Sep 17, 2018

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack

Monday greetings from the home office. If you didn't get a chance to read our Axios Deep Dive on the financial crisis and its 2018 consequences, please check it out here.

Top of the Morning
Source: Giphy

Back in July I teased this blind item:

Lots of buzz at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference about who will buy the venerable financial mag from Meredith Corp., with most of it focused on a particular Silicon Valley mogul. Name that mogul!

The answer was Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, but it turns out that he didn't buy Fortune. Instead, he and wife Lynne last night announced that they're spending $190 million for Time Magazine — a sister title that Meredith has been trying to dump since buying Time Inc. earlier this year.

  • The purchase is being done as individuals, with no legal or fiduciary ties to Salesforce. In that way, it's similar to Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post.

Benioff declined to detail why he seems to have switched horses midstream, except to tell me: "We have a very good relationship with Meredith and together we determined Time was the best fit for us."

  • One source familiar with the couple's thinking says that it came down to their belief that a generalist publication like Time could be more influential in the philanthropic areas they care most about, such as clean oceans. That said, neither plans to be involved in day-to-day management or editorial decisions.
  • Market consensus is that the Benioffs overpaid, but they don't view this as a financial investment and it's not as if this will cramp their lifestyle.
  • Figuring out multiples is a bit tricky, given that Time Inc. cross-sold across titles, but a source who saw the book says it lists Time Magazine revenue at $170 million. Higher than I had expected, but perhaps explained by still-popular international editions.
  • Time also was viewed as a money pit when I left Time Inc. — basically anchor that weighed down People Magazine's sail — but that was two years ago. For some context,

As for what happens to Fortune, word is that a deal is imminent — but no one wants to spill the specifics, which makes me think there's still some worry that it won't cross the finish line. Don't be surprised if some recognizable biz names are involved (individuals, not institutions).

There's already been a bunch of Twitter grumblings about rich folks buying up media properties, but rich folks owning media is as American as the free press (perhaps outside of a few decades last century). That said, there should be some concern about how this trend will impact publicly-traded and VC-backed media companies whose shareholders expect (eventual) profits.

  • More from Axios' Sara Fischer: "For the new guard of wealthy West Coast titans, media is the new philanthropy. And legacy titles, rich with history and cachet, give newcomers access to the talent and infrastructure needed to build influence."
Source: Giphy

Anaplan, a San Francisco-based provider of business planning and performance management software, filed for a $100 million IPO.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because it will be led by CFO Dave Morton, who joined Anaplan just days earlier; after only a one-month stint as Tesla's chief accounting officer. Former CFO Anup Singh "resigned for personal reasons" in July.
  • Financials: Anaplan reports $47 million of net loss on $109 million in revenue for the first half of 2018 (vs. $16m on $78m for H1 17).
  • ROI: It raised around $300 million in VC funding, most recently at a $1.4 billion valuation, from firms like Shasta Ventures (12.8% stake), Granite Ventures (12.1%), Meritech Capital (7.6%) and Premji Invest (7.4%).
  • Bottom line: "Anaplan competes against companies such as Oracle and SAP, as well as Adaptive Insights, [which] was acquired by Workday within days of its own expected IPO." — Alex Barinka, Bloomberg
Venture Capital Deals

Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley-based electric car-maker, confirmed that it has secured more than $1 billion from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Freightos, a Hong Kong-based marketplace for logistics providers, raised $44.4 million in Series C funding. Singapore Exchange led, and was joined by return backers GE Ventures, ICV and Aleph.

LendInvest, a British P2P lending platform for property buyers, raised £30.5 million in Series C funding. Return backer Atomico led, and was joined by Bullhound and Tiger Management.

🚑 XACT Robotics, an Israeli developer of a robotic surgery navigation and steering system for needle-puncture surgeries, raised $5 million in Series C funding.

Private Equity Deals

Blue Wolf Capital Partners merged portfolio companies Pearl Technologies and TGW, both providers of aftermarket consumables, into a single company renamed Edge Industrial Technologies.

Fiat Chrysler is seeking new potential buyers for car parts company Magneti Marelli, believing an existing offer of around €5 billion from KKR to be too low.

Go-Jek, an Indonesian provider of ride-hail and other on-demand services, is in talks to raise at least $2 billion in new funding, which would be used for international expansion, per Bloomberg. Existing backers include Tencent and Warburg Pincus.

