Axios Pro Rata

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November 29, 2023

Top of the Morning

Mark Cuban

Photo: Tim Heitman/Getty Images

Mark Cuban is upending the world of pro sports team deals, reportedly agreeing to sell the Dallas Mavericks without relinquishing operational control.

Driving the news: Cuban, who bought the NBA club for $285 million in 2000, would sell a majority stake to Las Vegas casino magnate Miriam Adelson and her family at a $3.5 billion valuation.

  • The team won't relocate west, despite the NBA's desire to put a team in Vegas. Instead, the Adelsons — who control Las Vegas Sands Corp. — would be charged with building a new sports entertainment complex in Dallas.
  • Cuban, an active startup company investor, would retain a minority stake while continuing to run the show. It's a unique arrangement, and one that's certain to pique the interest of other owners who might want to cash in without losing their proximity to NBA power.
  • Per usual, all of this would be subject to league approval.

Zoom out: This sale is certain to spark renewed talk of Cuban's political ambitions, particularly given that he also recently announced that the next season of "Shark Tank" will be his last.

  • Maybe that means a presidential run. Or a Senate bid, where Texas' Ted Cruz is up for re-election next fall and John Cornyn comes due in 2026.
  • He could be a very strong candidate. He's got the billionaire businessman and TV personality background that helped Trump, without the baggage. His ideology is more pragmatic than partisan, which could appeal to independents, and he's spent the past several years working to lower prescription drug prices (via a strategy that big insurers like Cigna are now copying).

But, but, but: It would be a mistake to presume the Mavs sale and TV retirement are de facto leaps into politics.

  • In 2017, I asked Cuban on stage if he'd run for president in 2020 against Trump, of whom he wasn't a fan.
  • A big hesitation was that his oldest daughter was beginning high school, and he didn't love the idea of her bearing the brunt of her dad's politics while walking the hallways. Particularly in a red state like Texas. He still has two teenage kids, the youngest of which has many years to go before graduating.

The bottom line: The Mavs sale structure is a reminder that, when it comes to Mark Cuban, it's best to expect the unexpected.

The BFD

Illustration of a collage featuring two airplaines on an airport tarmac and squares and circles.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Ferrovial (Madrid: FER) agreed to sell its 25% stake in London's Heathrow Airport for £2.37 billion to Ardian (15%) and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (10%).

Why it's the BFD: Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, with passenger volume recently surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Details: Ferrovial has been slowly selling off its Heathrow position since acquiring a 56% stake in 2006, including via sales to a Qatari sovereign fund in 2012 and to a U.K. pension system in 2013. It continues to own several other U.K. airports.

The bottom line: The airport is currently unprofitable, partially because of a large debt load in a higher-rate environment. And things might get worse before they get better, as Heathrow has been forced by British regulators to cut its airline fees beginning in 2024.

Venture Capital Deals

Oxford Quantum Circuits, a British quantum compute-as-a-service startup, raised $100m in Series B funding. SBI Investment led, and was joined by Oxford Science Enterprises, UTEC, Lansdowne Partners and OTIF. https://axios.link/47OjEoW

Braincube, a French provider of manufacturing data software, raised €83m co-led by Scottish Equity Partners and Bpifrance. https://axios.link/3GiBlkW

🚑 Aro Biotherapeutics, a Philadelphia-based developer of tissue-targeted genetic medicines, raised $41.5m in Series B funding. Cowen Healthcare Investments led, and was joined by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Northpond Ventures, Healthcap and BVF Partners. www.arobiotx.com

DuploCloud, a San Jose, Calif.-based cloud app provisioning startup, raised $32m in Series B funding. WestBridge Capital and StepStone Group co-led, and were joined by insider Mayfield. https://axios.link/3N6xQC1

Immensa, a Dubai-based additive manufacturing and inventory management startup, raised $20m in Series B funding. Global Ventures led, and was joined by Endeavor Catalyst Fund, EDGO and insiders Energy Capital Group, Shorooq Partners and Green Coast Investments. https://axios.link/47UhlRf

🚑 PayGround, a Gilbert, Ariz.-based health care payments startup, raised $19.7m in Series A funding. SixThirty led, and was joined by Rally Ventures, IA Capital Group, FCA Venture Partners and Plug and Play Ventures. www.payground.com

Modo Energy, a London-based SaaS for renewable energy data analytics, raised $15m in Series A funding. MMC Ventures led, and was joined by Triple Point Ventures, Fred Olsen Limited and Catalyst Capital. https://axios.link/47OZf3L

GoMetro, a South African fleet management startup, raised £9m in Series A funding led by Zenobē Energy. https://axios.link/49Z5K5h

