Friday greetings from my last day on the road for a bit. Just a reminder that you can get in touch or drop a dime via email (just hit reply), or by using our anonymous tip box at www.axios.com/tips. Plus all sorts of messaging apps, like Signal, Confide, Telegram and WhatsApp (Dan Primack / 857-472-3072). Here we go...
Goldman Sachs has agreed to acquire around a 12% stake in the management company of energy-focused private equity firm Riverstone for around $500 million. This comes just one day after Goldman also purchased less than a 10% stake in Accel-KKR.
- Why it's a big deal: There once was a belief that a slew of private equity firms would file for IPOs, both for expansion capital and so that firm founders could cash in on brand equity. But that worm has turned and been backed over by a truck. Now we have an accelerating trend of PE firms selling minority stakes to shops like Goldman Sachs, which is raising a $2 billion fund for this purpose (out of a group called Petershill that was originally formed a decade ago to buy into hedge funds). Other buyers include Dyal Capital Partners, Hycrofft Capital and (coming soon) AlpInvest. On this particular case, it also reflects how Riverstone's late aughts pay-to-play scandal ― which prompted The Carlyle Group to cut ties with the firm ― is no longer a reputational risk.
- Energy angle: "The deal represents a vote of confidence in Riverstone, which suffered when oil prices collapsed in late 2014 but has recovered as energy prices stabilized, according to securities filings. While some of its big investments, such as oil explorers EP Energy and Fieldwood Energy, remain underwater or flat, Riverstone has had big profits in others, particularly companies that drill in the Permian Basin in West Texas." ― Ryan Dezember
Venture Capital Deals
• Signifyd, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of fraud protection solutions for e-commerce businesses, has raised $56 million in Series C funding. Bain Capital Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers like Menlo Ventures and American Express Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2qFnqxi
• Soylent, a Los Angeles-based developer of food replacement products, has raised $50 million in new VC funding. GV led the round, and was joined by Tao Capital Partners and return backers Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. http://bit.ly/2pMCqvc
• Fuze, a Cambridge, Mass.-based cloud productivity and collaboration platform for the enterprise, has raised $30 million in new VC funding. No investors were disclosed. The company earlier this year raised $104 million from Wellington Management, Greenspring Associates, Summit Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and G20. http://bit.ly/2qxjt0n
• Ultrahaptics, a UK-based developer of touchless interfaces that utilize ultrasound, has raised £17.9 million in Series B funding from Dolby Family Ventures, Woodford Investment Management, Cornes and the IP Group. http://tcrn.ch/2p6PreY
• Crew, a San Francisco-based communication platform for mobile workers, has raised $15 million in second-round funding from Greylock and return backer Sequoia Capital. http://bit.ly/2pFj6jf
• MPP Global, a UK-based ecommerce monetization platform, has raised £12 million in Series B funding from Albion Ventures and Grafton Capital. http://bit.ly/2pejN02
• SimpleLegal, a San Francisco-based legal spend management software, has raised $10 million in new VC funding, per an SEC filing. No investors were identified. www.simplelegal.com
• RTX, a London-based provider of payment and settlement solutions to the global carrier market, has raised £6 million in new VC funding from Boost & Co. www.rtx.routetrader.com
• Fastdata.io, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based real-time stream processing startup, has raised $1.5 million in VC funding from backers like Nvidia. http://bit.ly/2q4PaOy
• EviCore, a Bluffton, S.C.-based healthcare benefits manager controlled by General Atlantic, is exploring either a sale or IPO that could value the company north of $4 billion, according to Reuters. http://reut.rs/2pelzye
• Orix Corp. (Tokyo: 8591) has agreed to acquire a 22.1% stake in Israeli geothermal energy company Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA) for $627 million. Sellers include First Israel Mezzanine Investors. http://reut.rs/2qKhty5
• Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX: CM) has increased the cash portion of its $4.9 billion takeover offer for Chicago-based lender PrivateBancorp (Nasdaq: PVTB) ahead of a May 12 shareholder vote. http://reut.rs/2pbiZrW
• EIG Global Energy Partners has closed its debut private debt fund with $2 billion in capital commitments. www.eigpartners.com
• Samena Capital, a Dubai-based private equity firm, has held a $375 million first close on its third special situations fund, which is targeting a total of $700 million, according to Private Equity International. http://bit.ly/2qznJg1
• Valor Equity Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, is raising up to $750 million for its fourth fund, per an SEC filing. www.valorep.com