Dan Primack
Featured

Cable operator WOW files for IPO

WideOpenWest, the country's sixth-largest cable operator, on Thursday filed for an IPO. The filing has a $100 million target raise, but that's most likely a placeholder figure. UBS and Credit Suisse are serving as underwriters.

Financials: WOW reports $26.3 million of earnings for 2016, compared to net losses in both 2014 and 2015. Its 2016 revenue was around $1.24 billion, up slightly from $1.22 billion the year earlier.

Backers: Crestview Partners acquired a "significant stake" in WOW back in 2015 from fellow private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, and both remain listed in the company cap table (no specific ownership stakes were listed).

Featured

Trumpcare problems could hit tax reform — and stocks

Evan Vucci / AP

A big part of the "Trump rally" in stocks has been a consensus belief that corporate tax reform of some sort will occur in 2017. Now that belief is being severely tested.

The problem: Trump and Congressional Republicans put healthcare ahead of taxes, because doing the latter without a baseline from the former is mathematically nonsensical. Healthcare, however, is proving far more difficult to get done than the GOP expected, judging by the postponement of Thursday's planned House vote. Every day (or week) that passes without healthcare getting done is another day (or week) that tax reform has to wait, and Congress isn't actually in session all that often. The calendar is tyrannical.

The (bigger) problem: If Republicans can't agree on healthcare reform, it isn't entirely clear that taxes will be much easier. Even within the White House there is a major split over the proposed border adjustment tax, and that doesn't even address Trump's plans for a 15% corporate tax rate that could give deficit hawks a minor aneurysm. The White House calls Trump "the closer," but his struggles in the ninth on healthcare could raise new questions about his ability to deliver on tax promises. And tax reform is the air that a lot of current stock prices are floating upon.

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Amazon reportedly buys Middle Eastern e-commerce company

Ted S. Warren / AP

Amazon reportedly has agreed to acquire Souq, a Dubai-based e-commerce marketplace focused on Middle Eastern consumers. No financial terms have been disclosed, although the FT gives a sale price of around $650 million.

Why it's a big deal: Amazon not only gets some geographic expansion for it retail dominance, but this deal also reflects how it is becoming the purchaser of only resort for e-commerce startups that don't get an offer from less acquisitive Wal-Mart or Alibaba. It also would appear to be a major disappointment for Souq's later-stage investors, as the company reportedly was valued at $1 billion via a $275 million funding round 13 months ago. Backers on that deal included Tiger Global, Naspers, GIC and Standard Chartered.

Bottom line: "As China's e-commerce market has matured, dominated by homegrown giant Alibaba and hampered by slowing growth, Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce companies are looking to other parts of the world for growth." ― Daphne Howland

Featured

MapR picks IPO bankers

MapR has picked Goldman Sachs to lead its upcoming IPO, Axios has learned. This comes on the heels of larger rival Cloudera hiring Morgan Stanley to lead its own offering, with the two enterprise Hadoop companies in a race to be first to market (or third, since Hortonworks has been public since 2014).

MapR is the smaller of the two companies, with a most recent post-money valuation of $500 million compared to around $4 billion for Cloudera. So, not surprisingly, it only is expected to raise between $150 million and $200 million in its IPO, compared to upwards of $400 million for Cloudera.

Both companies count Google among their investors ― Capital G for MapR and GV for Cloudera ― and neither has set filed a public S-1.

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Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Source: Giphy

Cloud race: MapR has picked Goldman Sachs to lead an upcoming IPO, Axios has learned. This comes on the heels of larger rival Cloudera hiring Morgan Stanley to lead its own offering, with the two enterprise Hadoop companies in a race to be first to market (or third, since Hortonworks has been public since 2014).

MapR is clearly the smaller of the two companies, with a most recent post-money valuation of $500 million compared to around $4 billion for Cloudera. So, not surprisingly, it only is expected to raise between $150 million and $200 million in its IPO, compared to upwards of $400 million for Cloudera. Both companies count Google among their investors ― Capital G for MapR and GV for Cloudera ― and neither has set filed a public S-1.

Boston bust? We Bay Staters are still kinda sensitive about how Route 128 went from IT epicenter to just another thruway, and now there is an argument that history could repeat itself when it comes to biotech.

