From Docks to Dockets: Dealmakers Return from Hamptons to Backlog of Optimism

We’re back! As we head into what is shaping up to be a busy fall, the Diligent Market Intelligence team is out with their latest report on what activist investors focused on in Q2. Healthcare proved irresistible to certain activists, with more than $700 million in new investments. U.S. contract drugmaker Catalent faced pressure from Corvex, Sachem Head, Wynnefield Capital and just for good measure, Elliott Management. Last week, Catalent agreed to add four new members to its board and undertake a strategic review following a deal with Elliott. This follows the trend we’ve been following of companies and activists opting to settle quickly rather pursue a proxy fight.

Dan Loeb’s Third Point, which takes the crown as most active buyer in Q2, stated in its letter to shareholders that the company would be focused on tech and other growth stocks instead of value investing. Loeb backed that up with the largest new investment of the quarter after building a $535-million stake in Amazon. Loeb also added stakes in Activision Blizzard, NVIDIA and Uber.

Meanwhile, dealmakers usually spend their summer days in the Hamptons or Cape Cod, sipping fine wines and digging into the catch of the day. But this year was different, writes Axios’ Michael Flaherty and Claire Rychlewski. According to data from LSEG, U.S. M&A deal value was down  26.7% through August 31…though that’s an improvement over the first half of the year alone, which saw a 40% decline in value. Lazard CEO-elect Peter Orszag told CNBC’s Sara Eisen that dealmaking has bottomed out and is now at a “turning point.” But he says that while there has been an increase in overall activity and discussions, those chats may take time to materialize in actual deals closing.

There were signs of an uptick this week as WestRock revealed it was nearing a deal to merge with Smurfit Kappa Group, as reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Thomas, Laura Cooper and Ben Dummett, that would create a $20 billion paper and packaging behemoth. Additionally, the Financial Times' Myles McCormick and James Fontanella-Khan reported that Enbridge agreed to acquire the natural gas distribution business from Dominion Gas Utilities for $14 billion.


Have a great weekend,

GPP Team


Diligent Market Intelligence: IN-DEPTH: Q2 activists focus spending on health, tech and funds

In their Q2 activist analysis, the team at Diligent discovered that shareholders activists concentrated their spending on a smaller number of companies, with an emphasis on healthcare, technology and publicly traded funds. Read More

Reuters: Exclusive: Catalent to explore options after Elliott deal-sources

Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Maggie Fick broke the news that Elliott Management is nearing a settlement with Catalent that will “will include new directors and a pledge to review strategic alternatives such as a sale of the company." Read More

Axios: After drought, experts see return of merger gusher

Michael Flaherty and Claire Rychlewski analyze what fueled "a surprising number of big-ticket summer deals, improved business confidence and easier bank lending” that has resulted in an uptick in M&A value during the typically quiet summertime months. Read More

CNBC’s Squawk Box: Deal-making activity at 'turning point' after bottoming out, says Lazard's Peter Orszag

The Lazard CEO-Elect joined Sara Eisen to discuss all things M&A, including the recent uptick in dealmaking and potential regulatory headwinds for upcoming deals. Watch Here

Wall Street Journal: Paper Companies Near Big Merger Deal

Laura Cooper, Ben Dummett and Lauren Thomas broke the news that WestRock is nearing a deal to merge with Smurfit Kappa Group. A potential combination would result in a combined company valued around $20 billion. Read More

Financial Times: Enbridge in $14bn deal for Dominion gas utilities as US energy mix shifts

Dominion Energy reached a deal to sell its natural gas distribution business to Enbridge for $14 billion, reported Myles McCormick and James Fontanella-Khan. As a result, Enbridge will become the biggest gas utility group in North America. Read More


CLS Blue Sky Blog: Wachtell Lipton Discusses How to Deal with Activist Investors

Wachtell Lipton delves into the resurgence of activism in the corporate sector, emphasizing that no company, regardless of its stature or success, is exempt from potential activist pursuits. Read More

