Listed private equity firms are frustrated by what they view as artificially-low share prices, and are actively considering a structural fix: Converting from publicly-traded partnerships to C-corporations.
The conversion option was raised during several earnings calls in the past week — including for Apollo, Blackstone and Carlyle — but was brought into sharpest focus yesterday morning by KKR, which said it is "analyzing the potential impact of a conversion" and would likely have a final answer by its next quarterly earnings release.
• Chip chat: Qualcomm yesterday rejected Broadcom's "best and final" takeover offer, which worked out to around $121 billion, or $82 per share. Qualcomm did, however, say it would be willing to meet with Broadcom. More:
• On the docket: Former Xfund colleagues Hugo Van Vuuren and Patrick Chung may have settled their legal disputes, but Van Vuuren has now sued the fund's former law firm, Ropes & Gray, for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and aiding and abetting a civil conspiracy. In short: Van Vuuren alleges that Ropes & Gray improperly took sides on Chung's behalf.
Remington Outdoor Co., a Madison, N.C.-based firearms manufacturer owned by Cerberus Capital Management, is speaking with lenders about a prepackaged bankruptcy filing, according to Reuters.
🚑 Zenflow, a San Francisco-based developer of devices to treat obstructive urinary symptoms related to enlarged prostates, has raised $31.4 million in Series A funding from firms like Invus Opportunities, F-Prime Capital Partners and Medical Technology Venture Partners. www.zenflow.com
🚑 Syndesi Therapeutics, a Belgian neurology drug discovery startup spun out of UCB, has raised €17 million in first-round funding from V-Bio Ventures, Novo Nordisk, Fountain Healthcare, Walloon Investment Fund, VIVES Louvain Technology Fund and Johnson & Johnson. http://axios.link/dAcv
• Agrinos, a Davis, Calif.-based developer of biological crop nutrition products, has raised $14.7 million in funding from Manor Investment, Havfonn and EuroChem Group. www.agrinos.com
• Attentive, a New York-based messaging startup for brands, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Bain Capital Ventures led, and was joined by Eniac Ventures and NextView Ventures. The company is co-founded by Brian Long and Andrew Jones, who previously co-founded TapCommerce (acquired by Twitter for around $100m). http://axios.link/KAIp
• Honest Buildings, a New York-based provider of construction management software, has raised $8 million in new Series B funding (round total now $21m). Oxford Properties Group led the new tranche, and was joined by The Durst Organization and DivcoWest Real Estate Investments. www.honestbuildings.com
🚑 Appili Therapeutics, a Halifax-based developer of anti-infective drugs, has raised C$4.3 million in VC funding from backers like Innovacorp. http://axios.link/vMIG
• Grove, a financial planning software startup led by Chris Hutchins (ex-Google Ventures), has raised $2.1 million from First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Upside Partnership, SV Angel, CFSI. www.hellogrove.com
• Ant Financial Services, an online payments affiliate of Alibaba Group, is seeking to raise up to $5 billion in new equity funding at a valuation north of $100 billion, according to Reuters. http://axios.link/H1K2
🚑 BC Partners has agreed to acquire Zest Dental Solutions, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based maker of dentistry products, from Avista Capital Partners. http://axios.link/muMh
• Clearlake Capital has acquired a minority stake in Diligent Corp., a New York-based corporate board and governance software provider backed by Insight Venture Partners. www.diligent.com
🚑 Confluent Medical Technologies, a Fremont, Calif.-based medical device contract manufacturer backed by Ampersand Capital Partners, has acquired Campbell, Calif.-based medical device maker Corpus Medical. www.corpusmed.com
• Davies Group, a UK-based portfolio company of HGGC, has acquired: TLSS, a British provider of motor loss claim adjusting services, and Randall & Quilter’s insurance services and captive management operations. http://axios.link/tk0z
• Shanda Games, a Chinese online gaming company, has raised $474 million from Tencent. http://axios.link/rWCx