It's being made by Vijay Pande, head of Andreessen Horowitz's bio fund, who argues that healthcare innovation is quickly progressing from "hardware" (i.e., drugs and devices) to software (genomics, machine learning strategies for adoption, etc.). This isn't to say that there won't always still be a place for the former, but that the latter is where most future fortunes will be made ― a progression sure to send shudders through Boston techies old enough to remember such hardware stalwarts as DEC and Wang Labs.

Frank wins again: After AppDynamics agreed to be acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on the eve of its IPO, we noted that none of the AppDynamics underwriters were technically entitled to M&A advisory fees (as the deal was actually put together by Qatalyst Partners). But we've since learned that the combined underwriter group received around $18 million, compared to $40 million for Qatalyst.

Recommended reading: America's auto manufacturing industry has been steadily moving south, due largely to a combination of tax breaks and lower wages in states like Alabama. But, as Peter Waldman reports for Bloomberg Businessweek, this "race to the bottom" is coming with some unintended (but entirely predictable) consequences:

"Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can't possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South."

BAML break: Chet Bozdog has stepped down as co-head of TMT banking at BofA Merrill Lynch, per multiple sources. He had served in the role since 2013, before which he led the firm's tech investment banking unit. There is no word yet on Bozdog's future plans, or if BAML plans to give remaining group co-head Anwar Zakkour the solo title. The news comes just a week after J.D. Moriarty stepped down as BAML's head of Americas equity capital markets, in order to join LendingTree as SVP of corporate development.

The BFD

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has agreed to acquire Souq, a Dubai-based e-commerce marketplace focused on Middle Eastern consumers. No financial terms have been disclosed, although the FT reports a likely sale price of around $650 million.

Why it's the BFD: Amazon not only gets some geographic expansion for it retail dominance, but this deal also reflects how it is becoming the purchaser of only resort for e-commerce startups that don't get an offer from less acquisitive Wal-Mart or Alibaba. It also would appear to be a major disappointment for Souq's later-stage investors, as the company reportedly was valued at $1 billion via a $275 million funding round 13 months ago. Backers on that deal included Tiger Global, Naspers, GIC and Standard Chartered.

Bottom line: "As China's e-commerce market has matured, dominated by homegrown giant Alibaba and hampered by slowing growth, Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce companies are looking to other parts of the world for growth." ― Daphne Howland

Venture Capital Deals

Kuai Shou, a Beijing-based video sharing app, has raised $350 million in Series D funding led by Tencent. http://bit.ly/2nqOyAV

MarketsandMarkets, an India-based provider of syndicated and custom research on "high-growing and niche markets," has raised $56 million in its first round of institutional funding. FTV Capital led the round, and was joined by Zodius Capital. http://bit.ly/2nGcC3j

DataRobot, a Boston-based machine learning automation company, has raised $54 million in a first close of a Series C round led by return backer NEA. http://bit.ly/2nqKTTR

HotelTonight, a last-minute hotel booking app, has raised $37 million in Series E funding. Accel Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow insiders Battery Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Coatue Management and First Round Capital. New investors include RSC Capital, Founder's Circle and Aspect Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2mUS8jN

BioClin Therapeutics, a San Ramon, Calif.-based developer of monoclonal antibodies for bladder cancer, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Sofinnova Ventures and Ysios Capital co-led the round, and was joined by HealthCap, Life Sciences Partners and Tekla Capital Management. http://bit.ly/2nKqUQW

Dadao Financial, a Shenzhen-based online platform for real estate financing, has raised around $29 million in Series B funding. China Renaissance led the round, and was joined by PAG and Sequoia Capital China. http://bit.ly/2nMoFN3

WayUp, a New York-based online job marketplace for recent graduates, has raised $18.5 million in Series B funding. Trinity Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Index Ventures, SV Angel, Female Founders Fund, Axel Springer, CAA Ventures and OurCrowd. http://for.tn/2naHdDe

Carro, a Singapore-based auto classifieds site, has raised $12 million in new VC funding. Backers include Venturra Capital, Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC Ventures, Skystar Capital and GMO. http://tcrn.ch/2ngeY7U

Clarity Money, a New York-based personal finance app focused on monthly bills, has raised $11 million in new VC funding from RRE Ventures and Citi Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2nGBWpF

