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Marlin Equity merges Lifesize with Serenova; Blackstone, Harvest take minority stakes in Genstar’s ConnectiveRx, Texas Municipal PE head Schelling to leave

The coronavirus outbreak is top of mind in the tech investing world and Marlin Equity acquires Lifesize and merges it with Serenova.

Hubsters, we’re going to start a new feature today. Each Wednesday, our star tech reporter at PE Hub Milana Vinn is going to take over this space to write about what she’s seeing in the world of private equity tech investing, and probably some insight into the broader world of M&A.

Don’t hesitate to send her a note welcoming her to our morning coffee circle. She’s at mvinn@buyoutsinsider.com.

Meanwhile, I’m going back to bed … I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Have fun!

Hello, Dear Readers!

This is Milana Vinn. Every Wednesday I will be sharing my ‘Tech Take’ with you on the latest big news, themes and deals in the space. Make sure to hit me up with your comments or tips at mvinn@buyoutsinsider.com.

Unavoidably, COVID-19 seems to be top of mind in every discussion this week. People have told me that the uncertainty around the virus has impacted pretty much all outstanding sale processes one way or another.

Debt portions of deals have become more expensive, sources are saying. Conducting in-person meetings with companies’ management teams is also nearly impossible for some as workplaces undertake measures to avoid live interactions.
All that leads to a lot of uncertainty, making investors hesitant to launch a sale process, we’re hearing.

PE Hub has been busy speaking with dozens of sources, including GPs, bankers, lenders and LPs, to find out the short- and long-term implications of ongoing processes and those that were set to launch soon. Stay tuned for more coverage later today.

Tech and COVID-19: In technology, specifically, the virus could negatively affect sale processes for companies that are exposed to international supply chains or distributors of international consumer products, Eric Crowley, banker at GP Bullhound, told me.

At the same time, the situation with COVID-19 could shine a light on other technology businesses, such as those that help workers perform their duties remotely and be efficient, Crowley said.

“There could be a major shift in how consumers and workplaces are working from home, because many organizations are likely to realize that it can be just as efficient doing remote work,” he said.

With that, every tech solution that supports remote or flexible work — such as information sharing tools and programs — could be in a position to benefit, the banker told me.

In fact, Marlin Equity closed an investment in the space just yesterday. The firm bought Lifesize, a provider of video collaboration and meeting productivity technology, merging it with existing portfolio company Serenova. Marlin said the merger would create a unified cloud-based live business communications provider.

The public markets have also shown love to some video conference providers. Shares of remote conferencing service provider Zoom, for instance, traded up nearly 22 percent over the last month.

Tech news: Make sure to check my recent scoop about Vista Equity exploring options for IT automation and security provider Infoblox.

In other news, DXC Technology announced yesterday it agreed to sell its U.S. State and Local Health and Human Services business to Veritas Capital for $5 billion in cash. The business unit provides a mission-critical technology that is fundamental to the administration and operations of health programs throughout the U.S.

Top Scoops
Blackstone Group and Harvest Partners joined Genstar Capital as investors in ConnectiveRx, injecting a combined $300 million in the medication adherence company, Sarah Pringle writes on PE Hub. Blackstone made the investment through its Tactical Opportunities fund, and Harvest invested from its Structured Capital fund in the form of convertible equity, she writes. Read it here on PE Hub.

Many private equity firms have moved to virtual annual meetings to accommodate limited partners as the coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world, restricting professionals’ ability to travel, Chris writes today on Buyouts. And in something of a surprise, many LPs have found they like annual meetings organized in the ether, rather than in person. Check it out here.

Have a great day! Reach me with tips n’ tricks, feedback, whatever at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com, on Twitter or find me on LinkedIn.