Nov 6, 2017

Axios Pro Rata

Hey Philly: Join Axios this Wednesday to discuss the future of cancer care, at a special event that will include Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Sean Parker, Celgene CEO Mark Alles, patient advocate Stefanie Joho and the Kimmel Cancer Center's Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee. RSVP by going here.

Top of the Morning

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, this morning told CNBC that there will indeed be a carried interest provision added to the House GOP tax plan. But rather than deal with the underlying issue of treating a fee for service as a capital gain, the House GOP simply will just change the length of what constitutes a long-term capital gain from one year to two years for carry purposes. Seriously.

  • Bottom line: This move might bite some hedge fund managers, but won't touch the vast majority of venture capital, private equity, real estate, timber or energy fund investment managers. And, in case Congress still cares about such quaint notions as fiscal responsibility, it's that latter group that would have created the larger pot of extra federal tax revenue.

• Today in SoftBank: The Japanese giant today released its third-quarter results, which included a note that SoftBank Vision Fund totaled $97.7 billion through the end of September (up from the $93.2 billion first close announced in May). It appears that the extra $4.5 billion all comes from the parent company.

  • SVF so far has deployed a total of $18.4 billion, which it is carrying at $20.2 billion. Almost all of that paper gain is attributed to NVIDIA. Other portfolio companies include Didi Chuxing, Fanatics, Roviant, WeWork, Arm Holdings and OSIsoft.
  • SVF took on around $2.2 billion in short-term, interest-bearing debt " to increase capital efficiency in investments.
  • SoftBank, which already owns a majority stake in Sprint, said Sunday it plans to increase its holdings after talks to merge with T-Mobile US broke down.

• One to think on: Sriram Krishnan, current head of product at Twitter and a former exec with both Facebook and Snap, posted the following via FB:

The 2005 version of me would have said open/unrestricted speech was definitionally a good thing on the Internet. No more gatekeepers, censors or restrictions. In 2017, I realize how naive that is and how it amplifies the good but also some really bad aspects of humanity and we may not have the right tools to control it.

I keep thinking of cryptocurrency in a similar context - it has a similar philosophical stance ("no controls, no governments, no regulations"). Are we being similarly naive about cryptocurrency could be used for some very bad things? Would we regret how unchecked a blockchain transaction is a decade from now?

• U.S. Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross this morning told Bloomberg TV that he will "probably not" maintain a stake in a shipping company that was revealed over the weekend to have ties to Vladimir Putin's family (via the so-called Paradise Papers leak). Leaving aside the new reporting, Ross has still never given a compelling explanation for why he divested most, but not all, his private equity-related assets. Hard to imagine that the firm bearing his name – albeit now owned by Invesco – would have bought out some, but not all, of his various underlying shares.

  • Paradise papers reminder: Worth noting, particularly in the context of Yuri Milner, that most companies do not know the limited partners (hidden or not) of their VC/PE investors, and even some of the VC/PE funds don't have great visibility into all of their own LPs (via funds-of-funds, feeder funds, etc.).

• Latest of Saudi situation: Reuters reports that Saudi banks have "begun freezing the accounts of suspects ensnared in an anti-corruption probe."


Broadcom (Nasdaq: AVGO) has offered to acquire chipmaking rival Qualcomm for around $103 billion (not including assumed debt), or $70 per share in cash and stock. The bid would be partially financed via private equity firm Silver Lake, which has committed $5 billion in convertible debt (via a capital source mixture of its flagship fund, co-investments and other sources).