Lystable, a UK-based workflow management platform focused on companies with freelancers, $10 million in new Series A funding (bringing the round total to $21m). Valar Ventures led the expansion, and was joined by Glynn Capital, Wilmont Ventures, Goldcrest Capital, Kindred Capital and SciFi VC. http://bit.ly/2nGhmGh

MotorK, an Italian developer of digital products for the auto market, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. 83North led the round, and was joined by Sweden's Zobito. http://tcrn.ch/2mXiaTj

Ripcord, a Hayward, Calif.-based robotic digitization startup aimed at "creating a truly paperless workplace," has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, and was joined by Lux Capital, Legend Capital and Steve Wozniak. www.ripcord.com

Drivemode, a San Francisco-based "safe platform" for smartphone use while driving, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Panasonic Corp. led the round, and was joined by Miyako Capital, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance VC and Innovative Venture Fund Investment. http://tcrn.ch/2mXs6fw

Elvie, a UK-based developer of a kegal exercise tracker for women, has raised $6 million in new VC funding. Octopus Ventures led the round, and was joined by AllBright and individual angels. http://bit.ly/2nQU4up

Pocketwatch, a Culver City, Calif.-based digital media startup focused on kids, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Third Wave Digital. http://tcrn.ch/2mUvoAq

Peak Deck, an Iowa-based provider of a real-time classroom engagement SaaS solution, has raised $4 million in VC funding from Growth Street Partners and return backers like Village Capital, Hyde Park Ventures Partners and Rise of the Rest. http://bit.ly/2mvtxFL

410 Medical, a Durham, N.C.-based developer of devices for the resuscitation of critically ill patients, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding led by Bios Partners. www.410medical.com

DeepScale, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of perceptual systems for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, has raised $3 million in seed funding from backers like Bessemer Venture Partners, Greylock, Auto Tech Ventures, Andy Bechtolsheim and Jerry Yang. http://tcrn.ch/2nGN5HM

Maisonette.com, a New York-based ecommerce site for high-end baby and children's clothing, has raised nearly $2.8 million in seed funding from firms like NEA and Thrive Capital. http://bit.ly/2nMe4BJ

Lynkos, a New York-based B2B network, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from backers like IC Ventures (Infocorp) and Logitech Investments. http://bit.ly/2msAHKY

MPower Financing, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of student loans for international students, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Variv Capital and Chilango Ventures. www.mpowerfinancing.com

Semma Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of stem cell-derived therapies for Type 1 diabetes, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from JDRF T1D Fund. Existing backers include MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital, and strategic investors Novartis and Medtronic. www.semma-tx.com

Private Equity Deals

Advent International has withdrawn from the auction process for Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE) Brazilian generic drugs JV (Teutu), leaving Bain Capital as the only remaining bidder, according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2nGgPE9

Oak Hill Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, a Tampa, Fla.-based fast food chain, from Sentinel Capital Partners. The deal is valued at around $525 million. http://on.wsj.com/2npB5Jp

Superior Industries (NYSE: SUP) said that it will launch a tender offer for 100% of the shares of Uniwheels, a listed German maker of alloy wheels, at an aggregate equity purchase price of around $715 million. TPG Growth is helping to finance the transaction via a purchase of preferred equity. www.uniwheels.com

Public Offerings

Munters, a Swedish air treatment company owned by Nordic Capital, is prepping a late spring IPO that could value the business north of $1.1 billion (including debt), according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2mY0KGb

Liquidity Events

Apple (Nasdsq: AAPL) has acquired mobile automation tool-maker Workflow, which had been seeded by firms like General Catalyst, Lowercase Capital and Eniac Ventures. No financial terms were disclosed. http://tcrn.ch/2nEaXLp

Snapdeal, a VC-backed ecommerce site in India, denied local media reports that it is in talks about a potential sale. http://reut.rs/2mXzGa8

More M&A

American Airlines (NYSE: AA) is in "advanced talks" to acquire around a $200 million stake in China Southern Airlines Co., a China-listed air carrier with a market cap of around $10 billion, according to Bloomberg. http://bloom.bg/2mPYkIT

