Aug 6, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Source: Giphy

Private equity is consolidating. Sort of.

The latest example came this morning, when London-based BC Partners announced that the sale of a minority ownership stake to rival The Blackstone Group.

  • It's similar to a growing list of recent transactions, where the buy-side is dominated by Blackstone (via a dedicated unit), Dyal Capital (an affiliate of Neuberger Berman), and Petershill (an affiliate of Goldman Sachs).
  • BC Partners held talks with all three firms, BC Partners chairman Raymond Svider tells Axios.

This isn't consolidation in a traditional sense, as Blackstone won't have any say over BC Partners' operations or investments. And private equity firms have long shared large limited partners.

But this is the first time that there have been common names within general partnerships, and we don't yet know the unintended consequences (if any). One reason private equity isn't considered a systemic risk is because neither the GPs nor their portfolio companies are typically co-dependent.

  • Svider says one deciding factor was that BC Partners can introduce its portfolio companies to Blackstone's group purchasing program, which provides discounts on everything from insurance to office supplies.
  • There were no serious considerations of doing an IPO. "I don't think we wanted the public scrutiny of publishing quarterly results, etc."
  • BC plans to use proceeds to help expand a credit business launched two years ago and a real estate business launched last year.

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast focuses on 8chan, hate's home on the Internet. I'm joined by BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick. Listen here.

  • We taped shortly after Cloudflare stopped providing its content delivery network services to 8chan, in an abrupt reversal. Got to think the move was, at least partially, related to Cloudflare's anticipated IPO, as it wouldn't want to drag the 8chan albatross around on its investor road-show.

Ink it: Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher by circulation, yesterday confirmed that it will merge with GateHouse Media, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher by number of titles. The combined company would own one of every six American newspapers.

  • The deal includes a $1.79 billion term loan provided entirely by Apollo Global Management.
  • It's Apollo's largest-ever loan, more than twice the size of the debtor-in-possession financing provided to Westinghouse Electric in 2017.
  • More importantly, it reflects how Apollo is really more of a credit firm now than a private equity firm -- with $201 billion of its $312 AUM in credit.
    • That's kind of like how The Blackstone Group is now more of a real estate firm than a private equity firm.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Mallinckrodt (NYSE: MNK) this morning said that it will suspend the planned spin-off of its specialty generics unit, which primarily makes opioid drugs, due to ongoing litigation.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because it reflects how those who (allegedly) contributed to a public health crisis are now facing a public markets crisis.
  • Bottom line: "Mallinckrodt shares have fallen almost 60% this year amid concern about the company’s possible exposure to litigation over the U.S. opioid crisis. Berenberg analyst Patrick Trucchio has estimated that generic drugmakers may be responsible for 30% of opioid-related liabilities, with Mallinckrodt facing a potential hit of as much as $6.4 billion." ⁠— John Lauerman, Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals

Cybereason, a Boston-based endpoint security startup, raised $200 million from return backer SoftBank Group.

Scale AI, a platform for AI training data, raised $100 million in Series C funding. Founders Fund led, and was joined by Accel, Coatue Management, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, Thrive Capital, and individuals.

Ibotta, a Denver-based mobile rewards platform, raised an unspecified “nine-figure” round of Series D funding led by Koch Disruptive Technologies at a $1 billion valuation.

Inari, a Cambridge, Mass.-based plant breeding startup, raised $89 million in Series C funding led by founding investor Flagship Pioneering. Others backers include Investment Corp. of Dubai, EDBI, and Acre Venture Partners.

LanzaTech, a Chicago-based waste carbon recycling company, raised $72 million in Series E funding from Novo Holdings. The company previously raised around $350 million since its 2005 founding.

Cockroach Labs, a New York-based open-source distributed database, raised $55 million in Series C funding. Altimeter Capital, Tiger Global, and GV were joined by return backers Benchmark, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Work-Bench.

• TickPick, a New York-based online ticketing marketplace, raised $40 million from PWP Growth Equity. It’s the eight year-old company’s first institutional funding round.

🚑 Exo Imaging, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of a handheld ultrasound body scanner, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Intel Capital led, ands was joined by Applied Ventures, Bold Capital, Creative Ventures, Longevity Vision Fund, Magnetar Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, OSF Healthcare, Rising Tide Fund, Sony Innovation Fund, and Wanxiang Healthcare.

Carro, a Singapore-based online auto classifieds and financing company, raised $30 million in new Series B funding (bringing the total to $90m) and also acquired Indonesia-based marketplace Jualo.

Fluent Commerce, an Australia-based order management software company, raised US$33 million in Series B funding led by Arrowroot Capital.

🚑 IVX Health, a Nashville-based operator of ambulatory infusion centers, raised $22.5 million co-led by McKesson Ventures and Health Velocity Capital.

Indifi, an Indian online lender for SMEs, raised $21 million in Series C funding. CDC Group led, and was joined by insiders Accel, Elevar Equity, Omidyar Networks, and Flourish Ventures.

Dough, a Chicago-based commission-free online broker, raised $20 million from VC-backed startup Tastytrade.