• Thomas H. Lee Partners has agreed to acquire Alfresco Software, an open-source provider of process automation, content management and information governance software. Alfresco had raised around $60 million from Sageview Capital, Accel, Mayfield Fund and Sapphire Ventures. http://axios.link/EKIM
• Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based marketing analytics company, raised $70.2 million in its IPO. The company priced 5.4 million shares at $13 (low end of $13-$15 range), and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker CDLX. BofA Merrill Lynch served as lead underwriter. Cardlytics had raised over $180 million in VC funding from firms like Canaan Partners, Polaris Partners, Discovery Capital, TTV Capital, ITC Holdings, Total Technology Ventures and Kinetic Ventures. www.cardlytics.com
🚑 Evolus, an Irvine, Calif.-based developer of a biosimilar version of Botox, raised $60 million in its IPO. The company priced 5 million shares at $12 (low end of $12-$14 range), and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker EOLS. Cantor Fitzgerald served as lead underwriter. http://axios.link/Mqji
• Huami, a Chinese maker of wearable devices, raised $110 million in its IPO. The company priced 10 million shares at $11 (middle of range), for a fully-diluted market value of around $662 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker HMI, while Credit Suisse served as lead underwriter. Huami reports around $14 million of net income on $195 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2017, while shareholders include Banyan Capital. http://axios.link/muvt
• IPSCO Tubulars, the U.S. subsidiary of Russian steel pipe-maker TMK, has postponed its planned $500 million IPO. http://axios.link/1puy
🚑 PolyPid, an Israeli drug release extension platform for preventing infection, has filed for an $86 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker POLY, with Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include Aurum Ventures (18.3% pre-IPO stake), Shavit Capital (9.1%) and Xenia VC (6.1%). The company previously filed for an IPO in October 2014, but pulled it the following May. www.polypid.com
• Bayer (DB: BAYN) is offering to sell its global vegetable seeds business to get its $63.5 billion purchase of Monsanto (NYSE: MON) approved by EU regulators, according to Reuters. Bayer also would be willing to give BASF exclusive access to its digital farming data. http://axios.link/UMvT
• BitPesa, a blockchain payments platform for Africa and Europe, has acquired TransferZero, a Spain-based international money transfer platform. BitPesa backers include Greycroft and Plug and Play Ventures. http://axios.link/koRb
• L’Oreal (Paris: OREP) said it is willing to purchase Nestle’s (SWX: NESN) 23% stake in the company, were Nestle willing to sell. http://axios.link/veeh
• Dr. Oetker of Germany has offered to buy the Alsa baking and dessert business of Unilever for an undisclosed amount. http://axios.link/dE0X
• Altegris and Artivest are merging into a single provider of alternative investment solutions for wealth managers, fund managers and independent advisors. Shareholders in the merged company, which will have around $3 billion in AUM, include Aquiline Capital Partners, Genstar Capital, KKR and Thiel Capital. http://axios.link/t9MJ
• B Capital Group, a tech venture capital firm co-founded by Eduardo Saverin (Facebook co-founder) and Raj Ganguly (ex-Bain Capital), has closed its debut fund with $360 million. www.bcapgroup.com
• Moonrise Capital, a Connecticut-based firm led by former Commonfund CEO Don Pascal, is raising $100 million for a China-focused VC fund, per an SEC filing.
• Dennis Berman has stepped down as financial editor of The Wall Street Journal, in order to join Lazard as a managing director in its financial advisory unit. If the history of financial journalists becoming financial pros is any guide, he will not become a valuable source to his former peers. www.lazard.com
• Alexis Ohanian is stepping down from his day-to-day duties at Reddit, the company he co-founded, in order to work fulltime on his VC firm, Initialized Capital. http://axios.link/pdqC
• Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest, is leaving Google to focus on his venture capital lab, Incite. http://axios.link/4ULj