Dynatronics Corp. (Nasdaq: DYNT) has agreed to acquire substantially all the assets of Hausmann Industries, a Northvale, N.J.-based maker of physical therapy and athletic training products, for around $10 million in cash. www.hausmann.com

Generali, a listed Italian insurer, has hired Rothschild to find a buyer for its units in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2nG0dMQ

Trican Well Service (TSX: TCW) has agreed to acquire smaller Canadian oilfield services company Canyon Services Group (TSX: FRC) for C$637 million. http://bit.ly/2mTNwJF

Fundraising

Citic Capital Partners is nearing a $2 billion final close on its third China-focused buyout fund, per Dow Jones. www.citiccapital.com

SAP (NYSE: SAP) has launched the SAP.IO Fund, focused on making investments in early-stage companies in areas like machine learning and blockchain. The company also has launched a pair of startup incubators in San Francisco and Berlin. www.sap.com

It's Personnel

Peter Baird has joined Investec as head of Africa private equity. He previously held a similar role for five years with Standard Chartered, before leaving last November. http://bit.ly/2nak8AU

The Riverside Company has promoted both Joe Manning (Cleveland) and Steve Spiteri (Australia) to partner. www.riversidecompany.com

Garrett Ryan has joined Twin Brook Capital Partners, the middle-market direct lending unit of Angelo Gordon, as a partner and head of capital markets. He previously was with Fifth Third Bank. www.twincp.com

Featured

Bank of America loses senior tech banker

Craig Ruttle / AP

Chet Bozdog is out at BofA Merrill Lynch, where he served as co-head of its technology, media and telecom investment banking group, Axios has learned.

Bozdog had served in the role since 2013, after having previously led the bank's tech investment banking unit. There is no word yet on his future plans, or if BAML plans to give remaining group co-head Anwar Zakkour the solo title. Zakkour joined BAML from J.P. Morgan simultaneous to Bozdog's promotion.

A BAML spokesman confirmed the contents of an internal memo detailing Bozdog's departure (which it refers to as a retirement), but declined to comment further. Bozdog did not return an email sent to his work address.

Featured

Trump's former Labor Sec pick quits his job

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Andy Puzder has stepped down as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the private equity-backed owner of burger chains Hardee's and Carl's Jr., one month after withdrawing as President Trump's nominee for U.S. Labor Secretary. At the time of Puzder's withdrawal, Axios noted that neither CKE nor its private equity owner would comment on his status.

Puzder, who will be succeeded by former KFC president Jason Marker, said in a press release: "I expressed my desire to have CKE plan for succession approximately a year ago, and I could not be more pleased to have Jason Marker selected to be the company's next leader."

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'Hillbilly Elegy' author J.D. Vance has a new job

Dan Sewell / AP

J.D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy and a principal with Peter Thiel's Mithril Capital, said late last year that he planned to leave Silicon Valley for his home state of Ohio. This morning he announced plans to join Revolution LLC, the Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm co-founded by Steve Case and Ted Leonsis.

Here's what we learned, after speaking with Vance and Case:

  • The pair initially met several months back via Twitter (although Vance first joked that they met via OK Cupid, which would have made for a much better story). Vance would later give a keynote speech at Revolution's annual investor meeting.
  • Vance will be based in Columbus, but expects to spend a bunch of time in D.C., as his attorney wife just took a one-year post working for Chief Justice Roberts. He plans to mostly focus on making seed investments in Midwestern startups for Revolution, while also maintaining a part-time role with Mithril.
  • This partnership is born of Case's "Rise of the Rest" initiative, which initially began as a bus tour designed to highlight startup opportunities outside of more traditional tech hotbeds. Case calls this the third leg of the Revolution stool, which already includes a VC and growth equity arm. When I asked if this means Revolution plans to raise a seed fund focused on under-served markets, he and Vance both declined comment (read: yes they do).
  • Vance notes that while Ohio cities like Columbus are doing better than rustier belted areas like his hometown of Middleton, he believes there can be a lot of "downstream ripple effects" to having strong urban anchor cities with growing entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Vance has been rumored to have political ambitions. He acknowledged that "someday" he may run for office but, if so, it would be in the distant future.
Featured

Startup raises $33 million to make supersonic passenger planes

Boom Supersonic, a Colorado startup that is developing a new class of supersonic commercial aircraft, has raised $33 million in Series A funding. Backers include Y Combinator Continuity Fund, RRE Ventures, Palm Drive Ventures, Caffeinated Capital and 8VC. As part of the deal, YC president Sam Altman and former Sequoia Capital partner Greg McAdoo have joined Boom's board of directors.

