Top of the Morning
There were won't be any profiles in courage written about bank analysts covering CBS.
Yesterday's post-earnings call included not one single question about the future of CEO Les Moonves, even though he was on the call and is in the midst of being investigated for multiple allegations of workplace sexual harassment. Nor any inquiry into the boardroom battle with Shari Redstone, which could ultimately result in a merger with Viacom (or someone else).
It was as if everyone in the neighborhood gathered outside of a burning house, but only talked about the lovely weather.
- Moonves sounded upbeat, and CBS putting him out front suggests he'll get a very big benefit of the doubt.
- CBS did say at the outset that Moonves and CFO Joe Ianniello would only discuss financial matters, but that doesn't mean analysts couldn't at least probe around the edges of issues that are fundamental to the company's future. For example, here were a dozen suggested questions from media analyst Rich Greenfield (free sub req).
- And there was so much genuflection that I wondered if the analysts wanted to help investors or get a dinner invite to Chez Moonves.
- The conference call was such a stunner that Sara Fischer and I immediately hopped on the mics for a special edition podcast. Listen here.
🎙 Speaking of podcasts: Yesterday's regular episode was about Ivanka Trump's comments and actions in terms of the jobs skills gap (and how that intersects with tariffs). My guest was Axios' Jonathan Swan. Please subscribe via Apple or other podcast platforms.
• Crypto: Kia writes this morning that while cryptocurrencies are making inroads with mainstream investors, there are still big concerns over insider trading:
"Unlike the traditional investment markets, which are overseen by multiple government agencies, companies and funds dealing with digital tokens are largely left to self-regulate. This could leave retail investors unfairly disadvantaged without the same levels of information, and remain a hurdle to getting institutional investors comfortable with crypto-assets."
• Money talks: Startup CEOs take home an extra $4k-$5k in cash salary for every million dollars their companies raise in venture capital, according to new data from startup accounting firm Kruze Consulting.
- The analysis of around 125 startups found median CEO salary of $130k (not including stock-based comp), with upper and lower salaries correlated to recent fundraising.
- Of seven industry categories, biotech startup CEOs had the highest salaries while e-commerce startup CEOs had the lowest.
• Update: Word is that Duo Security was pretty far down the IPO path before yesterday's $2.35 billion sale agreement to Cisco, and that Cisco's initial approach was significantly lower.
• Q&A: I spoke yesterday with Sonos CEO Patrick Spence, whose smart speaker company priced its IPO low but then closed up 33%. Topics included what he felt investors didn't understand at first, if Sonos ever plans to offer its own digital services and how its mission differs from Apple's. Read it here.
Peloton, the fitness tech company known for its connected spin bikes, raised around $400 million in Series F funding at around a $4 billion valuation, plus another $150 million in secondary funding.
- Why it's the BFD: Because this is one of the venture world's highest-valued media startups, as the bikes (and, now, treadmills) are really delivery devices for low-churn subscription content.
- Investors: TCV led, with partner Jay Hoag joining the Peloton board (he's also a longtime Netflix director). Other new investors Felix Capital, Winslow Capital and Baillie Gifford were joined by return backers Tiger Global, True Ventures, Wellington Management, Fidelity, NBCUniversal and Kleiner Perkins,
- Bottom line: "The company is on pace to generate more than $700 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending next February, continuing its more than 100% year-to-year revenue growth rate, [CEO] Foley said. It has recently generated EBITDA, but Foley said he expects it to lose money in the second half as the company invests in growth opportunities." — Maureen Farrell, WSJ
Venture Capital Deals
🚑 Karuna Pharma, a Boston-based developer of a combo therapy for therapy for schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, raised $42 million in Series A funding (including converted debt) from ARCH Venture Partners, the Wellcome Trust and PureTech Health. http://axios.link/gZon
• InVia Robotics, an Agoura Hills, Calif.-based provider of automated robotics to fulfillment centers raised $20 million in Series B funding. Point72 Ventures led, and was joined by Upfront Ventures and Embark Ventures. http://axios.link/aHtL
• HYAS, a Canadian provider of attribution intelligence tools for cybersecurity and information security professionals, raised $6.2 million in Series A funding led by Microsoft’s M12 Ventures. http://axios.link/mznA
• WeeCare, a Venice, Calif.-based mobile platform to start and manage home daycares, raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by Social Capital. www.weecare.co
Private Equity Deals
• Alion, a MacLean, Va.-based portfolio company of Veritas Capital, agreed to acquire MacB, a Dayton, Ohio-based provider of complex engineering and mission critical technology solutions to the national defense and intelligence communities. http://axios.link/dtTq
• Aterian Investment Partners acquired Pioneer Metal Finishing, a Green Bay, Wis.-based provider of outsourced metal surface treating solutions. www.pioneermetal.com
🚑 Brentwood Associates acquired MD Now, an operator of walk-in urgent care centers in Florida, from Brockway Moran & Partners. www.mymdnow.com
• CVC Capital Partners has ended takeover talks with French payments processor Ingenico (Paris: ING), according to Reuters. http://axios.link/qiRn
• Guardian Capital Partners invested in Direct Line, a Fremont, Calif.-based provider of network cabling, infrastructure and staffing services to data centers. www.directline.us
🐟 Legend Holdings and Pamplona Capital Management are among those considering bids for Grupo Iberconsa, a Spanish frozen seafood company owned by Portobello Capital, per Bloomberg. A deal could be worth around €600 million. http://axios.link/G0tu
• Source Capital invested in Texan Allergy, an Austin, Texas-based provider of management support services to affiliated allergy practices. www.source-cap.com
• Arlo Technologies, the San Jose, Calif.-based security-camera making unit of Netgear (Nasdaq: NTGR), raised $163 million in its IPO. The company priced 10.2 million shares at $16 (below $18-$20 range) and will trade on the NYSE (ARLO). BofA Merrill Lynch was lead underwriter.
