Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Several hours before last night's Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tried visiting a child detention shelter in neighboring Homestead, Fla. She wasn't allowed in the door, despite having previously requested admission, and instead settled for making a short speech outside and waving to some kids through the chain-link fence.
Homestead is not the El Paso facility from which we recently heard horror stories about disease and lack of sanitation. But it is arguably even more controversial, in that it is the country's only for-profit detention center for migrant children — owned and operated by a company called Caliburn International.
Caliburn, in turn, is owned by a private equity firm, DC Capital Partners, which has no interest in publicly discussing a portfolio company that, just earlier this year, it wanted to take public.
DC Partners formed Caliburn via a 2018 merger of three companies. The first of those was purchased back in 2011, while the shelter operator was acquired much more recently.
The bottom line: Homestead is ground zero of a massive political battle playing out in Congress, the presidential campaign trail and on social media. And, like with so much of American society today, private equity is right in the middle of it.
🥣 Cereal scoop: Lightspeed Venture Partners has agreed to lead an investment in Magic Spoon, a direct-to-consumer breakfast cereal startup known for being higher protein/lower carb than your typical cheerio, per multiple sources. No word yet on the round amount — things won't be finalized for another week or so — but the valuation talk is $25 million.
• Today in Abraaj: The lawyer for former Arif Naqvi claimed yesterday that the U.S. government has "ulterior motives" behind its extradition request for the former Abraaj Group CEO, who is accused of fraud, claiming that he and Abraaj posed some sort of danger to unspecified U.S. interests.
🎧 Pro Rata Podcast digs into the Democratic presidential debates. Listen here.
Lion Capital has acquired a 50% stake in the North American restaurant business of British chef Gordon Ramsay. The deal is worth $25 million, with Lion also agreeing to invest $100 million over the next five years to help Ramsey open 100 new U.S. spots over the next five years.
🚑 Encoded Therapeutics, a South San Francisco-based developer of a precision gene therapy for a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, raised $104 million in Series C funding. Menlo Ventures, RTW Investments, Boxer Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments were joined by return backers Venrock, Arch Venture Partners, Matrix Capital Management, Illumina Ventures and Altitude Life Science Ventures. http://axios.link/BnJp
• Aera Technology, a Mountain View, Calif.-based “self-driving” enterprise platform, raised $80 million in Series C funding. DFJ Growth led, and was joined by NewView Capital and Georgian Partners. http://axios.link/vnqk
🚑 Sanifit, a Spanish drug startup focused on treatments for vascular calcification disorders, raised €55.2 million in Series D funding. Caixa Capital led, and was joined by Columbus Venture Partners, Alta Life Sciences and return backers Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Ysios Capital, Forbion Capital Partners, Gilde Healthcare, Andera Partners, and HealthEquity. http://axios.link/JArQ
• Calysta, a Menlo Park-based producer of proteins for fish, livestock and pet feeds, raised $30 million from BP Ventures. http://axios.link/qHk7
• AUrate, a New York-based direct-to-consumer retailer of gold jewelry, raised $13 million in Series A funding led by Bluecrest Capital. http://axios.link/Nblt
• Vulcan Cyber, an Israeli developer of cyber vulnerability remediation solutions, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Ten Eleven Ventures led, and was joined by seed backer YL Ventures. http://axios.link/kzdy
🚑 TailorMed, an Israeli startup aimed at improving financial performance of healthcare providers, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Triventures led, and was joined by Accelmed and Sanara Ventures. www.tailormed.co
• Taster, a London-based developer of delivery-only restaurants, raised $8 million from Battery Ventures, Heartcore Capital and LocalGlobe. http://axios.link/68iM
🚑 CryoTherapeutics, a German developer of cryotherapy to prevent heart attacks, raised €7 million in Series B funding from Noshaq and return backers Peppermint Venture Partners, Creathor Ventures and Getz Brothers. www.cryotherapeutics.com
• SoundCommerce, a Seattle-based data platform for commerce ops, raised $6.5 million in seed funding. Defy Partners led, and was joined by Voyager Capital, Stage Venture Partners and the Alliance of Angels. http://axios.link/w0SF
• Skubana, a Fort Lee, N.J.-based ecommerce logistics management startup, raised $5.4 million in Series A funding. Defy Partners led, and was joined by Advancit Capital and FJ Labs. http://axios.link/WTFp
• WeGift, a UK-based digital rewards startup, raised £4 million in Series A funding led by Stride VC. http://axios.link/Efph