Why now: It's been more than a decade since the Concorde was grounded, which was more about post 9/11 economics than supersonic technology. Boom is hoping to significantly decrease the cost-per-flight, in part because of two major development advancements since the time of Concorde:

  1. Even though Boom is already testing in real wind tunnels, it can do a lot of simulation via software.
  2. Companies like Boeing and Airbus have spent billions of dollars helping to develop and gain approvals for carbon fiber, which can help a plane go faster and use less gas.

Plans: Proceeds from this financing are expected to get Boom to its first supersonic flight in 2018 (a bit later than originally expected), with later plans to have passengers flying in the 2020's. Interim financing would be aided by a previously-announced $5 billion in pre-orders from companies like Virgin, with expectations that additional airline orders will be disclosed later this year.

Fun fact: The company's headquarters is on an old airfield, and its conference room was originally built as an airplane hanger.

Bottom line: There currently is a U.S. ban on supersonic flight over land, which is why Boom's initial plan is to run on existing supersonic corridors like LA-Tokyo and NYC-London. "The aircraft speed limit is one of the worst ideas in aviation policy history," Boom CEO Blake Scholl tells Axos. "Boom is working to overturn this, but not counting on that in our business model."

Featured

Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

• New job: We've previously noted that J.D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy and a principal with Peter Thiel's Mithril Capital, is leaving Silicon Valley go return home to Ohio. This morning he announced plans to join Revolution LLC, the Washington, D.C.-based venture firm led by Steve Case and Ted Leonsis. Here's what I learned, after speaking briefly with Vance and Case:

  • The pair initially met via Twitter (although Vance first joked that they met via OK Cupid, which would have made for a much better story).
  • Vance will be based in Columbus, but expects to spend a bunch of time in D.C., as his attorney wife just took a one-year post working for Chief Justice Roberts. He plans to mostly focus on making seed investments in Midwestern startups for Revolution, while also maintaining a part-time role with Mithril.
  • This partnership is born of Case's "Rise of the Rest" initiative, which initially began as a bus tour designed to highlight startup opportunities outside of more traditional tech hotbeds. Case calls this the "third leg" of the Revolution stool, which already includes a VC and growth equity arm. When I asked if this means Revolution plans to raise a seed fund focused on under-served markets, he and Vance both declined comment (read: yes they do).
  • Vance notes that while Ohio cities like Columbus are doing better than rustier belted areas like his hometown of Middleton, he believes there can be a lot of "downstream ripple effects" to having strong urban anchor cities with growing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

On tap: WeWork has filed documents in Delaware for a sale of around $300 million in Series G stock at a price of $51.81 per share (up slightly from the Series F price of $50.19 per share). This appears to be the round being led by SoftBank, per a recent WSJ story.

Perhaps more interesting is that WeWork is also moving ahead with its plan to raise a property investment fund, per an SEC filing. This would be done quasi-independently from WeWork corporate ― which typically signs long-term leases for the buildings in which it operates ― with the SEC doc listing several real estate-focused managing directors at private equity firm Rhone Group.

Drive-thru: After Andy Puzder withdrew as President Trump's Labor Sec nominee, we noted how odd it was that CKE Restaurants, the fast-food chain where he served as CEO, wouldn't confirm that he was sticking around. Neither would CKE owner Roark Capital. Now we know why: He's leaving the company.

• Off demand: Yesterday morning I criticized Uber for "keeping its senior execs (including top female leaders) under PR bubble-wrap." A couple hours later, Uber sent out word that it was hosting a media call with three of its senior female leaders. I'll just chalk it up to mediocre minds thinking alike...