🚑 Elanco, a Greenfield, Ind.-based animal vaccines business being spun out of Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), filed for a $100 million IPO (that’s likely a placeholder figure). It plans to trade on the NYSE (ELAN) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter, and reports $78 million on $2.9 billion in revenue for 2017.
• M17 Entertainment, a Taiwan-based entertainment streaming company, withdrew registration for an $83 million IPO. This is the offering it postponed in June, at which time it blamed its underwriters, including Citi and Deutsche Bank, for an unspecified "settlement issue."
🚲 Alibaba and Didi Chuxing are considering a joint takeover offer for troubled Chinese bike-share company Ofo at a $2 billion valuation, per Reuters. It has raised over $800 million in VC funding from firms that include the two potential acquirers, plus DST Global, Coatue Management, Atomico, Matrix Partners China, Macrolink and CITIC.
• ARM, a SoftBank-controlled chip designer, has acquired Treasure Data, a Mountain View, Calif.-based data management platform for large enterprises, for a reported $600 million. Treasure Data had raised over $60 million from firms like SoftBank, Scale Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Dentsu and AME Cloud Ventures. http://axios.link/EgF8
• Cerberus Capital Management completed its sale of Reydel, a maker of interior components to auto OEMs, to a subsidiary of India’s Motherson Sumi Systems.
• H.I.G. Capital sold Kondor, a British provider of consumer electronic accessories, to a unit of DCC (LSE: DCC). http://axios.link/f5fV
• Warner Music Group agreed to buy Uproxx, a Culver City, Calif.-based music and entertainment content site that had raised over $40 million from firms like IVP, WPP Ventures and Advancit Capital. http://axios.link/gK8j
🚑 Allergan (NYSE: AGN) agreed to sell five dermatology brands to Spain’s Almirall for up to $650 million. http://axios.link/Hbz4
🍺 Heineken is paying $3.1 billion for a 40% stake in the parent of listed Chinese brewer China Resources Beer. http://axios.link/mLUW
• Nissan Motor Co. (Tokyo: 7201) agreed to sell its electric car battery unit to China’s Envision Group, one month after a $1 billion sale of the business to Chinese private equity firm GSR Group fell through. http://axios.link/7NhM
• Ares Management held a $1.44 billion first close for its first direct lending fund. http://axios.link/YWKa
• August Capital is raising up to $250 million for its eighth VC fund, per an SEC filing. Two general partners listed on Fund VII — Howard Hartenbaum and Vivek Mehra — are not listed this time around. www.augustcap.com
• Fearless Ventures, a Redwood City, Calif.-based firm formed by and Seth Miller (ex-DBL Investors) and Dave Kashen (ex-CEO of Worklife), is raising $50 million for its debut fund, per an SEC filing. www.fearless.vc
• H.I.G. Capital has closed on $2.4 billion for a new U.S.-focused buyout fund whose target has been raised to $2.75 billion, per FN. http://axios.link/GuJt
• John Studzinski is leaving The Blackstone Group, where he once led advisory (later spun off into PJT Partners) and now runs the International Family Capital practice for its private wealth group. He has been with the firm for a dozen years. http://axios.link/lq16
Final Numbers: PE secondary markets
More from Evercore:
"The level of available dry powder in the hands of secondary buyers has decreased significantly since 2017 year-end from $77bn to $64bn as many buyers were able to finish investing their funds in the context of record deal flow This drop in dry powder looks set to be short-lived as buyers plan to raise a massive $77bn of capital in the course of H2 2018 and 2019, with many large buyers coming to the market with flagship funds."