Coupa Software sold for $8 billion cash

Coupa Software to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $81 per share in cash

Coupa Software (COUP) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo, a leading software investment firm.

This is an all-cash transaction with an enterprise value of $8B.

Upon completion of the transaction, Coupa will become a privately held company.

The transaction includes a significant minority investment from a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Under the terms of the agreement, Coupa shareholders will receive $81.00 per share in cash, which represents a 77% premium to Coupa’s closing stock price on November 22, 2022, the last full trading day prior to media reports regarding a possible sale transaction involving the company.

The transaction consideration also represents a premium of approximately 64% to the volume weighted average closing price of Coupa stock for the 30 trading days ending on November 22, 2022.

“For more than a decade, we’ve been building an incredible Business Spend Management Community and have proudly cemented our position as the market-leading platform in our category. We’re looking forward to partnering with Thoma Bravo and accelerating our vision to digitally transform the Office of the CFO,” said Rob Bernshteyn, chairman and chief executive officer at Coupa.

“While our ownership may change, our values do not. Every one of us at Coupa will continue to put our customers at the center of everything we do and help them maximize the value of every dollar they spend.”

Approvals and Timing: The transaction, which was approved unanimously by the Coupa Board of Directors, is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Coupa shareholders and the receipt of required regulatory approvals.

The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

Upon completion of the transaction, Coupa’s common stock will no longer be listed on any public market. The company will continue to operate under the Coupa name and brand.

Coupa Software Incorporated provides cloud-based business spend management platform that connects its customers with suppliers worldwide. The company provides visibility into and control over how companies spend money, optimize supply chains, and manage liquidity.

Other names in the space include: SAP Ariba · Jaggaer · G2 Deals · Zycus Source-to-Pay · Ivalua · Tradeshift · Procurify · Bill.com.

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KnowBe4 receives buyout offer!

KnowBe4 confirms receipt of $24 per share proposal from Vista

KnowBe4 (KNBE) confirmed the receipt of a non-binding proposal from Vista Equity Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of the Company for $24 per share in cash.

KnowBe4, Inc. engages in the development, marketing, and sale of its Software-as-a-Service-based security awareness platform. The company provides a platform incorporating security awareness training and simulated phishing with analytics and reporting that helps organizations manage the ongoing problem of social engineering.

The company also offers Security Coach, a solution to address human behavior risks through human detection and response; and PasswordIQ that would be used to mitigate risk related to password hygiene issues, such as weak or breached passwords. It serves its customers directly through inside sales teams for enterprise and small and medium businesses, as well as indirectly through channel partners and managed service providers.

The proposal represents a 39% premium to KnowBe4’s closing price on September 16, 2022.

The Company’s Board of Directors regularly considers opportunities to enhance value for its stockholders.

In response to an inquiry from Vista, the Board formed a special committee of the Board, comprised solely of independent directors, to engage with Vista and take other actions that it deems appropriate, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors.

Consistent with its mandate, and in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, the Special Committee will carefully review the Vista proposal and other potential value creation opportunities to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of KnowBe4 and its stockholders.

KNBE is up 29% to $22.30.

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Investor takes position in Disney, seeks changes

Third Point lays out case for Disney to spin off ESPN

Third Point’s Dan Loeb has sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek to outline recommendations.

ESPN

Third Point said, “ESPN is a great business that currently generates significant free cash flow, enabling the Company to pay down debt and increase strategic options down the line.

In addition, we realize ESPN content is part of the bundle being offered to subscribers of other products, both in Disney’s Linear and DTC businesses.

Despite these advantages, we believe that a strong case can be made that the ESPN business should be spun off to shareholders with an appropriate debt load that will alleviate leverage at the parent Company.

The important questions to ask before commencing a spinoff are: Will both companies be better off? Will the needs of customers be better served? Can any synergies that exist between the two companies be replicated by contractual arrangements? Will the transaction contribute to creating long-term value for Disney shareholders?

While acknowledging that broader capital structure considerations may be at issue, we believe that the answer to all four of these questions is affirmative.

Employees of ESPN could be compensated in a security directly tied to their performance.

ESPN would have greater flexibility to pursue business initiatives that may be more difficult as part of Disney, such as sports betting.