Two notes on this:

  1. Uber execs did not disclose the results of their investigation into the sexual harassment and discrimination allegations made by Susan Fowler Rigetti around one month ago, although said they would have conclusions at some point next month. They did intimate, however, that CEO Travis Kalanick's head will not be the one to roll.
  2. Board member Arianna Huffington was among those on the call, but sadly no one asked her about a Bloomberg report that her former AOL colleague/boss Tim Armstrong is among those being considered for the Uber COO role. As one AOL exec from that era writes me: "Arianna probably would let that happen over her dead body." It's also worth noting that Armstrong would be choosing a curious time to leave AOL/Verizon, given that it would coincide with closing the massive Yahoo purchase he spearheaded.

• Event reminder: My Axios colleague Mike Allen will be interviewing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin this Friday morning in Washington, D.C., in an event sponsored by PepsiCo and their Quaker, Tropicana and Naked nutrition brands. Send him any questions at mike@axios.com. I'll be there too, and will have full coverage in Friday's issue of Pro Rata.

The BFD

Boom Supersonic, developer of a new class of supersonic commercial aircraft, has raised $33 million in Series A funding. Backers include Y Combinator Continuity Fund, RRE Ventures, Palm Drive Ventures, Caffeinated Capital and 8VC. As part of the deal, YC president Sam Altman and former Sequoia Capital partner Greg McAdoo have joined Boom's board of directors.

Why it's the BFD: It's been more than a decade since the Concorde was grounded, which was more about post 9/11 economics than supersonic technology. Boom is hoping to significantly decrease the cost-per-flight, in part because of two major development advancements since the time of Concorde:

  1. Even though Boom is already testing in real wind tunnels, it can do a lot of simulation via software.
  2. Companies like Boeing and Airbus have spent billions of dollars helping to develop and gain approvals for carbon fiber, which can help a plane go faster and use less gas.

Proceeds from this financing are expected to get Boom to its first supersonic flight in 2018 (a bit later than originally expected), with later plans to have passengers flying in the 2020's. Interim financing would be aided by a previously-announced $5 billion in pre-orders from companies like Virgin, with expectations that additional airline orders will be disclosed later this year.

Bottom line: There currently is a U.S. ban on supersonic flight over land, which is why Boom's initial plan is to run on existing supersonic corridors like LA-Tokyo and NYC-London. "The aircraft speed limit is one of the worst ideas in aviation policy history," Boom CEO Blake Scholl tells Axos. "Boom is working to overturn this, but not counting on that in our business model."

Venture Capital Deals

Flipkart, an Indian ecommerce platform, has raised $1 billion in new funding at around a $10 billion valuation (which is actually a significant down round), according to Bloomberg. Participants include eBay, Microsoft and Tencent. http://bloom.bg/2mZvs2t

• Haoeyou, a digital health platform that connects Chinese patients with U.S. doctors, has raised $40 million in Series A funding led by Hakim Unique Internet (Shanghai: 300300). http://bit.ly/2n6OMuB

• Xiaoyu Link, a Chinese provider of online video conferencing solutions, has raised around $18 million in Series B funding. Zhen Fund and Chengzhen Fund co-led the round, and were joined by Sinovation Ventures, Lightspeed China Partners and Chengwei Capital. http://bit.ly/2n6Gpzt

• Geek+, a Beijing-based developer of logistics robots, has raised $14 million in Series A funding. Vertex Venture Holdings led the round, and was joined by Banyan Capital and Volcanic Stone Investment. http://bit.ly/2nmsqYw

• Wujie Space, a Beijing-based co-working space operator, has raised around $14 million in new VC funding. ChinaEquity Group led the round, and was joined by Matrix Partners China. In related news, Wujie Space has acquired local rival Fourwork for an undisclosed amount. http://bit.ly/2nBawBx

• Mythic (f.k.a. Isocline), developer of a "local AI platform," has raised $9 million in Series A funding. DFJ led the round, and was joined by Lux Capital, Data Collective, and AME Cloud Ventures. http://bit.ly/2o397Ay

Casetext, a San Francisco-based provider of AI-based legal research technology for lawyers, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Canvas Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Union Square Ventures, 8VC and Red Sea Ventures. www.casetext.com

• The New York Shipping Exchange, developer of a digital forward freight contract for global container shipping, has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Goldman Sachs and GE Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by groups like Blumberg Capital and Tectonic Capital. http://bit.ly/2mTXGLf

• Mynd, an Oakland-based tech-enabled property management company, has raised $5.1 million in Series A1 funding. Jackson Square Ventures led the round, and was joined by Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and individual angels. www.mynd.co

