Greetings from the home office, where it's good to be back after a middle-seat red eye from San Francisco. In related news, preemptive apologies for any typos this morning — my brain and fingers are bickering. Here we go...
• Liquidity Kings: I spent the past few days meeting with Bay Area tech execs and investors, and there was one thing they all wanted to discuss: SoftBank.
• Thiel talk: Founders Fund co-founder and partner Luke Nosek is raising up to $100 million for a new effort called Gigafund, alongside Founders Fund venture partner Stephen Oskoui. No word yet on what this means for their affiliation with Founders Fund, if anything, but it's notable that Gigafund appears to have its own website. Hoping to get more info later today.
• Secondary stuff: The WSJ reported earlier this month that Lexington Partners had agreed to what could be a massive stapled secondary with BC Partners, agreeing to purchase up to €1.2 billion in LP stakes in BC Partners IX (at a 114% premium to NAV) and then invest up to €600 million into BC Partners X (which has been in market for quite some time). A few additional notes, per sources familiar:
• Closed house? On the eve of its IPO, VC-backed real estate company Redfin was slapped with a lawsuit by its co-founder and former CEO. No word yet on what it means for the float, which is supposed to price.
• Uber boss: Bloomberg reports that Meg Whitman is on the short-list for Uber CEO. It's true, but we'll go one step further: She's on top of that list.
• Correction: Yesterday's item on the Snap lock-up expiration misstated the Series F price, in that it didn't take into account an October 2016 dividend that effectively acted as a 2:1 split. That would put the effective price at $15.36 per share (this morning it opened at $13.14).
Discovery Networks (Nasdaq: DISC) reportedly has entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase Scripps Networks (Nasdaq: SNI), owner of Food Network, HGTV and The Travel Channel. Earlier suitor Viacom (Nasdaq: VIAB) is now out of the process. The final deal could be worth more than $12 billion, likely in a mix of cash and stock.
• Liulishuo, a Beijing-based language learning company, has raised $100 million in Series C funding. China Media Capital and Wu Capital co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Trustbridge Partners, IDG Capital, GGV Capital, Cherubic Ventures and Hearst Ventures. http://bit.ly/2u1v3yh
🚑 PreciThera, a Montreal-based precision medicine startup focused on orphan bone diseeases, has raised C$36 million in Series A funding from Sanderling Ventures, Arix Bioscience, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, CTI Life Sciences and Emerillon Capital. www.precithera.com
• Callsign, a London-based authentication platform for enterprise access control, has raised $35 million in Series A funding. Accel Partners and PTB Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Allegis Capital and NetDragon Security. http://tcrn.ch/2eQsGg5
• Casa2 Stays (d.b.a. FabHotels.com), an Indian budget hotel brand, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Accel Partners. http://bit.ly/2tJVxJF
• IonQ, a College Park, Md.-based developer of quantum computing solutions for commercial applications, has raised $20 million in Series B funding co-led by NEA and Google Ventures. http://on.wsj.com/2h5IX1j
• Rebagg, a New York-based online resale site for used luxury handbags and related goods, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Novator and General Catalyst co-led the round, and were joined by FJ Labs, Crosslink Capital, Big Sur Ventures-Necotium, Kloof Capital and U-Start. http://bit.ly/2tJUCZK
• Kuaile Zhihui, a Beijing-based developer of education robots for kids, has raised nearly $10 million in Series A funding. Qiming Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers GGV Capital and China Elite Capital. http://bit.ly/2ePKyru
• Aiqudo, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of voice control solutions for smartphone apps, has raised $5.2 million in new VC funding from Atlantic Bridge Capital. http://bit.ly/2h2I2i5
• Shelf, a Stamford, Conn.-based provider of company content organization software, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Seedinvest, CT Innovations and NY Angels. http://bit.ly/2w0F7ZM
• Cool Cousin, a London-based social recommendation app for places, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Elevator Fund. http://tcrn.ch/2w2xZft
• Signal Vine, an Alexandria, Va.-based text messaging platform for higher education institutions to communicate with students, has raised $2 million in Series A funding led by New Markets Venture Partners. http://bit.ly/2u12h11
⛽ Energy Capital Partners is in talks to purchase Houston-based power generation Calpine (NYSE: CPN), according to Bloomberg. ECP already is the largest shareholder in Calpine rival Dynegy. https://bloom.bg/2ePQ9y3
