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The 2018 D CEO Mergers-and-Acquisitions Awards Finalists

Dissecting the year's Top 15 M&A deals in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Small Deals


Healthy Natural Inc. acquired by Rosewood Private Investments

Parties involved: Healthy Natural, an Irving-based contract-manufacturing and packaging company of natural products; Rosewood Corp.’s private equity arm Rosewood Private Investments, which purchased the company from California-based Rice Bran Technologies.

Date closed: July 14, 2017

Price tag: $18.3 million

Economic impact: Increased utilization of Healthy Natural’s 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, which previously had been operating at 50 percent capacity, according to Nancy Wilson, business development officer of Allegiance Capital Corp., the Dallas-based investment bank that represented the seller.

North East Texas Pallet acquired by Pallet One

Parties involved: Clarksville, Texas-based North East Texas Pallet; Florida-based Pallet One.

Date closed: Oct. 4, 2017

Price tag: Between $10 million and $20 million

Toughest challenges: Synthetic pallets have had a higher growth rate than North East Texas’ wood products, and private equity firms and strategic companies alike are reticent to buy companies viewed as “non-proprietary price takers” regardless of industry, says Jon Mueller, managing partner of Exit Partners, which represented the seller.

Economic impact: Plans are for continued growth and significant additional manufacturing jobs for North Texas.

Midsized Deals


Center Lane Partners’ acquisition of Alternative Biomedical Solutions

Parties involved: Center Lane, a New York-based private equity firm; Carrollton-based Alternative Biomedical Solutions, a supplier of mass spectorometry, toxicology, and chemistry measurement systems.

Date closed: December 2017

Price tag: N/A

Toughest challenges: Significant headwinds in the industry due to regulatory changes were severe enough to cause several biomed competitors to shutter or file for bankruptcy protection.

Clavis Capital Partners’ acquisition of Azimuth Technology

Parties involved: Clavis Capital Partners, a Dallas private equity firm; Azimuth Technology of Naples, Florida, which makes components for manufacturers and aftermarket distributors in the firearm and defense industries.

Date closed: Aug. 15, 2017

Price tag: Between $50 million and $100 million

Toughest challenges: Finding capital partners that were comfortable lending to or investing in a company in the firearms business, according to Preston Roush, vice president of Texas Capital Bank.

Large Deals


Providence Strategic Growth sells majority stake in Blue Star Sports to Genstar Capital

Parties involved: Frisco-based Blue Star Sports, a provider of sports management software and payment solutions; Providence Strategic Growth, an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, based in Providence, Rhode Island; Genstar Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

Date closed: April 10, 2017

Price tag: $250 million (reported)

Economic impact: Blue Star Sports has acquired 20 companies since April 2016 and continues to grow, with 600 employees as of September 2017. It plans to add as many as 150 jobs in Frisco, says James Griffin, partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Sentinel Capital Partners acquires majority stake in MB2 Dental Solutions

Parties involved: MB2, a dental management network based in Carrollton; Sentinel Capital, a
New York-based private equity firm.

Date closed: October 2017

Price tag: N/A

Toughest challenges: Following a “highly competitive” bid process, Sentinel effected a pre-closing reorganization of MB2’s ownership structure and non-clinical operating assets of MB2 and its 85 affiliated dental practices, says Jon Henderson, a managing partner with Polsinelli PC.

Solera Holdings Inc. acquires Autodata

Parties involved: Westlake-based Solera Holdings, which provides risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace; U.K.-based Autodata, which publishes and provides information on the automotive aftermarket.

Date closed: Jan. 26, 2017

Price tag: 340 million British pounds (approximately $400 million)

Toughest challenges: A U.K. government review was initiated post-sale, resulting in Solera Holdings agreeing to sell its vehicle repair and maintenance information platforms in September 2017 to satisfy concerns of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority.

Economic impact: Key hires are expected to relocate to North Texas.

Billion-Dollar Deals


Double Eagle Energy Permian properties’ sale to Parsley Energy

Parties involved: Fort Worth’s Double Eagle Energy, one of the largest acquirers of acreage in West Texas’ Permian Basin; Austin’s Parsley Energy, which also is focused on the Permian.

Date closed: April 2017

Price tag: $2.8 billion

Economic impact: Since the sale, Double Eagle’s principals have raised new capital and are continuing to acquire oil and gas acreage in the Permian.

SoftBank Group Corp.’s acquisition of Fortress Investment Group LLC

Parties involved: SoftBank Group Corp., a Tokyo-based conglomerate; Fortress Investment Group LLC, a New York-based asset manager with $70 billion under management that was publicly owned before the sale.

