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We've talked a lot about the private equity industry's record amount of dry powder, or capital committed to funds that hasn't yet been invested. But things might not be quite as soft as they at first appear.

  • Private equity firms had around $1.2 trillion in dry powder in 2018, per Preqin.
  • Other private capital funds — including credit, energy and infrastructure — had another $800 billion.
  • Yes, that's a whopping $2 trillion put together.

The (maybe) mitigating number is 2.

  • That's the ratio of 2018 dry powder to capital called in 2017, according to a new report from asset management consultancy MJ Hudson. And it was the same in 2017, even while dry powder mountain continued to grow.
  • The ratio peaked at 3.8x in 2009, with a more recent high coming in 2013 (2.8x).
  • In other words, firms are sitting on more real dollars today than in past years, but also are deploying that capital faster.

Caveat: There are always (legitimate) fears that fund size tails wag deal size tails, as the ratio was only 2.2x in what was a very frothy 2007 market.

Today in Abraaj: Prosecutors have their first guilty plea related to the collapse of Abraaj, which had been one of the largest and most influential private equity managers in emerging markets. Per Bloomberg:

Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, a former managing partner at the Dubai-based firm, appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Friday to admit he lied to
investors across the globe in an attempt to hide losses at Abraaj and
raise more money. He’s one of six former Abraaj executives facing
racketeering and securities-fraud charges.

Abdel-Wadood could receive a max prison sentence of 125-years, although that seems highly unlikely given that his guilty plea includes a promise to cooperate with prosecutors.

Matt Bross, who served as Huawei's global CTO between 2009 and 2012, yesterday joined Silicon Valley venture firm CloudScale Capital Partners.

  • He doesn't have comment on his former employer's current troubles, telling me that he's been gone for too long to have a valid opinion.
  • But Bross does believe that the Huawei experience can be instructional for startups: "In startups, it's all for one and one for all in the beginning, but you also need an operational understanding of how you defend your IP as you scale, both internally and externally. Emerging technology companies need to think about the processes they put in place when it comes to separating different development elements of their platforms, regardless of where they're domiciled."

BX pop: Shares of The Blackstone Group jumped 4.9% yesterday, representing more than $1.4 billion in added market cap, after the investment giant formally completed its conversion from a publicly-traded partnership into a C-corp.

  • The pop may represent a sudden inflow of institutional investors that were otherwise blocked from buying publicly-traded partnerships. The move also makes Blackstone eligible for most equity indexes and exchange-traded funds. Go deeper.

🎧 Podcast: We dig into America's nonstop economic boom, as this month marks the country's longest-ever time period without a recession. How we got here and what comes next. Listen here.

The BFD

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Anheuser-Busch InBev disclosed that it will seek to raise upwards of $9.8 billion in a Hong Kong IPO of its Asia-Pacific business.

  • Why it's the BFD: This could become the year's largest IPO, topping the $8.1 billion raised in May by Uber. It also could give the unit an initial market cap of nearly $64 billion (around the same size as Heineken), and help AB InBev cut into a debt pile it built via the 2016 purchase of SABMiller.
  • Bottom line: "The company is counting on the region’s growth potential to draw interest in the shares as the beer business faces stagnating prospects elsewhere. AB InBev has already cornered the premium market in China and has been buying up local craft brands to reach fashionable millennials with a taste for more expensive brews." — Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals

Ola, the Indian ride-hail company, raised $250 million for its electric vehicle unit from SoftBank at a $1 billion valuation. http://axios.link/A2vl

MobiTV, an Emeryville, Calif.-based streaming TV platform, raised $50 million from Cedar Grove Partners and return backers Oak Investment Partners and Ally Financial. http://axios.link/u1xw

🚑 Calm, a San Francisco-based meditation app, raised $27 million in a Series B round extension from Lightspeed Venture Partners, at a $1 billion valuation. http://axios.link/vnjG

TrapX Security, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of cyber deception technology, raised $18 million. Ibex Investors led, and was joined by BRM, Opus Capital, Intel Capital, Liberty Technology Venture Capital and Strategic Cyber Ventures. http://axios.link/mgnP

🚑 Belong.Life, a New York-based social network for cancer patients and their caregivers/healthcare pros, raised $14 million in Series B funding. IQVIA led, and was joined by The Group Ventures. http://axios.link/2p1O

Sweet Escape, an Indonesia-based photographer booking site, raised $6 million in Series A funding co-led by Openspace Ventues and Jungle Ventures. http://axios.link/qLSu

Kameleoon, a Paris-based provider of marketing personalization tech, raised €5 million from Odyssée Venture and return backer SGPA.

Mercato, a San Diego-based online ordering and delivery platform for independent groceries, raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Greycroft. www.mercato.com

Private Equity Deals

Axcel agreed to buy SteelSeries, a Denmark-based maker of gaming products, from L Catterton. www.steelseries.com

Bain Capital reportedly has entered exclusive talks to buy Kantar, the data and market research unit of WPP (LSE: WPP) that could fetch upwards of $4.5 billion. Earlier suitors had included Apollo Global Management, Apax Partners and CVC Capital Partners. http://axios.link/DmhW

🚑 BC Partners agreed to buy a majority stake in Dutch generic medicine maker Synthon International Holdings. http://axios.link/V48a

• FloWorks International, a pipe and valve distributor owned by Clearlake Capital Partners, sold its master distribution unit to Texas Pipe & Supply. www.floworkspvf.com

Gryphon Technologies, a Washington, D.C.-based portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners, acquired PGFM Solutions, a Sewell, N.J.-based provider of cybersecurity solutions for U.S. Navy and Coast Guard shipbuilding and modernization programs. www.pgfmsols.com

H.I.G. Europe acquired a control stake in Metalprint, an Italian manufacturer of forged brass and aluminum industrial components.

