Axios Pro Rata

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December 21, 2021

Tomorrow's edition will be our last one of the year, so be sure to send over any news or news tips that won't hold until 2022. OK, here goes the penultimate...

Top of the Morning

Illustration of a giant stack of money in a briefcase

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

2021 isn't quite over yet, but it's already been a record-breaking year for mergers and acquisitions.

(Wait. That's just not quite right. Restart...)

2021 isn't quite over yet, but it's already been a record-shattering, eviscerating, gralloching year for mergers and acquisitions.

  • Global M&A topped $5.5 trillion through last Thursday, including more than $2.4 trillion for U.S. targets, per Refinitiv.
  • And that was before Oracle agreed to pay $28 billion for Cerner or BMO agreed to pay $16.3 billion for Bank of the West. Preliminary year-end data will be released by Refinitiv late next week.
  • For context, global M&A never previously topped $3.5 trillion. The prior U.S. peak was around $1.55 trillion.

Private equity-backed deals also hit new highs, topping $1 trillion for the first time ever. Ditto for venture capital (almost no matter how you define it) and SPACs.

What to know: This isn't just about the dollars, which could be partially explained away by equity valuation inflation. There's also been an unprecedented number of deals, topping 58,000 globally and 14,400 in the U.S.

Look ahead: Dealmakers say that 2022 will be another very strong year, but there are reasons to expect at least a little pullback.

  • Some of those are things that will happen next year, like interest rate hikes and a contentious U.S. election season.
  • Some are about 2021 being in the sweet spot for deal activity, which 2022 won't match. For example, deals got pulled forward into 2021 because of tax code change concerns. And there also were deals that should have gotten done in 2020, but were delayed for COVID reasons.

The bottom line: Yeah, gralloching.


Illustration of a hand pulling the Forbes logo off-screen

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

GSV Capital is putting together a private buyout bid for Forbes, to rival the media company's August agreement to go public via a SPAC called Magnum Opus (NYSE: OPA), Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva and Sara Fischer report.

Why it's the BFD: This comes against the backdrop of BuzzFeed's grim post-public performance, plus long-simmering tensions between Forbes majority owner TC Yam and company heir Steve Forbes.

Details: GSV would value Forbes at around $620 million, which is just below the $630 million implied price of the Magnum Opus deal.

The bottom line: Forbes had been pursuing a private sale prior to its SPAC agreement, but it's unclear if it will switch horses.

Venture Capital Deals

MoMo, a Vietnamese mobile payments app, raised around $200 million at a valuation north of $2 billion. Mizho Bank led, and was joined by Ward Ferry and insiders Goodwater Capital and Kora Management.

Veho, a New York-based next-day package delivery startup, raised $125 million in Series A funding at a $1 billion valuation. General Catalyst led, and was joined by Construct Capital, Bling Capital, Industry Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and Origin Ventures.

Voi Technology, a Stockholm-based e-scooter rental startup, raised $115 million in Series D funding. Raine Group and VNV Global co-led, and were joined by Ilmarinen, Nineyards Equity, ICT Capital and insiders Inbox Capital, Nordic Ninja, Stena Sessan and Kreos Capital., a Boise, Idaho-based software listing platform, raised $100 million in Series C funding at a $1.25 billion valuation. Coatue and Andreessen Horowitz co-led, and were joined by Bessemer Venture Partners.

Zepto, an Indian 10-minute grocery delivery service, raised $100 million in Series C funding. YC Continuity led, and was joined by Glade Brook, Nexus, Breyer Capital, Lachy Groom, Global Founders Capital and Contrary Capital.

Turing, a Palo Alto-based engineer HR platform, raised $87 million in Series D funding at a $1.1 billion valuation. WestBridge Capital led, and was joined by Foundation Capital, StepStone Group, AltaIR Capital, HR Tech Investments, Brainstorm Ventures, Frontier Ventures, Modern Venture Partners and Plug & Play.

• Addi, a Bogota-based BNPL startup, raised $80 million from GIC and SoftBank at a valuation north of $700 million. It also secured $125 million in debt led by Goldman Sachs.

PlainID, an Israeli provider of cybersecurity, authorization and ID access management solutions, raised $75 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led, and was joined by Itai Tsiddon and Viola Ventures.

Yumi, an L.A.-based fresh baby food brand, raised $67 million in new funding. Jazz Venture Partners led, and was joined by new investors AF Ventures and Anne Wojcicki.

🚑 Ambys Medicines, a South S.F.-based biotech focused on severe liver diseases, raised $47 million in new Series A funding (round now totals $107m). Third Rock Ventures led, and was joined by Takeda, Schroders Capital, Laurion Capital, Smilegate Investment and Alexandria Venture Investments.

🚑 DermBiont, a Boston-based developer of topical therapeutics for skin diseases, raised $28 million in Series A2 funding from Pivotal Life Sciences, Viking Global Investors, Olive Tree Capital, Toba Capital and Civilization Ventures. It also bought Chromaderm, developer of a topical inhibitor of melanin production.

Kneron, a San Diego- and Taipei-based chipmaker for autonomous vehicles, raised $25 million. Lite-On Technology led, and was joined by Alltek, PalPilot, Sand Hill Angels and Gaingels.

Vivi, an Australian online tutoring infrastructure platform, raised A$20 million from Quad Partners.

Volumental, a Stockholm-based provider of computer vision solutions for brands and retailers, raised $13 million. CNI led, and was joined by Backstage Invest and Abanico Invest.