  • Why it's the BFD: This would be the largest pure-tech merger of all time, topping Dell's purchase of EMC. It also comes as both companies continue to finalize previously-announced mergers – Broadcom's $5 billion deal for Brocade and Qualcomm's $47 billion deal for NXP Semiconductors – although this new transaction is not contingent on either of those deals getting done.
  • D.C. angle: Broadcom last week announced that it would move its headquarters from Singapore to the U.S., with CEO Hock Tan heading to the White House for the CEO/Trump genuflection shuffle. But while there is no doubt Broadcom would favor Trump's tax reform push to succeed, the relocation is largely to smooth the way not only for this transaction, but also for future M&A. Even if tax reform goes the way of repeal & replace, Broadcom is still coming Stateside.
  • Bottom line: "Buying Qualcomm would make Broadcom the third-largest chipmaker, behind Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. The combined business would instantly become the default provider of a set of components needed to build each of the more than a billion smartphones sold every year." – Ian King, Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals

• Annoroad, a Beijing-based gene sequencing startup, has raised $100 million in Series C funding from Shenzhen GTJA Investment Group, Ping An Ventures, SAIF Partners and SBCVC.

• SoftBank Vision Fund is in talks to invest over €100 million into German online used car marketplace Auto1 Group at a valuation north of €2.5 billion, according to DealStreetAsia.

🚑 NousCom, a Swiss developer of neoantigen-based cancer vaccines, has raised €42 million in Series B funding. Abingworth led the round, and was joined by 5AM Ventures and return backers LSP and Versant Ventures.

• Globality, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based B2B marketplace for business services, has raised $35 million in new VC funding. Return backers include THK Equities, Raine Ventures and Al Gore.

•, a Chinese auto insurance search engine, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. China Capital Group led the round, and was joined by Shunwei Capital and CBC Capital.

•, an Indonesian digital health startup, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Group, according to DealStreetAsia. Existing backers include Golden Gate Ventures.

• Kaodim, a Malaysia-based home services booking company, has raised $7 million in VC funding. Square Peg Capital led the round, and was joined by 500 Startups, Ventura Capital, East Ventures and KK Fund.

• QLess, a Pasadena, Calif.-based provider of customer experience and productivity solutions, has raised $5.5 million in new VC funding from Palisades Growth Capital and Act One Ventures.

• CrossEngage, a German marketing technology startup, has raised €5 million in VC funding co-led by Vorwerk Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital.

• Snatch, a British maker of AR games, has raised £4.4 million in Series A funding. Initial Capital led the round, and was joined by First Minute Capital, CrunchFund, Simon Equity Partners, Cassius Family Fund, Hanson Asset Management, Velocity Technology Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.

Private Equity Deals

• Advent International and Bain Capital are among those seeking to acquire BS Payone, a German payments company currently owned by DSV Group, according to the WSJ.

• Bain Capital and China's Tempus Group are bidding to acquire Trans Maldivian Airways from The Blackstone Group for around $500 million, according to Bloomberg.

• Brookfield Asset Management said that talks to buy over 40,000 telecom towers from India's Reliance Communications are off due to regulatory complications, so now it's exploring other India telecom tower portfolios.

• CenterOak Partners has acquired FullSpeed Automotive, a Greenwood Village, Colo.-based franchisor of automotive quick lube centers.

• CITIC Capital is in advanced talks to acquire Axilone, a Paris-based provider of packaging solutions to the beauty care market, from Oaktree Capital Management.

• CloudSense, a Salesforce-native cloud software company, has raised $77 million in growth equity from Vector Capital.

• CVC Capital Partners is back in the running to buy Unilever's spreads business, which could be sold for upwards of $7 billion, according to the FT. Other remaining suitors include KKR.

🐟 Lew's, an Austin, Texas-based portfolio company of Peak Rock Capital, has acquired Strike King, a Collierville, Tenn.-based maker of branded fishing lures and related accessories.

• Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has agreed to acquire euNetworks, a London-based provider of bandwidth infrastructure services. Stonepeak also pledged to invest up to $500 million of new growth capital for both organic and inorganic development. Sellers include Columbia Capital.

Summit Park has acquired SmarTours, a New York-based provider of tour packages.

Public Offerings

• 11 companies plan to price IPOs on U.S. exchanges this week: Ameri Holdings, Apellis Pharma, Bandwidth, CBTX, Four Seasons Education, InflaRx, Meridian Bank, Metropolitan Bank Holdings, PPDAI, Sogou and Workspace Property Trust.

