Private equity executives are largely pleased with the tax bill, but there are growing grumbles about how the change to interest deductibility isn't grandfathered in for existing loans.
• Feeling better: Oscar, the VC-backed healthcare insurer co-founded by Joshua Kushner, tells Axios that it is expecting to generate nearly $1 billion in premium revenue for 2018. That's up from "more than $300 million" in 2017 premium revenue. It also says that its insurance underwriting business has become profitable for the first time, although the overall company remains in the red.
• Bonus season: A number of companies yesterday announced bonuses and other employee goodies, ostensibly tied to the tax bill being signed into law. AT&T and Comcast, for example, said that they'd give $1,000 bonuses to most of their workers.
• Size matters: Sequoia Capital is speaking with investors about raising $5 billion for its third global growth fund, although it has not yet set an official target or begun formal marketing. Recode first broke the news, and attributed the big number to what it calls "the SoftBank effect," although it's actually quite similar to the percentage jump between Sequoia's first and second global growth funds ($750m to $2b).
• Hello, old friend: First Round Capital has just posted its annual holiday video, which you can find here.
Penske Media has agreed to invest more than $50 million for a majority stake in Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone magazine.
• Didi Chuxing has raised $4 billion in new equity funding, with a source saying that participants included Mubadala and existing backer SoftBank. The post-money valuation is around $56 billion, and it means that the Chinese ride-hail giant has now raised more than either Uber or Lyft.
🚑 Tessa Therapeutics, a Singapore-based developer of virus-specific T cell immunotherapies for cancer, has raised $80 million in new funding. Temasek led, and was joined by EDBI, Karst Peak Capital, Heliconia and Heritas. http://axios.link/vnFq
🚑 FLX Bio, a South San Francisco-based developer of cancer immunotherapies, has raised $60 million in Series C funding. GV was joined by return backers The Column Group, Kleiner Perkins, Topspin Partners and Celgene Corp. www.flxbio.com
🚑 Aura Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech aimed at preventing blindness in cancer patients, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Lundbeckfonden Ventures and Arix Bioscience co-led, and were joined by return backers Advent Life Sciences, Chiesi Ventures, Ysios Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Columbus Venture Partners and LI-COR Biosciences. http://axios.link/CfL8
• Ripcord, a Hayward, Calif.-based robotic digitization startup focused on enabling paperless workplaces, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. GV led, and was joined by Telstra Ventures and return backers Icon Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lux Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank. http://axios.link/pg5R
🚑 Nuritas, a Dublin, Ireland-based data mining biotech startup, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. http://axios.link/2nCu
• Happy Returns, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of online retail logistics, has raised $8 million in Series B funding. USVP led, and was joined by return backers Upfront Ventures and Brian Spaly. http://axios.link/0kVI
🚲Mobike, a China-based dockless bike-sharing company, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Japanese messaging app maker Line (Tokyo: 3938). Mobike previously raised around $1 billion. http://axios.link/Bo88
• PrecisionLender, a Charlotte-based pricing and profitability platform for commercial banks, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Insight Venture Partners and return backer Georgian Partners. www.precisionlender.com
• Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire a $50 billion portfolio of retirement income annuities from Voya Financial (NYSE: VOYA), in partnership with Crestview Partners and Reverence Capital Partners.
• Audax Private Equity has acquired Liquid Environmental Solutions, an Irving, Texas-based provider of non-hazardous liquid waste management and disposal services, from ABS Capital Partners. www.liquidenviro.com
🚑 Dr. Max, a Central and Eastern European pharmacy group owned by Penta Investments, has agreed to acquire Romanian pharmacy chain A&D Pharma Group. http://axios.link/yOON
• Equistone Partners has acquired a majority stake in Dugas Co., a Paris-based distributor of high-end spirits. www.equistonepe.com
• Gryphon Investors has acquired a majority stake in Potter Electric Signal, a St. Louis-based provider of products to the fire safety industry, from Two Rivers Associates and Parkway Capital. http://axios.link/LKPJ
• Penta Investments and China's CEFC Group have made a joint bid for Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Central European Media Enterprises unit, which could be worth around $2 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/kSWm
⛽ Rock Hill Capital Group has invested in Ace Gathering, a Katy, Texas-based provider of crude oil marketing, gathering, and reclamation services. www.acegathering.com
• Spotify has been given indications from the SEC that it will be approved for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, according to the WSJ. http://axios.link/3Adj
⛽ Conduit Capital Partners has agreed to sell its interest in Electricidad del Golfo, a 35-MW hydroelectric power plant in Veracruz, Mexico, to Canada's ATCO (TSX: ATO) for $90 million in cash (including assumption of debt). www.conduitcap.com
• Daimler has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Chauffeur Prive, a French ride-share company that had raised €5 million from XAnge Private Equity, Siparex Group and CM-CIC Capital Prive. http://axios.link/7A8E
• Littlejohn & Co. and Strategic Value Partners have sold GSE Holding, a Houston-based maker of geosynthetic containment solutions for environmental protection and confinement applications, to Canada's Solmax. http://axios.link/3ZwC
🚑 JSR Life Sciences (Tokyo: 4185) has agreed to acquire Taiwan-listed cancer drug discovery company Crown Bioscience International for $400 million. http://axios.link/pYby
⛽ Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) has agreed to acquire Australian gas producer AWE Ltd. (ASX: AWE) for around A$526 million. http://axios.link/JJtS
🍕 Nomad Foods (NYSE: NOM) is in talks to acquire British pizza parlor chain Goodfella's for around £200 million. http://axios.link/DrOe
• Ryanair (ISE: RYA), the Irish budget airline, said that it has decided not to bid for the assets of bankrupt Australian carrier Niki. http://axios.link/lEOt
• Ares Management has closed its first junior direct lending fund with $3.4 billion. www.aresmgmt.com
• Brick & Mortar Ventures of San Francisco is raising up to $100 million for its latest fund, per an SEC filing. www.brickmortar.vc
🚑 Flagship Pioneering has closed its sixth healthcare-focused VC fund with $618 million in capital commitments. http://axios.link/3e8E
• Fly Ventures, a Berlin-based seed firm, has closed its debut fund with $41 million. http://axios.link/JoiE
🚑 Hadean Ventures, an Oslo-based biotech VC firm, has closed its debut fund with €100 million. http://axios.link/by4p
• Industry Ventures is raising up to $250 million for its fifth fund-of-funds, per an SEC filing. www.industryventures.com
• Lily Tapia has joined Miami-based private equity firm Trivest Partners as a director. She previously was chief development officer at the Laser Spine Institute and, before that, was a wealth manager at Merrill Lynch. www.trivest.com
President Trump likes to talk about the stock market's strong performance since took office, including how the S&P 500 keeps hitting record highs. But, in terms of percentage growth, the index's performance under Trump actually lags its performance through the first 11 months of President Obama and the first President Bush.