• Meridian Adhesives, a New York-based portfolio company of Aresenal Capital Partners, acquired PolyCom Industries, an Indian manufacturer of industrial adhesives and coatings. www.meridianadhesives.com

• PAI Partners completed its €1.4 billion purchase of Areas, a Spain-based travel concessions company, from Elior Group (Paris: ELIOR). http://axios.link/L8xt

🚑 Partners Group invested in Chicago-based veterinary hospitals company Blue River PetCare. www.blueriverpetcare.com

Sunbelt Transformer, a Temple, Texas-based portfolio company of Trilantic North America, acquired Solomon Corp., a Kansas-based provider of refurbishment, repair and salvage services for electrical transformers, from Oaktree Capital Management. www.solomoncorp.com

💪 TPG Growth agreed to buy New York-based gym chain Crunch Fitness from Angelo Gordon and New Evolution Ventures. http://axios.link/jWTv

Public Offerings

🚑 Codiak BioSciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of exosome therapeutics, withdrew an $86 million IPO registration that it filed in April. The pre-revenue company was using Jefferies as lead underwriter, and has raised $168 million in VC funding from firms like Arch Venture Partners (28.3% stake), Flagship (18.9%) and Fidelity (14.1%). www.codiakbio.com

ProSight Global, a Morristown, N.J.-based specialty insurer owned by Goldman Sachs and TPG Capital, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE (PROS) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter, and reports $213 million in Q1 2019 revenue. http://axios.link/xaKE

Saudi Arabia is restarting talks for a possible Aramco IPO, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/usKV

Liquidity Events

John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW.A) agreed to buy Zyante, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based provider of animated and interactive learning materials, for $56 million in cash. Zyante raised over $4 million from firms like Bialla Venture Partners, TA Venture and TEC Ventures. http://axios.link/Gaen

Ricoh (Tokyo: 7752) agreed to buy DocuWare, a German provider of document management and workflow automation software. Sellers include Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and Nemetschek Group. www.docuware.com

• Spark Networks (AMEX: LOV) completed its purchase of San Francisco-based dating app maker Zoosk for around $225 million in cash and stock. Zoosk had raised over $60 million, including at a $225 million post-money valuation in 2012, from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, Keating Investments, Crosslink Capital, Canaan Partners and ATA Ventures. http://axios.link/kQF3

More M&A

• CarVal Investors is in talks to buy a €1.1 billion Spanish mortgage portfolio from The Blackstone Group, per the WSJ. http://axios.link/Kk73

Cummins (NYSE: CMI) acquired Hydrogenics (Nasdaq: HYGS), a Canadian fuel cell company, for approximately US$290 million, in cash or $15 per share. http://axios.link/fQai

• Dollarama (TSX: DOL) agreed to buy a 50.1% stake in Latin American discount retailer Dollarcity for upwards of US$95 million (including $40m upfront). http://axios.link/JQ01

• Host-Plus, an Australian pension with around A$43 billion in assets under management, is in talks to merge with peer Club Super. http://axios.link/DPfE

• L’Oreal (Paris: OREP) is in talks to buy perfume brands Mugler and Azzaro brands from France’s Clarins Group, per Reuters. http://axios.link/x2EL

• Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR) is considering the sale of its MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates space business to Italy’s Leonardo (Milan: MDOF) and France’s Thales (Paris: PCFP) for over $1 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/xM5j

• Performance Food Group (NYSE: PFGC) agreed to buy La Crosse, Wis.-based foodservice distributor Reinhart Foodservice from Reyes Holdings for $2 billion in cash. http://axios.link/dLIG

• Publicis (Paris: PUB) completed its previously-announced $4.4 billion takeover of the Epsilon marketing unit of Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS). http://axios.link/mStv

• Tencent and Paytm agreed to plug $100 million into MX Player, an Indian streaming service for games that is owned by Times Internet, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/OVO9

Fundraising

• Fifty Years of San Francisco raised $50 million for its second early-stage VC fund focused on food, synthetic bio and sustainability startups. The firm also hired Shuo Yang (Maderight founder) as a principal. http://axios.link/kp8o

🚑 RoundTable Healthcare Partners, an Illinois-based private equity firm, raised $700 million for its fifth fund. www.roundtablehp.com

• Susa Ventures of San Francisco raised $90 million for its third flagship seed fund, and $50 million for its first opportunity fund. http://axios.link/3453

Final Numbers
Source: Refinitiv
  • More: Refinitiv data shows that companies in the global materials sector received the highest takeover bid premiums in the first half of 2019, based on 4-week average stock prices, while real estate companies received the lowest takeover bid premiums.

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