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Bernie Sanders has opened up leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire, according to most recent polls.
Buyout firms face an existential threat from either a Sanders or Warren presidency, but much more of a rhetorical threat from Warren's campaign.
If Sanders were to win the nomination, or remain a contender until the final primaries, it's unlikely that he'll mention private equity very often (outside of generalist broadsides against Wall Street and the 1%). Warren, on the other hand, would keep hammering private equity hard, particularly if and when we get the next brand-name bankruptcy or Taylor Swift tweet.
Again, my needle-threading argument isn't about the ultimate White House winner. Private equity should fear both Sanders and Warren in the Oval. But if only one of them can remain viable for longer before falling, then buyout barons should hope for the self-described Democratic Socialist.
🚑 Disturbing disruption: Practice Fusion, an electronic health records company that raised over $200 million in VC funding before a fire-sale to Allscripts in early 2018, has settled with the DOJ for taking kickbacks from an opioids manufacturer.
🎧 Pro Rata Podcast focused on contravirus, including the U.S. response, with former "Ebola czar" Ron Klain. Listen here.
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Servco Pacific acquired a majority stake in Fender Musical Instruments by acquiring shares from co-investment partner TPG Growth.
• ActiveCampaign, a Chicago-based customer experience automation startup, raised $100 million in Series B funding co-led by Susquehanna Growth Equity and return backer Silversmith Capital Partners. http://axios.link/HN8h
🛴 Bird, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based e-scooter rental company, raised $75 million in new Series D funding (round total now $350m) from Target Global, Team Europe, Idinvest Partners, and Signals VC. It also acquired Circ, a German e-scooter rental startup operating in Europe and the Middle East. http://axios.link/8Zqt
• Justworks, a New York-based provider of HR management software, raised $50 million in Series E funding. Union Square Ventures and return backer FirstMark Capital co-led, and were joined by Bain Capital Ventures, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Spark Capital, and Thrive Capital. www.justworks.com
• Directly, a San Francisco-based developer of crowdsourced chatbots for customer service, raised $20 million. Samsung led, and was joined by Industry Ventures, AvidBank, and return backers M12, Costanoa Ventures, True Ventures, and Northgate. http://axios.link/I0M1
• InterviewBit, an Indian online provider of graduate-level CS programs, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Sequoia India and Tiger Global co-led, and were joined by Global Founders Capital. http://axios.link/Rmi2
• Persona, a San Francisco-based identity verification startup, raised $17.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Coatue Management and First Round Capital. http://axios.link/iNrw
• SuperAwesome, a London-based developer of “kid-safe” digital marketing tools, raised $17 million led by M12. http://axios.link/EB0w
• Wheel, an Austin, Texas-based developer of virtual healthcare infrastructure, raised $13.9 million in Series A funding. CRV led, and was joined by Tusk Venture Partners and Silverton Partners. www.wheel.com
• Otter.ai, a Los Altos, Calif.-based transcription app, raised $10 million from NTT Docomo. http://axios.link/utHu
• Imagr, a New Zealand-based automated checkout startup, raised US$9.5 million. Toshiba Tec Corp. led, and was joined by Sage Capital and Harald McPike. http://axios.link/1Ls1
• Shipamax, a London-based provider of back-office automation to freight forwarders, raised $7 million. Mosaic Ventures led, and was joined by Crane Venture Partners and YC. http://axios.link/NlWC
• Teller, a UK-based open banking startup, raised $4 million in seed funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Founders Fund, and SciFi. http://axios.link/bqqH
• AdmitHub, a Boston-based chatbot for college applicants, raised an $2.5 million in new Series funding from Salesforce Ventures and the Google Assistant Investments (round total $7.5m). www.admithub.com
• NexTravel, a San Francisco-based corporate travel booking startup, raised $2.4 million in Series A funding from Pipeline Angels and Quest Ventures.
