Axios Pro Rata
December 11, 2020
🚴 Tomorrow at 11am ET/8am PT we host our next Peloton fundraising ride, with proceeds going to help struggling restaurant workers via the Restaurant Strong fund. More riders = more money, thanks to our generous donors, so please join us if you have a bike.
- We'll be doing the 45-minute Together We Ride from 3/28, led by Robin Arzon. To find it, just go to the class library and use the search function. Lots of us will be riding under the #TeamAxios hashtag.
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Top of the Morning
There's been more than $125 billion in SPAC merger activity this year, more than quadrupling the 2019 total. And it's only expected to accelerate in 2021.
Driving the news: Three new SPAC mergers were announced in the past 24 hours, totaling over $3.6 billion, all in the vehicle space. Plus, nine new SPACs priced IPOs, raising a combined $2 billion.
The big picture: Both supply and demand are overflowing — hundreds of unicorns and even more near-unicorns with more than 225 SPACs are actively seeking targets.
- Then throw in a deep-pocketed group of active PIPE investors, albeit a few who've gotten more selective of late, new SPAC formations each day, and a vibrant leveraged loan market.
What we don’t know is if this is sustainable.
- Sure, everyone’s jumping into the pool now, including VC firms in a show of buyout envy reciprocity, but this isn’t anyone’s core business (except, maybe, Michael Klein). If there’s some sort of regulatory crackdown from Biden’s SEC or a few big blowups scare off new investors from blank-check IPOs, then the SPAC market could shrink as fast as it expanded.
- Bankers say they aren’t worried, because there’s so much variety in what SPACs ultimately buy. And there’s some truth to that, but there’s been a very heavy concentration so far in the conceptual EV/AV space.
It's long been said (including by me) that private markets follow public markets. In 2020, however, the reverse has been true.
- Public equities investors act like venture capitalists, eschewing current fundamentals for five-year TAM projections.
- And, with SPACs, they are buying into blank check structures that mimic buyout funds, albeit with worse LP economics and no portfolio diversity.
The bottom line: It's the new normal. For now.
ByteDance is closing in $2 billion in new funding co-led by KKR and existing backer Sequoia Capital at a $180 billion valuation, per Reuters.
- Why it's the BFD: This would cement China-based ByteDance as the world's most valuable VC-backed company, worth 3X the next-largest unicorn, and comes despite the U.S. government's efforts to force its divestiture of TikTok.
- The bottom line: "In its home market, [ByteDance] is on track to rake in at least 180 billion yuan ($27.2 billion) in advertising revenue this year... Douyin, ByteDance’s Chinese version of TikTok, said it had amassed 600 million daily users in August." — Reuters
Venture Capital Deals
• Grove Collaborative, a San Francisco-based household products marketplace, raised $125 million at a $1.32 billion post-money valuation. Backers include Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global, Sculptor, NextView Ventures and Glynn Capital Management. http://axios.link/gDj3
• Tink, a Swedish open banking platform, raised €85 million at a €680 million post-money valuation. Eurazeo Growth and Dawn Capital co-led, and were joined by PayPal Ventures, HMI Capital, Heartcore, ABN AMRO Ventures, Poste Italiane and BNP Paribas. http://axios.link/nKkx
🚑 Rani Therapeutics, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of a “robotic pill” for drug delivery, raised $69 million in Series E funding from undisclosed investors. http://axios.link/0Tiw
🚑 CG Oncology, an Irvine, Calif.-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, raised $47 million in Series D funding. Kissei Pharmaceutical led, and was joined by return backers ORI Healthcare Fund, Camford Capital and Perseverance Capital Management. http://axios.link/8YnU
🦍 Gorillas, a German grocery delivery startup, raised $44 million in Series A funding led by Coatue. http://axios.link/d2df
• Turing, a Palo Alto-based talent platform, raised $32 million in Series B funding led by WestBridge Capital. http://axios.link/spW6