The Deal: Ex-Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Eyes Lions Gate’s Studio Spin

Former Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin’s STM Partners LLC has accumulated a 5.5% stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Mnuchin may “make proposals related to a possible investment in the entertainment company’s planned spinoff of its TV and movie studio business.” Read More

M&A & IPOs

CNBC: Chip Design Firm Arm Seeks Up to $52 Billion Valuation in Blockbuster U.S. IPO

Ryan Browne reports that chipmaker Arm is aiming to raise nearly $5 billion in its highly anticipated upcoming IPO. The company could be valued at $52 billion when it lists on the Nasdaq, marking the largest IPO in two years. Read More

Bloomberg: Wilson Tennis Racket Maker Amer Sports Files for US IPO

Amer Sports, maker of Wilson tennis rackets and Louisville Slugger baseball bats, has confidentially filed for a U.S. IPO, at $10 billion valuation. Read More


Wall Street Journal: Biden FTC’s Antitrust Bark Proves Worse Than Its Bite

Heard on the Street columnist David Wainer breaks down the FTC’s willingness and ability to challenge large M&A deals following the agency’s decision to settle challenges to Amgen’s $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics and Intercontinental Exchange’s $11.7 billion acquisition of data company Black Knight. Read More

Bloomberg: Citizens CEO Sees Bank Mergers Muted Due to Regulatory Pressures

Citizens Financial Group CEO Bruce Van Saun joined “Bloomberg Markets,” where he predicted that consolidation in the U.S. banking sector would slow as “uncertainty will keep deals muted over the next six to 12 months, with some transactions happening among smaller lenders.” Watch Here

New York Times: In Its First Monopoly Trial of Modern Internet Era, U.S. Sets Sights on Google

David McCabe and Cecilia Kang report on the Justice Department's upcoming trial against Google, examining its alleged dominance in the online search market. Read More


Fortune CEO Daily: Shock Resignations of CEOs Dave Clark and Roz Brewer Reveal the Risks of Appointing an Executive Chair

Fortune’s Alan Murray and Nicholas Gordon analyze the relationship between the executive chair and CEO roles within modern corporations. Read More

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: Board Oversight of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Executive and leadership advisors Blair Jones and Anna Natapova of Semler Brossy and Chuck Gray of Egon Zehnder lay out the benefits of a well-run diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives and the role of corporate boards in planning and implementing DE&I programs. Read More


Does Summer end after Labor Day? That’s up for debate, but there is still much fun to be had in and around New York City. While there is no shortage of sensational art installations in NYC, the ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN retrospective at MoMA may just take the (chocolate) cake! The exhibition opens to the public on Sunday and will feature “Chocolate Room:” an enclosure covered in wall-to-wall – you guessed it — chocolate. Elsewhere in the art world, this weekend only, catch The Armory Show at the Javitz Center. With participation from leading global galleries, the sprawling show spotlights the emerging artists set to shape contemporary art.


And although we here at the GPP Newsletter like to consider ourselves experts on the Musk Twitter deal saga, we concede that bestselling biographer Walter Isaacson may have some insight on the subject. Clear your calendars for this coming Wednesday, when Isaacson will join author and columnist Michael Lewis on stage at The 92nd Street Y to discuss his book Elon Musk, set to be released Tuesday. 


  • Margrethe Vestager has stepped down from her role as head of the European Commission to pursue an opportunity to lead the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank. Read More

  • Rosalind Brewer has resigned as chief executive of Walgreens Boots. Read More

  • Ty Wenger has been appointed Executive Editor of Forbes. Read More

  • Angelica Peebles joined CNBC as a pharmaceuticals reporter. Read More

  • Bloomberg has hired Ryan Gould to their US Deals team covering IPOs. Read More
Let us know if you have any comments or suggestions for our newsletter format.
Follow us on Twitter @GladstonePlace
Please feel free to forward this along.
Gladstone Place Partners | (212) 230-5930 |
Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin