Afternoon Coffee: PE Firms Acquire Majority Interest in Avetta, Lloyd’s Posts Huge Losses from Natural Catastrophes

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In case you missed it earlier, PE firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe announced Wednesday it will acquire a majority interest in Avetta, a supplier compliance and risk management firm, in a deal that likely broke multiple records in the procurement solutions market. The transaction is significant for the procurement technology space for a number of reasons. But perhaps most interesting, it highlights the differing approaches PE firms are taking to buying, operating and selling solution providers, as well as the kinds of business models that have become attractive (and lucrative) to these firms.

Natural Disasters 

Following a record year of natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes and wildfires, insurance market Lloyd’s of London posted Wednesday an aggregated 2017 pre-tax loss of $2.80 billion, Reuters reports. Losses from natural catastrophes totaled $135 billion, driving London’s specialist insurance market into the red for the first time in six years.

Fed Rates 

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s new chairman, Jerome Powell, is leading his first meeting as the head of the central bank this week, as well as delivering a news conference where he is expected to announce the first interest rate hikes of the year, according to ABC News. The Fed will also update its economic forecasts, which should provide insights into how it views the current mixture of low unemployment and slowly rising inflation driving the U.S. economy.

Japanese Exports 

And finally, a trade update: Japan’s exports expanded for the 15th-consecutive month, Bloomberg reports, increasing 1.8% in February from a year earlier. The country’s trade balance also returned to a surplus last month, totaling 3.4 billion yen ($32 million) versus the forecast of 89.1 billion yen.

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