• Fairmarkit, a Boston-based sourcing platform for large enterprises, raised $30 million in Series B funding. GGV Capital and Insight Partners co-led, and were joined by 1984 VC, New Stack and NewFund. http://axios.link/tFVJ
• Gorgias, a San Francisco-based customer support startup, raised $25 million in Series B funding at a $300 million pre-money valuation. Sapphire Ventures led, and was joined by SaaStr, Alven, Amplify Partners, CRV and Greycroft. http://axios.link/AVhR
• Boast.ai, a Vancouver-based provider of R&D tax automation software, raised $23 million in Series A funding led by Radian Capital. http://axios.link/OJh0
🚑 PrinterPrezz, a San Francisco-based med device 3D printing startup, raised $16 million in Series A funding. D. One Vision Management led, and was joined by Boutique Venture Partners, Berkeley Catalyst Fund and Solvay Ventures served as strategic investor. http://axios.link/Qrle
• Iralogix, a Pittsburgh-based provider of white-label IRA products, raised $7.5 million in Series B funding. Great North Labs led, and was joined by Trog Hawley Capital, Riverfront Ventures, and Circadian Ventures. http://axios.link/M316
• CarDr.com, a Chicago-based vehicle health info startup, raised $5 million from Red Fort Capital. www.cardr.com
• Valuedesk, a German corporate savings management startup, raised €3.2 million led by UVC Partners. www.valuedesk.de
• Cosmos Video, a “Club Penguin for adults," raised $2.6 million in seed funding led by LocalGlobe. http://axios.link/PS8v
• Dobby, a Washington, D.C.-based home maintenance platform, raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Dundee VC. www.hellodobby.com
Private Equity Deals
• Abracon, a Spicewood, Texas-based portfolio company of The Riverside Company, acquired Fox Electronics, a Fort Myers, Fla.-based maker of synchronization components. www.abracon.com
• Advent International is in advanced talks to buy the plexiglass unit of France’s Arkema (Paris: AKE) for more than €1 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/MRzr
⚡ Calisen (LSE: CLSN), a British energy infrastructure company, agreed to be taken private for £1.43 billion by an investor group that includes BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and Mubadala. http://axios.link/tV67
• CallRail, an Atlanta-based marketing and analytics platform, raised $56 million from existing backers Sageview Capital and Leaders Fund. www.callrail.com
• CVC Capital Partners agreed to buy Irrawady Green Towers, a Myanmar-based telecom tower operator for around $700 million, per Reuters. Sellers include Blu Stone Management. http://axios.link/FQm8
🚑 Freeman Spogli acquired US Med-Equip, a Houston-based renter and seller of movable medical equipment. www.usme.com
• Main Post Partners invested in Duke Cannon, a Wayzata, Minn.-based DTC men’s grooming products company. www.dukecannon.com
• New Mountain Capital acquired Tinuiti, a New York-based performance marketing firm, from Mountaingate Capital. www.tinuiti.com
• Norwest Equity Partners agreed to buy Red Monkey Foods, a Springfield, Mo.-based provider of salts and organic spices & seasonings, from SF Equity Partners. www.redmonkeyfoods.com
• Quad-C Management agreed to buy Learners Edge, an Eagan, Minn.-based provider of online professional development courses, from L Squared Capital Partners. www.learnersedge.com
• Resource Label Group, a Franklin, Tenn.-based portfolio company of First Atlantic Capital and TPG Growth, acquired Labels West, a Seattle-based provider of labels to the wine, spirits, health and beauty, food and nutraceutical industries. www.resourcelabel.com
🚑 AbCellera, Eli Lilly's partner on a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, raised $483 million in an upsized IPO. It priced at $20 per share for an initial market cap of $5.3 billion, will trade on the Nasdaq (ABCL) and raised over $100 million in VC funding from firms like DCVC (12.4% pre-IPO stake), Viking Global (8%) and Founders Fund. http://axios.link/jD8a
🚑 Certara, a Princeton, N.J.-based drug development consultancy owned by EQT Partners, raised $668 million in its IPO. The company priced 29.1 million shares at $23, versus plans to offer 24.4 million shares at $19-$22, for an initial market cap of $3.5 billion. It will list on the Nasdaq (CERT), used Jefferies as left lead underwriter, and reports $5 million of net income on $179 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2020. http://axios.link/gSmf