Graycliff Partners and NCK Capital invested in Graybill Processing, an Elizabeth, Penn.-based food byproduct recycling company.

🚑 Quad-C Management acquired NJRetina, a provider of retina condition diagnosis and treatment solutions in 16 New Jersey locations.

🎬 Silver Lake bought $600 million of senior unsecured convertible notes in AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC), with AMC using some of the proceeds to buy back shares from China’s Dalian Wanda.

Snow Phipps acquired BlackHawk, a Broken Arrow, Okla.-based industrial distributor of cutting tools and abrasives, from Brazos Private Equity Partners.

Talus, a Dallas-based portfolio company of Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners, acquired Prolific Business Solutions, a Phoenix-based provider of point-of-sale and other business service software.

🚑 Thompson Street Capital Partners acquired LifeSpan Biosciences, a Seattle-based developer of antibodies and reagents for the academic and pharmaceutical research markets. LifeSpan had raised around $37 million in VC funding from firms like SAIC Venture Capital, Equity4Life and Ultreia Capital.

Public Offerings

Eight companies plan to go public this week on U.S. exchanges: Eventbrite, Bank7, Elanco Animal Health, X Financial, Farfetch, Remora Royalties, Y-mAbs Therapeutics and Zekelman Industries.

Knorr-Bremse, a German maker of automotive braking systems, plans to go public this year in Frankfurt.

🚑 Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, a Bridgewater, N.J.-based osmotic drug delivery company backed by Avista Capital Partners, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (OSMT) with Jefferies as lead manager. The company reports $1.4 million of net income on $132 million in revenue for the first half of 2018.

Stadler, a Swiss train-maker, has hired an IPO advisor, per Reuters.

Liquidity Events

🚑 Allergan (NYSE: AGN) agreed to buy Bonti, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based developer of a neurotoxin for treating musculoskeletal pain, for $195 million (plus possible milestone payments). Bonti had raised around $38 million in VC funding from firms like City Hill Ventures.

CIP Capital agreed to sell OnCourse Learning, a Brookfield, Wis.-based online provider of education and training services, to Germany’s Bertelsmann for around $500 million.

🚑 Supernus Pharma (NYSE: SUPN) acquired Biscayne Neurotherapeutics, a Miami-based CNS drug startup focused on epilepsy, for upwards of $193 million ($15m upfront). Biscayne had raised around $3 million from firms like Quark Venture, Mesa Verde Venture Partners and GF Securities.

TPG and Rockbridge Growth Equity are considering a sale of their 62% combined stake in Los Angeles-based ticketing company AXS, per WSJ.

More M&A

Flipkart, an Indian ecommerce giant owned by Walmart, is in talks to buy a stake in Hotstar, Star India’s video streaming business, per Mint.

⛽ Kinder Morgan hired TD Bank to find a buyer for its Canadian business, which could fetch upwards of US$1.8 billion, per Reuters.

Thomas Miller, a London-based insurance services company, agreed to buy the managing general agency and insurance services businesses of Germany’s Zeller Associates.

⛽ Uniper, a Germany energy company, hired Rothschild to explore a sale of its French unit, per Reuters.


Base 10 Partners, a new VC firm focused on what it calls “automation for the real world,” raised $137 million for its debut fund.

The Blackstone Group is targeting $18 billion for its next real estate private equity fund, per Bloomberg. It also continues to raise $20 billion for a new global buyout fund.

Bowmark Capital of London is premarketing its sixth buyout fund with a £600 million target, per PE News.

🚑 Cigna (NYSE: CI) has launched a $250 million corporate VC program to invest in healthcare startups.

OSS Capital, a new VC firm led by Aljabr CEO Joseph Jacks, is raising $75 million for its debut fund, per an SEC filing.

It's Personnel

Trudy Cooke stepped down as COO at Terra Firma Capital Partners, after 14 years with the firm, per PE News.

Jason Duko and Kapil Singh joined Ares Management as partners and portfolio managers focused on liquid credit strategies. Duko previously was with PIMCO, while Singh was with DoubleLine Capital.

Matthew Kretzman has left KKR to join H.I.G. Capital as a New York-based managing director, in charge of capital markets and execution for North America private equity.

Final Numbers
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Data: LCD, S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Dan Primack