Coca Cola sells ZICO back to original founder

When news leaked last October that beverage giant The Coca-Cola Company was looking to discontinue its ZICO Coconut Water brand as part of a broader culling of its portfolio, private-equity investor Mark Rampolla couldn’t wait to pick up the phone.

Rampolla started Zico a decade later above the garage of his New Jersey home. At the time, the market in the U.S. hadn’t really taken hold and was populated by smaller offerings from companies such as Goya and premium waters being imported from Brazil. Five years later, Rampolla sold a minority stake in Zico to Coca-Cola for $15 million before the beverage giant acquired the rest in 2013.

Zico will be added to the portfolio of PowerPlant Ventures, an equity fund Rampolla co-founded in 2015 that has invested in companies including Beyond Meat, Apeel Sciences and Just. PowerPlant, which is only acquiring the Zico brand name from Coca-Cola, will spend the first year reviewing the business, reestablishing relationships with suppliers and building up production.

Beauparc receiving takeover offers from Blackstone

The largest waste company in Ireland, Beauparc, has attracted takeover approaches from dozens of private equity firms after its minority shareholder, Blackstone, set about putting its stake on the market late last year.

The approaches may result in an outright purchase of the owner of the Panda and Greenstar waste firms for as much as €1 billion, sources said.

This transaction follows other PE-deals in the waste management field. British water utility Pennon Group Plc sold its waste and recycling business, Viridor, to US private equity group KKR & Co. Inc. last March for €4.7 billion at a robust valuation of 18.5 times EBITDA.

The latest set of financial results for Beauparc Utilities, the main operating company, show that its pretax profit rose to €28.1 million in 2019 from €18.7 million for the previous year, as revenues soared 40 per cent to €508.4 million.

The company spent €19.1 million on acquisitions during the year and declared dividends of €60.5 million.

Warburg Pincus invest $125 Million into LendingPoint

LendingPoint, a financial technology platform, today announced a $125 million preferred equity investment from Warburg Pincus LLC, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing.

Warburg Pincus has invested over $11 billion across the full spectrum of the financial services landscape, including insurance, banking, asset management, specialty finance, payments, and transaction processing. Together with the Warburg Pincus investment, LendingPoint has raised more than $325 million of equity to date.

The Warburg Pincus investment follows an impressive 2020 for LendingPoint, who ended the year profitable, closed its 10th securitization transaction, launched its SDKn platform, enhanced its point-of-sale merchant platform, and partnered with a leading global ecommerce platform to provide small business capital to their sellers.

Petco beats IPO share price

Pet retailer Petco Health and Wellness Company Inc. said on Wednesday it sold shares in its initial public offering at $18 apiece, above its target range, to raise about $864 million.

Petco, which is owned by the CPP Investments and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, had aimed to sell 48 million shares at a target range of $14 to $17 per share.

Founded in 1965 as a mail-order veterinary supplies business, Petco first went public in 1994. In 2000, the PE firms TPG and Leonard Green & Partners acquired Petco, taking it private in a $600 million deal. Petco went public for a second time in 2002. Four years later, in 2006, TPG and Green bought Petco for a second time, again taking it private in a $1.7 billion deal. In early 2016, TPG and Green sold Petco to CVC and CPPIB for $4.6 billion.

BC Partners plans to acquire Inter Milan

Private equity firm BC Partners is in talks to buy into Italian soccer team Inter Milan, four sources familiar with the matter said, as top investor Suning looks for resources to inject into the loss-making Lega Serie A club.

A deal, which could value the former European champions at more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), would be the latest sign of interest from private equity investors in Italian soccer. A consortium including CVC Capital Partners, Advent International, and state-backed Italian fund FSI is buying a 10% stake in a media company handling Serie A’s soccer rights for 1.7 billion euros.

Like other soccer clubs around the world, Inter is facing a drop in revenues due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, as matches are played in empty stadiums and companies cut their sponsorship budgets.

Yoshiaki Murakami plans bid for Japan Asia Group Ltd

A Japanese fund backed by veteran investor Yoshiaki Murakami plans to make a $173 million bid for energy and environment firm Japan Asia Group Ltd. (JAG), topping a management buyout offer backed by The Carlyle Group.

City Index Eleventh said on Thursday it would offer 840 yen per share for JAG, a 40% premium to Carlyle’s offer of 600 yen.

JAG is the latest company to become a battleground between Murakami’s fund and a global private equity firm, following Bain Capital’s failed bid for the printing firm KOSAIDO Co Ltd in 2019.

InPost Plans IPO on Euronext

Polish parcel locker firm InPost plans an initial public offering in Amsterdam and aims to debut on Euronext as early as February, it said, as it seeks to expand abroad to capitalize on a surge in online shopping.

Reuters reported in December that private equity firm Advent International was preparing an Amsterdam IPO for InPost that would value its equity at 7-8 billion euros ($8.5-$9.85 billion)

The business, widely used in Poland by sellers on online commerce platform Allegro, with equity owners Cinven, Permira among its owners, has benefited from an online boom as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps shoppers in their homes.

New Fortress Energy acquires Hydo Energy Transition for $2.18 Billion USD

Energy infrastructure company New Fortress Energy said on Wednesday it would buy Hygo Energy Transition for $2.18 billion to expand its presence in Brazil, as South America’s largest market opens its natural gas industry to private investors.

Hygo is a 50-50% joint venture between Golar LNG and U.S. private equity firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The company transports liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has become a key player in the Brazilian industry as the local state-controlled company Petrobras sells assets to end what five years ago was a near monopoly in natural gas.

New Fortress also agreed to buy Golar LNG Partners LP for about $251 million, or $3.55 per common unit, in cash. The company has also agreed to acquire Golar LNG Partners’ general partner, with a total enterprise value of $1.9 billion.

MX raised $300 Million valuing the business at $1.9 Billion USD

Utah-based fintech startup MX said on Wednesday it raised $300 million in a funding round led by private equity firm TPG, giving it a valuation of $1.9 billion, as companies and investors seek to bet on the fast-growing e-commerce sector.

The boom in e-commerce and other contactless payment technology during the pandemic resulted in a record year for venture capital investments in U.S. fintech companies with $20.6 billion invested.

Other investors in the fund-raising round include CapitalG, Geodesic Capital, Greycroft, Canapi Ventures, and Digital Garage.

The EU Clears acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange

The European Commission said on Wednesday it approved the $27bn (£22bn) acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

The all-share deal will see the stock exchange group acquire Refinitiv from private equity giant Blackstone, which owns 55% of the company, and Thomson Reuters, which owns 45%.

The commission wanted to ensure that the markets will remain open and competitive and the acquisition will not lead to higher prices. In October last year, LSE agreed to sell Borsa Italiana to French rival Euronext, expecting the sale of the Italian stock exchange to help it overcome the EU regulatory obstacle of its Refinitiv buy.