Customers of ESPN and sports leagues would be better served by a focused management team driving a leadership position in sports distribution. We believe that most arrangements between the two companies can be replicated contractually, in the way eBay spun PayPal while continuing to utilize the product to process payments.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Lastly, as a result of this transaction, both companies will attract shareholders seeking the respective qualities of each company, allowing the Disney parent multiple to expand as its earnings growth rate increases and the remaining business is no longer haunted by the specter of cord cutting. While I understand you have considered this idea in the past, we urge the Company to retain advisors to reassess the desirability of the transaction in the current environment, recognizing that a key determination would be the proforma capitalizations, cashflow and credit profile of both companies.”

HULU

Third Point said, “We believe that integrating Hulu directly into the Disney+ DTC platform will provide significant cost and revenue synergies, ultimately reigniting growth in the domestic market.

Daniel Loeb, Third Point

We urge the Company to make every attempt to acquire Comcast’s remaining minority stake prior to the contractual deadline in early 2024.

We believe that it would even be prudent for Disney to pay a modest premium to accelerate the integration but are cognizant that the seller may have an unreasonable price expectation at this time while noting the seller has already made the decision to prematurely remove their own content from the platform. We know this is a priority for you and hope there is a deal to be had before Comcast is contractually obligated to do so in about 18 months.”

COST CUTTING

Third Point said, “Disney’s costs are among the highest in the industry, and we believe Disney significantly underearns relative to its potential. We urge the Company to embark on a cost cutting program that addresses both margins and the disposal of excess underperforming assets.”

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Intel to spin off MobilEye

Intel confirms intent to take Mobileye public

The company (INTC) states: “Intel announced its intention to take Mobileye public in the United States in mid-2022 via an initial public offering of newly issued Mobileye stock.

The move will unlock the value of Mobileye for Intel shareholders by creating a separate publicly traded company and will build on Mobileye’s successful track record and serve its expanded market.

Intel will remain the majority owner of Mobileye, and the two companies will continue as strategic partners, collaborating on projects as they pursue the growth of computing in the automotive sector.

The share of semiconductors is expected to be 20% of a premium vehicle’s total bill-of-materials (BOM) by 20301.

The Mobileye executive team will remain, with Prof. Amnon Shashua continuing as the company’s CEO.

Amnon Shashua

Recently acquired Moovit as well as Intel teams working on lidar and radar development and other Mobileye projects will be aligned as part of Mobileye.

In the four years since Mobileye was acquired by Intel, Mobileye has experienced substantial revenue growth, achieved numerous technical innovations and made significant investments directed to solving the most difficult scientific and technology problems to prepare the deployment of autonomous driving at scale.

A final decision on the IPO and its conditions and ultimate timing is pending and subject to market conditions. Intel, as majority shareholder, will continue to fully consolidate Mobileye. The transaction is not expected to have an impact on Intel’s 2021 financial targets.”

INTC is up $1.34 to $52.30.

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Lee Enterprises receives take over offer

Alden Global Capital offers to acquire Lee Enterprises for $24.00 per share

Alden Global Capital sent the following letter to the Board of Directors of Lee Enterprises (LEE):

“Alden Global Capital is a significant investor in American newspapers, with platforms including MediaNews Group, Inc. and Tribune Publishing Company that are committed to ensuring communities nationwide have access to robust, independently minded local journalism.

Our goal is to provide valued news and information to local subscribers nationwide, led by a talented team of seasoned newspaper executives who have worked in journalism for an average of more than 30 years.

Our newspapers include The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The Mercury News, The New York Daily News, The Orange County Register, The Boston Herald, The Baltimore Sun and other leading newspapers across the U.S.

As you are aware, an affiliated entity of ours owns approximately 6% of the issued and outstanding common stock of Lee Enterprises, Incorporated.

We believe that as a private company and part of our successful nationwide platforms, Lee would be in a stronger position to maximize its resources and realize strategic value that enhances its operations and supports its employees in their important work serving local communities.

Our interest in Lee is a reaffirmation of our substantial commitment to the newspaper industry and our desire to support local newspapers over the long term.

Accordingly, we propose to purchase Lee for $24.00 per share in cash, representing a substantial premium of approximately 30% to Lee’s closing share price of $18.49 on November 19th, 2021.

We have the ability to fully finance this all-cash proposal and the definitive merger agreement will not include a financing condition.

We have engaged an experienced team of advisors, including Moelis & Company as financial advisor as well as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP as legal counsel, and have conducted a comprehensive review of publicly available information about Lee.

Based on our review of this information and in consultation with our counsel, we do not believe any material regulatory issues would inhibit the completion of this transaction in a timely manner.

