Axios Pro Rata

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January 19, 2021

🎧 Axios just launched a new podcast series called How It Happened, detailing the Trump White House's final months. Hosted by Jonathan Swan and co-produced by Re:Cap's Naomi Shavin. Listen via Apple, Spotify or Axios.

🚨 Breaking: Microsoft is participating in a $2 billion investment in Cruise, the self-driving company acquired by General Motors in 2016 for around $1 billion. The new deal values Cruise at $30 billion.

Top of the Morning

Illustration of a briefcase icon in the style of the TikTok logo. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump has one day left in the White House. TikTok has a lot longer left in the app stores, despite still being owned by China's ByteDance.

  • Why it matters: Trump's failure to force divestiture or eviction was more than just a blunder, or source of schadenfreude for the TikTok users who bedeviled his reelection campaign's event planners. It was part of a "talk loudly and carry a small stick" economic policy toward China that Joe Biden will inherit.

State of play: ByteDance is still engaged with CFIUS, but negotiations have been pushed to the back burner by political considerations in both the U.S. (election aftermath) and China (Jack Ma and all his situation represents).

  • Oracle and Walmart remain committed to their September 2020 deal, which was briefly lauded by Trump, but don't really have a role in the CFIUS discussions.
  • TikTok continues to be atop or nearly atop the app stores, and has not yet removed the "interim" title from CEO Vanessa Pappas.

What now: Biden has occasionally talked tough on China, including when it comes to data security, but his specific policy prescriptions are so few as to fit into a TikTok video.

  • Will he maintain or cancel Trump’s executive orders related to ByteDance, not to mention EO’s that cover other Chinese tech companies like Alipay and WeChat? Or the blacklisting of Xiaomi. Dunno.
  • What about the corresponding Commerce Department prohibitions? Dunno.
  • Will new tariffs be proposed? Or will Biden just try to get concessions from China — including on tech issues — by offering to remove tariffs introduced in Trump’s “Phase 1” deal that never got to a second phase? Dunno.
  • Meanwhile, there is bipartisan D.C. consensus on the threats posted by Chinese companies like ByteDance (whether justified or not).

The bottom line is that Biden's decisions related to TikTok could give us the earliest window into his China strategy, including what he does about a looming Feb. 18 court deadline over Trump's executive order. But there isn't any trail of breadcrumbs to follow, which means things will be as unsettled tomorrow night as they are tomorrow morning.


Illustration of George Washington with dating phrases

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Bumble, an Austin, Texas-based dating app controlled by the Blackstone Group, filed for an IPO that Renaissance Capital estimates could raise up to $900 million.

  • Why it's the BFD: CEOs often talk about IPOs being the beginning of a journey, rather than a destination, but this would be at least a satisfying stopover for Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. She quit Tinder and then sued it, formed Bumble, engaged in different litigation with Tinder owner Match Group, and used Blackstone to oust Bumble's former owner and her longtime business partner for a whole host of unsavory reasons.
  • Bottom line: "Bumble's valuation should be much higher than the $3 billion price tag pegged when Blackstone took a majority stake in late 2019. Match's shares have gone up more than 80% since early 2020; since July alone its enterprise-value-to-revenue figure has shot up more than 40% to almost 20x, according to Refinitiv. That puts Bumble's equity value at more than $10 billion, after accounting for nearly $400 million in net debt." — Lauren Silva Laughlin, BreakingViews

Venture Capital Deals

Deliveroo, a British food delivery company, raised $180 million co-led by Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity at a valuation north of $7 billion, ahead of an anticipated London IPO.

PPRO, a London-based localized payments platform, raised $180 million at a valuation north of $1 billion from Euazeo, Sprints Capital and Wellington Management.

🚑 K Health, a New York-based primary care company, raised $132 million. GGV Capital, Valor Equity Partners and Kaiser Permanente co-led, and were joined by 14W, Max Ventures, Pico Partners, Marcy Venture Partners, Primary Venture Partners and BoxGroup.

Personio, a German provider of HR software for SMBs, raised $125 million in Series D funding at a $1.7 billion post-money valuation. Index Ventures and Meritech Capital Partners co-led, and were joined by return backers Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Northzone, Global Founders Capital and Picus.

🚑 Aledade, a Bethesda, Md.-based accountable care organization, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Meritech Capital Partners led, and was joined by Tiger Global, IVP and OMERS.

Glovo, a Spanish on-demand delivery company, raised €100 million from Swiss real estate firm Stoneweg.

🌼 Bloom & Wild, a London-based flowers e-commerce company, raised £75 million in Series D funding. General Catalyst led, and was joined by Index Ventures, Novator, Latitude Ventures, D4 Ventures and return backer Burda Principal Investments.

🚑 Everlywell, an Austin, Texas-based in-home health testing platform, raised $75 million in secondary funding from HealthQuest Capital. This is at the same $1.3 billion valuation as a recent Series D round from BlackRock, TCG, Foresite Capital, Greenspring Associates, Morningside Ventures, Portfolio and return backer Highland Capital Partners.

