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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Good people quit good jobs to join Ozy Media. They believed in its mission, its leadership and its potential for wealth creation. Investors cut big checks in good faith. They were all betrayed.
The big picture: A horde of sources described a pattern of bad behavior, well beyond the failed fraud that was first reported Sunday by the NY Times.
What happened yesterday: Do you have a minute?
Marc Lasry stepped down from Ozy Media's board, saying: "I believe that going forward Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise."
Watson in 2019 also told CNBC that Sharon and Ozzy Osborne had invested in his company. Sharon now says that never happened, adding: "This guy is the biggest shyster I have ever seen in my life."
But wait, there's more, per new reporting by me and Axios' Sara Fischer:
The bottom line: All we know for sure about Ozy is that there's bad news to come.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Five9 (Nasdaq: FIVN) shareholders rejected a takeover offer from Zoom (Nasdaq: ZM), prompting the companies to mutually terminate the deal.
• Built Technologies, a Nashville-based construction finance platform, raised $125 million in Series D funding at a $1.5 billion valuation. TCV led, and was joined by Brookfield Technology Partners, 9Yards Capital, XYZ Venture Capital and HighSage Ventures. http://axios.link/btSL
• PSPDFkit, an Austrian developer of APIs and an SDK for document processing features in apps, raised €100 million from Insight Partners. http://axios.link/Q72L
• Materialize, a New York-based streaming SQL database startup, raised $60 million in Series C funding. Redpoint Ventures led, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed Venture Partners. www.materialize.com
🚑 Activ Surgical, a Boston-based digital surgery startup, raised $45 million in Series B funding. Cota Capital led, and was joined by BAM Funds, Magnetar Capital, Mint Ventures, Castor Ventures, Dream One Vision and Nvidia. http://axios.link/PK6Y
🚑 Wider Circle, a Redwood City, Calif.-based hyper-local healthcare program and in-person social network for seniors, raised $38 million in Series B funding. AmeriHealth Caritas led, and was joined by Blue Venture Fund and Chicago Ventures. www.widercircle.com
• Forta, a smart contracts security service formed by OpenZeppelin, raised $23 million led by Andreessen Horowitz. http://axios.link/VnAH
• Higo, a Mexico City-based B2B payments platform for SMBs, raised $23 million in Series A funding. Accel led, and was joined by Tiger Global, Haystack, Homebrew, Audacious, Susa Ventures and J Ventures. http://axios.link/fLHF
🚑 Hemanext, a Lexington, Mass.-based blood storage tech startup, raised $15 million funding from backers like Antaeus Enterprises, Stephen Eckert and Omega Advisors. http://axios.link/05hy
• QisstPay, a Pakistani BNPL startup, raised $15 million in seed funding. MSA Capital led, and was joined by Global Founders Fund, Fox Ventures and First Check Ventures. http://axios.link/lPET
• GTCR acquired PPC Flexible Packaging, a Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based flexographic printing company. www.ppcflex.com
• KKR agreed to buy Australian outsourcing company Probe Group from Quadrant Private Equity and Five V Capital. No financial terms were disclosed, but Bloomberg previously reported a A$1.2 billion price. http://axios.link/SiGh
🍕 Meritage Group bought Lou Malnati’s, a Chicago-style pizza chain, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/gHgn
🚑 TPG and Malaysia's Johor Corp. are prepping a takeover bid for listed Malaysian hospital operator KPJ Healthcare, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/RIru
🚑 Exscientia, a British AI drug discovery startup, raised $305 million in its IPO. It priced at the high end of its $20–$22 range, for a $2.6 billion market value, will list on the Nasdaq (EXAI) and raised over $400 million from firms like SoftBank, Evotec, Novo Holdings, BlackRock, Celgene, GT Healthcare Partners, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Casdin Capital. http://axios.link/yANJ
🥞 First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based breakfast and lunch restaurant chain with over 420 U.S. locations, raised $170 million in its IPO. It priced at $18 ($17–$20 range), for a $1 billion market value, will list on the Nasdaq (FWRG) and reports nearly $2 million of net income on $281 million in revenue for the first half of 2021. Backers include Advent International. http://axios.link/OwWR
• Oyo, an Indian hotel chain, filed to raise over $1.1 billion in a local IPO. It has raised over $3 billion in private funding, most recently at a $9.6 billion valuation, from backers like SoftBank, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners Microsoft and Airbnb. http://axios.link/oCGu
• TDCX, a Singapore-based provider of customer experience solutions to tech companies, raised $348 million in its IPO. It priced at the high end of its $16–$18 range, will list on the NYSE (TDCX), and reports $33 million of profit on $187 million in revenue for the first half of 2021. http://axios.link/ebdV
• Parallel, a multi-state cannabis operator, and the Scooter Braun-backed SPAC Ceres Acquisition Corp. mutually terminated their $1.89 billion merger. http://axios.link/AVIp
🌼 Sun Capital Partners is seeking a buyer for Flamingo Horticulture, a British provider of flowers to supermarkets that could fetch more than €1 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/wlY2
• Voodoo, a French casual mobile games maker valued by VCs at $2 billion, agreed to buy Beach Bum, an Israeli developer of tabletop and card videogames that had been seeded by Saban Capital Group, 83North and iAngels. http://axios.link/KG97
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
• Starboard Value and Elliott Management have taken stakes in Willis Towers Watson (Nasdaq: WLTW), per the WSJ, just months after its $34 billion merger with rival insurance broker Aon (NYSE: AON) was blocked by U.S. antitrust regulators. http://axios.link/IMpw
• Arctic Wolf Networks, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security operations center-as-a-service company valued by VCs at $4.3 billion, bought Habitu8, an LA-based security training and awareness content platform. http://axios.link/NdDV
• Franklin Resources, a mutual funds manager, agreed to buy O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, a custom index firm with around $6.4 billion in AUM. http://axios.link/fzwD
• PIF, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, hired banks to sell part of its 70% stake in Saudi Telecom Co., in a deal that could fetch nearly $13 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/vv4b
• Singapore Telecom sold a 70% stake in its Australian tower network to AustralianSuper for A$1.9 billion. http://axios.link/TKIP
• Sony (Tokyo: 6758) acquired Bluepoint Games, an Austin, Texas-based gaming studio whose titles include "Shadow of the Colossus." http://axios.link/A2sQ
• Counterpart Ventures, launched by Patrick Eggen (ex-Qualcomm Ventures) and Joe Saijo (ex-Recruit Strategic Partners), raised $110 million for its debut fund. http://axios.link/RPyj
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