Axios Pro Rata
August 17, 2022
Welcome to Wednesday! We're halfway to the weekend. But first...
Top of the Morning
As it's the middle of the week, this morning we’re catching up on a few items from the deals universe:
Twitter-Elon Musk legal saga: Musk's lawyers scored a small victory this week when a judge ruled that his team could access documents from Kayvon Beykpour, the former head of consumer product at Twitter, one of the 22 people they requested files from.
- Why it matters: We're now officially two months away from the lawsuit's trial date — if there’s no settlement before that.
- Between the lines: Beykpour, who was fired by CEO Parag Agrawal amid the acquisition proceedings, used to head up all decisions regarding Twitter's consumer products and features.
- What's next: Surely, more back-and-forth between the two sides as to what information they can access, and who they can depose.
Trump SPAC: Yesterday, Digital World Acquisition asked the SEC for a bit more time to file its official quarterly earnings report.
- Why it matters: Whether this merger actually happens remains to be seen given the ongoing regulatory investigations, but the success of Truth Social — former President Donald Trump's fledgling social media platform —and its parent company hinges on a deal.
- By the numbers: The company said it lost roughly $4.7 million last quarter, and around $6.5 million total for the first half of the year, but those figures are still being reviewed and could change.
- Also: DWAC recently asked its shareholders to give it a one year extension to completing its merger with Truth Social.
Verzuz vs. Triller: Music artists Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, who sold their live-streaming music series Verzuz to Triller in early 2021, sued the social media company on Tuesday, alleging it owes them more than $28 million.
- Why it matters: Verzuz pits pairs of Black music icons in a friendly music battle. It instantly became a cultural phenomenon when it began broadcasting its matchups during the pandemic.
- Details: According to the lawsuit, Triller was on track with terms of the deal until January of this year, when it missed a large payment to Verzuz's founders. A settlement required it to pay $18 million by March 20 and $1 million in 10 monthly payments, but the company has failed to make any of them.
Bankers working on a $15 billion take-private deal for Citrix Systems by Elliott Management and Vista Equity Partners are getting creative. They're pitching a a new potential $500 million-equivalent leveraged loan denominated in euros, according to Bloomberg.
Why it's the BFD: This is one of the biggest buyout financings of the past decade, but it’s proving more challenging as the credit market has begun to thaw.
Details: The expected secured bond portion of the financing is now $3 billion, lower than the original debt commitments of $4 billion.
The bottom line: "The original plan was to offload the debt via the high-yield bond and leveraged loan markets, but a deterioration in credit conditions over the following months limited banks' ability to do so .... Syndicating the entire financing at current market yields would likely force lenders to incur losses, and may be too large for the market to absorb even as the tone has improved." — Gowri Gurumurthy, Jeannine Amodeo and Paula Seligson, Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals
• DriveNets, an Israeli cloud-based networking startup, raised $262m in Series C funding led by D2 Investments, with Bessemer Venture Partners, Pitango, D1 Capital, Atreides Management, and Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services also participating. https://axios.link/3QR8Zl2
🚑 Orna Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based circular RNA biotech company, raised $221m in Series B funding from Merck, MPM Capital and BioImpact Capital. www.ornatx.com
• HiBob, a New York and Tel Aviv-based HR software company, raised $150m in Series D funding at a $2.45b valuation led by General Atlantic. https://axios.link/3PuKXuU
🚙 SAIC Mobility Robotaxi, an arm of state-owned Chinese automaker SAIC, raised $148m in Series B funding led by SAIC Group, with Momenta, Gaoheng Management Consulting and others also participating. https://axios.link/3JZSaSx
🚑 Senda Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company, raised $123m in Series C funding led by led by Flagship Pioneering, with Samsung Life Science Fund, Qatar Investment Authority, Bluwave Capital, Stage 1 Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, Longevity Vision Fund, Mayo Clinic, Partners Investment, and State of Michigan Retirement System also participating. https://axios.link/3QwpRh8
• Pliops, an Israeli data processing chip startup, raised $100m in Series D funding led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, with SK Hynix and Lip-Bu Tan also participating. https://axios.link/3w9PqMX
🚑 Incredible Health, a San Francisco-based health care worker job marketplace, raised $80m in Series B funding at a $1.65b valuation led by Base10 Partners, with Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures and Kaiser Permanente also participating. www.incrediblehealth.com
🚙 AtoB, a San Francisco-based trucking payments startup, raised $75m in funding at an $800m valuation led by Elad Gil and General Catalyst. It also raised $80m in debt. https://axios.link/3QO8urN
🚙 Mudflap, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of a fuel discount app, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by QED and 9Yards Capital, with Commerce Ventures and others also participating. www.mudflapinc.com
• ThreatX, a Boston-based API security startup, raised $30m in Series B funding led by Harbert Growth Partners, with Vistara Growth. Existing ThreatX investors .406 Ventures, Grotech Ventures and Access Venture Partners also participating. www.threatx.com
