Jul 26, 2017

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning

• Horse race: Private equity firm Z Capital Partners has acquired the parent company of Daily Racing Form, which has been covering horse-racing for more than 100 years. Since there is nothing we media folks like more than to discuss media, I spent some time on the phone this morning with Z Capital's Jim Zenni. Takeaways:

  • History: Private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners bought Daily Racing Form in a secondary buyout for a highly-levered $170-$190 million in 2007. But it never really could pull off the digital transformation so, several years back, it defaulted and control went to the banks. Z Capital first looked four or five years ago during an initial auction process that never got consumated, and got a call when the banks restarted the process several months ago.
  • Counterintuitive: Zenni says the company pulled off the digital switch under bank control, and that the digital margins are actually higher than were the print margins. That's not how most newspapers have viewed the world, but he argues that DRF is more of a data provider than an ad-driven news provider. Moreover, DRF now has a major online betting component.
  • Trendlines: "Obviously attendance at tracks have declined, but the amount of online wagering has increased a bit. And the amount of advanced deposit wageting has been growing at between 15% to 20% per year."
  • Sin clauses: Zenni says that the deal shouldn't cause too much LP heartburn, given that his firm already owns casinos.

• Oh Snap: The first set of lock-up expirations on Snap stock hits Monday, with early investors (save for those with board reps) allowed to sell up to 400 million shares. Two weeks later, employees will be able to sell another 782 million shares (just days after Snap reports Q2 results). For context on the initial lock-ups: Snap closed trading yesterday at $13.89 per share. That's well above what early investors paid, but well below the $15.36 per share price that Series F backers paid in the middle of last year (after a 2:1 dividend).

  • Bottom line: I've spoken with three people who will have the option to sell next week, and each of them say they are still struggling with the decision.

• Central banksters: President Trump sounded open to the idea of reappointing Fed chair Janet Yellen when her term expires in February, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Then he was asked if current economic advisor Gary Cohn is also a candidate. Trump's reply: "He doesn't know this, but yes, he is."

• Blocked chain: The SEC yesterday said that digital asset sales like initial coin offerings (ICOs) may be subject to securities laws: "The innovative technology behind these virtual transactions does not exempt securities offerings and trading platforms from the regulatory framework designed to protect investors and the integrity of the markets."

  • More from Kia: So far, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised through ICOs, including the most recent record-breaker, Tezos, which brought in $232 million earlier this month.

• That didn't last long: Ben Nasarin has quietly stepped down as a general partner with Silicon Valley VC firm Canvas Ventures, less than two years after joining. He previously was president of TriplePoint Capital's venture capital subsidiary, participating in seed rounds for such companies as Dropcam, Lending Club and Zenefits. Per Canvas: "Ben has left to pursue a platform where seed is a more significant part of the investment mix. We wish him well."


Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce giant, reportedly has agreed to buy smaller rival Snapdeal for upwards of $950 million, after a cheaper offer was rejected earlier this month. The only trouble is that Flipkart's co-founders reportedly oppose the deal, so the Snapdeal board (which includes reps from SoftBank and Nexus Venture Partners) are kicking the final decision to the company's broader investor group, which includes BlackRock, eBay and Bessemer Venture Partners.

  • Why it's the BFD: If accepted, this would be a massive haircut for Snapdeal, which was valued at $6.5 billion by private investors just last summer. Even if Flipkart benefits from Indian e-commerce consolidation, it's hard to see how those rolled-over Snapdeal shareholders ever recover the difference. And, remember, Flipkart has seen its own private valuation fall from $15 billion to below $12 billion.
  • Bottom line: "Snapdeal and Flipkart have a history of animosity born from years of competing as the two largest local players in India's expanding e-commerce market. SoftBank, which has nearly a third of Snapdeal shares, and Tiger Global Management, which holds a substantial stake in Flipkart, have been pushing the two competitors to merge so they can create a stronger local company to find off Amazon.com Inc." — Saritha Rai, Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals

• WalkMe, a San Francisco-based guidance engagement platform for the enterprise market, has raised $75 million in new VC funding led by existing shareholder Insight Venture Partners. The company previously raised $92 million from Insight, Greenspring Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Giza Venture Capital and Gemini Israel Ventures. http://for.tn/2uYWQE0

🚑 Complexa, a Radnor, Penn.-based developer of drugs for orphan fibrosis and inflammation-related diseases, has raised $62 million in Series C funding. NEA and Pfizer Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, HBM Healthcare Investments and return backers like Jafco. www.complexarx.com

• Momenta, a Beijing-based developer of autonomous vehicle software, has raised $46 million in Series B funding. NIO Capital, Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Shunwei Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Unity Ventures and Daimler. http://tcrn.ch/2eMlO3p