CompareAsiaGroup, a Hong Kong-based financial services marketplace, raised $20 million in Series B1 funding led by Experian.

Teralytics, a Swiss developer of mobility operating systems, raised $17.5 million. Robert Bosch VC led, and was joined by Innogy Ventures, Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, LBBW Venture Capital, Liil Ventures and insiders Atomico and Lakestar.

InCountry, a San Francisco-based data-residency-as-a-service startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding from Arbor Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Mubadala and return backers Caffeinated Capital, Felicis Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Team Builder Ventures.

Altitude Networks, a San Francisco-based cloud collaboration security platform, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Felicis Ventures led, and was joined by Slack Fund, Alex Stamos and seed backer Accomplice.

Penta, a German business banking startup for SMEs, raised €8 million. HV Holtzbrinck Ventures led, and was joined by Finleap and Fabrick.

FTX, a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange, raised $8 million from Proof of Capital, Consensus Lab, FBG, and Galois Capital.

Suralink, a Salt Lake City-based provider of workflow management software for the accounting industry, raised $5.25 million from Growth Street Partners.

DeepCode, a Swiss platform for “AI-powered” code reviews, raised $4 million in seed funding. Earlybird led, and was joined by 3VC and btov Partners.

🚑 Zero, a San Francisco-based fasting app, raised $2.8 million from True Ventures and Trinity Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

Alcumus, a UK-based portfolio company of Inflexion, invested £25 million for a majority stake in eCompliance, a Toronto-based workplace safety SaaS provider.

🚑 Blue Wolf Capital acquired RHA Health Services, an Asheville, N.C.-based provider of outpatient services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health needs, and substance abuse. Sellers include Formation Capital and Safanad, and reports put the price tag at around $300 million.

Branford Castle Partners acquired ABC Industries, a Warsaw, Ind.-based maker of flexible ventilation solutions and technical fabrics. Sellers include Babson Capital Management.

Dennis Publishing, a London-based portfolio company of Exponent, acquired Car Throttle, an auto-focused digital content site.

New State Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in Mako Steel, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based designer and maker of self-storage facilities.

Woongjin Group short-listed four bidders for a 25% stake in South Korean water purifier rental company Woongjin Coway, per a local media report. They are: Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group, SK Networks, and Haier.

Public Offerings

AMTD International, a Hong Kong-based investment bank, raised $174 million in its IPO. The company priced shares at $8.38 (within range) and will trade on the NYSE (HKIB).

Liquidity Events

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) agreed to buy Voicea, a Mountain View-based workplace voice assistant developer that had raised $20 million from Cisco, GV, Salesforce Ventures, Mindset Ventures and Battery Ventures.

🚑 Hillrom (NYS: HRC) agreed to buy Breathe Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based maker of a wearable ventilators for patients with lung diseases, for $130 million in cash. Breathe had raised around $77 million from firms like DAG Ventures, Delphi Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins.

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) agreed to buy a majority of the corporate services units of Denmark-based payments group Nets for $3.19 billion. Nets was acquired last year by a group that included Hellman & Friedman, Advent International and Bain Capital.

More M&A

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) bought Northstream, a Swedish consultant to communications and networking services providers.

Boohoo (LSE: BOOH) offered to buy the e-commerce units of women’s clothing retailers Karen Millen and Coast.

Essel Group of India is in talks to sell $350 million worth of toll road projects to an Indian sovereign wealth fund, per Bloomberg.

Kirin Holdings (Tokyo: 2503), a Japanese brewer, agreed to pay $1.21 billion for a 30.3% stake in cosmetics company Fancl (Tokyo: 4921).

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) acquired PromoteIQ, a New York-based automated vendor marketing platform.

Tencent is in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group from Vivendi (Paris: VIV) at a unit value of around $33.6 billion.


Nyca, a New York-based VC firm focused on fin-tech, raised $210 million for its third fund. It also promoted David Sica to partner and hired Stephanie Khoo (ex-Goldman Sachs) as a principal.

Silver Oak Services Partners, a lower middle-market private equity firm, raised $500 million for its fourth fund.

It's Personnel

Chinta Bhagat is joining L Catterton as co-managing partner and head of the firm’s Asia funds. He previously was head of South Asia private markets for Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Eduardo Cabral joined DFG Investment Advisors as a managing director of credit research. He previously was with Goldman Sachs. DFG also announced the promotion of Timothy Milton to partner.

• Melissa Grant left JPMorgan Asset Management to work on investor relations at Aquiline Capital Partners, per her LinkedIn page.

• Michal Katz is leaving RBC, where she was a senior tech banker, to lead investment banking for Mizuho Americas, per Bloomberg.

• Adam Marchick, a onetime Bain Capital Ventures partner who served as CEO of Alpine.AI until this past March, joined Chernin Group as an executive-in-residence, per his LinkedIn page.

🚑 Oak HC/FT promoted healthcare-focused investor Nancy Brown to general partner. It also promoted Dan Petrozzo, Matt Streisfeld, and Michelle Daubar to partner, and Ravi Singh to CFO.

Final Numbers
From KKR "Hot Spots" report. Data as at June 30, 2019. Source: BEA, Haver Analytics.

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