• Inspired, an independent school group with 19,000 students in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Australia, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from TA Associates. www.inspirededu.co.uk
• KKR and South Korea's LS Group have partnered to form LS Automotive, an electric auto parts maker that will acquire an LS Group affiliate's copper foil and flexible copper clad laminate business. The combined investment would value LS Automotive at around $924 billion, with KKR holding a 47% voting stake. http://reut.rs/2tFaZ5P
• Hanson McClain Advisors, a Sacramento, Calif.-based financial advisory firm, has secured an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Parthenon Capital Partners. www.hansonmcclain.com
• Hawk Capital Partners has acquired LifeShield, a Langhorne, Penn.-based self-installed home security company, from DirecTV for an undisclosed amount. www.lifeshield.com
• LeverPoint Management, a Clifton Park, N.Y.-based fund administration firm backed by Graycliff Partners and Hamilton Lane, has acquired Davis, Calif.-based Lamplighter Financial for an undisclosed amount. www.lamplighterfinancial.com
• Oreva Capital is planning to bring marijuana magazine High Times public, via a sale to a listed special purpose acquisition vehicle also sponsored by Oreva, according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2uATer6
• RBB Bancorp, a Los Angeles-based commercial bank focused on first-generation Asian immigrants, raised $66 million in its IPO. The company priced 2.9 million shares at $23 per share, and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol RBB. Sandler O'Neill was left lead underwriter. www.royalbusinessbankusa.com
🚑 Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, a Westlake Village-based medical dermatology and aesthetics startup, raised $65 million in its IPO. The pre-revenue company priced 4.3 million shares at $15 per share (middle of range), for a fully-diluted market value of around $317 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol SNNA, while J.P. Morgan was listed as left lead underwriter. Shareholders include Arch Venture Partners, Venvest Capital, Partner Fund Management, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Fidelity, Clough Capital Partners and Omega Fund Management. www.siennabio.com
• The Sage Group (LSE: SGE) has completed its previously-announced $850 million cash purchase of Intacct Corp., a San Jose, Calif-based provider of cloud financial management and accounting solutions. Intacct shareholders included Split Rock Partners, Costanoa VC, Jackson Square Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Battery Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2h0Kw0H
• Daiwa Securities Group (Tkyo: 8601) has agreed to acquire boutique U.S. investment banks Sagent Advisors and Signal Hill for an undisclosed amount. Daiwa already held an equity interest in Sagent Advisors. https://bloom.bg/2uDxdq6
• iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT) has acquired France-based Robopolis, the largest European distributor of iRobot products, for $141 million in cash. http://tcrn.ch/2vIfTjx
• Mitel (Nasdaq: NITL) has agreed to acquire fellow business communications company ShoreTel (Nasdaq: SHOR) for $430 million in cash, or $7.50 per share (28% premium to yesterday's closing price). http://tcrn.ch/2tMqVHi
• Schneider Electric (Paris: SU) has agreed to acquire Asco Power, a Florham Park, N.J.-based provider of automatic transfer switches, for $1.25 billion. http://nyti.ms/2h4WSVo
• Deutsche Asset Management has closed its second private equity fund focused on unlisted European infrastructure investments, with around €1.8 billion in capital commitments (plus another €800 million in possible co-investment commitments). http://bit.ly/2uAR8Hw
• Northern Light Venture Capital (Hong Kong) is raising up to $390 million for its fifth fund, per an SEC filing. www.nlvc.com
• Partners Group has closed a new direct private equity fund with €6 billion in capital commitments. www.partnersgroup.com
• Yellow Wood Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm focused on consumer brands, has closed its second fund with $370 million in capital commitments. www.yellowwoodpartners.com
• Michael Carus, a former general partner with Jerusalem Venture Partners, has joined VC-backed app testing platform Perfecto as chief financial officer. www.perfectomobile.com
• Citi Private Bank has promoted David Bailin to global head of investments. He previously was global head of managed investments. www.citi.com
• Lazard made several personnel announcements: Evan Russo, co-head of capital markets, will become CFO; current CFO Matthieu Bucaille will become CEO of Lazard International, Compagnie Financière Lazard Frères and Lazard Frères Banque; and Scott Hoffman, general counsel, also will assume the role of chief administrative officer. www.lazard.com