Big congrats to Jack Parks, a vice president with Align Capital Partners, who is the winner of our March Madness contest. And thanks to so many of you for playing. Okay, here we go...
All tech and business eyes are on Spotify, as the music streaming giant goes public today without a traditional IPO process.
Why it matters: Precedent. If Spotify's direct listing is successful, other private companies may pursue their own alternative paths to public equity, including ones like Spotify's that use investment banks more as navigators than as drivers.
What is success? Strong pricing after discovery, relatively low volatility over the first couple of weeks.
Wither Wall Street? No. Spotify is still paying €40 million to banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co.
Ek's message to the markets:
"Normally, companies ring bells. Normally, companies spend their day doing interviews on the trading floor touting why their stock is a good investment. Normally, companies don’t pursue a direct listing. While I appreciate that this path makes sense for most, Spotify has never been a normal kind of company."
Why Spotify isn't normal: A major argument against Spotify opening the non-IPO floodgates is that it's pretty unusual.
Meituan Dianping, a Chinese provider of on-demand services, reportedly is in talks to buy bike-sharing company Mobike for around $3.7 billion. Other local media reports say that the price remains subject to change, and that Didi Chuxing and SoftBank are trying to make a last-second play.
🚑 Accolade, a Plymouth Meeting, Penn.-based personalized health and benefits platform, has raised $50 million in new funding. Cross Creek Advisors and Madera Technology Partners were joined by return backers Andreessen Horowitz, Carrick Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group and McKesson Ventures. http://axios.link/Nn1c
• Bitpay, an Atlanta-based bitcoin payments startup, raised $40 million in Series B funding from firms like Menlo Ventures and Aquiline Technology Growth. http://axios.link/LrX6
• Verbit, an Israeli transcription startup, has raised $11 million in seed funding from Vertex Ventures, Oryzn Capital and HV Ventures. http://axios.link/jN8Z
• BioConsortia, a Davis, Calif.-based developer of “microbial solutions for natural plant trait enhancement and yield improvement,” raised $10 million in new funding. Otter Capital led and was joined by Khosla Ventures. http://axios.link/Mwbs
• 82Labs, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of a hangover recovery drink, raised $8 million from Altos Ventures, Slow Ventures, Strong Ventures and Thunder Road Capital. http://axios.link/KpTp
🥩 Wild Type, a San Francisco-based meat-culturing startup, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Spark Capital led and was joined by Root Ventures and Mission Bay Capital. http://axios.link/3iuR
• Shine, a self-care app, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Comcast Ventures led, and was joined by Betaworks, Felix Capital and The New York Times Co. www.shinetext.com
• Anvil International, an Exeter, N.H.-based portfolio company of One Equity Partners, has acquired the assets of FlexHead Industries and SprinkFLEX, a Holliston, Mass.-based makers of adjustable steel hoses, brackets and fittings for fire safety systems, from Atkore International Group (NYSE: ATKR). www.anvilintl.com
⛽ Harbour Energy, backed by EIG Energy Partners, has made a A$10.4 billion unsolicited takeover bid for Australian gas producer Santos (ASX: STO), which says that it will “engage.” http://axios.link/TOuO
• Hydromax, a Chandler, Ind.-based provider of data collection services for infrastructure assets, has agreed to acquire the technical services unit of New Brighton, Penn.-based Miller Pipetech. Hydromax is a portfolio company of Warren Equity Partners. www.hydromaxusa.com
🚑 Great Hill Partners has acquired a majority stake in Vatica Health, a Miami Beach, Fla.-based provider of risk adjustment and clinical quality solutions to health plans. www.vaticahealth.com
• Thoma Bravo has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Nintex, a provider of intelligent process automation solutions. http://axios.link/YCRR
🚑 TorQuest Partners has acquired Rubicon Pharmacies Canada from BMO Capital Partners, and merged it with existing portfolio company Amenity, which also is a retail pharmacy focused on Western Canada. www.rubiconpharmacies.com
🚑 Veritas Capital has agreed to acquire GE Healthcare’s enterprise financial management, ambulatory care management and workplace management units for $1.05 billion.
• Goosehead Insurance, a Westlake, Texas-based personal lines insurance agency, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker GSHD, with J.P. Morgan as lead underwriter. The company reports $8.7 million in net income on $42.7 million in revenue for 2017. www.gooseheadinsurance.com
• GreenSky, an Atlanta-based online lender, has filed confidentially for an IPO, per the WSJ. Backers include TPG Growth, DST Group, ICONIQ Capital, Wellington Management and PIMCO. http://axios.link/tPVJ
• Pluralsight, a Farmington, Utah-based professional learning platform that has raised over $230 million in VC funding, said that it has filed confidentially for an IPO. No, that is not the sort of thing companies usually announce. http://axios.link/pfpR
• Cerberus Capital Management has agreed to sell Reydel, a maker of interior components to auto OEMs, to a subsidiary of India’s Motherson Sumi Systems.
• Lone Star Funds is considering a sale of its 61% stake in Warsaw-listed real estate developer GTC, which currently has a total market cap of around $1.26 billion. http://axios.link/FWNv
🚑 Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is in talks to buy online pharmacy Pillpack, as first reported by CNBC. Axios has confirmed the report, and also has learned that no deal is signed and that conversations have been ongoing for a couple of months. Pillpack has raised over $110 million in VC funding, most recently at around a $360 million valuation, from firms like Accel, Accomplice, CRV, Pillar Cos, Astral Capital and Sherpa Capital. http://axios.link/9PRC
• 21st Century Fox submitted a proposal to the UK's competition authority Tuesday to sell Sky News to The Walt Disney Co. if it would help ease regulators' concerns over media plurality. http://axios.link/yzFG
• Ebix (Nasdaq: EBIX) has agreed to acquire India-based money exchange business Centrum Direct from India’s Centrum Capital. http://axios.link/4jYK
• Monex Group, a Japanese online brokerage, said that it may buy cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. http://axios.link/ppkS
• InVision, a New York-based digital product design platform, has acquired Wake, a connection and collaboration tool for digital product designers. InVision has raised around $235 million in VC funding, while Wake earlier this year raised $2.1 million via a SAFE offering. www.wake.io
Merit Capital Partners has closed its sixth middle-market private equity fund with $536million. www.meritcapital.com