Monday greetings from the home office. Quick reminder that you can always send me feedback, news and tips via email ([email protected]) or anonymous message (http://axios.com/tips). Okay, here we go...
Top of the Morning
Elon Musk this morning posted an update on taking Tesla private, including further explanation of his controversial "funding secured" claim:
Recently, after the Saudi fund bought almost 5% of Tesla stock through the public markets, they reached out to ask for another meeting. That meeting took place on July 31st. During the meeting, the Managing Director of the fund expressed regret that I had not moved forward previously on a going private transaction with them, and he strongly expressed his support for funding a going private transaction for Tesla at this time. I understood from him that no other decision makers were needed and that they were eager to proceed.
I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving. This is why I referred to “funding secured” in the August 7th announcement.
Bottom line: For Musk, it appears that an expression of interest is the same as a commitment. But there's a very strong chance that regulators will disagree. Particularly if those regulators have ever expressed interest in buying something — a car, a house, a second piece of pie — but ultimately opted against it.
• The long goodbye: Meredith Corp. said Friday that it plans to sell magazine brands Time, SI, Fortune and Money in "early fiscal 2019," which actually kicked off on July 1. Also worth noting that it referred to those assets as "discontinued operations" in its fiscal Q4 earnings, even though no divestiture agreements have been finalized.
• Busted: There has been $540 billion of terminated M&A deals in 2018, which is the highest year-to-date since 2007, per Thomson Reuters. The FT goes deeper.
• DC-to-LA: Axios' David McCabe reports that political data startup Applecart is expanding its focus via a $6 million funding led by Hollywood powerhouse Ari Emanuel: "The interest in Applecart, which mashes up online and offline data, shows that data techniques it developed for political clients are just as in demand for consumer marketing."
• Update: Last week we noted that private equity firm Welsh Carson had raised over $2.8 billion for its 13th fund, per SEC filings. Word is that this doesn't represent a final close, so expect the ultimate figure to be closer to the $3.3 billion raised for Fund XII in 2016.
OneSpace Technology, a Chinese commercial rocket maker, raised $44 million in new funding led by CICC Jiatai Equity Funds.
- Why it's the BFD: Because this comes just days after the White House formally announced plans to create a space-focused military branch, which could spark massive tech spend in both the U.S. and China.
- Bonus: Behind the scenes of Trump's Space Force.
- Bottom line: "Unlike more established players such as America’s SpaceX or even India’s ISRO that also provide commercial space launch services, OneSpace hopes to differentiate itself by focusing on smaller, high-frequency carrier rockets for small and nano-satellites." — Chen Chuanren, Aviation Int'l News
Venture Capital Deals
• MyDreamPlus, a Beijing-based co-working space company, raised $120 million in Series C funding. Hillhouse Capital and General Atlantic co-led, and were joined by JOY Capital, Ocean Link, Giant Network Group and K2VC. http://axios.link/0bzU
• Appcues, a Boston-based provider of user onboarding solutions, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Sierra Ventures led, and was joined by Accomplice. www.appcues.com
• FunNow, a Taiwan-based last-minute booking app for experiences, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund led, and was joined by CDIB, Darwin Venture and Accuvest. http://axios.link/29XS
• Altru, a New York-based mobile video startup focused on employee recruiting solutions, raised $1.3 million. Birchmere Ventures led, and was joined by Active Capital and Techstars. http://axios.link/4GUd
Private Equity Deals
• ACON Investments agreed to buy Goody Products, an Atlanta-based maker of hair styling tools and accessories, from Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL). Goody generated around $115 million in 2017 sales. www.goody.com
• Concurrence Capital Holdings has acquired Utility Contracting Co., a Sparta, Mich.-based provider of outside plant telecom infrastructure services. www.utility-contracting.com
🚑 H.I.G. Capital has invested in Sage Hospice, a the third-largest hospice provider in the Phoenix market. www.sagehospice.org
• KKR agreed to acquire a 60% stake in Ramky Enviro Engineers, an India-based provider of environmental management services, for $530 million. http://axios.link/dgSG
⛽ Thoma Bravo acquired Quorum Software, a Houston-based provider of ERP software for the oil and gas market, from Silver Lake. www.qbsol.com
🐝Wattle Hill RHC Fund and Roc Partners have agreed to buy Australian honey producer Capilano Honey (ASX: CZZ) for around A$189 million. http://axios.link/xkKS
🚑 Aridis Pharmaceuticals and Bionano Genomics are the only companies expected to go public this week on a U.S. exchange. http://axios.link/BDw8
• Amadeus of Spain agreed to buy TravelClick, a New York-based hotel reservations platform, from Thoma Bravo for $1.52 billion. http://axios.link/qGTX
• Rock Gate Partners agreed to sell Walpar, a Birmingham, Ala.-based maker of complex overhead sign structures, to Valmont Industries (NYSE: VMI). http://axios.link/SZ4R
• Don Quijote (Tokyo: 7532), a Japanese discount retailer, said it would consider buying Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu, were current owner Walmart (NYSE: WMT) to put it up for sale. http://axios.link/Si3q
• Elliott Management has acquired more than an 8% stake in Nielsen Holdings (NYSE: NLSN) and plans to push for the TV ratings company to sell itself, per the WSJ. http://axios.link/AtjX
⛽ Innogy of Germany agreed to sell a 41% stake in offshore wind farm Triton Knoll for just over $1 billion to Japan’s Electric Power Development (Tokyo: 9513) and Kansai Electric Power (Tokyo: 9503). http://axios.link/MIui
👖 VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) said it will spin its Lee and Wrangler jeans brands off into a separate public company. http://axios.link/Q9DB
• Calen Angert and Nicholas Leppla have joined TA Associates as Menlo Park-based vice presidents. Both were previously associates with the private equity firm before attending grad school. www.ta.com
• Jim Hudak, chairman and former CEO of Paradigm Outcomes, joined RiverGlade Capital as an operating partner. Riverglade also hired Dan Skowronski (ex-Edgewater Funds) as a vice president. www.rivergladecapital.com
• Richard Siegel joined private equity advisor Sixpoint Partners as a VP in the firm’s capital solutions group. He previously was a director of private equity with Opus Bank. www.sixpointpartners.com
Final Numbers: US dollar to Turkish lira
- The Turkish lira hit another record low against the dollar this morning, causing overseas stock markets to fall on contagion fears.
- Turkey's central bank vowed the take "all necessary measures" to stabilize the lira, but investors continue to question that body's independence from President Erdogan, who is a vocal opponent of raising interest rates.