The foregoing indicative terms are based solely on our review of publicly available information, are subject to completion of our due diligence and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to us and we reserve the right to withdraw or modify our proposal in any manner.

Following the review of targeted additional information pursuant to a mutually acceptable nondisclosure agreement, we expect that we would complete our work, including negotiation of definitive documentation, in approximately four weeks.

We are keenly interested in working constructively with the Lee Board of Directors, with the goal of getting to a successful transaction with value, speed and certainty.

Scale is critical for newspapers to ensure necessary staffing and in order to thrive in this challenging environment where print advertising continues to decline and back office operations and legacy public company functions remain bloated, thus depriving newsrooms of resources that are best used serving readers with relevant, trustworthy and engaging content.

We hope that the Board will work with us to maximize value and opportunities for all Lee stockholders and employees, and we look forward to receiving a response to this non-binding proposal in an expeditious manner.”

Lee Enterprises, founded in 1890, provides local news and information, and advertising services in the United States. The company offers print and digital editions of daily, weekly, and monthly newspapers and publications; and digital services, including Web hosting and content management for other content producers. Additionally, the company publishes 9 daily newspapers, and weekly newspapers and specialty publications.

LEE last traded at $22.92, up $4.47 on the day.

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GE to split into three companies

General Electric to form three public companies

GE announced its plan to form three industry-leading, global public companies focused on the growth sectors of aviation, healthcare, and energy, by: Pursuing a tax-free spin-off of GE Healthcare, creating a pure-play company at the center of precision health in early 2023, in which GE expects to retain a stake of 19.9 percent; and Combining GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital into one business, positioned to lead the energy transition, and then pursuing a tax-free spin-off of this business in early 2024.

GE to split into three

Following these transactions, GE will be an aviation-focused company shaping the future of flight.

As independently run companies, the businesses will be better positioned to deliver long-term growth and create value for customers, investors, and employees, with each benefitting from: Deeper operational focus, accountability, and agility to meet customer needs; Tailored capital allocation decisions in line with distinct strategies and industry-specific dynamics; Strategic and financial flexibility to pursue growth opportunities; Dedicated boards of directors with deep domain expertise; Business- and industry-oriented career opportunities and incentives for employees; and Distinct and compelling investment profiles appealing to broader, deeper investor bases.

GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. said, “At GE we have always taken immense pride in our purpose of building a world that works. The world demands-and deserves-we bring our best to solve the biggest challenges in flight, healthcare, and energy.

By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees. We are putting our technology expertise, leadership, and global reach to work to better serve our customers.”

Culp will serve as non-executive chairman of the GE healthcare company upon its spin-off.

He will continue to serve as chairman and CEO of GE until the second spin-off, at which point, he will lead the GE aviation-focused company going forward.

Peter Arduini will assume the role of president and CEO of GE Healthcare effective January 1, 2022.

Peter Arduin

Scott Strazik will be the CEO of the combined Renewable Energy, Power, and Digital business while John Slattery continues as CEO of Aviation.

Scott Strazik

GE intends to execute the spin-offs of Healthcare in early 2023 and of the Renewable Energy and Power business in early 2024.

John Slattery

The respective capital structures, brands, and leadership teams for each independent company will be determined and announced later.

Where required to do so, GE will consult with employee representatives in line with its legal obligations before any final decisions are taken.

Through the transition, GE will be able to monetize its stakes in AerCap and Baker Hughes, prioritizing further debt reduction.

Each of the three resulting independent companies will be well capitalized with investment-grade ratings.

Following the spin-off transactions, GE will retain other assets and liabilities of GE today, including run-off insurance operations.

Upon closing the Healthcare transaction, GE expects to retain a stake of 19.9 percent in the healthcare company to provide capital allocation flexibility.

GE also intends that Healthcare will issue debt securities, the proceeds of which will be used to pay down outstanding GE debt.

The transactions are not subject to bondholder consent.

The company expects to incur one-time separation, transition, and operational costs of approximately $2 billion and tax costs of less than $0.5 billion, which will depend on specifics of the transaction.

The proposed spin-offs of Healthcare and the Renewable Energy and Power business are intended to be tax-free for GE and GE shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The transactions are subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions, including final approvals by GE’s Board of Directors, private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service and/or tax opinions from counsel, the filing and effectiveness of Form 10 registration statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and satisfactory completion of financing.

