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...
Top of the Morning
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.
- Why it's the BFD: For starters, that massive price-tag. Second, Axios media reporter Sarah Fischer the added scale would live Discovery much more leverage to negotiate better distribution deals with the broadband giants.
- Bottom line: "The Scripps channels are a near-perfect fit with Discovery, which includes Animal Planet, OWN, TLC and, of course, its namesake Discovery Channel. At the very least, a combined Discovery-Scripps could have more pricing power with cable TV providers, and some analysts see the merged company offering a skinny bundle of its channels." — Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter
Venture Capital Deals
• 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
Private Equity Deals
• 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
• 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