SupplyShift, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based platform for sustainable supply chains, raised $10 million. Buoyant Ventures led, and was joined by HSBC, Impact Engine, AiiM Partners, Working Capital, Valuestream Ventures and Supply Chain Ventures.

Planet42, a South African car subscription service, raised $6 million led by Naspers. It also secured $24 million in debt.

Adventr, an interactive streaming platform, raised $5 million in seed funding. Paladin Capital led, and was joined by Reinventure Capital, In Visible Ventures and John Legend.

LiveFlow, a Redwood City, Calif.-based fintech that syncs company data from accounting services, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Moonfire Ventures led, and was joined by YC, WndrCo and Seedcamp.

Woola, an Estonian wool packaging startup, raised €2.5 million in seed funding led by Future Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

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Source: Giphy

KKR and music company BMG bought the music interests of ZZ Top, including its publishing catalog, income from recorded royalties and performance royalties.

Advent International acquired a majority stake in Encora, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based outsourced software developer, from Warburg Pincus (which retains a minority stake).

Arcline Investment Management acquired a control stake in American Holt, a Norwood, Mass.-based provider of aftermarket replacement parts for production and processing machinery.

AVI-SPL, a Tampa, Fla.-based portfolio company of Marlin Equity Partners, bought SKC Communications, a Kansas City-based provider of AV and unified communications solutions.

Blackstone bought a majority stake in Supergoop, a San Antonio, Texas-based sunscreen brand.

CVC Growth Funds invested in Unily, a British employee experience platform.

Elliot Management and Vista Equity Partners reportedly are considering a joint takeover bid for Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), with the news driving its market cap past $10.4 billion.

🚑 FFL Partners and Two Sigma Impact acquired a majority stake in Community Medical Services, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based opioid treatment program provider.

🚑 Insightful Science, a San Diego-based portfolio company of Insight Partners, acquired Protein Metrics, a Cupertino, Calif.-based provider of biopharma protein characterization and proteomics analysis software.

• Rock Mountain Capital agreed to buy a 49% stake in PurposeBuilt Brands, a Gurnee Ill.-based maker of cleaning and disinfection products, from Carlyle at around a $1.6 billion valuation (including debt), per Bloomberg.

San Francisco Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in Rustic Bakery, a Petaluma, Calif.-based specialty cracker maker.

Public Offerings

🥃 Allied Blenders & Distillers, an Indian whiskey maker, is considering a 2022 IPO that could raise up to $300 million at a $2.5 billion valuation, per Bloomberg.

SPAC Stuff

Allwyn, a Czech lottery operator, is in talks to go public via Cohn Robbins Holdings (NYSE: CRHC), the SPAC led by Gary Cohn and Clifton Robbins, per Bloomberg. Company investors include Apollo Global Management, and KKCG.

Global Logistics Properties of Singapore is prepping a U.S. IPO for its investment arm, per the WSJ.

Embraer of Brazil agreed to bring its eVTOL unit (Eve) public via Zanite Acquisition (Nasdaq: ZNTE) at around a $2.4 billion valuation.

Liquidity Events

Presidio Petroleum, a portfolio company of Morgan Stanley Energy Partners, is in talks to buy around 5,000 shale wells from ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), per Reuters.

🚑 Sanofi (Paris: SASY) agreed to buy South S.F.-based immune-oncology company Amunix Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion (plus up to $225m in earnouts). Amunix raised around $200 million from Frazier Healthcare Partners, Longitude Capital, Omega Funds, Viking Global Investors, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Polartis Partners, Venrock, Redmile Group, Casdin Capital, BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, Janus Henderson, ArrowMark Partners, Avidity Partners, Clough Capital Partners and CaaS Capital Management.

🚑 Vista Equity Partners is seeking to sell or list Alegeus Technologies, a Waltham, Mass.-based healthcare payments business that could fetch $4.5 billion, per Barron’s.

More M&A

Alpargatas, a Brazilian sandal maker, is investing up to $475 million for a minority stake in Rothy's, an SF-based DTC footwear brand.

AT&T (NYSE: T) agreed to sell its Xander ad tech unit to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) for an undisclosed amount.

Blackstone Real Estate agreed to buy the Bluerock Residential Growth REIT for $3.6 billion.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. offered to buy Bollore's (Paris: BOLL) African logistics assets of for €5.7 billion.

Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) hired AlixPartners to review a possible spinoff of its Nordstrom Rack business, per Bloomberg.


Calibrate Ventures, an early-stage VC firm focused on AI and automation, raised $97 million for its second fund.

Crossbeam Venture Partners of New York raised $70 million for its second fund. LPs include Eldridge, Carta, Moelis Asset Management, Group 1001 and Social Leverage.

Eudemian Ventures, a software-focused VC firm led by Raoul Felix Maier (ex-Kearney), raised $10 million for its debut fund.

Hayfin Capital Management, a London-based private credit firm, topped the €2 billion target for its third special opportunities fund.

The Jordan Co. raised $5 billion for its fifth flagship buyout fund.

🚑 Omega Funds of Boston raised $650 million for its seventh life sciences VC fund. It also promoted Francesco Draetta to partner and hired Mike Powell (ex-Sofinnova Investments) as an executive partner.

It's Personnel

Monomoy Capital Partners promoted Jaime Forsyth to partner and head of the firm's investment team.

Jon Selib is joining Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as a managing director and global external affairs lead. He previously led global policy and public affairs at Pfizer.

Final Numbers

Data: Sentieo; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

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