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Private equity's newest political headache came last Thursday, when G/O Media shut down Splinter News, a left-wing publication with seven full-time employees.
Great Hill formed G/O Media this past spring via the purchase of Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion from Univision. Splinter was part of Gizmodo, alongside several other sites that Univision had acquired via the Gawker bankruptcy (Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, etc.). No pricing terms were disclosed, although Great Hill reportedly paid less than the $135 million check Univision had originally cut.
Gaffney puts the blame for Splinter's failure on the site's audience declines, which he says fell 75% from its Univision-owned peak, rather on than a lack of financial performance. "It had nothing to do with making money, because we co-mingle the audience for ad sales."
Splinter illustrates the fundamental flaw of one-size-fits-all policy prescriptions for private equity, whether from Warren of anyone else. Similar to what we discussed last week in terms of private equity's impact on net employment.
The bottom line is that private equity did kill Splinter, in the sense that Great Hill pulled the plug. But it shouldn't bear sole blame for the underlying disease that has spread throughout media, including among both those that do and don't have private equity backing.
Barneys New York, the luxury retailer that filed for bankruptcy in August, reportedly is in talks for a $268 million rescue investment from Authentic Brands Group.
• Paytm, an Indian mobile payments company, is nearing a $2 billion investment at a $16 billion valuation from a group that includes existing backers Ant Financial and SoftBank Group, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/LrGh
• Algolia, a San Francisco-based search-as-a-service startup, raised $110 million in Series C funding. Accel led, and was joined by Salesforce Ventures. http://axios.link/PdS0
• Level Home, a smart-lock developer, raised $71 million from Walmart, Hut 8 Ventures, and Lennar. http://axios.link/QKhH
🚲 Wheels, a dockless e-bike rental company, raised $50 million led by DBL Partners. http://axios.link/n5SU
🚑 Cyteir Therapeutics, a Lexington, Mass.-based cancer therapy startup, raised $40.2 million in new Series B funding (round total $75.2m). Novo Holdings led, and was joined by Venrock, DROIA Oncology Ventures, Osage University Partners, Lightstone Ventures and Celgene. www.cyteir.com
• Havenly, a Denver-based home interior decorating design and ecommerce company, raised $32 million in Series C funding from Foundry Group, Lerer Hippeau, Kickstart Ventures, and Gingerbread Capital. www.havenly.com
• True Balance, a payments app for small cities and towns in India, raised $23 million in Series C funding from NH Investment & Securities, IBK Capital, D3 Jubilee Partners, SB Partners, Shinhan Capital, and return backers IMM Investment and HB Investment. http://axios.link/DTJi
• Thimble (fka Verifly), a provider of short-term insurance to small businesses and freelancers, raised $22 million in Series A funding. IAC led, and was joined by seed backers Slow Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, and Open Ocean. http://axios.link/zImU
• Radius Networks, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of physical customer traffic analytics, raised $15 million in Series A funding from Contour Venture Partners and Core Capital Partners. http://axios.link/JRd0
• Mathpresso, a Seoul-based math homework app, raised $14.5 million in Series B funding from Legend Capital, InterVest, NP Investments, and Mirae Asset Venture Investment. http://axios.link/7jQ9
🚑 Azitra, a Farmington, Conn.-based medical dermatology startup, raised $14 million in Series A funding. KdT Ventures and Bios Partners co-led, and were joined by Connecticut Innovations and Godfrey Capital. www.azitrainc.com
🚑 Abalos Therapeutics, a German developer of oncologic immuno-virotherapies, raised €12 million in Series A financing co-led by BIVF and Gruenderfonds Ruhr. http://axios.link/Qks1
• Cashforce, a Belgian cash forecasting and working capital management startup, raised €5 million in Series A funding. INKEF Capital and Citi Ventures co-led, and were joined by Pamica and Volta Ventures. www.cashforce.com
• Relative Insight, a UK-based market research tool that began by helping law enforcement monitor social platforms, raised $5 million from Maven Capital Partners. www.relativeinsight.com
• ZitSticka, a New York-based skincare breand, raised $5 million in Series A funding led by BFG Ventures. www.zitsticka.com
• Rho Business, a New York-based digital banking platform for high-growth startups, raised $4.9 million in seed funding led by Inspired Capital. www.rho.co
• Apollo Global Management and The Blackstone Group each made first-round bids for Hilton Grand Vacations (NYSE: HGV), per Bloomberg. A deal could value the HGV at over $5 billion (including assumed debt). http://axios.link/S9ib
• The Blackstone Group plans to launch a tender offer for Japanese hotelier Unizo Holdings (Tokyo: 3258), after having two takeover bids rejected. http://axios.link/OPzf
• Blue Wolf Capital Partners acquired Kirlin Design Build, a Rockville, Md.-based engineering and construction company focused on large government and private-sector projects. www.kirlingroup.com
🚑 KKR is leading a $685 million to buy Metro Pacific Hospitals Holdings, the Philippines’ largest hospital chain. http://axios.link/pGJV
• Lee Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in The Living Co., a Dallas-based provider of furniture to off-campus student housing properties. www.livingcompany.com
• Lincolnshire Management acquired Powerhouse, a Crowley, Texas-based construction and facilities maintenance company. www.powerhousenow.com
• Sun Capital Partners is in pole position to buy Vetrerie Riunite, an Italian maker of home appliance door glass, per Reuters. http://axios.link/gcnJ
• Wendel, a French investment firm, agreed to buy Crisis Prevention Institute, a Milwaukee-based provider of behavioral management and violence prevention training services, from FFL Partners for $910 million. http://axios.link/SCfG
• Latitude Financial, an Australian lender, canceled what would have been Australia’s largest IPO of the year, reportedly because too much share demand was coming from short-term investors. Latitude backers include KKR, Deutsche Bank, and Varde Partners. http://axios.link/B7iH
• PT Champ Resto, an Indonesian restaurant chain operator backed by Capsquare Asia Partners, is considering an IPO that could raise around $150 million, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/Pmle
• Ardian is seeking a buyer for DRT, a French maker of chemicals for use in food, fragrances, and adhesives, per Reuters. A deal could fetch upwards of €2 billion. http://axios.link/461D
🚑 Blue Sea Capital and CITIC Capital are seeking a buyer for DDS Lab, a Tampa, Fla.-based dental labs company, per PE Hub. http://axios.link/FpdQ
• The Carlyle Group is seeking to sell British minicab company Addison Lee by early next year, in order to avoid a debt restructure or extension, per the FT. Earlier reports were that Carlyle was considering a U.S. IPO. http://axios.link/fyPw
• Massimo Zanetti (Milan: MZB) agreed to buy Brazilian coffee brand Cafe Pacaembu. http://axios.link/l1WF
⛽ Parsley Energy (NYSE: PE) agreed to buy smaller rival shale producer Jagged Peak Energy ( NYSE: JAG) for $1.62 billion in stock. http://axios.link/iwBY
⛽ Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) agreed to sell its Chile business to China’s State Grid International Development for $2.23 billion in cash. http://axios.link/2bQj
• THP, a Vietnamese beverage maker that once turned down a $2.5 billion takeover offer from Coca-Cola, is seeking a $3 billion strategic investment, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/pFcB
⛽ Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL) of Denver is in talks to merger with San Antonio-based Abraxas Petroleum (Nasdaq: AXAS), per Reuters. http://axios.link/Sdts
• M13, a Los Angeles-based VC firm, raised $175 million for its second fund. www.m13.co
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