• AmazeVR, a Los Angeles-based VR content production and distribution platform, raised $2.5 million in new Series A funding from Partners Investment and YG Investment. www.amaze.us
• Encantos, a Culver City, Calif.-based children's entertainment brand, raised $2 million in seed funding. Kapor Capital led, and was joined by Boston Meridian Partners, Chingona Ventures, Human Ventures, and MathCapital. http://axios.link/qZj6
• BC Partners agreed to buy Pasticceria Bindi, an Italian maker of frozen patisserie products, from the founding family. http://axios.link/wPgh
• Gryphon Investors acquired a majority stake in PestRoutes, a Mckinney, Texas-based provider of business management software for pest control companies. Existing backer Mainsail Partners will retain a minority stake. www.pestroutes.com
• Imprivata, a Lexington, Mass.-based portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, acquired GroundControl Solutions, a New York-based provider of automation software for provisioning shared mobile devices. www.imprivata.com
• Incline Equity Partners acquired Foundation Source, a Fairfield, Conn.-based provider of support services to private foundations.
⛽ Scale Microgrid Solutions, a Ridgewood, N.J.-based distributed clean energy and microgrid platform, secured up to $300 million in equity commitments from Warburg Pincus. http://axios.link/IY4v
🚑 Sorrento Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SRNE), a San Diego-based oncology drugmaker, said it rejected a private equity takeover that would have valued the company at around $993 million. It didn’t identify the suitor. http://axios.link/UuWd
🚑 Beam Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of genetic medicines via base editing, set IPO terms to 6.3 million shares at $15-$17. It would have a fully-diluted market value of $686 million, were it to price in the middle, and plans to trade on the Nasdaq (BEAM) with JPMorgan as lead underwriter. The pre-revenue company raised $220 million in VC funding from firms like Arch Venture Partners (23% pre-IPO stake, F-Prime Capital (19.4%), Hillhouse Capital (7.4%), Redmile Group, Cormorant Asset Management, GV, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures and Omega Funds. http://axios.link/a5hU
• OneWater Marine, a Buford, Ga.-based recreational boat retailer, relaunched its IPO plans by disclosing plans to offer 4.6 million shares at $12-$14. http://axios.link/8ebe
• Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) acquired Blueface, an Irish unified communications provider that had been owned by a portfolio company of NewSpring Capital and PPM America. http://axios.link/yQl8
• K12 (NYSE: LRN) agreed to buy Galvanize, a Denver-based online education company, for $165 million in cash. Galvanize had raised around $130 million from firms like ABS Capital Partners, University Ventures, and Catalyst Investors. http://axios.link/aDBI
• BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA) agreed to buy British powertrain maker Delphi Technologies (NYSE: DLPH) for $3.3 billion. http://axios.link/TccD
• Royal Philips (AM: PHIA) is considering a sale of its kitchen appliances unit, which generates €2.3 billion in annual revenue, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/2Dps
• Sun Life Financial (TSX: SLF) said it would consider buying a private debt lender to middle-markets, per Reuters. http://axios.link/aShE
• Ardian raised €3 billion for its fourth private debt fund, which focuses on European mid-market companies. http://axios.link/SmHS
• GLS Capital of Chicago raised $345 million for its debut litigation finance fund. http://axios.link/w89d
• Merantix, a Berlin-based venture studio for AI startups, raised a €25 million fund from LPs like Trusted Insight, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. http://axios.link/aFu5
• Quid has been launched by Troy Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital as a lender to employees of pre-IPO companies. www.getquid.com
• Sarah Hinkfuss left KKR's growth equity group in order to join Bain Capital's new tech opportunities practice as a VP, per her LinkedIn page.
• GP Bullhound, a tech advisory and investment bank, promoted Jonathan Cantell to partner. www.gpbullhound.com
• Aimée Leifer (founder and CEO of PureSignal) and Dan Murray (president of CreatorIQ) joined Calibrate Ventures as venture partners. www.calibratevc.com
The quality of North American leveraged loan covenants nearly hit their weakest level on record in Q3 2019, per Moody's. Go deeper here.
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