Sep 2, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack

🚨 Situational awareness: ADP this morning reported a monthly jobs increase of 428,000, which was less than half the consensus estimate.

🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into Silicon Valley's contact tracing fail, and how Apple and Google are trying to course correct. Listen via Apple or via Axios.

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok is less than two weeks away from President Trump's deal-or-death deadline, but a transaction is feeling even further away than when he first made his threat.

Driving the news: China's new tech export rules could prevent ByteDance from including TikTok's algorithm in its sale of TikTok, which is akin to McDonald's selling a Big Mac without the meat.

Between the lines: This deal was already difficult before Beijing intervened, but at least companies like Microsoft and Oracle knew what they were bidding on. Now it's less clear, even to ByteDance, thus creating trickle-down troubles for everything from pricing to deal structure.

  • A Chinese government official on Monday accused the U.S. of "outright bullying.”
  • Adding yet another layer of complexity, Trump yesterday reiterated his extortionary insistence that the U.S. "has to be compensated, well compensated" for approving a sale.
  • There still doesn't appear to be any buyside appetite for such a payment, with sources hoping Trump will rhetorically save face by pointing to deal-related tax payments.

Caveat: I'm not arguing that there won't be a deal, because saying anything with certainty about this situation would be folly.

The bottom line: TikTok has become a lot like a Rubik's Cube, a multi-sided puzzle that often involves a long series of counterproductive twists. Most players eventually give up, angry at themselves for even taking the time. But, every once in a while, all of that frustration gives way to an epiphany.


Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Patreon, a San Francisco-based online patronage platform for artists, raised $90 million in Series E funding co-led by NEA and Wellington Management at a $1.2 billion pre-money valuation.

  • Why it's the BFD: Patreon has become a revenue lifeline for creative workers like musicians and actors, as the pandemic has closed many live performance venues.
  • Other investors include Lone Pine, Glade Brook Capital, Thrive Capital, DFJ Growth, and Index Ventures.
  • The bottom line: Patreon says it has more than 200,000 creators on its platform, who've raised over $2 billion to date from around 6 million supporters.
Venture Capital Deals

Neon Pagamentos, a Brazilian digital bank, raised $300 million in Series C funding. Existing backer General Atlantic led, and was joined by BlackRock, Vulcan Capital, PayPal Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst.

Unacademy, an Indian exam prep company, raised $150 million at a $1.45 billion post-money valuation. SoftBank led, and was joined by Facebook, Blume Ventures, Nexus Partners, General Atlantic, and Sequoia Capital.

PasarPolis, an Indonesian insure-tech startup, raised $54 million in Series B funding. LeapFrog Investments and SBI Investment co-led, and were joined by AlphaJWC, Intudo Ventures, and Xiaomi.

🚑 PicnicHealth, a San Francisco-based medical records access platform, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Felicis Ventures led, and was joined by return backer Amplify Partners.

Legion, a Redwood City, Calif.-based workplace management platform, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Stripes Group led, and was joined by Workday Ventures.

Toss Lab, a South Korean enterprise collaboration platform, raised $14 million in Series B funding. SoftBank Ventures Asia led, and was joined by SV Investment, Atinum Investment, Must Asset Management, Shinhan Capital, SparkLabs, and T Investment.

InCountry, a San Francisco-based data residency-as-a-service startup, raised $18 million in new Series A funding at a valuation north of $150 million. Caffeinated Capital and Mubadala co-led, and were joined by Accenture Ventures, Arbor Ventures, Felicis, Ridge Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, and Team Builder Ventures.

🚑 LUCA Science, a Tokyo-based developer of mitochondria as therapeutic agents, raised $9.8 million in Series A funding. Axil Capital Partners led, and was joined by Remiges Ventures, Nippon Venture Capital, Fast Track Initiative, and CaHC.

Honey Mama’s, a Portland, Ore.-based maker of honey bars, raised $4.5 million in Series A funding led by Amberstone Ventures.

Cuddly, a Seal Beach, Calif.-based fundraising platform for animal welfare groups, raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Lead Edge Capital.