🚑 Nanobiotix, a French developer of nanoparticle therapies for cancer, raised $99 million in its U.S. float (Nasdaq: NBTX). It will continue to trade on the Euronext Paris (NANO). http://axios.link/qasu
• EV Charged, an e-vehicle charging unit of listed French utility Engie, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with TPG Pace Beneficial Finance (NYSE: TPGY) at a $1.4 billion valuation. http://axios.link/ZB2F
• Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli developer of lidar sensors, agreed to go public via reverse merger with Collective Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: CGRO) at a $1.4 billion valuation. It had raised $264 million from firms like China Merchants Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group, New Alliance Capital, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services and Phoenix Insurance Co. http://axios.link/LB5F
⚡ Lightning EMotors, a fleet electrification startup, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with GigCapital3 (NYSE: GIK), at a valuation of around $823 million. Lightening EMotors had raised around $27 million from backers like BP Ventures. http://axios.link/SVNF
• CBRE Acquisition Holdings, a SPAC sponsored by commercial real estate giant CBRE, raised $350 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/4CoO
• Delwinds Insurance Acquisition, an insurance-focused SPAC formed by The Gray Insurance Co., raised $175 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/QA5M
• EdtechX Holdings Acquisition, an ed-tech-focused SPAC formed by IBIS Capital, raised $100 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/kwTZ
• Globis Acquisition, an economic globalization-focused SPAC formed by Globis Capital Advisors and Chardan, raised $100 million. http://axios.link/MUtp
• Gores Holdings VI, a SPAC formed by The Gores Group, raised $300 million in its IPO.
• Motive Capital, a fintech-focused SPAC formed by Motive Partners, raised $360 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/UMhZ
• Roth CH Acquisition II, a SPAC formed by execs at Roth Capital and Craig-Hallum, raised $100 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/qQkP
• Senior Connect Acquisition I, a senior market-focused SPAC formed by former UnitedHealth CEO Richard Burke, raised $360 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/OtgD
• Thayer Ventures Acquisition, a travel and transport-focused SPAC formed by Thayer Ventures, raised $150 million. http://axios.link/e5Ji
• Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS) agreed to buy Origin, a San Francisco-based 3D printing startup, for up to $100 million in cash and stock. Origin had raised around $12 million from firms like Floodgate, Haystack, Liquid 2 Ventures and OATV. http://axios.link/r8Pf
• TechTarget (Nasdaq: TTGT) agreed to buy BrightTalk, a San Francisco-based video marketing platform for webinars and virtual events. Sellers include Guidepost Growth Equity. http://axios.link/PATV
• Wolters Kluwer (Amst: WKL) agreed to buy eOriginal, a Baltimore-based provider of residential mortgage lending software, for around €231 million. Sellers include LLR Partners. http://axios.link/e8kk
• Hyundai Motor Group agreed to buy an 80% stake in robotics company Boston Dynamics from SoftBank at a $1.1 billion enterprise value. http://axios.link/nams
• LVMH is seeking a buyer for men’s clothing brand Thomas Pink, per The Evening Standard. http://axios.link/S8qr
• MetLife (NYSE: MET) agreed to sell its U.S. property and casualty insurance business for $3.94 billion to Zurich Insurance Group and Los Angeles-based Farmers Exchanges. http://axios.link/iO4m
⚡ Repsol (BME: REP), a Spanish energy company, is seeking to sell a 25% stake in its client business unit for around €2.5 billion, per Cinco Dias. http://axios.link/klBw
• GoldPoint Partners, an affiliate of New York Life, raised $556 million for its fifth private debt fund, per an SEC filing. http://axios.link/ENI6
• Miles Grimshaw is switching venture shops, leaving Thrive Capital to become a general partner with Benchmark.
- He'll relocate from New York to San Francisco, and serve as Benchmark's fifth actively investing partner (the quintet was one short after Bill Gurley pulled back).
• Sandbox Industries promoted Gretchen Hayes to managing director. www.sandboxindustries.com
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