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SWFI First Read, June 14, 2018

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ECB Draghi Telegraphs Dovish End to ECB QE Bond Purchases

The European Central Bank (ECB) revealed its departure from quantitative easing (QE). The ECB accelerated the move after data showed U.S. retail sales surging in May 2018. The ECB signaled that from September 2018, the pace of bond buying will drop from 30 billion EUR to 15 billion EUR and then drop to zero in December 2018. The central bank president also addressed media that the bank denied plotting against the new Italian government by ceasing to buy its bonds in May. Mario Draghi insistedto reporters there is no conspiracy.

The ECB said in a statement that the central bank would have rates depressed as long that it is needed to make sure the euro zone inflation remains on trajectory to hit the central bank’s target of just below 2%.

Mega Media Merger of AT&T and Time Warner Would Create Large Pool of Retirement Assets

The massive merger between AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. got the go ahead after the U.S. Department of Justice tried to block the deal over anti-trust concerns. The merger, which is expected to close by June 20, 2018, could create a massive pool of retirement plan assets worth US$ 94 billion. The record keeper for the AT&T and Time Warner defined contributions plans is Fidelity Investments.

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund Supports Domestic Whiskey

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) financially supported the €10m launch of Ilen River Partners’ Irish Whiskey Growth Fund earlier in June. According to a June 6th statement, “The Fund will provide stock-financing loans secured on borrowers’ existing whiskey stock, and tailored to the specific needs of participating businesses.”

Bill Gates Money Flows Into Evolve Biosystems

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led a Series C round in Davis, California-based Evolve Biosystems, a life sciences company. Horizon Ventures also invested in the Series C round.

Abraaj Holdings Files for Liquidation

Troubled private equity firm Abraaj Holdings has filed for liquidation in the Cayman Islands. The filing seeks to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as the provisional liquidator. In a statement by the firm’s founder, Arif Naqvi, he stated, “The process of court supervised restructuring will take a few months. I will continue to support this orderly process and help ensure the best possible outcomes for all the stakeholders.”

Abraaj Group had also sold off its entire 5.4% stake in Egypt-based Orascom Construction at US$ 8.30 per share – a total value of US$ 52 million.

Thompson, Siegel & Walmsley Goes Internal for Next CEO

Frank Reichel was named CEO of money manager Thompson, Siegel & Walmsley, effective September 30, 2018. He is replacing Horace Whitworth who will remain as the company’s chief financial officer until there is a replacement. Whitworth will also serve in an advisory capacity until he retires in a number of years. Reichel is currently the company’s president and his current position will be filled by firm managing director John Reifsnider.

KIC to Manage a Portion of Korea Post Assets

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In late February, the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) inked an agreement to manage some of Korea Post’s global assets. KIC also seeks to provide investment training and research to Korea Post.

“As part of effort for Korea Post to allocate part of global investment assets to KIC, both agencies agreed to discuss details during the first half of this year, including the manner in which joint investment and asset allocation will be made,” KIC said in a statement.

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Singaporean Sovereign Wealth Capital Participates in DoorDash Series F Round

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San Francisco-based DoorDash Inc., a food delivery company, raised US$ 400 million in a Series F investment round. The investment round was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and San Francisco-based Dragoneer Investment Group, LLC. Post-raise, DoorDash has raised US$ 1.4 billion in equity capital. This gives DoorDash a post-money valuation of US$ 7.1 billion. DoorDash competes against publicly-traded company Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats, a service of Uber Technologies.

Other investors in the Series F round include SoftBank Vision Fund (managed by SoftBank Group), DST Global, Coatue Management, Singapore’s GIC Private Limited, Sequoia Capital, and Y Combinator.

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CPPIB and Sterling Partners Exit Livingston International

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Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and U.S. private equity firm Sterling Partners are exiting their investment in Livingston International Inc., an international trade-services firm based in Toronto, Ontario, which specializes in customs brokerage, freight forwarding, and trade consulting. Livingston International is Canada’s largest customs broker and third-largest entry filer in the United States.

U.S. private equity firm Platinum Equity is buying Livingston International from CPPIB and Sterling Partners. Platinum Equity is a private equity firm founded by Tom Gores in 1995.

Livingston International was founded in 1945 by Gerry Livingston. In 2002, the company went public after backing from CAI Capital Partners. In 2010, CPPIB and Sterling Partners acquired the company for US$ 324 million. On May 8, 2012, Livingston International acquired New Orleans, Louisiana-based M.G. Maher & Company, Inc. and MCLX, Inc. Maher is an international freight forwarder, customs broker and logistics provider. In 2013, the owners of Livingston International refinanced debt raising US$ 555 million in senior secured credit facilities.

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