Dunzo, an Indian hyper-local delivery service, raised $40 million in Series E funding from Google, Lightbox, Evolvence, Hana Financial, LGT Lightstone Aspada and Alteria.

DeHaat, an agricultural services platform for farmers in India, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Prosus Ventures led, and was joined by RTP Global and return backers Sequoia Capital India, FMO, Omnivore and AgFunder.

Moss, a German provider of credit cards for SMBs, raised €21 million. Valar Ventures led, and was joined by Cherry Ventures and Global Founders Capital.

Darwinbox, an Indian HR management platform, raised $15 million in Series C funding. Salesforce Ventures led, and was joined by insiders Lightspeed India and Sequoia Capital India.

LeoCare, a French insurance startup, raised €15 million from Felix Capital, Ventech and Daphni.

ProSapient, a London-based expert network management SaaS, raised $10 million led by Smedvig Capital.

Cumulus Digital Systems, a Boston-based provider of data monitoring solutions for industrial facilities raised $8 million. GEC led, and was joined by Brick & Mortar Ventures and Shell Ventures.

🚑 XP Health, a Palo Alto-based vision benefits platform, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Valor Capital Group.

Skyqraft, a Swedish electric powerline inspection startup, raised $2.2 million in seed funding led by Subvenio Invest.

Volopay, a Singapore-based “financial control center” for businesses, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Justin Mateen (Tinder co-founder) led, and was joined by Soma Capital, CP Ventures, YC and VentureSouq.

Private Equity Deals

Altamont Capital Partners invested in Kinetic Advantage, a newly-formed auto floorplan financing company led by Marty McFarland (co-founder of Dealer Services Corp.).

The Blackstone Group is in talks to buy British holiday parks operator Bourne Leisure for around £3 billion, per FT.

Core BTS, an Indianapolis-based portfolio company of Tailwind Capital, acquired Skyline Technologies, a Microsoft cloud consultancy.

CVC Capital Partners and Permira are circling German sandal maker Birkenstock, which could fetch more than €4 billion, per FT.

🚑 General Atlantic acquired a majority stake in CareMetx, a Bethesda, Md.-based hub services for patient access to specialty meds, from Vistria Group (which retains a stake).

I Squared Capital agreed to buy Atlantic Power (NYSE: AT), an independent power producer with operations in 11 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, for around $961 million.

Macquarie offered to buy Australian recycling and waste management firm Bingo Industries (ASX: BIN) for A$2.29 billion, or A$3.50 per share (28% premium to yesterday’s close).

🚑 NovaQuest acquired CoreRx, a Clearwater, Fla.-based contract development and manufacturing organization. Sellers include Signet Healthcare Partners.

Redwire, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners, acquired Oakman Aerospace, a Littleton, Colo.-based aerospace systems engineering firm.

Public Offerings

Four companies plan to go public on U.S. exchanges this week: Patria Investments, RLX Technology, MYT Netherlands and Dream Finders Homes.

🚑 Angion Biomedica, a San Francisco-based developer of therapies for acute organ injuries, filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (ANGN) and raised nearly $40 million from firms like Formic Ventures and SDL Ventures.

🚑 Apria, an Indianapolis-based home healthcare equipment company owned by The Blackstone Group, filed for an IPO that Renaissance Capital estimates could raise up to $800 million. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (APR) and reports $20 million of net income on $815 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2020.

🚑 Bolt Biotherapeutics, a Redwood City, Calif.-based immuno-oncology company, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (BOLT) and raised $158 million from Novo Holdings (17.9% pre-IPO stake), Vivo Capital (15%), Sofinnova Ventures (10%), Citadel (7.5%), RA Capital (7.5%), Pivotal BioVenture (7.1%) and Rock Springs Capital (6.8%).

🚑 Immunocore, a British developer of T-cell receptor therapies, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (IMCR) and reports a £55 million net loss on £23 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2020. It raised over $780 million from firms like General Atlantic (12.2% pre-IPO stake), Eli Lilly (7.9%), Marlin Life Sciences (7.4%), Baker Brothers (5.2%) and Schroders (5%).

🚑 Lucira Health, an Emeryville, Calif.-based developer of infectious disease test kits (including for COVID-19), filed for a $115 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to list on the Nasdaq (LHDX), and raised over $100 million from firms like EPIQ Capital (33.4% pre-IPO stake), Eclipse Ventures (21.5%), Seraph Group (8.1%), DCVC and YC.

🚑 LumiraDx, a British provider of point-of-care diagnostics (including for COVID-19), filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (LMDX), and reports a $110 million net loss on $13 million in revenue for the first half of 2020, and raised $800 million from firms like Morningside Group, North Atlantic Capital and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

PurposeBuilt Brands, a Gurnee, Ill.-based maker of cleaning and disinfecting products owned by The Carlyle Group and TA Associates, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (PBLT) and reports a $20 million net loss on $215 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2020.