• Dfuse, a Montreal-based blockchain API startup, raised US$3.5 million in seed funding co-led by Multicoin Capital and Intel Capital. http://axios.link/uMaW
• Advent International agreed to buy a majority stake in Transaction Services Group, a New Zealand-based provider of business management and payments software to the health & fitness and childcare markets, from Calera Capital. www.transactionservices.global
⛽ BlackRock and KKR completed their $4 billion investment into the pipeline infrastructure of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. http://axios.link/M9oe
🚑 Centerbridge Partners is in exclusive talks to buy Magellan Health (Nasdaq: MGLN), a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based health plan and pharmacy benefits manager with a $1.6 billion market cap, per the WSJ. http://axios.link/iZDp
• CVC Capital Partners is in talks to pay at least $1 billion for a 25% stake in GEMS Education, a Dubai-based private school network owned by The Blackstone Group, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/adQE
⛽ Elliott Management is in “advanced talks” to buy QEP Resources (NYSE: QEP), a Denver-based oil and gas explorer that it previously offered to buy in January, per Bloomberg. QEP has a current market cap of $1.7 billion. http://axios.link/5gZR
• H.I.G. Capital agreed to buy the European polyurethane systems unit of Germany’s Covestro (DB: 1COV). www.covestro.com
• LGT agreed to buy a majority stake in Indian wealth manager Validus Wealth. http://axios.link/IbSo
🚑 Peloton Capital Management invested C$75 million into Canadian dental practice network 123Dentist. www.123dentist.com
• Unifrax, a Tonawanda, N.Y.-based portfolio company of Clearlake Capital, acquired Stellar Materials, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based maker of specialty chemistries and materials, from Goldner Hawn. www.thembond.com
🚑 Adaptive Biotech, a Seattle-based developer of immuno-sequencing diagnostics, raised $300 million in its IPO. The company priced 15 million shares at $20 (above upwardly-revised range) for an initial market cap of $2.42 billion, and will trade on the Nasdaq (ADPT) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter. The company reports a $46 million net loss on $56 million in revenue for 2018, and had raised over $400 million in VC funding from firms like Viking Global (36% pre-IPO stake), Matrix Capital Management (16.4%), Celgene, Foresite Capital, Casdin Capita,, Tiger Global Management, Alexandria Venture Investments, LabCorp and Tower Equity. http://axios.link/nW0g
🚑 Castle Bioscience, a Friendswood, Texas-based developer of genetic diagnostics for skin cancers, filed for a $58 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (CSTL) with SVB Leerink as lead underwriter, and reports a $1.4 million net loss on $8.7 million in revenue for Q1 2019. The company raised around $87 million from firms like HealthQuest Capital and Industry Ventures. http://axios.link/CgrT
🚑 Change Healthcare, a Nashville-based healthcare revenue and payment cycle management software company being spun out of McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK), raised $557 million in its IPO. The company priced 42.9 million shares at $13 (below $16-$19 range), for a $3.83 billion market cap. It will trade on the Nasdaq (CHNG) with Barclays as lead underwriter. http://axios.link/5AXP
• Linx, a Brazilian provider of business management SaaS to Latin American retailers, raised $308 million in its IPO. The company priced 32.8 million shares at $9.40 (a slight discount the prior trades in Brazil), for a fully-diluted market value of $1.8 billion. It will list on the NYSE (LINX) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter, and reports $18 million of net income on $176 million in revenue for 2018. http://axios.link/4Jvr
• Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX: BNS) agreed to sell its Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands operations to Oriental Bank (NYSE: OFG) for $560 million in cash. http://axios.link/CP4W
🚑 Bracco Imaging of Italy agreed to acquire Blue Earth Diagnostics, a British molecular imaging company focused on radiopharmaceuticals for cancer management, from Syncona (LSE: SYNC) for $450 million. http://axios.link/y83A
• Scott Berg joined Baird as a managing director in its financial sponsors group. He previously was with RBC Capital Markets. www.rwbaird.com
• Campbell Lutyens, a private equity placement agent, promoted Rishi Chhabria (NYC), David Perrin (NYC), Greg Weiner (LA) and Ben Pearce (London) to partners. It also promoted London-based Bashak-Julianna Demir and Ashrith Ramachandran to principals. www.campbell-lutyens.com
• Dennis McWilliams, founder of SparkMed Advisors and Apollo Endosurgery, joined Santé Ventures as a venture partner. www.santeventures.com
• Dan Oneglia joined GSO Capital Partners as a senior managing director and co-head of distressed investing. He spent the past two decades with Goldman Sachs. www.blackstone.com
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