Date closed: Dec. 27, 2017

Price tag: $3.3 billion

Toughest challenges: Negotiating how the Fortress founders’ agreements should be restructured to allow for post-closing operation and governance of the firm and negotiating with individual principals as well as with a board committee, according to Ryan Gorsche, counsel for Dallas-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, which advised SoftBank and played a lead role in the deal.

Public Deals


D.R. Horton’s acquisition of Forestar Group

Parties involved: Arlington-based D.R. Horton, one of the largest homebuilders in the United States; Austin-based Forestar Group, a land developer.

Date closed: Oct. 5, 2017

Price tag: $560 million

Toughest challenges: D.R. Horton engaged in a bidding war with Starwood Capital Group and needed to convince Forestar shareholders that its offer of cash and stock for 75 percent of Forestar’s outstanding shares was superior to Starwood’s simple 100 percent cash offer.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. acquires CH2M

Parties involved: Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., which provides technical, professional, and construction services; Colorado-based CH2M, an engineering firm that largely serves government clients.

Date closed: Dec. 18, 2017

Price tag: $3.27 billion

Economic impact: The acquisition will combine the two companies’ headquarters in Dallas.

Management Buyout


Mohr Partners Inc. Management Buyout

Parties involved: Dallas-based Mohr Partners Inc., a commercial real estate advisory firm; Robert Shibuya, the firm’s president, who led the buyout.

Date closed: April 2017

Price tag: N/A

Economic impact: Mohr Partners’ workforce grew by 17 percent in 2017. Robert Shibuya says the firm has become more diverse, with women in 40 percent of its executive leadership positions; plus, half of its top-level management is ethnically diverse.

Strategic Acquisition/Merger


Invitation Homes merges with Starwood Waypoint Homes

Parties involved:
Dallas-based Invitation Homes and Scottsdale, Arizona-based Starwood Waypoint Homes, both in the single-family-homes-for-rent business. The combined company owns 82,000 homes in 17 markets.

Date closed:
November 2017

Price tag:
Each Starwood share was converted to approximately 1.6 shares of Invitation stock.

Local impact:
The merger put Invitation in the market in Dallas—where it’s based but had not owned properties—with 2,257 rental homes. The company spends an average of $22,000 per home in renovations and maintenance, according to Mark Solis, Invitation’s executive vice president and chief legal officer.

ORIX USA acquires Lancaster Pollard

Parties involved: ORIX USA, a Dallas-based financial services group; Columbus-based Lancaster Pollard, a senior-housing and healthcare lender

Date closed: Sept. 12, 2017

Price tag: $300 million (reported)

Toughest challenges: Lancaster Pollard was initially offered as part of a competitive auction. ORIX USA preempted that process by entering negotiations on the side and putting in an initial offer that was sufficiently attractive to earn the company a period of exclusivity, according to James Griffin, a partner with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Williamson-Dickie Sale to VF Corp.

Parties involved: Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co., a venerable Fort Worth family-owned business that makes work clothes; North Carolina-based VF Corp., which owns brands such as The North Face, Wrangler, and Vans.

Date closed: Aug. 14, 2017

Price tag: N/A

Local impact: Haynes and Boone LLP, which served as counsel to Williamson-Dickie, says, “Williamson-Dickie has been a Fort Worth-based company for 95 years. The VF acquisition ensures the brand continues on as a Fort Worth-based company for years to come.”

Dallas Dealmakers of the Year


Transactions handled by our finalists in the 2018 M&A Awards involved fields ranging from business processing to energy and plastics.

Attorney Dealmaker of the Year

Stephanie Grossman

Vice president and corporate counsel, Conduent (now senior director at Ryan)

Top Deals: Spearheaded divestiture of four lines of business in three countries for Conduent, a business process services company based in New Jersey.

David Monk

Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, RealPage Inc.

Top Deals: Led four acquisitions and a $345 million senior note offering for Richardson-based RealPage, which provides software and data analytics for the real estate industry.

Mark Solomon

Managing partner Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP (now managing partner Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP)

Top Deals: Transactions for Dallas-based private equity firm Highlander Partners and Borden Dairy Co.

Jonathan Whalen

Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Top Deals: D.R. Horton’s acquisition of Forestar Group; American Midstream Partners sale of Irving-based Pinnacle Propane to SHV Energy; Dallas-based Celanese Corp.’s acquisition of Omni Plastics.

Investment Banking Dealmaker of the Year

Oliver Cone

Senior vice president, Bulkley Capital

Top Deal: Continental Batteries’ acquisition by Inline Equity Partners.

Bobby Renkes

Managing director, Pinecrest Capital

Top Deals: Five M&A transactions with an aggregate value of more than $200 million.

Mike Stengle

Managing director, Exit Partners

Top Deals: North East Texas Pallet’s acquisition by Pallet One.

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