🚑 Sensei Biotherapeutics, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based developer of personalized cancer drugs, filed for a $100 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to list on the Nasdaq (SNSE) and raised $93 million from firms like Cambrian Biopharma (20.8% pre-IPO stake), H&S Ventures (19.7%), Future Ventures (7.1%) and Apeiron Investment Group (6.3%).

🚑 Terns Pharma, a Foster City, Calif.-based biotech focused on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and other liver diseases, filed for a $100 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to list on the Nasdaq (TERN), and raised nearly $200 million from Lilly Asia Ventures (37.5% pre-IPO stake), OrbiMed (20.1%), Vivo Capital (13.3%), Deerfield Management (10.4%), Samsara Capital and Suvretta Capital Management.

🚑 Vor Biopharma, a Cambridge, Mass.-based engineered cell therapy company, filed for a $150 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to list on the Nasdaq (VOR) and raised $156 million from firms like RA Capital (30.6% pre-IPO stake), 5AM Ventures (23.8%), PureTech Health (12.4%), Fidelity (10.6%), J&J, Pagliuca Family Office, Alexandria Venture Investments and Osage University Partners.

WeTrade Group, a Chinese e-commerce services platform, filed for a $121 million float that would transfer its listing from the OTC to the Nasdaq (WETG).

SPAC Stuff

Ares Acquisition Corp., a SPAC formed by Ares Management, filed for a $600 million IPO.

🎲 Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp, a SPAC led by James Zenni (Z Capital Partners) and Mary Beth Higgins (CEO of Affinity Gaming), filed for a $150 million IPO.

Jaws Mustang Acquisition Corp, Barry Sternlicht's second SPAC, filed for a $750 million IPO.

🎵 Music Acquisition Corp., a music sector-focused SPAC led by Neil Jacobson, filed for a $200 million IPO.

Spartan Acquisition III, a North American energy-focused SPAC formed by Apollo Global Management, filed for a $400 million IPO.

Sustainable Development Acquisition I Corp., a SPAC formed by Capricorn Investment Group, filed for a $250 million IPO.

Thimble Point Acquisition, a tech-focused SPAC led by Elon Boms, filed for a $200 million IPO.

Liquidity Events

CVC Capital Partners is seeking a buyer for AOC, a composite-resins business that could fetch more than $2 billion, per Bloomberg.

OpenGate Capital agreed to sell Bois & Matériaux, a French building products distributor, to Chausson Matériaux.

Vista Equity Partners agreed to sell work collaboration platform Wrike for $2.25 billion to Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS).

More M&A

Akzo Nobel (AMS: AKZA) offered to buy listed Finnish paint-maker Tikkurila for €1.4 billion, topping an existing €1.24 billion deal with PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG).

Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM) agreed to buy Dearborn, Mich.-based 3D printing company EnvisionTEC for $300 million in cash and stock.


Crossbeam, a VC firm focused on "platform economy" startups, raised $25 million for its debut fund.

Sheridan Capital Partners, a Chicago-based buyout firm, raised $306 million for its second fund.

It's Personnel

Jeff Housenbold is stepping down as a managing partner of SoftBank Vision Fund, as Axios scooped last Friday night.

  • Why it matters: Housenbold, the onetime CEO of Shutterfly, led SVF investments in such companies as DoorDash, Compass, Katerra, Plenty, Rappi and Memphis Meats. Plus some less successful ones, like Brandless and Wag.
  • He tells me that he's considering both CEO opportunities and raising his own growth equity fund, although he clearly sounds more interested in the latter than in the former. No, he's not planning to lead a SPAC.

The Blackstone Group added two senior advisors: Jeff Margolis chairman and former CEO of Welltok and also the former chairman and CEO of TriZetto; and Gen. David Goldfein, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.

Isaiah Boone joined Sequoia Capital as a partner on its growth team. He previously was with Leonard Green & Partners.

Stéphane Chevrier is joining private equity secondaries firm BEX Capital as a partner and head of origination. He previously was with Invesco Private Capital.

Eight Roads Ventures, a VC firm backed by Fidelity, promoted Betty Cai and Ju Zhang to partners on its China team.

Maelle Gavet, former COO at real estate startup Compass, joined Techstars as CEO. She succeeds co-founder David Brown, who will remain on the Techstars board.

Pathway promoted Simon Lau to managing director and head of its Hong Kong office.

Frances Townsend, former homeland security advisor to President George W. Bush and executive vice chair of MacAndrews & Forbes, joined Investcorp's board of directors.

Tom Zhang joined VC firm Section 32 as head of data. He's a former engineering partner with GV who most recently was senior director of applied science at WeWork.

Final Numbers: Tech M&A outlook

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence/451 Research survey of 89 tech M&A professionals

More S&P survey results:

  • 80% of respondents said the incoming Biden administration will have a neutral (43%) or positive (37%) impact on tech M&A over the next 24 months, although 82% expect corporate tax policy to gain in importance.
  • 61% expect an increase in private equity activity in tech, nearly double the amount from the prior year's survey.

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