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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Gets a boost from S. Korea

SK Ecoplant to invest $500M in Bloom Energy through expanded partnership

Bloom Energy (BE) and SK Ecoplant, an affiliate of South Korean conglomerate SK Group (SKM), announced the companies are expanding their existing partnership.

The partnership includes purchasing a minimum of 500 megawatts, or MW, from Bloom Energy, representing a $4.5B revenue commitment; co-creating two hydrogen innovation centers; and targeting an equity investment of approximately $500M.

Since the start of their strategic partnership three years ago, Bloom Energy and SK ecoplant have transacted nearly 200 MW of projects together totaling more than $1.8B of equipment and expected service revenue.

Fuel Cells powered solely by Hydrogen

Over the next three years the companies will expand this existing business with contracts for at least an additional 500 MW of power between 2022 and 2025, representing approximately $4.5B in equipment and future service revenue.

Bloom Energy and SK ecoplant agreed to create Hydrogen Innovation Centers in the United States and South Korea.

The intent is to accelerate the global market expansion for Bloom Energy’s hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen electrolyzer products.

The agreement also reflects both Bloom Energy and SK ecoplant’s enhanced commitment to a zero-carbon future and the further implementation of environmental, social and governance practices.

In addition, Bloom Energy and SK ecoplant agreed to strengthen their alliance through expanding business cooperation in global markets, which may include exclusive distribution rights in select new markets.

SK ecoplant will invest $255M in Bloom Energy by acquiring 10M shares of zero coupon, non-voting redeemable convertible preferred stock at a price of $25.50 per share.

SK ecoplant has the option to acquire a minimum of an additional 11M shares of Class A common stock at a 15% premium to the prevailing stock price at the time, which must be no later than November 30, 2023 and is subject to a maximum ownership of 15%.

Upon completion of SK ecoplant’s purchase of its second tranche, SK ecoplant will add a member to the Bloom Energy board of directors. SK will give an irrevocable proxy to vote its shares to Bloom Energy.

The investment is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close within 45 days.

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Consolidation in the media space!

AT&T, Discovery to create global DTC business through Reverse Morris Trust

AT&T (T) and Discovery (DISCA) announced a definitive agreement to combine WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses to create a standalone global entertainment company.

ATT to merge it’s media assets with Discovery

Under the terms of the agreement, which is structured as an all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction, AT&T would receive $43B in a combination of cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt, and AT&T’s shareholders would receive stock representing 71% of the new company; Discovery shareholders would own 29% of the new company.

The boards of both AT&T and Discovery have approved the transaction.

Discovery to merge with ATT media

Bringing together the leadership teams, content creators, and series and film libraries.

The new company is projected for 2023 revenue of approximately $52B, adjusted EBITDA of approximately $14B, and free cash flow conversion rate of approximately 60%.

The transaction is expected to create at least $3B in expected cost synergies annually for the new company.

The new company will compete globally in the direct-to-consumer business bringing content to DTC subscribers across its portfolio, including HBO Max and the recently launched discovery+.

The transaction will combine WarnerMedia’s content library of IP with Discovery’s global footprint, local-language content and regional expertise across more than 200 countries and territories.

The companies announced that Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav will lead the proposed new company with a management team and operational and creative leadership from both companies.

Discovery’s current multiple classes of shares will be consolidated to a single class with one vote per share.

The new company’s board will consist of 13 members, seven initially appointed by AT&T, including the chairperson of the board; Discovery will initially appoint six members, including CEO David Zaslav.

The combination will be executed through a Reverse Morris Trust, under which WarnerMedia will be spun or split off to AT&T’s shareholders via dividend or through an exchange offer or a combination of both and simultaneously combined with Discovery.

The transaction is expected to be tax-free to AT&T and AT&T’s shareholders. In connection with the spin-off or split-off of WarnerMedia, AT&T will receive $43B in a combination of cash, debt securities and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt.

David Zaslav to head the new company

The new company expects to maintain investment grade rating and utilize the significant cash flow of the combined company to rapidly de-lever to approximately 3.0x within 24 months, and to target a new, longer term gross leverage target of 2.5x-3.0x.

WarnerMedia has secured fully committed financing for the purposes of funding the distribution.

The transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2022, subject to approval by Discovery shareholders and customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

No vote is required by AT&T shareholders. Agreements are in place with John Malone and Advance to vote in favor of the transaction.

