Apr 17, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning
Source: Giphy

Ride-hail drivers seemed to getting some belated respect from their "employers," when word came that both Lyft and Uber would give some of them cash bonuses that could be used to buy into the ride-hail companies' IPOs.

But, for many Lyft drivers, it's been more like what happens to their upholstery after picking up a group of college spring breakers at 3am.

  • Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports that while participating Lyft drivers weren't "locked up," those who didn't sell their shares almost immediately are now in the red.
  • They bought in at $72, which the stock has traded below for more than a week. It opened today at just $56.50.
  • The luckiest group of drivers may be those who came up just short of buying into the IPO, but to whom Lyft apparently still gave cash bonuses.
  • Don't be surprised to see many Uber drivers follow the lead of Lyft driver Carlo Garibay. He originally told the SF Chronicle that he'd use his cash bonus to buy IPO shares, but tells Kia that he opted instead to pay off bills.

D.C. watch: SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson Jr. plans to step down later this year, in order to teach full-time at NYU Law School, as first reported by Politico.

  • Why it matters: The SEC is designed to be bipartisan, with no more than three of its five-person board allowed to be members of the same party. But today there are only four commissioners, with Jackson the lone Democrat.
    • President Trump recently nominated another Democrat, Allison Lee, but it's unclear if the Senate will confirm her before Jackson departs. If it doesn't, we could see more of a rightward shift in SEC regulatory policy.

Coming attractions: Expect to soon see official word that e-commerce company Wish has closed its new round of funding, which The Information estimated to be around $300 million at an $11 billion pre-money valuation led by General Atlantic. Multiple sources say the deal is done, although it's unclear if some of the specifics shifted.

T-trouble: U.S. antitrust regulators reportedly have told T-Mobile USA and Sprint that they have serious concerns about the $26 billion merger, although T-Mobile CEO John Legere disputed that assertion via tweet.

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast: Our new episode focuses on hacking the legislative process. My guest is Amanda Nguyen, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee who recently launched a Silicon Valley-style accelerator for getting new civil rights laws passed. Listen here.

Photo by VI Images via Getty Images

Commerzbank has been informally approached about a cross-border merger by Dutch bank ING, as Germany's second-largest lender continues to face opposition to its tie-up talks with Deutsche Bank.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because it reflects how Commerzbank-DB is a merger that only a spreadsheet could love. Labor unions estimate that it would result in tens of thousands of job cuts, DB shareholders are horrified by plans to add €10 billion in debt, and adding Commerzbank would do nothing to bolster DB's investment banking woes.
  • The kicker is that DB would need approval of its 20-person supervisory board, half of which is comprised by employee reps that are expect to vote no. DB chairman Paul Achleitner could cast a tie-breaker in favor, but he'd firest need all 10 shareholder reps on his side, and that's hardly a sure bet.
  • Bottom line: ING would be treated more favorably by German regulators than would be fellow tire-kicker UniCredit. Not only because the Dutch economic and political situations are more stable than those of Italy, but also because of ING's reported willingness to relocate its legal headquarters to Frankfurt.
Venture Capital Deals

Lyric, a San Francisco-based real estate and hospitality platform, raised $160 million in Series B equity and debt funding. Airbnb led, and was joined by Tishman Speyer, RXR Realty, Obvious Ventures, SineWave, Dick Costolo, Adam Bain, and return backers Barry Sternlicht, NEA, SignalFire, FifthWall and Tusk Ventures. http://axios.link/SS4Y

CloudGenix, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of software-defined wide-area networking, raised $65 million in Series C funding from ClearSky and return backers Bain Capital Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Mayfield and Intel Capital. http://axios.link/gc8E

🚑 PathAI, a Boston-based computational pathology startup, raised $60 million in Series B funding. General Atlantic led, and was joined by return backer General Catalyst. www.pathai.com

🚑 Bardy Diagnostics, a Seattle-based maker of lightweight heart monitors, raised $35.5 million in Series B funding. River Cities Capital Funds led, and was joined by HealthQuest Capital, Aperture Venture Partners, Aphelion Capital, Lumira Ventures, Rex Health Ventures and return backers SV Health Investors, Health Enterprise Partners and Ascension Ventures. http://axios.link/rflQ

Salary Finance, a London-based provider of salary-linked savings and loans for employees, raised $32.8 million in Series C funding co-led by return backers Blenheim Chalcot and Legal & General. It also named SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin as CEO of its U.S. business. http://axios.link/Ix6S

Embroker, a San Francisco-based digital business insurance startup, raised $28 million in Series B funding. Tola Capital led, and was joined by return backers Canaan Partners, Bee Partners, Manulife Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners and XL Innovate. http://axios.link/qz3m

🚑 Aidoc, an Israeli developer of medical scanning software, raised $27 million in Series B funding led by Square Peg Capital. http://axios.link/8orc

Bizzabo, an enterprise events management platform, raised $27 million in Series D funding. Viola Growth led, and was joined by Next47 and return backer Pilot Growth. http://axios.link/gL7q

Cytora, a UK-based provider of commercial insurance underwriting solutions, raised £25 million in Series B funding. EQT Ventures led, and was joined by return backers Cambridge Innovation Capital and Parkwalk. http://axios.link/DMhf