🚑 VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, a Malvern, Penn.-based antibiotics developer, has raised $42 million in Series B funding. Versant Ventures led the round, and was joined by Abingworth and Foresite Capital. http://bit.ly/2vYLuwY

• August Home, a San Francisco-based maker of smart locks and other smart home access products, has raised $25 million in Series C funding from insiders Bessemer Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures, Maveron and Qualcomm Ventures. www.august.com

🏨 Leesa Sleep, a Virginia Beach, Va.-based direct-to-consumer online luxury mattress retailer, has raised $23 million in Series B funding. One Better Ventures (led by Seventh Generation CEO John Replogle) led the round, and was joined by Blake Myocoskie (founder of TOMS). http://cnb.cx/2tE8pkl

• 6 River Systems, a Boston-based developer of a robotic fulfillment system, has raised $15 million in new VC funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. www.6river.com

• HanSight, a Beijing-based cybersecurity startup, has raised $14 million in Series B funding co-led by Cash Capital Investment Management and IDG Capital. http://bit.ly/2tCher3

🚑 Signature Medical, a UK-based developer of a wearable device focused on heart failure evaluation and monitoring, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Riot Ventures, Bose Corp. and existing backer Allied Minds.

• BrandTotal, an Israeli platform for identifying competitors' "dark marketing" efforts, has raised $2 million in seed funding. Gilot Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by KDC Media Fund. www.brandtotal.com

• Cleo, a London-based provider of a chatbot for personal finance management, has raised £2 million in new VC funding led by LocalGlobe. http://tcrn.ch/2eMVwxS

Private Equity Deals

• Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice reportedly are working together on a takeover offer for the spreads division of Unilever, which could be valued at around £6 billion, according to The Times of London. http://bit.ly/2tYLbAM

• EagleTree Capital has agreed to acquire Corsair, a Fremont, Calif.-based maker of PC components and gaming peripherals, from shareholders like Francisco Partners at an enterprise value of $525 million. www.corsair.com

• Huntsman Family Investments has completed its previously-announced purchase of telecom provider GTA TeleGuam from Japanese private equity firm Advantage Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. The company previously was sold to Indonesia SOE for nearly $300 million, but that deal was blocked by U.S. regulators due to national security concerns. http://bit.ly/2kq7C0Y

• KPS Capital Partners has acquired DexKo Global, an Elkhart, Ind.-based maker of trailer axles and running gear components, from The Sterling Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.dexteraxle.com

Liquidity Events

• Platte River Equity has completed its sale of ACT Independent Turbo Services, a Houston-based gas and steam turbine repair company, to South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2uwzrcc

More M&A

• Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) reportedly is in talks to pay around $200 million for a 20% stake in Indian online grocery Bigbasket. http://bit.ly/2eNgj48

• BNP Paribas has agreed to acquire the 50% stake it doesn't already hold in Italian non-life insurance company Cargeas Assicurazioni from Belgium's Ageas. No financial terms were disclosed. http://reut.rs/2tCJmu1

• Ceconomy of Germany has agreed to acquire a 24.33% stake in listed French electronics retailer Fnac Darty from a holding company owned by Francois Henri Pinault, for around €452 million. http://reut.rs/2uAAwhI

• Global Eagle Entertainment (Nasdaq: ENT), a Los Angeles-based provider of content for the travel industry, has canceled a proposed $416 million investment from China's HNA Group, after the deal did not receive CFIUS approval by an agreed-upon date. http://reut.rs/2uwBXPH

• Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME) is seeking a buyer for magazine brands Coastal Living, Sunset and Golf, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that the company is in early talks to sell its UK unit, which includes Horse & Hound and Marie Claire UK. All of this comes one day after a report that Time also is hoping to unload Essence. https://bloom.bg/2h0TmLG

• ZF Friedrichshafen, a German auto parts maker, recently held "advanced takeover talks" with $7.5 billion Belgian rival Wabco (NYSE: WBC), but the negotiations ultimately collapsed, per the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2uxS9P8


• LiveOak Venture Partners is raising up to $110 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. www.liveoakvp.com

TenOneTen Ventures is raising up to $50 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. www.tenoneten.net

It's Personnel

• Jessica Cohen has rejoined TA Associates as a Boston-based vice president. She is a onetime associate with the firm, who later was an investment banking analyst at Sagent Advisors. TA Associates also announced that both Stefan Dandl and Jérémy Dréan were promoted to vice president in London. www.ta.com

• Jonathan Knauss has joined Raymond James as a Chicago-based managing director of financial services investment banking. He previously was with Hovde Group. www.raymondjames.com

• Philip Yau has joined GI Partners as a managing director and head of investor relations and co-investments. He previously was with UBS Private Funds Group. www.gipartners.com

Final Numbers
Dan Primack