Friday greetings from my last day in D.C., with special kudos to the W Hotel for rustling me up a desk and chair that otherwise wasn't in the room (it's the little things). Please keep that scoop and feedback coming via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or anonymous tip (http://axios.com/tips). Here we go...
Illustration:Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser/Axios
When Sprint and T-Mobile first announced their mega-merger, it was about better competing with a pair of industry giants — AT&T and Verizon — that were well ahead of them in most every category. A $26 billion game of catch-up.
But now, more than a year later, the whole thing may hinge on an unexpected rival coming up from behind.
State of play: Sprint and T-Mobile plan to extend their merger agreement past the July 29 deadline, marking the second such delay, per the WSJ.
Big call: The prospect of Dish-Google or Dish-Amazon is the biggest fly in T-Mobile CEO John Legere's punch bowl, and may be even less appetizing than a legal fight with federal antitrust regulators (particularly with ones that failed to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner).
The estate of late oilman Aubrey McClendon is seeking to sell its 22% stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder, an NBA franchise valued by Forbes at around $1.5 billion, per Bloomberg.
• Minerva Project, a San Francisco-based higher education tech company, raised $57 million in Series C funding. Bytedance led, and was joined by TAL Education Group, Yongjin Group, Pinpoint Ventures, Kakao Ventures, Tan Tan Ventures and Lighthouse Combined. The company also is raising a separate $50 million to spin off its non-profit education provider arm. http://axios.link/5CFb
• Microphyt, a French microalgae startup, raised €28.5 million co-led by Sofinnova Partners and BPI France.
• NewsCred, a New York-based enterprise content marketing platform, raised $20 million. InterWest Partners led, and was joined by Dentsu, Escalate Capital Partners, FTV Captial, Mayfield, FirstMark Capital and Greycroft. http://axios.link/awWg
• Exyn Technologies, a Philadelphia-based developer of autonomous aerial robots, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Centricus led, and was joined by Yamaha Motors Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Corecam Family Office, Red and Blue Ventures and IP Group. http://axios.link/5Jl7
• IQM, a Finnish quantum computing startup, raised $13 million in seed funding from Matadero QED, Maki.vc, MIG Fonds, OpenOcean, Tesi and Vito Ventures. http://axios.link/EeVx
• GetAccept, a San Francisco-based sales engagement startup, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by DN Capital. www.getaccept.com
• Kencko, a maker of plant-based snacks, raised $3.4 million in seed funding from NextView Ventures, LocalGlobe, Kairos Ventures, Techstars and Max Ventures. http://axios.link/z7FL
• Acorn Growth Cos acquired Black Sage Technologies, a Boise, Idaho-based maker of counter-unmanned aircraft systems. www.blacksagetech.com
• CVC Capital Partners agreed to buy the packaging machinery unit of car parts maker Bosch, with Reuters putting the business value at €850 million. http://axios.link/l7bs
• Equistone agreed to buy British residential property management company FirstPort from Epiris and Chamonix Private Equity.
• Gemspring Capital acquired a majority stake in Rapid Displays, a Chicago-based provider of point-of-purchase displays. www.rapiddisplays.com
🚑 H.I.G. Capital invested in MedPro Advantage, a management services organization affiliated with dermatology practice network Soderstrom Skin Institute. www.soderstromskininstitute.com
• North Castle Partners invested in Eschelon Fit, a connected bike rival to Peloton.
• PAI Partners has offered to buy listed Dutch food maker Koninklijke Wessanen for around €885 million. http://axios.link/10RE
• Veregy, a San Francisco-based portfolio company of Bow River Capital, acquired Dynamix, a Columbus, Ohio-based energy engineering services company. www.veregyconsulting.com
🚑 InMode, an Israeli maker of medical devices for aesthetic surgery, filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (INMD) with Barclays as lead underwriter, and reports $6.4 million of net income of $31 million in revenue for Q1 2019. Shareholders include Israel Healthcare Ventures and SpaMedical International. http://axios.link/fYYw
• Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) agreed to sell Danish snacks business Kelsen to Italy’s Ferrero for $300 million. http://axios.link/d4CV
🚑 Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL) agreed to buy the skin-care unit of France’s Laboratoires Filorga Cosmétiques for €1.5 billion. http://axios.link/gUTU
• Verizon (NYSE: VZ) considered selling Yahoo Finance earlier this year, but never launched a formal process and is no longer planning to divest, per Reuters. http://axios.link/6OPL
• Volkswagen agreed to invest $2.6 billion into Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based self-driving tech upstart owned by Ford Motor Co. In related news, Ford said it will make at least 600,000 vehicles for Europe using Volkswagen's electric vehicle technology.
• Link Ventures, a Cambridge, Mass.-based early-stage tech investor, is raising $100 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing.
• Palladium Equity Partners, a New York-based middle-market buyout fund, raised $1.56 billion for its fifth fund.
• Stage Venture Partners, a Los Angeles-based seed investment firm focused on B2B tech, is raising $75 million for its third fund, per an SEC filing.
• Anish Acharya, a former Credit Karma executive, joined Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner focused on fintech investments. http://axios.link/urug
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