• Aquantia, a San Jose, Calif.-based IC manufacturer, raised $61 million in its IPO. The company priced 6.8 million shares at $9 (below $10-$12 range), and will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol AQ. Morgan Stanley served as lead underwriter. The company reports $49 million in revenue for the first half of 2017. Shareholders include Rusano (11.1% pre-IPO stake), Pinnacle Ventures (10.7%) and Walden International (10.5%) and Global Foundries (10.3%).

• Jianpu Technology, a Chinese wealth management platform, set its IPO terms to 22.5 million American depository shares being offered at $8.50-$10.50. It would have a fully diluted market value of $1.7 billion, in the middle of its range.

• SG Holdings, a Japanese logistics company, said that it plans to raise around $1.1 billion via a Tokyo flotation that would value the company at around $4.4 billion.

• Stitch Fix, a San Francisco-based personal shopping subscription service, has set its IPO terms to 10 million shares being offered at between $18 and $20. It would have a fully diluted market value of around $2.16 billion, were it to price in the middle. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker SFIX, with Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan serving as lead managers. Stitch Fix reports a net loss of just under $1 million on $977 million in revenue for the year ending in July, but profitability in the prior two fiscal years. It had raised around $47 million in VC funding from firms like Baseline Ventures (28.1% pre-IPO voting power stake), Benchmark (25.6%) and Lightspeed Venture Partners (11.8%).

• Yixin Group, a Chinese online auto financing platform, plans to raise up to $867 million in a Hong Kong IPO. Backers include Tencent, Baidu, and BitAuto.

Liquidity Events

• Rotunda Capital Partners has sold Primary Integration Solutions, a Charlotte-based provider of commissioning and operational consulting services for data centers, to Bureau Veritas (Paris: BVI).

• Snap (NYSE: SNAP) has acquired Metamarkets, a San Francisco-based provider of real-time data analytics that had raised around $58 million in VC funding from Data Collective, John Battelle, Citi National Bank, Khosla Ventures, IA Ventures, True Ventures and Village Ventures.

More M&A

🚑 Access Industries, the investment firm led by Len Blavatnik, is seeking to buy a major stake in troubled Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TASE: TEVA), according to local media reports.

• Airbnb is considering an offer for the European vacation rental business of Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN), according to Bloomberg. The unit could fetch more than $1 billion.

• FirstRand, a listed South African lender, has agreed to buy British bank Aldermore Group for around $1.3 billion.

• Qatar Airways has acquired a 9.61% stake in Hong Kong-based air carrier Cathay Pacific (HK: 0293) for around $661 million.

🥕 Syngenta (Swiss: SYNN) has agreed to purchase the agricultural seeds business of Chinese grains trader COFCO.


• Goldman Sachs and China Investment Corp. are teaming on a $5 billion fund that will help the Chinese sovereign wealth fund invest in U.S. businesses in sectors like manufacturing.

• Kobalt, the VC-backed music rights management company, has raised $600 million for its second music royalties fund.

• NXT Capital has closed its fifth senior loan fund with around $415 million in capital commitments.

• Ten Eleven Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based VC firm focused on cybersecurity, is raising its second fund, per an SEC filing.

• Tusk Ventures has closed its debut fund with $36 million in capital commitments.

⛽ Warburg Pincus is opening an office in Houston, which will led by energy-focused managing director David Krieger (who is relocating from NYC).

It's Personnel

• Raul Alvarez, former president and COO of McDonald's, has joined Advent International as an operating partner.

• William Dudley is expected to announce his pending retirement as president of the New York Fed.

• Pamela Fang has joined General Atlantic as a Hong Kong-based managing director focused on IR. She previously was with Actis as a director and head of investor relations in Asia.

• Peter Weed has joined Lumia Capital as a general partner and head of its new "global success" platform. He previously was with McKinsey & Co.

Jerry Wolfe, founder and CEO of food-tech business Vivanda, has been named a senior advisor with turnaround firm AlixPartners.

Final Numbers