Adobe nears deal for Figma; Ares backs sports teams; Patagonia gives new meaning to the word ‘exit’

AEI-backed Belcan acquires RTM Consulting.

Good morning, Hubsters. MK Flynn here with today’s Wire on a sunny day in New York.

There’s lot of good news to report today.

I think we’re all breathing a collective sigh of relief this morning, now that the latest threat to the increasingly fragile supply chain may have been averted with a tentative agreement between the rail companies and the unions, thereby hopefully avoiding a disruptive railway strike.

A bright spot on the dealmaking horizon is a potential big tech deal looming: Adobe is said to be near a deal to buy Figma, a venture capital-backed startup that develops collaborative design software, for $20 billion.

Resource allocation. A flurry of private equity-backed deal announcements grabbed my attention this morning.

Among them is an acquisition by Belcan, a specialist in engineering, consulting, and technical services. Belcan is backed by AE Industrial Partners.

Belcan has acquired RTM Consulting, a provider of resource and workforce management offerings to service businesses. The deal marks the 18th acquisition by Belcan under its ownership by AEI, a Boca Raton-based firm specializing in aerospace, defense and government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets.

“The compelling need to efficiently allocate resources continues to create demand for improved project management tools and technology. In addition, the scarcity of STEM resources heightens the need for next-generation resource development and deployment systems,” said Lance Kwasniewski, CEO of Belcan.

Early childhood. An education deal also caught my eye.

Rockbridge Growth Equity has made a strategic investment in The Nest Schools, an operator of 36 early childhood education centers that emphasize play-based educational programming across Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Virginia.
Nest co-founders and co-CEOs Gerry Pastor and Jane Porterfield will continue to lead the company.

“Parents today value high-quality early childhood education, and we see abundant opportunities to expand into new markets and grow our presence in existing regions by partnering with Gerry, Jane and the entire Nest management team,” said Ziv Weizman, a partner at Rockbridge.

“The importance of early childhood education and our understanding of how young children learn and develop has evolved rapidly over recent years, and we incorporate all current research into our approach in addition to state-of-the-art technology,” said Pastor and Porterfield. “With the support of the Rockbridge team, we will look to grow our presence in a fragmented industry and meet the growing demand for innovative and quality education solutions.”

Sports, media and entertainment. There’s also some interesting news in fundraising.
Ares Management just announced that has raised $3.7 billion to invest in sports leagues, sports teams and sports-related franchises, as well as media and entertainment companies.

Through the new fund, called Ares Sports, Media and Entertainment Finance, the firm is investing across the capital structure in both debt and equity, including senior debt, junior debt, preferred equity and minority equity in target investments. So far, SME has committed about $1 billion to 19 portfolio companies, including Atlético de Madrid, the San Diego Padres, McLaren Racing and Inter Miami CF.

The fund boasts a star-studded lineup of advisors, including Mia Hamm, former FIFA player and co-owner of Los Angeles Football Club; Grant Hill, former NBA player, co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks; Michael Lynton, chairman of Snap, former CEO of Sony Pictures; and Lionel Richie, international recording artist, Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award Winner.

Giving back. And on a final upbeat note today, an exit worth emulating:

“A half century after founding the outdoor apparel maker Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, the eccentric rock climber who became a reluctant billionaire with his unconventional spin on capitalism, has given the company away,” the New York Times reports. “Rather than selling the company or taking it public, Mr. Chouinard, his wife and two adult children have transferred their ownership of Patagonia, valued at about $3 billion, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization. They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.”

Chouinard, who is 83, told the Times: “Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people. We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

Tomorrow, Aaron Weitzman will write the Wire, and I’ll be back with more on Monday.

Until then, happy dealmaking,