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July 19, 2022

Welcome to Tuesday, when Elon Musk and Twitter will have their very first day in court.

  • 📺 On Thursday, join Axios Pro fintech reporter Lucinda Shen at 12:30pm ET for an exclusive conversation on the current state of the crypto contagion and where FTX sees itself emerging from the crisis with CEO and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Register.

Top of the Morning

Illustration of the Twitter bird flying past Elon Musk, leaving droppings on his shoulder.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Twitter-Elon Musk dispute continues, with the two sides poised to spar this morning at the Delaware Chancery Court over trial timelines.

Driving the news: On Monday, Twitter pushed back on Musk's argument for a February trial, telling the court that there's no good reason for a protracted discovery process to drag this all out.

Why it matters: Aside from determining how long you'll be reading about this battle in our newsletter (and everywhere else in the business press), the stakes are very high.

  • On a more serious note, it's a test of whether the world's richest man can defy rules and precedents and get his way, yet again.
  • Meanwhile, Twitter's stock price and organizational sanity hang in the balance. Over the last week, shares have rallied on the belief that the eventual outcome in Delaware is likely to swing in the company's favor.

Between the lines: Much of the debate is around whether Twitter is hiding something with regards to spam accounts on its social media service.

  • Musk argues his team needs to do a deep discovery dive, and that Twitter hasn't been forthcoming with the information he requested while they were working on closing the deal.
  • Twitter — not surprisingly — is calling this entire issue a "contractually irrelevant sideshow that Musk wants to use to disparage Twitter and prolong this litigation."

Moreover: Twitter argues that plenty of similar merger disputes before that court have been dealt with in a matter of 75 days and that all conditions (including shareholder approval) will be satisfied within its proposed timeline.

  • And as an added zinger: Musk himself claimed he wanted to acquire the company specifically to fix its supposed spam account problem.

What's next: The judge, who announced yesterday she had COVID-19, will preside over today's hearing via Zoom. A trial date could soon follow.

  • We'll be tuning in, so follow along on Axios.com.

The BFD

Illustration of a lightning bolt with a price tag with an extra dollar sign added.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The French government has offered to take over power company EDF in a deal worth $9.8 billion, or €12 a share (about $12), a 53% premium on the company's closing price on July 5.

Why it's the BFD: The move "comes in the context of a climate emergency, and at a time when the geopolitical situation requires strong decisions to ensure France's energy independence and sovereignty," France's Finance Ministry said, per the WSJ.

Details: The government currently owns 84% of EDF's shares, but intends to acquire the rest. EDF is the world's largest owner of nuclear power plants, per the WSJ.

The bottom line: "France's decision is a measure of how European governments are taking increasingly assertive steps to control their energy markets as prices soar, and Russian energy supplies dwindle." Nick Kostov, WSJ.

Venture Capital Deals

Casavo, an Italian ibuying startup, raised €100m in Series D funding led by Exor, with Neva SGR, Endeavor Catalyst, Hambro Perks, Fuse Ventures Partners, Sébastien de Lafond, Greenoaks, Project A Ventures, 360 Capital, P101 SGR, Picus Capital and Bonsai Partners also participating. It also raised €300m in debt from Intesa Sanpaolo, Goldman Sachs and D.E. Shaw. http://axios.link/zupw

Flip, a Los Angeles-based social commerce startup, raised $60m in a Series B funding at a $500m valuation led by WestCap, with Mubadala Capital and Streamlined Ventures also participating, Axios Pro reports. http://axios.link/Mnf2

🚑 Cartography Biosciences, a Foster City, Calif.-based precision medicine company, raised $57m in seed and Series A funding led by 8VC and Andreessen Horowitz, with Wing VC, Catalio Capital Management, ARTIS Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, AME Cloud Ventures, the Cancer Research Institute, and Gaingels also participating. www.cartographybio.com

ForSight Robotics, an Israeli maker of eye surgery robots, raised $55m in Series A funding led by the Adani Group, with Eclipse Ventures and Mithril Capital, and others also participating. http://axios.link/T1TN

Cassava Technologies, a U.K.-based technology company focused on the African market, raised $50 million investment from C5 Capital. http://axios.link/8TMf

Zebedee, a Hoboken, N.J.-based payment processor for the gaming industry, raised $35m in funding led by Kingsway Capital, with The Raine Group, Square Enix, Lakestar and Initial Capital also participating. www.zebedee.io

HireArt, a New York-based contract worker hiring and onboarding company, raised $26.25m in Series B funding led by Three Fish Capital, with others also participating. http://axios.link/sZzE

Spruce, an Austin, Tx.-based residential home services startup, raised $26m in Series B funding led by Sweat Equity Partners, with SoftBank, Mercury Fund, Fitz Gate Ventures, Seamless Capital, Raven One Ventures, and New Age Ventures also participating. www.getspruce.com

X1 Card, a San Francisco-based credit cart startup, raised $25m in Series B funding led by FPV Ventures, with Craft Ventures, Spark Capital, Harrison Metal and SV Angel, Abstract Ventures, the Chainsmokers, and Global Founders Capital also participating. www.x1creditcard.com

Meow, a New York-based crypto corporate treasury company, raised $22m in Series A funding led by Tiger Global, with QED Investors, FTX and others also participating. http://axios.link/b3ai

SupplyPike, a Fayetteville, Ark.-based retail supply chain data company, raised $25m in Series B funding from Noro-Moseley Partners and Frontier Growth. http://axios.link/gB1Y

Gordian Software, a Seattle-based travel industry API startup, raised $25m in Series A funding at a $200m valuation from Accomplice, Kinnevik, and others.