Stryve Biltong, a Plano, Texas-based maker of biltong meat snacks, raised $16.5 million in Series B funding from Meaningful Partners, Pendyne Capital and Murano Group. http://axios.link/UeEc

🚑 Kindbody, a New York-based operator of mobile fertility clinics, raised $15 million in Series A funding co-led by RRE Ventures and Perceptive Advisors. http://axios.link/w1CX

• Owl Labs, a Boston-based videoconferencing company, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Spark Capital led, and was joined by Matrix Partners and Playground Global. www.owllabs.com

Flowspace, a Culver City, Calif.-based provider of on-demand warehousing company, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Canvas Ventures led, and was joined by YC, 1984 Ventures and Moment Ventures. http://axios.link/SryZ

🚑 Panorama Medicine, a Philadelphia-based RNA therapeutics startup, raised $3.7 million in seed funding led by WI Harper Group. http://axios.link/prJD

Credit Kudos, a London-based challenger credit bureau, raised £2.2 million led by Ascension Ventures. http://axios.link/FIkM

Private Equity Deals

Apollo Global Management agreed to buy Smart & Final (NYSE: SFS), a Commerce, Calif.-based food retailer, for $1.12 billion (including debt). The $6.50 per share deal represents a 20.6% premium over yesterday’s closing price. Apollo previously owned the company, but sold it in 2012 to Ares Management, which still holds nearly a 58% stake. http://axios.link/0k4I

CIVC Partners invested in Computer Aided Technology, a Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based provider of 3D design and engineering solutions. http://axios.link/J1FN

The Hilb Group, a Richmond, Va.-based portfolio company of ABRY Partners, acquired Walker Brothers Insurance, a Springdale, Ark.-based retail broker focused on property & casualty insurance for SMEs. www.hilbgroup.com

• Marquee Brands, a brand marketer owned by Neuberger Berman, agreed to buy the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands from Sequential Brands Group (Nasdaq: SQBG). The deal is valued at $175 million, plus up to $40 million in earnouts. Sequential had paid $353 million to buy the brand assets in 2015.

New Mountain Capital agreed to buy the chemicals unit of ACETO Corp. (OTC: ACETQ) for $411 million. http://axios.link/HmLh

Sentrics, an Austin, Texas-based portfolio company of Periscope Equity, acquired SeniorTV (TV programming for senior living communities) and Silversphere (connected safety solutions for senior living communities). www.sentrics.net

TPG Capital agreed to buy a 30% stake in jewelry retailer APM Monaco. http://axios.link/j7Pg

Variant Equity acquired Coach USA, a Paramus, N.J.-based bus and shuttle operator, from Stagecoach Group (LSE: SGC) for $271 million. www.coachusa.com

Public Offerings

Afya, a Brazilian for-profit education company focused on medical courses, is prepping a New York IPO, per Reuters. Backers include Crescera Investimentos. http://axios.link/JfQW

Liquidity Events

🚑 New Mountain Capital is considering a sale of Equian, an Indianapolis-based healthcare payments company that could fetch $3.5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/b4Wk

More M&A

Expedia Group (Nasdaq: EXPE) agreed to buy Liberty Expedia Holdings (Nasdaq: LEXE) for $2.6 billion in an all-stock deal designed to simplify the online travel company’s ownership structure. http://axios.link/4gei

Kingspan (Ireland: KRX) offered to buy the insulation and flexible foams units of Belgium’s Recticel for €700 million. http://axios.link/sqfR

Nippon Paint (Tokyo: 4612) has offered to buy DuluxGroup (ASX: DLX), Australia’s largest paint maker, for A$3.8 billion. http://axios.link/z0c1

Pernod Ricard (Paris: RI) agreed to buy premium Italian gin brand Malfy from Biggar & Leith. http://axios.link/TlVD

Reliance Industries of India reportedly is in talks to buy British toy retailer Hamleys. http://axios.link/TdLv

Veolia Environnement (Paris: VIE) is seeking to sell its North American heating and cooling business for more than $1 billion, with likely suitors including Brookfield-backed Enwave Energy, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/0rNz


Shore Capital Partners of Chicago raised $293 million for its third healthcare-focused private equity fund, plus $148 million for its first fund focused on the food and beverage market. http://axios.link/tWSM

It's Personnel

Jeff Bohl stepped down as a managing director with H.I.G. Capital, to join legal tech company InCloudCounsel as CFO. www.incloudcounsel.com

MiddleGround Capital, a new Kentucky-based buyout firm focused on B2B industrial and specialty distribution companies, made three hires: Christen Paras (ex-CoBe Capital) as principal of biz dev and sourcing, Greg Haddix (Toyota) as a VP and Lindsay Quintero (Harris Williams) as an associate. www.middlegroundcapital.com

Mike Woollatt is joining Hamilton Lane as head of its new Toronto office. He previously was director of strategic partnerships with OMERS. http://axios.link/VRuQ

Shingo Yatsui joined BTIG as head of cross-border M&A. He previously was an investment banker with GCA, focused on the industrials, electronics and semiconductors sectors. www.btig.com

Final Numbers: LBO fund performance

More from eFront:

  • LBO funds in 2017 hit their highest total-value-to-paid-in multiple since before the financial crisis, and nearly maintained that level in 2018 (1.47x vs. 1.45x).
  • For another pre-crisis callback, eFront said in a report that 2018 was a "golden year for private equity."
Dan Primack