Jun 1, 2017

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

We'll always never have Paris: President Trump this afternoon is expected to announce that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, despite reported pressure from some in his Administration, almost the entire tech industry (Elon Musk will bail on presidential councils) and even many fossil fuel companies (including Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips). The big takeaway after discussing with energy-focused private equity investors, most of whom say they will be closely watching Trump's specific language: This is more a macro story than a micro story.

  • Little investment impact: Paris is more a goals-based framework than specific regulatory policy, so it hadn't had much impact on upstream or midstream oil and gas companies. This is particularly true for private equity plays, which have a limited time horizon. Bailing may provide some better sleep for power plant execs, but it's hard to imagine anyone today investing in a new coal-fired plant, given that the long build time could run into a post-Trump president who brings the U.S. back into Paris.
  • Caveat: Future renewables investments (both tech and project) are less likely to be for U.S.-based companies, even if states like California toe the carbon reduction line. This may be the first area of next-gen tech where the U.S. voluntarily cedes leadership and market value.
  • Increased coal investments? No, unless there is some national moratorium on fracking.
  • Bigger picture: The big concern I heard was about what this does to long-term U.S. economic competitiveness, particularly now that America will not have a seat at the global table when it comes to energy decision-making (remember, the only other two UN countries to reject Paris were Syria and Nicaragua, and the latter abstained because it wanted stronger language). Renewable technology advancement is not going to retreat and, at some point, the U.S. could be damaged by basing its energy policy on older, more expensive generation sources (yes, even if natural gas remains cheap and abundant).
  • Analogy: "We're worried about saving coal jobs in 2017? That's like if we'd said in 1995 that we should discourage the growth of the Internet, in order to protect the timber industry, but the rest of the world was willing to make do with less paper. Where would our economy be today if the equivalents of Amazon and Google and Twitter were all Chinese or European companies?"

• Record raise: CVC Capital Partners today announced that it has raised over €16 billion for its seventh flagship private equity fund (€15.5b from third parties), for what is the largest-ever such fund ever raised by a Europe-based firm. The runner up was Apax Europe VII, an €11.2 billion fund raised in 2007. The dollar conversion works out to around $18 billion vs. $16.3 billion, based on contemporaneous exchange rates.

• Everything is awesome: Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes insisted yesterday at the Code Conference that neither President Trump nor the broader political climate will impact regulatory approval of the company's $85 billion takeover by AT&T (which Trump threatened to block during the campaign).

  • Behind the bluster: Makan Delrahim is new head of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division, and also used to be outside counsel for AT&T (plus Comcast, Google and others). Axios has obtained his written responses to questions submitted by U.S. Senators after his confirmation hearing, including his views of so-called vertical mergers. Key reply, which may disappoint some of his former clients: "Just because a transaction or particular types of transactions have been approved int he past does not mean that they could not raise competitive concerns in the future."

• Empty handed: Self-driving auto engineer Anthony Levandowski lost more than just his job at Uber earlier this week, when he was fired for refusing to hand over documents he allegedly stole from Alphabet's Waymo. He also appears to be out around $250 million related to Uber's acquisition of Levandowski's startup, as first reported by Bloomberg.

  • What happened, via Kia K: Uber's purchase of Otto was almost entirely in stock, with Levandowski to receive 5.31 million shares. All of that was subject to vesting based on various milestones (time and product), but a source familiar with the situation says that none of them had been met at the time of his dismissal.
  • More Uber news: Finance chief Gautam Gupta is leaving in July in order to become COO at a different San Francisco startup, which means that the ride-hail giant has yet another C-suite spot to fill. Uber also disclosed $3.4 billion in Q1 2017 revenue (up 18% from Q4 2016) and $708 million in losses (down 28.5% from Q4 2016).

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) has agreed to acquire the Wirtgen Group, a privately-held German manufacturer of road construction equipment, for around $5.2 billion in cash (including assumed debt).

  • Why it's the BFD: This is Deere's largest acquisition ever, and comes as the White House continues to talk about a trillion dollar infrastructure plan that, if realized, would include all sorts of roadwork.
  • Numbers: Wirtgen reports €2.6 billion of revenue for 2016, and has around 8,000 employees in more than 100 companies.
  • Bottom line: "Spending on road construction and transportation projects has grown at a faster rate than the overall construction industry and tends to be less cyclical." ― Deere exec Max Guinn
Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Bright Health, a Minneapolis-based health insurance startup, has raised $160 million in Series B funding. Greenspring Associates led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Cross Creek Advisors and return backers NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners and Flare Capital Partners. http://bit.ly/2rfgqJO

• Ouyeel, a Chinese online steel transaction platform, has raised over $140 million in new funding. Backers include two Chinese steelmakers, Benxi Steel Group Corp. and Shougang Group, plus Global Logistics Properties, CCB Trust, Jiangsu Shagang Group Co. and Mitsui & Co. http://bit.ly/2qEfUSK