Elliott Management

Elliott Investment Management released a statement on behalf of Managing Partner Jesse Cohn and Portfolio Manager Marc Steinberg regarding AT&T’s plan to merge media assets with Discovery:

Elliott is a major shareholder in ATT

“It has been a transformational year at AT&T year since John Stankey took over as CEO, and today’s announcement represents another impressive step in the Company’s recent evolution.

AT&T has now executed on its promise to streamline operations and re-focus on its core businesses, all while improving operational execution, enhancing its financial position and advancing its corporate governance. As investors, Elliott supports AT&T in its efforts to best position the company for future success.”

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Merger in the REIT space

Equity Commonwealth to acquire Monmouth Real Estate for $3.4B

Equity Commonwealth (EQC) and Monmouth Real Estate (MNR) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement by which Equity Commonwealth will acquire Monmouth in an all-stock transaction, valued at approximately $3.4B, including the assumption of debt.

The combined company is expected to have a pro forma equity market capitalization of approximately $5.5B.

Under the terms of the agreement, Monmouth shareholders will receive 0.67 shares of Equity Commonwealth stock for every share of Monmouth stock they own.

Based on the closing price for Equity Commonwealth on May 4, this represents approximately $19.40 per Monmouth share.

The merger agreement provides for Monmouth to declare and pay one additional regular quarterly common stock dividend of 18c per share without Equity Commonwealth paying a corresponding common dividend to its shareholders.

Accordingly, the total consideration to be received by the Monmouth shareholders in the transaction is $19.58 per Monmouth share.

Equity Commonwealth and Monmouth shareholders are expected to own approximately 65% and 35%, respectively, of the pro forma company following the close of the transaction.

Monmouth’s portfolio is comprised of 120 properties totaling 24.5M square feet. In addition, Monmouth has six properties totaling 1.8M square feet under contract and leased to investment grade tenants.

Closings for these acquisitions are expected in 2021 and 2022.

The company will continue to be led by president and CEO David Helfand and the existing senior management team.

Upon closing, the number of trustees on Equity Commonwealth’s board will be expanded to 10, with two individuals designated by Monmouth’s board.

Sam Zell will remain the chairman of the board of trustees.

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the common shareholders of both Equity Commonwealth and Monmouth.

Sam Zell to become Chairman of the new company

The board of trustees of Equity Commonwealth and the board of directors of Monmouth Real Estate have each unanimously approved the transaction.

Equity Commonwealth ( EQC) is a Chicago based, internally managed and self-advised real estate investment trust (REIT) with commercial office properties in the United States. EQC’s same property portfolio is comprised of 4 properties and 1.5 million square feet.

Monmouth Real Estate Investment specializes in single tenant, net-leased industrial properties, subject to long-term leases, primarily to investment-grade tenants. Monmouth Real Estate is a fully integrated and self-managed real estate company, whose property portfolio consists of 121 properties, containing a total of approximately 24.5 million rentable square feet, geographically diversified across 31 states. 

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BioMed Realty sold for $14.6 billion

Blackstone says BioMed Realty to be sold for $14.6B to investor group

Blackstone (BX) announced that Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII L.P. and co-investors have agreed to sell BioMed Realty for $14.6B to a group led by existing BioMed investors.

This is part of a new long-term, perpetual capital, core+ return strategy managed by Blackstone.

BioMed is the largest private owner of life science office buildings

BioMed is the largest private owner of life science office buildings in the United States with an 11.3 million square foot portfolio concentrated in the leading innovation markets including Boston/Cambridge, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Cambridge U.K.

Blackstone bought BioMed Realty for about $8B in 2016

In connection with the recapitalization, existing BioMed investors were offered the option to exit for cash or reinvest their proceeds from the sale.

The investment will generate $6.5 billion of cumulative profits for BREP VIII and BioMed co-investors. BREP VIII, an opportunistic Real Estate investment fund, and co-investors acquired BioMed in January 2016.

The recapitalization is expected to close within five business days of the conclusion of the “go-shop” process.

The Blackstone Group Inc. is an alternative asset management firm specializing in real estate, private equity, hedge fund solutions, credit, secondary funds of funds, public debt and equity and multi-asset class strategies.

The firm typically invests in early-stage companies. It also provide capital markets services. The real estate segment specializes in opportunistic, core+ investments as well as debt investment opportunities collateralized by commercial real estate, and stabilized income-oriented commercial real estate across North America, Europe and Asia.

BX closed at $55.40.

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