Juul, the maker of vaping devices and nicotine flavor pods that dominate college and (yes) high school campuses, is raising $1.2 billion at a valuation of around $15 billion.
Bloomberg was first with the news on Friday, and Axios has learned that it's basically a done deal that could be announced within just a week or two. We've also gotten our hands on some company financials, which helps explain the investor appeal. The following numbers are a bit dated (they come from late last year), and I'm told that Juul is blasting through the 2018 projections:
Such numbers would normally make Juul a no-brainer for venture capital and growth equity types, particularly given that the San Francisco-based company hasn't yet tapped overseas markets other than Israel. But this one is complicated:
Bottom line: As we said, this deal is getting done because the growth almost demands it. But don't be surprised if it doesn't include traditional VC or growth equity investors.
Dell is returning to the public markets, five years after going private in a $25 billion transaction backed by Silver Lake. It's a complex transaction that involves Dell and Silver Lake offering cash or shares to holders of a Dell tracking stock, valued at $21.7 billion, with financing coming via an $11 billion special dividend being issued by listed Dell subsidiary VMWare.
• Trax, a Singapore-based provider of image recognition tech to consumer packaged goods brands, raised $125 million in new funding led by Boyu Capital. Existing backers include Warburg Pincus. http://axios.link/wAWw
• Aikucun, a Chinese marketplace for fashion brands and professional shoppers, raised $87 million in Series B funding. Legend Capital led, and was joined by Eastern Bell VC and C&D Corp. http://axios.link/jBVM
• Califia Farms, a Los Angeles-based maker of plant-based beverages, raised over $50 million in new funding. Ambrosia Investments led, and was joined by return backers Sun Pacific and Stripes Group. www.califiafarms.com
• Windward, an Israeli provider of maritime risk analytics, raised $16.5 million in Series C funding. XL Innovate led, and was joined by return backers Aleph and Horizons Ventures. www.wnwd.com
• Oden Technologies, a New York-based IoT startup that provides manufacturing data analytics, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Atomico. http://axios.link/DJf6
• Blackstone has agreed to acquire Averys, a French manufacturer of racking and storage solutions for warehouses, from Equistone. www.averys.fr
🚑 CVC Capital Partners agreed to buy a 51.8% stake in Italian drugmaker Recordati (Milan: RECI) for around €3 billion. http://axios.link/2nDK
• DFW Capital Partners has invested in Restoration and Recovery, a Durham, N.C.-based provider of stormwater management services. www.rrstormwater.com
• EQT Partners agreed to buy SUSE, a developer of enterprise-grade Linux software, from Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO) for $2.535 billion. http://axios.link/Lx90
• H2Solutions, a Chicago-based portfolio company of Mountaingate Capital, acquired Infield Digital, a Denver-based digital experience consultancy. www.infielddigital.com
• Wynnchurch Capital acquired Colchester, Vt.-based Critical Process Systems Group. www.cpsgrp.com
• No companies expect to price IPOs on U.S. exchanges this week.
• Endava, a London-based provider of outsourced IT development services, filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE (DAVA), with Morgan Stanley as lead underwriter. The company reports $20 million of net income on $219 million in revenue for the nine months ending March 30, 2018. www.endava.com
• Pinduoduo, a Chinese discounted e-commerce site focused on group buying, filed for a $1 billion IPO. Credit Suisse is lead underwriter. It reports a $32 million net loss on $220 million in revenue for Q1 2018, and is backed by Tencent (18.5% stake), Banyan Capital (10.1%) and Sequoia Capital (7.4%). http://axios.link/XboF
• Opera, an Oslo-based maker of a web browser and digital content discovery tools, filed for a $115 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (OPRA) with CICC and Citi as lead underwriters. It reports $6.6 million of net income on $39 million in revenue for Q1 2018. Shareholders include China’s Kunlun Tech (48% stake). http://axios.link/sFv6
• Tenable, a Columbia, Md.-based cybersecurity and compliance monitoring platform, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (TENB) with Morgan Stanley as lead underwriter. It reports a $16 million net loss on $59 million in revenue for Q1 2018, compared to a $9 million net loss on $40 million for the year-earlier period. The company raised around $300 million in VC funding from firms like Insight Venture Partners (35.3% stake) and Accel (34.4%). http://axios.link/aedv
• ADM (NYSE: ADM) is in exclusive talks to buy French animal feeds business Neovia for around €1.5 billion from backers like Eurazeo and CDC International Capital, per Reuters. http://axios.link/4Rsk
🍜 Centerbridge Partners said it has hired BofA Merrill Lynch and Barclays to explore a sale of restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s. http://axios.link/fUsA
• Fortive (NYSE: FTV) has agreed to buy Gordian, a Greenville, S.C.-based provider of construction cost data, software, from Warburg Pincus. www.thegordiangroup.com
• Acxiom (Nasdaq: ACXM) is in talks to sell its marketing solutions unit to Interpublic (NYSE: IPG) for around $2.2 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/Zv4W
• ChemChina and Sinochem Group, both state-owned, reportedly have agreed to merge, which would create the world’s largest industrial chemicals maker with a value of around $120 billion. http://axios.link/UOK4
🏀 The Los Angeles Lakers inked LeBron James for four years and $153 million. http://axios.link/fxMg
• Randa Accessories is prepping a $28 per share bid for apparel brand Perry Ellis (Nasdaq: PERY), which would top the $27.50 per share offer from Perry Ellis founder George Feldenkreis, per the WSJ. http://axios.link/vt2Q
• Thyssenkrupp of Germany and India’s Tata Steel have agreed to create Europe’s second-largest steel producer, with Thyssenkrupp holding a 55% stake in the joint venture. http://axios.link/G7FS
• Uzabase (Tokyo: 3966) has agreed to buy business news site Quartz from Atlantic Media for between $75 million and $110 million (depending on earnouts). http://axios.link/tEQS
• Sumit Jussal stepped down as a managing director with Probitas Partners to join the private funds group of UBS, per his LinkedIn profile.
• Mitch Lasky, a partner with Benchmark, will not stand for reelection to Snap’s (NYSE: SNAP) board of directors, where he has served since Benchmark invested in late 2012, per The Information. http://axios.link/goBT
• John Stewart, a former partner with Monomoy Capital Partners, has formed a Lexington, Ky.-based firm called MiddleGround Capital, per his LinkedIn profile.