XSET, a Boston-based gaming and lifestyle company, raised $15m in Series A funding led by LightWork Worldwide, with Alpha Sigma Capital, Apex Capital Partners, Baron Davis Enterprises, among others. http://axios.link/3xvs

Sunscreen, a Los Angeles-based encryption compiler maker, raised $4.65m in seed funding led by Polychain Capital with Northzone, Coinbase Ventures, dao5, and Naval Ravikant also participating. http://axios.link/9drX

Bluestream, a Worcester, Mass.-based customer service software company, raised $5.2m in Series A funding co-led by PBJ Capital and GutBrain Ventures, with York IE and Zenie Group also participating. www.blustream.io

🚑 Cornerstone AI, a San Francisco-based health care data company, raised $5m in seed funding led by Healthy Ventures, with Initiate Ventures also participating. www.cornerstoneai.com

🚑 Perelel, a Los Angeles-based women's vitamin company, raised $4.7m in seed funding led by Unilever Ventures, with Willow Growth Partners, Raissa Gerona, Courtney Reum, Joan Nyugen, Julia Hunter, Ali Weiss, Whitney Port, Aimee Song, Gaby Dalkin, Marissa Hermer, Olivetta, Issima, and Rocky Barnes. www.perelelhealth.com

Private Equity Deals

Alpine Investors acquired FEV Tutor, a Boston-based K-12 online tutoring platform. www.fevtutor.com

CGI Manufacturing Holdings, backed by CORE Industrial Partners, acquired Tenere, a Dresser, Wis.-based manufacturer of custom mechanical systems. www.tenere.com

PSG invested in Fidelity Payment Services, a New York-based provider of payment processing technology. www.fidelitypayment.com

🚙 HCI Equity Partners sold off SouthernAg Carriers, an Albany, Ga.-based transportation and logistics service provider. www.sou-ag.com

🚙 Ardian sold its majority stake in Opteven, a French vehicle maintenance insurance and services, to Apax Partners. www.opteven.com

Ecommerce One, backed by Oakley Capital, acquired Gambio, a German provider of online retail software in the DACH region. www.gambio.com

Atlantic Street Capital acquired assets from CyberGuard Compliance, a Las Vegas-based licensed CPA firm, and Elite Consulting Solutions. www.cgcompliance.com

Mill Point Capital acquired Construction Resources Holdings, an Atlanta-based construction materials company, from Monomoy Capital Partners. www.constructionresourcesusa.com

EQT invested in United Talent Agency, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based talent agency, from Investcorp. www.unitedtalent.com

Chase Corporation agreed to acquire NuCera Solutions, a Houston-based producer of high-end polymer technologies, from SK Capital Partners.

Magna Legal Services, backed by CIVC Partners, completed the acquisition of On Time Reporting, a Long Island-based independent provider of court reporting services. www.magnals.com

⛽️ Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group invested in Galehead Development, a Boston-based renewable energy development platform. www.galeheaddev.com

Spain Oman Private Equity Fund and Seaya Andromeda invested in Seabery, a Spanish augmented reality company focused on industry worker training. www.seaberyat.com

Isos Capital Management acquired 4Forces Group, a New Canaan, Conn.-based advisory firm. www.4forcesgroup.com

GreyLion Partners and Vestar Capital Partners have recapitalized 360training, an Austin, Tex.-based training and compliance company. www.360training.com

Public Offerings

⛽️ SolarMax Technology, a Riverside, Calif.-based operator of solar farms in China, filed to raise up to $30m in an IPO. It had previously filed in Dec. 2018, but withdrew following the announcement of a merger agreement with SPAC Alberton Acquisition, which was later terminated. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol SMXT. SolarMax Technology filed confidentially on May 16, 2022. ViewTrade is the sole bookrunner on the deal. http://axios.link/uYfN

WeTrade Group, a Chinese e-commerce company, raised $40m by offering 10m shares at $4, the low end of the range of $4 to $6. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol WETG. Univest Securities acted as sole bookrunner on the deal. http://axios.link/rtY0

Mobilicom, an Israeli drone and robotics security software company, revised the terms for its IPO. It plans to raise $10m by offering 1.7 million units at $6. Each unit contains one ADS and one warrant, exercisable at 125% of the IPO price. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol MOB. ThinkEquity is the sole bookrunner on the deal. http://axios.link/r6bK

More M&A

Huntress acquired Curricula, an Atlanta-based employee security training company. www.curricula.com

CommerceIQ acquired e.fundamentals, a U.K.-based digital shelf analytics company. www.commerceiq.ai

🚙 Gbike agreed to acquire Hyundai Motor’s shared micromobility unit ZET. http://axios.link/NfI5

Fundraising

Fundamental raised $1.43bn for its fourth flagship private equity fund. www.fundamental.com

B Capital raised $250m for its first dedicated early-stage venture capital fund. www.bcapgroup.com

Christie's, the U.K.-based auction house, is debuting a venture capital arm. http://axios.link/wsVY

🚀 The United Arab Emirates has formed a $800m fund for space investments. http://axios.link/IinV

It's Personnel

🚑 SymBiosis has hired Jahan Ali as vice president of business development, and added Andrew Badley, Gene Kym, Jennifer Miller, Tony Khoury, and Wesley Winn, as operating advisers. www.symbiosis.vc

Isos has hired Peter Cosco as managing director. He was previously the founder of 4Forces, which Isos acquired. www.isoscap.com

🚑 Water Street Healthcare Partners has hired Sharon M. Luboff as an executive adviser. She was previously an operating partner at Altamont Capital Partners. ​www.waterstreet.com

Accel-KKR has hired Kate Bettinger as an investor relations senior associate. She was previously at Generation Investment Management and TPG Capital. www.accel-kkr.com

Triago hired Pete Purcell as partner and head of its San Diego office. He was previously at Eaton Partners. www.triago.com

Final Numbers

Data: Dealogic; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

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