⛽️ Eat Just, a San Francisco-based developer of egg and meat alternatives, raised $25m from C2 Capital Partners. https://axios.link/3Cd4xZJ
🚙 HyperTrack, a San Francisco-based logistics API company, raised $25m in Series A funding led by WestBridge Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. www.hypertrack.com
🚑 KeyCare, a Chicago-based virtual-first care startup built on Epic, raised $24m in series A funding from 8VC, LRVHealth, Bold Capital, and Spectrum Health Ventures. www.keycare.org
• Super, a U.K.-based payments startup, raised £22.5m led by Accel, with Union Square Ventures, LocalGlobe, Sir Ron Kalifa OBE, Edward Wray, Peter Jackson, Gokul Rajaram, Andrew Robb, Maria Raga, others also participating. www.superpayments.com
• GrayMatter, a Gardena, Calif.-based factory robotics startup, raised $20m in Series A funding led by Bow Capital, with B Capital Group, Calibrate Ventures, OCA Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures, Stage Venture Partners, and 3M Ventures and Swift Ventures also participating. https://axios.link/3dBhEK1
• Pomelo, a San Francisco-based lending startup, raised $20m in seed funding led by Founders Fund and A* Capital, with Afore Capital, Xfund, Josh Buckley and The Chainsmokers also participating. It also secured $50m in debt. https://axios.link/3Cd5Esn
• Explo, a San Francisco-based business intelligence software startup, raised $12m in Series A funding led by Craft Ventures, with Felicis Ventures, Amplo VC, and angel investors also participating. https://axios.link/3QSKUKn
🚑 Love, a Miami-based pharmaceutical group and DAO (founded by Bolt’s Ryan Breslow), raised $7.5m in seed funding at a $180m valuation from Human Capital and MaC Venture Capital. www.love.com
• Bearing, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maritime shipping AI startup, raised $7m in additional seed funding from Mitsui & Co. and AI Fund. www.bearing.ai
• Venue, a video-conferencing company, raised $4m in seed funding led by Accel, with Stewart Butterfield, Anthony Casalena, Job van der Voort, and others also participating. www.venue.live
Private Equity Deals
🚙 All Star Auto Lights, backed by Atlantic Street Capital, acquired Blackburn OEM Wheel Solutions, a Macedonia, Ohio-based supplier of steel and alloy wheels for the automotive aftermarket. www.blackburnwheels.com
• EMS Management & Consultants, backed by BV Investment Partners, acquired VAIRKKO, a Raleigh-based workforce and operations management software company. www.vairkko.com
• Partners Group agreed to acquire a minority stake in VelocityEHS, a Chicago-based environmental, health and safety and environmental, social and governance software company, from CVC Growth Funds. www.ehs.com
• WeVideo, backed by Thompson Street Capital Partners, acquired PlayPosit, a Denver-based video interactivity software company. www.go.playposit.com
• Banner Ventures acquired Zerorez Franchising Systems, a Pleasant Grove, Utah-based carpet cleaning company, and several of its franchises. www.zerorez.com
• Onfolio Holdings, a Wilmington, Del.-based owner of a website portfolio, now plans to raise $14m by offering 3.1m units at $4.50. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol ONFO. EF Hutton is the sole bookrunner on the deal. https://axios.link/3PvdJM5
• Graphex Group, a Chinese manufacturer of graphene products for lithium-ion batteries, raised $12m by offering 4.7m ADSs at $2.50. It plans to list on the NYSE American under the symbol GRFX. EF Hutton acted as sole bookrunner on the deal. https://axios.link/3dASOd8
🚑 EMulate Therapeutics, a Bellevue, Wash.-based medical device company, filed to raise up to $15m in an IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol EMTX. EF Hutton is the sole bookrunner on the deal. https://axios.link/3PpzNI1
• Global Engine Group Holding, a Hong Kong-based IT services provider, filed to raise up to $17m in an IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol GLE. Univest Securities is the sole bookrunner on the deal. https://axios.link/3K2VqMV
🚑 Jupiter Neurosciences, a Jupiter, Fla.-based Phase 1 biotech company developing an oral therapy for neuro-inflammation, now plans to raise $15m by offering 2.5m shares at a price range of $5 to $7. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol JUNS. Spartan Capital Securities is the sole bookrunner on the deal. https://axios.link/3C74COC
• CI&T acquired Transpire Technology, an Australian technology consultancy. www.transpire.com
• 20VC acquired Good Future Media, short form video agency. https://axios.link/3ArVuCI
🚑 Intelerad Medical Systems acquired PenRad Technologies, a Buffalo, Minn.-based breast imaging and lung screening software company. www.penrad.com
• The Sage Group acquired Lockstep, a Seattle-based accounting workflow automation software provider. https://axios.link/3SVriam
• Shima Capital raised $200m for its inaugural venture fund focused on early-stage blockchain startups, with LPs including Dragonfly Capital, Bill Ackman, Animoca, OKex, Mirana Ventures, Republic, and Andrew Yang. https://axios.link/3SUa2SZ
⛽️ Contrarian Ventures is raising €100m for its second climate tech-focused venture fund. https://axios.link/3CcQXp7
• Runway Growth Capital hired Ted Cavan as technology managing director and Brannon Morisoli as a life sciences managing director. www.runwaygrowth.com
• Crossbeam hired Sana Godhwani vice president and Mili Raina senior associate. www.crossbeam.vc
• Transition Equity Partners hired Michael Allison as partner. He was previously a senior managing director at Stonepeak. www.transitionequity.com
• Victress Capital promoted Yuriy Dovzhansky to principal. www.victresscapital.com
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