Oct 14, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning
Source: Giphy

WeWork doesn't have enough money to finish out 2019, and both of its known bailout options are nightmarish.

  • Sell control to SoftBank, which enabled Adam Neumann's worst excesses.
  • Let J.P. Morgan arrange a massive debt package, which could become so onerous that employees may just mail their vested options to Wall Street.

How We got here: The company reported $2.4 billion of cash at the end of June, with a first-half net loss of $904 million. At that pace, it should have been able to survive at least through the middle of 2020. But I'm told that it significantly increased spend in Q3, partially due to the lumpy nature of real estate cap-ex, believing it would be absorbed by $9 billion in proceeds from the IPO and concurrent debt deal.

  • One source says that there's probably enough money to get through Thanksgiving, but not to Christmas.

Bigger picture: The WeWork debacle isn't yet having a tangible impact on most private market prices, despite headlines to the contrary.

Last night I emailed several late-stage VCs, to ask if they're seeing systemic valuation resets. A sampling of replies:

"A lot of talk but no action yet. In my experience, private valuations move slowly so it may be a bit before we see evidence."
"Back in late 2008/early 2009, only months after the financial crisis, pundits predicted valuations would collapse. I recall VC’s telling LP’s it would be a super-buyers market and that LP’s should load up in fill-in-the-blank-VC-fund. Guess what? Valuations, both for great and sort-of-great companies barely budged. Since then, I’ve largely abandoned the conventional thinking that lumps start-ups together into a single group of assets that move up and down together in price/value."
"Not sure there’s been enough time to see if prices are really moving down, but obviously lots of talk about it internally and externally. I’d say on three weeks of data all I’m really seeing is more questions and fewer overnight deals as people dig in a bit more."
"Not systemic. I do think there is more scrutiny for consumer companies (especially ones that are losing money or not real 'tech' companies). SaaS companies are still as strong as ever. Usually the private market lags the public market so maybe it’s coming."

Bonus: Even presidential candidates are chiming in:

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast digs into Silicon Valley's China problem, from Apple to Activision. I'm joined by Axios' Ina Fried. Listen here.

Source: Giphy

Uber (NYSE: UBER) agreed to buy a majority stake in Cornershop, a grocery delivery company focused on Latin America. Walmart had agreed to buy Cornershop in mid-2018 for $225 million, but the deal was blocked by Mexican regulators.

  • Why it's the BFD: Uber remains willing to grow the top-line at the bottom-line's expense, despite its post-IPO stock slump.
  • ROI: Cornershop has raised over $20 million in VC funding from firms like Accel, Endeavor Global, Creandum, ALLVP, MT Network, and Jackson Square Ventures.
  • Bottom line: This is yet another bet that data is key to winning out on delivery, whether of people or of groceries. But it remains unclear if those bits and atoms are really fungible.
Venture Capital Deals

Club Factory, a Chinese e-commerce platform for fashion, beauty, and electronics items, raised $100 million in Series D funding from firms like Qiming Venture Partners, Bertelsmann, and IDG Capital. http://axios.link/G5EG

🚑 Mogrify, a UK-based cell therapy startup focused on arthritis, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Ahren led, and was joined by Parkwalk, 24Haymarket, and the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund. http://axios.link/I7Uj

Private Equity Deals

American Securities and Lindsay Goldberg agreed to acquire AECOM’s (NYSE: ACM) management services unit, a contractor to the U.S. federal government. Bloomberg previously reported a $2.4 billion price-tag. http://axios.link/kO4x

The Blackstone Group held unsuccessful talks to buy a stake in hedge fund Citadel, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/HZSe

EQT Partners is in talks to buy Herndon, Va.-based data center operator EdgeConneX from Providence Equity Partners for at least $2.5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/24C9

Five Elms Capital invested in FMX, a Columbus, Ohio-based provider of facilities and maintenance management software. http://axios.link/9Tu9

KKR agreed to buy Hyperoptic, a British residential gigabit broadband provider, from Newlight Partners and Mubadala.

Lovell Minnick Partners acquired Billhighway, a Troy, Mich.-based provider of software and payment solutions to membership-based organizations. www.billhighway.co

Thoma Bravo agreed to buy British cybersecurity company Sophos Group (LSE: SOPH) for around $3.8 billion. http://axios.link/QjMa

Public Offerings

3 companies plan to price U.S. IPOs this week: BellRing Brands, Innate Pharma, and Karat Packaging. http://axios.link/uDlL

🚑 Galera Therapeutics, a Malvern, Penn.-based developer of drugs for reducing inflammatory side effects of radiation therapy, filed for an $86 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (GRTX) with BAML as lead underwriter, and has raised VC funding from firms like NEA (20.4% pre-IPO stake), Novartis (17%), Novo Holdings (15%), Sofinnova Venture Partners (12.1%), Blackstone (7.4%), Clarus Ventures, Adage Capital Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Nan Fung Life Sciences, RA Capital, Rock Springs Capital, Tekla Capital Management and Correlation Ventures. http://axios.link/f6v4

Volkswagen is considering options for Lamborghini, including a possible sale or IPO, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/4mnq

Liquidity Events

Nike (NYSE: NKE) acquired TraceMe, a Seattle-based sports fan engagement platform founded by NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. TraceMe, which later rebranded to Tally, raised $9 million from backers like Madrona Venture Group, Clear Fir Partners, Bezos Expeditions, Rosecliff Ventures, and Joe Tsai. http://axios.link/hF0l

More M&A

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) agreed to sell its northern Australian business to Santos (ASX: STO) for US$1.39 billion. http://axios.link/suE3

Flexport, a San Francisco-based freight logistics company that’s raised around $300 million in VC funding, acquired Crux Systems, a Burlingame, Calif.-based provider of tracking software for ocean containers. http://axios.link/4R6R

MUFG Investor Services, the asset servicing unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, agreed to buy select parts of Maitland’s funds administration business. www.maitlandgroup.com

Netmarble, a South Korean gaming company, was named the preferred bidder for a 25% stake in South Korean water purifier rental company Woongjin Coway, beating out suitors like Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group. http://axios.link/UoNv

Qorvo (Nasdaq: QRVO) acquired Cavendish Kinetics, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of RF MEMS technology for antenna-tuning applications. http://axios.link/0sOF

Total (Paris: TOTF) agreed to buy a 37.4% stake in listed Indian gas distributor Adani Gas for around $866 million. http://axios.link/KyRc


Day One Ventures, a San Francisco-based early-stage VC firm, raised nearly $20 million for its third fund. www.dayoneventures.co

Hiro Capital launched with a €100 million fund to back European e-sports and gaming startups. The firm is co-led by managing partner Luke Alvarez (ex-CEO of Inspired Entertainment) and Ian Livingstone (ex-chairman of Tomb Raider publisher Eidos). www.hiro.capital

Jackson Square Ventures, a San Francisco-based VC firm, raised $193 million for its third fund. http://axios.link/wm81

Thoma Bravo is in early talks to launch a $15 billion fundraise in early 2020, despite closing on $12.6 billion for Fund XIII just this past January, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/IuRH

It's Personnel

🚑 Jean-Luc Belingard, former chairman and CEO of Ipsen Group, joined Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as an operating advisor. www.cdr-inc.com

• Jeff Kearl, co-founder and former CEO of Stance, joined Pelion Venture Partners as a managing director. www.pelionvp.com

Menka Sajnani is joining B Capital as head of investor relations. She previously led IR for Jungle Ventures. www.bcapgroup.com

Final Numbers
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Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals
Dan Primack

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