private equity, according to the WSJ. This comes after U.S. regulators effectively blocked theoffice retailer from acquiring rival Office Depot.
- Why it's the BFD: For all of its problems, Staples remains a $6 billion company and the go-to physical source for office supplies.
- Skeptical: This is hardly the first time that Staples has been talked about as a private equity target. In fact, yours truly first reported on such informal conversations back in 2012. But many of the reasons why that process was never consummated have only been exacerbated over time, including competition from Amazon and declining revenue. Plus, private equity isn't exactly known to be clamoring right now for big box retailers. In other words, this reads a bit like Staples (now under a new CEO) seeking a buyer via the press. On the other hand, perhaps Mitt Romney is super bored and wants to relive some past glories...
- Bottom line: "After the [Office Depot] deal collapsed, Staples said it would cut costs and redouble efforts to win more business from midsize companies. But the turnaround strategy, dubbed Staples 20/20, hasn't yielded significant gains yet." ― WSJ
Private Equity Deals
• Audax has acquired Fastener Distribution Holdings, a Marina del Rey, Calif.-based distributor of aerospace fasteners and other c-class components, from Housatonic Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.aircraftfast.com
• Concardis, a German payment processor owned by Advent International and Bain Capital, has acquired RatePay from Otto Group for an undisclosed amount. RatePay is a German provide of invoice payment and direct debit processing solutions. http://on.wsj.com/2naAvjW
• Greenbriar Equity Group has acquired Whitcraft, an Eastford, Conn.-based aerospace component manufacturer, from Linsalata Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.whitcraftgroup.com
• Impact Group, a Boise, Idaho-based sales and marketing agency focused on the consumer packaged goods market, has acquired Westmont, Ill.-based Signature Specialty Sales & Marketing for an undisclosed amount. Impact Group is a portfolio company of CI Capital Partners.
• Kar Nut Products Co., a Madison Heights, Mich.-based maker of branded trail mix, has secured an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Palladium Equity Partners. www.karsnuts.com
• New Water Capital Partners has acquired Custom Made Meals, a Denver-based maker of oven-ready entrees and appetizers sold in retail groceries. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2namGBW
• OMERS Private Equity has agreed to acquire Inmar, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based provider of commerce software for the promotional, healthcare and supply chain markets, from ABRY Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2oBiknP
• Public Pension Capital has acquired Viteos Fund Services, a Somerset, N.J.-based provider of processing and post-trade operations for the investment management industry. FiveW Capital participated as an equity co-investor, and Monroe Capital arranged $50 million in leveraged financing. Sellers include Credit Suisse. http://bit.ly/2nWX6Oa
• The Wicks Group of Cos has acquired EZShield, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of identity protection solutions, from EdgeStone Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ezshield.com
• The Blackstone Group has hired UBS, J.P. Morgan and Jones Lang LaSalle to find a buyer for a A$3.5 billion shopping mall portfolio in Australia, according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2o2OcjR
• Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has entered into a commercial deal with hydrogen fuel cell maker Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG), which could result in the e-commerce giant acquiring up to a 23% equity stake. As part of the arrangement, Amazon must spent at least $600 million over the life of the contract for the warrants to fully vest. http://reut.rs/2nJAD6r
• ChemChina received EU antitrust approval for its proposed $43 billion takeover of Swiss pesticide and seed company Syngenta (Swiss: SYN). http://reut.rs/2o928cr
• ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) said that it is in talks to acquire Jurong Aromatics Corp., a bankrupt refining-petrochemical facility in Singapore. http://reut.rs/2o2oGeH
• JAB Holdings, owner of Caribou Coffee and Peet's Coffee & Tea, has agreed to acquire Panera Bread Co. (Nasdaq: PNRA) for around $7.5 billion, including debt. The $315 per share deal represents a 20.3% premium to Panera's closing price before initial media reports of a potential deal. http://reut.rs/2nW2q4d
• New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) is in talks to merge with South Jersey Industries (NYSE: SJI), according to the WSJ. The New Jersey natural utilities have market cap of $3.4 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively. http://on.wsj.com/2nG2OTt
• Karl Eidem has joined European mid-market private equity firm Silverfleet Capital to co-lead its Nordic business. He previously was a director with Swedish pension fund AP6. www.silverfleetcapital.com
• Fred Destin is stepping down as a London-based partner with Accel in order to launch his own firm. Belgium-born Destin has been with Accel for more than two years after returning to Europe from Boston's VC scene, having worked on deals like Deliveroo, Carwow and Pillpack (where he'll continue to serve on the board). http://tcrn.ch/2nX06tV
• Chris Hayes has joined The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) as a Washington, D.C.-based director of industry affairs. He previously was general counsel to the SBIA. www.ilpa.org