Private Equity Deals

Apollo Global Management is leading a $5.5 billion deal for a 49% stake in a real estate affiliate of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC), including $2.7 billion in upfront payments.

🚑 The Carlyle Group is investing $260 million for a 5% stake in listed Chinese drugmaker Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceutical.

Dell (NYSE: DELL) agreed to sell RSA, a Bedford, Mass.-based cybersecurity and risk management organization, to a private equity group that includes Symphony Technology Group, Ontario Teachers’ and AlpInvest. The deal is valued at $2.1 billion, and includes the annual RSA Conference.

PropertyGuru, a Singapore-based property listings firm, raised S$300 million in new funding from existing backers KKR and TPG Capital.

Security First, a Ladera Ranch, Calif.-based cybersecurity company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reached an agreement to be sold for $6 million to ESW Capital. Company backers had included Topspin Partners and hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

TCV acquired a majority stake in Oversight, an Atlanta-based spend management platform, from Luminate Capital Partners.

Wind Point Partners acquired RTIC, a Houston-based direct-to-consumer seller of coolers and other outdoor products.

Public Offerings

Wish, a San Francisco-based mobile shopping app, filed confidential IPO papers, per Reuters. The company most recently was valued by venture capitalists at $11.2 billion.

Bumble, a dating app owned by The Blackstone Group, is prepping a 2021 IPO that could value it at between $6 billion and $8 billion, per Bloomberg.

Knaus Tabbert, a German RV maker, is prepping a Frankfurt IPO.

Nuvei, a Montreal-based payment tech company owned by Novacap, filed for a Toronto IPO. Much of its business focuses on sports betting, and it was last valued in the private markets at around $2 billion.

SPAC Stuff

🚑 CM Life Sciences, a SPAC formed by Casdin Capital and Corvex Management, raised $385 million in its IPO.

Skillz, a San Francisco-based mobile gaming company, is going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC led by the same executives who recently acquired DraftKings. Skillz will have an initial market cap of $4.3 billion, while the deal includes nearly $160 million in new investment from Wellington Management, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, and Neuberger Berman. It previously raised $137 million in VC funding from backers like Telstra Ventures, Accomplice, and Wildcat Capital Management.

Liquidity Events

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) agreed to buy BabbleLabs, a Campbell, Calif.-based background noise deletion startup that had raised around $18 million from backers like Intel Capital, Dell Technologies Capital, Samsung, and OTB Ventures.

Quadrant Private Equity hired Jefferies to find a buyer for Amart Furniture, an Australian discount furniture retailer, per The Australian.

More M&A

Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) offered to buy cable operator Cogeco (TSX: CGO) for C$10.3 billion. As part of the deal, Altice would sell Cogeco’s Canadian assets to Rogers Communications (TSX: RCI.B).

AT&T (NYSE: T) is seeking a buyer for its Xander ad unit, per Reuters.

Hertz Global Holdings, the bankrupt auto rental giant, is considering a sale of its Donlen fleet business, if it can secure at least $1 billion, per Bloomberg.

Yildiz Holding, the Turkish owner of Godiva chocolates, suspended efforts to sell its frozen foods unit and its U.K. crackers unit, per Bloomberg.


3one4 Capital, an Indian VC firm, secured $40 million for its third fund, which is targeting a total of $100 million.

PAG, an Asia-focused alternative investment firm, raised $1.5 billion for its fourth direct lending fund.

Webster Equity Partners is raising $1 billion for its fifth fund, focused exclusively on health care services companies, per Buyouts.

It's Personnel

🚑 Scott Barclay stepped down as a partner with DCVC in order to join Point72 Ventures, where he’ll lead a new life sciences investment effort. No word yet on if his comp package includes Mets tickets.

Robin Rousseau joined Citigroup as head of EMEA investment banking, after having led MENA M&A for Deutsche Bank, per Bloomberg.

Mahir Zaimoglu is leaving Goldman Sachs, which he joined last year to lead MENA activities for the bank’s financial sponsors group, per Bloomberg. No word yet on future plans.

Final Numbers
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  • DraftKings shares jumped at the open today, after announcing that Michael Jordan will join the company as a special advisor to the board, and that he’ll become a shareholder.
Dan Primack

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