• RavenPack, a Spain-based provider of big data analytics for financial services, has raised $5 million in VC funding from Draper Esprit. http://bit.ly/2nGLim0

• TextRecruit, a San Jose, Calif.-based text messaging platform for employers, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by SignalFire. www.textrecruit.com

• Purple Squirrel, a Venice Beach, Calif.-based online marketplace for networking and recruiting, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding. CrossCut Ventures led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Partners, Arena Ventures and 500 Startups. www.purplesquirrel.com

Private Equity Deals

• Avaloq, a Swiss provider of banking software, has raised $300 million in private equity funding from Warburg Pincus. http://reut.rs/2n6Yq0o

• Birch Hill Equity Partners has acquired Cozzini Bros, a Des Plaines, Ill.-based knife sharpening rental and exchange company, from Audax Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.cozzinibros.com

• The Carlyle Group and TPG Capital have expressed recent interest in acquiring Java House, a Nairobi-based coffee shop chain, according to the FT. A deal could be valued at upwards of $100 million. http://on.ft.com/2mTNx1c

• CSF Corp., a Somerset, N.J.-based toll-free provisioning company owned by Alpine Investors, has acquired Aerialink, a Bettendorf, Iowa-based SaaS provider of mobile messaging and location services. www.csfcorp.com

• Golden Gate Capital has acquired Cole-Parmer, a Vernon Hills, Ill.-based maker of fluid handling and other specialty lab equipment, from GTCR. No financial terms were disclosed. www.coleparmer.com

• KPS Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Winoa, a French manufacturer of steel abrasives. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include a special situations affiliate of KKR. www.winoagroup.com

• OutSolve, a a Metairie, La.-based provider of affirmative action planning and compliance services for federal contractors, has acquired New Orleans-based Pinnacle Affirmative Action Services. No financial terms were disclosed. OutSolve is a portfolio company of LNC Partners. www.outsolve.com

• Summit Partners has sponsored a majority recap of Ascentis Corp., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of SaaS human capital management and payroll solutions. Sellers include Catalyst Investors. www.ascentis.com

• Valence Surface Technologies, a Gardenia, Calif.-based portfolio company of Trive Capital, has acquired MAPSCO, a Seattle-based provider of metal finishing services to the aerospace and defense industries. No financial terms were disclosed. www.valencesurfacetech.com

Liquidity Events

• Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) has acquired Chinese event ticketing platform Damai.cn. No financial terms were disclosed. Damai had raised over $14 million in VC funding from firms like Legend Capital. http://bit.ly/2nJiRnv

• The Blackstone Group is prepping either a sale of IPO of Logicor, its European warehouse property business, according to the WSJ. The business could be valued at more than €10 billion. http://on.wsj.com/2nmvnIy

• Francisco Partners has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for Plex Systems, a Troy, Mich.-based maker of manufacturing facility management software, according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at more than $1 billion (including debt). http://reut.rs/2nJdd4D

• Providence Equity Partners has agreed to sell the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, a Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based scuba certifier, to "a group of wealthy families and endowments for more than $700 million," according to the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2nPBAug

More M&A

Panasonic Corp. of Japan has agreed to acquire an additional 20% stake in Spanish auto parts maker Ficosa International for an undisclosed amount, giving it an overall control position of 69%. http://reut.rs/2ncYttb

Fundraising

Marlin Equity has closed is fifth flagship private equity fund with $2.5 billion in capital commitments. It also has closed its second Heritage fund, focused on lower middle-market companies in North America, at $750 million. www.marlinequity.com

• May River Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on lower mid-market industrial companies, has closed its debut fund with $165 million in capital commitments. www.mayrivercapital.com

• Octopus Ventures of London has raised £120 million for a fund focused on British AI startups. • http://on.ft.com/2nQQv7z

• Värde Partners, a Minneapolis-based ", has closed its twelfth multicredit fund with $1.74 billion in capital commitments. http://bit.ly/2nRa1R5

It's Personnel

• Pritzker Group Asset Management has promoted Terra Fuller to chief investment officer. She joined the firm in 2014 as director of research. www.pritzkergroup.com

Final Numbers

Source: PitchBook