August 02, 2019

Happy Friday! I'm back for a special appearance this morning while Dan is on a ferry back from Martha's Vineyard, sans wi-fi.

Alright, here we go...

Top of the Morning

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It was only a matter of time before one of the food delivery companies bought another ... And yesterday, DoorDash announced it had agreed to buy Caviar from Square for a whopping $410 million in cash and stock. It paid just over $44 million for it in 2014.

  • Square was trying to sell the food delivery company at least as far back as late 2015, as Bloomberg reported shortly after, and a number of companies like Uber, GrubHub and Yelp passed on it. At the time, Square was suggesting a price tag of about $100 million, which companies balked at.
  • So how did it sell it to DoorDash for 4x that amount? For one, Caviar's certainly grown since then, and bolstered its corporate ordering business via its acquisition last year of Zesty.
  • And, according to a source familiar with DoorDash's thinking, it sees Caviar's partner restaurants and strong markets as additive to its own (meaning, not as much current overlap), making it a valuable asset to acquire, though the apps will remain separate for the time being. Still, whether it's worth the price is up to interpretation — do let me know your thoughts!
  • Bonus: Postmates also took a close look at Caviar as part of the formal process Square recently ran, a source tells Axios, but ultimately didn't make an offer, finding it overpriced. It's unclear who else, if anyone at all, also seriously considered or made bids.

Banking scoops: Goldman Sachs has named David Dubner global head of M&A structuring, Axios has learned. He's been with the investment bank since 2006, most recently as co-head of Americas activism and shareholder advisory.

  • Meanwhile, Mercury, a challenger to startup bank Brex, is raising a $20 million round at a $100 million post-money valuation, according to multiple sources. One of them tells me that existing backer Andreessen Horowitz is co-leading the round with CRV.

Facebook woes: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust probe of Facebook is looking at whether the social network used acquisitions to take out its competition.

  • Why it matters: It suggests that the agency was serious when it said it might look at already-completed mergers and acquisitions as part of a broader review of the tech sector, writes Axios's David McCabe.
  • Even before this news, investors in Silicon Valley have been aware of a chill in big consumer M&A from Facebook and its peers like Google and Amazon for these exact fears of scrutiny, as I noted a few weeks ago.
  • Meanwhile, (Facebook board member) Peter Thiel published an op-ed in the NYT this morning with a bit more about his accusations against Google.

🎙 Podcast: Dan talks with "Bitcoin Billionaires" author Ben Mezrich about why he wrote a redemption story about the Winklevoss twins, after previously savaging them in a book that became the basis for "The Social Network." Listen here.


Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Campbell Soup has signed a deal to sell its Australian snacks unit Arnott’s and some of its international operations to KKR for $2.2 billion. The two will enter into a long-term licensing agreement for the exclusive rights to use certain Campbell brands, including Campbell’s, Swanson, V8, Prego, Chunky and Campbell’s Real Stock, in certain markets including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

  • Why it's the BFD: Arnott’s is the biggest single brand in Campbell’s international portfolio, with $737 million in annual revenue. It includes popular cookies like Tim Tam.
  • Bottom line: "By applying almost $3 billion of divestiture net proceeds to reduce debt, Campbell’s balance sheet will be stronger and capable of supporting our plan to grow our focused and differentiated portfolio." — CEO Mark Clouse

Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Babylon Health, a UK-based startup that has developed a number of AI-based health services, has raised $550 million in Series C funding at a valuation of more than $2 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a large US-based health insurance company, Munich Re’s ERGO Fund, Kinnevik, and Vostok New Ventures.

UrbanClap, an India-based startup that matches customers with home services professionals across India and UAE, has raised $75 million in Series E funding led by Tiger Global Management, with Steadview Capital and Vy Capital also participating.

Latch, a New York-based maker of “smart locks,” has raised $56 million in new funding led by Avenir Growth Capital at a valuation of $400 million.

Attabotics, a Canada-based 3D robotics supply chain company, raised $25 million in Series B funding from Coatue, Comcast Ventures, Honeywell, Forerunner Ventures and Werklund Growth Fund.

Digital Hands, a Tampa, Fla.-based company that sells managed security services, has raised $15 million in new funding from Fulcrum Equity Partners.

Harver, a New York-based pre-employment assessment software company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners.

Opsani, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer software startup, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with Zetta Ventures and Bain Capital also participating.