• Yuanfudao, a Beijing-based online tutoring company, has raised $120 million in equity funding at a valuation north of $1 billion from Warburg Pincus and Tencent. http://reut.rs/2sqHPWP

🚑 Bicycle Therapeutics, a British developer of cancer therapeutics based on bicyclic peptides, has raised £40 million in Series B funding. Vertex Ventures HC led the round, and was joined by Cambridge Innovation Capital, Longwood Fund and return backers Novartis Venture Fund, SR One, SVLS and Atlas Venture. http://bit.ly/2qJbkBT

• 128 Technology, a Burlington, Mass.-based maker of network routing software, has raised $21.5 million in Series C funding from firms like G20 Ventures. http://bit.ly/2qHdpyi

• Yoobic, a UK-based maker of a B2B mobile app for monitoring retail operations in real-time, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by Felix Capital. http://bit.ly/2rsWvYs

• Concord, a San Francisco-based contract management platform, has raised $3.7 million in new VC funding. Alven Capital led the round, and was joined by Cota Capital and Streamlined Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2smVChh

• Boom Fantasy, a New York-based fantasy sports site, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Founders Fund and acquired the assets of Draftpot. http://bit.ly/2rXuFUR

• Qingzhi, a Chinese developer of self-driving technology for commercial vehicles, reportedly has raised "tens of millions of RMB" in VC funding from Northern Light Venture Capital, Legend Star and Longjitaihe Group's Harmony Fund. http://bit.ly/2rsS0gi

Private Equity Deals

• ChartCo, a London-based portfolio company of Equistone Partners Europe, has acquired Marine Position, a Swedish provider of environmental shipping solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. www.chartco.com

⛽ Jonah Energy, a platform formed by TPG Capital, has completed its $580 million purchase of the Jonah and Pinedale fields and surrounding area from LINN Energy. http://bit.ly/2srYrO3

• Kain Capital has acquired King Engineering Associates, a Tampa, Fla.-based engineering consultancy focused on the private and government sectors in the Southwestern U.S. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2qJ1i3W

Public Offerings

• Byline Bancorp, a Chicago-based commercial bank holding company, has filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol BY, with BofA Merrill Lynch and Keefe Bruyette & Woods serving as lead underwriters. www.bylinebank.com

• Esquire Financial, a Jericho, N.Y.-based commercial bank holding company, has filed for a $40.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ESQ, with Sandler O'Neill serving as lead underwriter. www.esquirebank.com

Liquidity Events

Cowen Group (Nasdaq: COWN) has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Convergex, a New York-based equities brokerage, from GTCR and Bank of New York Mellon, for $116 million in cash and stock.

• Trive Capital has completed its previously-announced $220 million sale of AGM Automotive, a Troy, Mich.-based maker of overhead consoles, lighting and other engineered solutions for light vehicles, to Flex (Nasdaq: FLEX) for an undisclosed amount. www.agmautomotive.com

• Vista Equity has hired Evercore and Atlas Technology Group to find a buyer for Omnitracs, a Dallas-based provider of fleet management software that is expected to generate around $115 million in EBITDA this year, according to Dow Jones. www.omnitracs.com

More M&A

⛽ Fortum, a Finnish utility, is in talks to acquire E.On's 46.65% stake in Uniper, a listed power plant and trading unit E.On spun off last year, as part of a plan to buy the entire company, according to Bloomberg. Uniper currently is valued north of $7 billion. https://bloom.bg/2rUzVbC

• Intelsat (NYSE: I) said that it expects its $14 billion merger with SoftBank-backed OneWeb to fail, after failing to get enough creditor support. http://reut.rs/2sii2RE

• Ofo, a Chinese bike rental startup that says it's valued north of $2 billion, reportedly is considering a takeover offer for Taiwanese bike maker Giant Manufacturing Co. http://bit.ly/2shFHBp

• PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) of Pittsburgh has dropped its $30 billion takeover pursuit of Dutch specialty chemicals rival Akzo Nobel. http://reut.rs/2reWLJO

🚑 Tesaro (Nasdaq: TSRO), a Waltham, Mass.-based cancer therapeutics company with a market cap north of $8 billion, is seeking takeover bids, according to the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2qBSOjJ


• Abris Capital Partners, a Warsaw-based buyout firm, has held a €225 million close on its third fund, which is targeting a total of €340 million. http://bit.ly/2rHWUqD

• Upfront Ventures is raising $380 million for its sixth early-stage fund and $120 million for its second opportunities fund, according to SEC filings. www.upfront.com

It's Personnel

• Grace Kim has joined Pine Brook, a private equity firm focused on the energy and financial services sectors, as a principal on the firm's investor relations team. She previously was with Arsenal Capital Partners. www.pinebrookpartners.com

Final Numbers