Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The Aramco IPO keeps moving forward, despite devastating drone strikes, and this week promised at least $75 billion of dividends through 2024. But Axios' Felix Salmon smells a spill:
• Varsity blues: Gordon Caplan yesterday was sentenced to one month in prison and fined $50,000, after pleading guilty to paying $75,000 to rig his daughter's college entrance exam.
• Swamp stuff: Private equity has been in the national headlines a lot recently, namely because of accusations aimed by President Trump at Hunter Biden.
Bottom line: If the $1.5 billion was indeed raised, it would have been for limited partnership interests in an investment fund. Not $1.5 billion into a director's pockets. Somewhere, Mitt Romney is shaking his head and thinking, "Didn't we do all of this already?"
🎧 Pro Rata Podcast focuses on unintended consequences of the trade war on U.S. manufacturing. Listen here.
lllustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Bird, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based e-scooter rental company, raised $275 million in Series D funding at a $2.5 billion pre-money valuation. CDPQ and return backer Sequoia Capital co-led the round.
🚑 Icosavax, a Seattle-based developer of a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, raised $51 million in Series A funding. Qiming Venture Partners USA led, and was joined by Adams Street Partners, Sanofi Ventures, and NanoDimension. http://axios.link/Xqbl
• Dunzo, an Indian hyper-local delivery service, raised $45 million in Series D funding from Google, Lightbox Ventures, STIC, and 3L Capital. http://axios.link/XnR4
• Osaro, a San Francisco-based provider of machine learning software for warehouse robots, raised $16 million in Series B funding from King River Capital, Alpha Intelligence Capital, Founders Fund, Pegasus Tech Ventures, and GiTV Fund. http://axios.link/3uqj
• Gradient AI, a Cambridge, Mass.-based software startup for commercial insurers, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Forte Ventures and Sandbox Insurtech Ventures co-led, and were joined by return backer MassMutual Ventures. www.gradientai.com
• Oneiro, a Boston-based cryptocurrency platform, raised $5 million from Cosimo Ventures. http://axios.link/tpHW
• Mon Ami, an app that connects college students with socially-isolated seniors, raised $3.4 million in seed funding co-led by Freestyle Capital and Cowboy Ventures. http://axios.link/GIfN
• Strigo, an Israeli customer training management startup, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Hanaco Ventures led, and was joined by Greycroft. www.strigo.io
• Apollo Global Management and The Carlyle Group are the two remaining bidders for Arriva, the European transport business being sold by Deutsche Bahn for around €3 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/jC3M
• Capstone Logistics, a Peachtree Corners, Ga.-based portfolio company of The Jordan Co., agreed to buy the assets of MileZero, a defunct provider of last-mile delivery logistics software. www.capstonelogistics.com
• CVC Capital Partners said it will invest over $400 million for a minority stake in Israeli ad-tech company IronSource. An earlier report suggested it would invest $450 million for a 25% stake. http://axios.link/u0Oi
• Highview Capital acquired Gold Star Foods, an Ontario, Calif.-based distributor of food to K-12 child nutrition programs. Gold Star will be merged with existing Highview portfolio company Good Source. www.goldstarfoods.com
• Insignia Capital Group invested in Netrush, a Vancouver, Wash.-based third-party retail agency focused on Amazon marketplaces. www.netrush.com
• Kronos, a Chemlsford, Mass.-based portfolio company of Hellman & Friedman and The Blackstone Group, acquired Optimum Solutions, a Nashville-based provider of HCM software. www.kronos.com
🍿 NexPhase Capital invested in Popcornopolis, a Vernon, Calif.-based maker of ready-to-eat popcorn. www.popcornopolis.com
• Silver Lake agreed to buy Australian event ticketing company Ticketek for A$1.3 billion. http://axios.link/484M
• TorQuest Partners invested in Joriki, a Canadian contract manufacturer of food and beverage products. http://axios.link/gkqM
• Global Blue, a Swiss shopping tax refund company, is prepping a €1 billion Amsterdam IPO, per Reuters. http://axios.link/XRJZ
• Verallia, a French glass bottle maker owned by Apollo Global Management, priced its Paris IPO at the low end of its range, for an initial market cap of €3.2 billion. It is the largest French IPO since 2017. http://axios.link/tlbB
• Crescent Capital Partners is seeking a buyer for Australian water pipeline manufacturer Steel Mains, per Reuters. http://axios.link/W6H0
• Nautic Partners sold Custom Window Systems, an Ocala, Fla.-based maker of windows and doors for the residential and multifamily markets, to Iowa’s Pella Corp. www.cws.cc
• Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) acquired FC Business Intelligence, a London-based B2B events firm, from LDC. http://axios.link/wm36
⛽ Abu Dhabi National Oil is seeking a buyer for its natural gas pipelines, which could fetch around $5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/nyf5
• Clariant, a Swiss chemicals company, is in talks to sell its Masterbatches plastic adhesives unit to Ohio-based PolyOne Corp. (NYSE: POL) for around $1.5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/PtyW
• RingCentral (NYSE: RNG) will invest $125 million into telecom equipment company Avaya (NYSE: AVYA), via a preferred equity investment that could result in a 6% stake upon conversion to common stock. This is part of a larger strategic partnership, and comes after Avaya had been considering sale or merger options. http://axios.link/CdK5
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