Altitude Networks, a San Francisco-based enterprise cloud collaboration security platform, raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures, with Slack Fund, Accomplice and former Facebook CSO Alex Stamos also participating.

Bloomscape, a Detroit, Mich.-based direct-to-consumer plant company, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Revolution Ventures, with Endeavor, Jen Rubio and Charlie Cheever, among others also participating.

Holloway, a San Francisco-based online publishing company distilling industry expertise into information guides, has raised $4.6 million in seed funding from NEA, The New York Times Co., & South Park Commons.

Verb Energy, a Boston-based maker of energy bars, has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Global Founders Capital, with Nebari Ventures, Great Oaks, Supernode Ventures, FJ Labs, Kevin Ryan, and other angel investors also participating.

New Knowledge, an Austin, Texas-based company that flags and fights social media disinformation campaigns, has raised $3 million in new funding from BuildGroup and Lux Capital.

Flower Co., an Arcata, Calif.-based cannabis wholesale delivery service, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding from Slome Capital, Prehype, Rob Stavis, Adam Draper, Josh Abramson and Camille Hyde.

Fantasy Life, a New York-based online community for fantasy sports players and bettors, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from SK Ventures, Upstage Ventures and a number of athletes.

Private Equity Deals

Centre Partners has sold portfolio company Stonewall Kitchen, a York, Maine-based specialty food producer, to Audax Private Equity.

🚑 Linden Capital Partners has acquired Collagen Matrix, a Oakland, N.J.-based maker of collagen-based products for tissue and bone repair and regeneration.

GI Partners has acquired Insurity, a Hartford, Conn.-based maker of software tools for the property and casualty insurance industry.

Acuity Eyecare Group, a Riata Capital Group-backed owner and operator of North American eyecare groups and optometry practices, has acquired EyeTx Vision Centers and Hill Country Vision Center for total of 11 regional eyecare practices in Texas.

O3 Industries acquired Peer39, a New York-based provider of AI-powered contextual targeting and fraud protection technology for digital advertising, from Sizmek Inc.

Fenix Parts, backed by affiliates of Stellex Capital Management, has closed its acquisition of the assets of Cox Truck and Van, a Georgia-based operator of auto recycling facilities.

Guidehouse, backed by Veritas Capital, has agreed to acquire Navigant Consulting, a Chicago-based business and technology consulting firm, for $1.1 billion.

Public Offerings

🚑 RAPT Therapeutics, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based Phase 1 biotech company developing therapies for cancer and inflammatory diseases, postponed its IPO on Thursday. It had filed to raise $75 million by offering 5 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16. It had planned to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol RAPT. BofA Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Securities, BMO Capital Markets and UBS Investment Bank were set to be the joint bookrunners on the deal.

More M&A

🤖 Automation Anywhere has acquired Klevops, a Paris-based company focused on automating tasks.

Nuvei has completed its acquisition of SafeCharge International Group Limited, a U.K.-based payments technology company, for $889 million.


Gron Ventures, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based venture firm, has raised $117 million for a debut fund targeting up to $150 million, according to an SEC filing.

PowerPlant Ventures, a four-year-old, Hermosa Beach, Ca.-based fund venture fund that's focused on plant-based food tech startups, has closed its second fund with $165 million in capital commitments, reports Crunchbase News. The Beyond Meat investor has more newly written checks to a wellness shots startup called Vive Organic, and a plant-based nutrition company named Your Super. More here.

Coatue Management has closed $700 million for a new early-stage venture capital fund, up from the $500 million it planned to raise, as Axios previously reported.

Lux Capital has raised $1.5 billion across two new venture capital funds.

Capstar Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital fund, is aiming to raise up to $75 million in a new fund, according to an SEC filing.

It's Personnel

Dan Rose has joined Coatue Management as co-chairman of its new early-stage fund and its existing growth fund. Rose was previously a long-time Facebook executive.

Deena Shakir has joined Lux Capital as an investing partner. She was previously a partner at GV.

Tsendai Chagwedera joined EchoVC as an associate principal and regional head of East Africa. He was previously at TPG Growth.

Greylock Partners has promoted Saam Motamedi to general partner, its youngest ever.

Gary Miliefsky has joined Stony Lonesome Group as venture partner and advisor to its third fund. He is currently CEO of the Cyber Defense Media Group and was a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Information Security Group.