Aug 5, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

Monday greetings from the home office. Shorter edition today, as I'm dealing with the aftermath of E fracturing her foot by doing gymnastics into a dresser. Pro tip: Don't do that.

"Top of the Morning" will return tomorrow...


Source: Giphy

Kayco of Brooklyn agreed to buy rival U.S. kosher food company Manischewitz for an undisclosed amount.

  • Why it's the BFD: Deal-makers often refer to their transactions as being kosher, but this time it's literal. Also, this gives Kayco the country's top maker of matzo (albeit not of kosher wine, as Manischewitz sold its iconic syrup sauce to Constellation Brands more than 20 years ago).
  • Bottom line: "Since by some estimates the two companies make up more than 50% of the kosher market, the announcement was seen in the kosher world as the equivalent of General Motors acquiring Ford. In theory, it could raise questions about whether Kayco was becoming a monopoly and what that might mean for kosher food prices, already considerably higher than those of non-kosher equivalents." ⁠— Joseph Berger, NY Times
Venture Capital Deals

• Fever, a Madrid and London-based social event discovery platform, raised $35 million. Rakuten Group led, and was joined by Atresmedia, Accel and Michael Zeisser.

• SmartNews, a Tokyo-based news aggregation app, raised $28 million in Series E funding at a $1.1 billion post-money valuation. Japan Post Capital led and was joined by return backers Development Bank of Japan, SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest.

🚑 Lucira Health, an Emeryville, Calif.-based developer of non-instrument molecular infectious disease testing products, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Seraph Group led, and was joined by Eclipse Ventures, DCVC, YC and Sunstone Management.

🚑 Hello Heart, a blood pressure lowering app, raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Khosla Ventures.

• Romeo Systems, a Vernon, Calif.-based developer of power systems for electric vehicles, raised $4 million from HG Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

• Apax Partners agreed to buy a majority stake in German portable toilet maker ADCO. No financial terms were disclosed, but prior reporting said the deal could value ADCO at upwards of €800 million.

• Cobham (LSE: COB), a British defense and aerospace group, said it would solicit other takeover offers after its £4 billion agreement with Advent International was criticized by Cobham’s largest shareholder.

• Highlander Partners bought Evans Food Group, a Chicago-based pork rinds maker, from Wind Point Partners.

• Mill Rock Capital, an affiliate of Stellex Capital Management, is supporting the merger of U.S. metal recyclers Venture Metals/SI Metallics with Versatile Processing Group.

• Pamplona Capital Management agreed to buy Loparex, a Dutch maker of silicone release liners, from Intermediate Capital Group.

• Shermco Industries, an Irving, Texas-based portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, acquired Southwest Energy Systems, a Phoenix-based provider of third-party electrical testing and engineering services for commercial electrical systems.

Public Offerings

• Five companies plan to go public on U.S. exchanges this week: AMTD International, InMode, WiMi Hologram Cloud, and Flux Power.

Liquidity Events

• Reliance Industries, the Indian conglomerate, agreed to buy an 87.6% stake in Fynd, an Indian startup that helps physical retailers sell online, for around $42 million. Fynd had raised VC funding firms like CapitalG and IIFL Seed Ventures.

More M&A

⛽ Air Products (NYSE: APD) completed its previously-announced purchase of GE Power’s gasification business.

• Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hail giant, today spun its autonomous driving unit out into an independent company.

• Elliott Management is urging German classifieds company Scout24 to sell its car listings unit and increase share buybacks. Earlier this year, The Blackstone Group and Hellman & Friedman failed to get Scout24 shareholder approval for a proposed €4.9 billion takeover.

• Fox Corp. (Nasdaq: FOXA) agreed to buy San Francisco-based online finance broker Credible Labs (ASX: CRD) for US$397 million.

• ReAssure, the UK-based affiliate of reinsurer Swiss Re, agreed to buy the life insurance and pensions unit of Quilter (LSE: QLT) for £425 million.

• Takeaway (Amsterdam: TKWY) agreed to but fellow food delivery company Just Eat (LSE: JE) in an all-stock deal that values Just Eat at nearly £5 billion.

• David Thomson, a Canadian billionaire, agreed to buy a 15% stake in Argentinian digital bank Brubank.

⛽ Total SA (Paris: FP) agreed to sell a 30% stake in the French pipeline network Tapil to crude oil storage company Pisto SAS for €260 million.

It's Personnel

• John Flint stepped down as CEO of European lender HSBC, after less than two years on the job.

• Jenny Lee joined SoftBank Vision Fund as head of U.S. talent acquisition, per her LinkedIn page. She previously was a senior talent partner with Citadel.

• Paul Seitz joined Monroe Capital as a San Francisco-based vice president, per his LinkedIn page. He previously was a VP with TriplePoint Capital.

Final Numbers
Expand chart
Data: Coindesk; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bitcoin (and gold) prices have soared as hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal have diminished, particularly this morning with news that the yuan "broke 7."

  • The big unknown: Is this jump reflective of bitcoin being used to enable capital flight from China?
  • Pro Rata Podcast talks with "Bitcoin Billionaires" author Ben Mezrich. Listen here.

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