Revela, a Detroit-based property management software, raised $9m in Series A funding, per Axios Pro. FirstMark Capital led, and was joined by Detroit Venture Partners, MetaProp and Assurant Ventures. https://axios.link/3QSFhNW

Letterhead, a Miami-based newsletter creation platform, raised $5.3m in seed funding. Las Olas VC and Reign Ventures co-led, and were joined by BDMI, Florida Opportunity Fund, and McClatchy. www.tryletterhead.com

SparkMeter, a Washington, D.C.-based grid management provider, raised $5m from Honeywell Smart Energy. www.sparkmeter.io

MYX, a crypto derivatives protocol, raised $5m in seed finding led by HongShan. https://axios.link/49Zza3p

🚑 Augment Therapy, a Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based hospital-to-home physical therapy startup, raised $2.7m in seed funding from BlueTree Capital Group, CareSource and the Healthcare Collaboration Fund. https://axios.link/3R0TxnY

Monterra, an SF-based design and planning automation platform for EV charging installations, raised $2.5m in pre-seed funding. Base10 Partners led, and was joined by Future Climate Venture Studio and Very Serious Ventures. www.monterra.ai

🌎 Lowercarbon, the VC firm led by Chris Sacca, acquired Climate Draft, a green jobs site. https://axios.link/3Rm7WN7

Private Equity Deals

Air Conditioning Specialist, a Milledgeville, Ga.-based portfolio company of Hidden Harbor Capital Partners, acquired Johnson City, Tenn.-based Tri-City Air Conditioning Co. www.tricityair.com

🚀 Arcfield, a Chantilly, Va-based portfolio company of Veritas Capital, acquired Orion Space Solutions, a Louisville, Colo.-based developer of space mission capabilities. www.arcfield.com

BlueHalo, an Arlington, Va.-based portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners, acquired Ipsolon Research, a Frederick, Md.-based maker of ultra-small software-defined radios for spaces constrained by harsh environments. www.bluehalo.com

Fort Point Capital invested in Visu-Sewer, a Pewaukee, Wis.-based provider of wastewater infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance services. visu-sewer.com

Good Future, a Toronto-based VC fund and philanthropic foundation, acquired a majority stake in Canadian tech news site BetaKit. https://axios.link/47PbVaf

KKR agreed to buy the 37% stake it doesn't already hold in New York-based insurer Global Atlantic for $2.7b in cash. https://axios.link/3Rl3xdf

Rocket Software, a Waltham, Mass.-based portfolio company of Bain Capital, agreed to buy the application modernization and connectivity unit of OpenText (Nasdaq: OTEX) for nearly $2.3b. https://axios.link/47V6mqU

SCI Flooring, a portfolio company of Rainier Partners, acquired United Carpet, a St. Louis-based floor covering provider. www.sciflooring.com

Straightaway Tire & Auto, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based portfolio company of O2 Investment Partners, acquired both Accurate Auto & Tire Service (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Wayne's Automotive (Grand Rapids, Minn.). www.gostraightaway.com

Synagro, a Baltimore-based portfolio company of Goldman Sachs Private Equity, acquired NEFCO, a Quincy, Mass.-based provider of biosolid processing and beneficial use applications. www.nefcobiosolids.com

Waste Eliminator, a Gainesville, Ga.-based solid waste and recycling services firm owned by Allied Industrial Partners, acquired North Georgia Roll Off. www.wasteeliminator.com

WILsquare Capital acquired ACS, a distributor of automotive and industrial paint and supply products in Indiana and Illinois. www.automotivecolor.us

Public Offerings

Lineage Logistics, a Novi, Mich.-based real estate investment trust focused on cold storage facilities, is eyeing a valuation north of $30b in a 2024 IPO, per Bloomberg. Backers include Bay Grove Capital, Stonepeak, D1 Capital Partners and Oxford Properties Group. https://axios.link/3utZG4r

MobiKwik, an Indian mobile payments firm whose backers include ADIA and American Express, picked banks for a Mumbai IPO that could raise around $84m, per Bloomberg. https://axios.link/3Ri38YS

Liquidity Events

🚑 Season, a Sacramento, Calif.-based food-as-medicine startup backed by a16z, agreed to acquire the clinical assets of dietitian network Wellory, a Brooklyn-based dietician network seeded by Story Ventures and Harlem Capital. https://axios.link/3sJsxS4

Webull, a New York-based stock trading app, acquired Mexican investment platform Flink, a Mexico City-based trading platform that had raised nearly $60m from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, ALLVP, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Mantis VC and Kalonia Venture Partners. Webull has raised around $240m from firms like Lightspeed, Coatue and General Atlantic. https://axios.link/3GiGHfW

More M&A

Globant (NYSE: GLOB) of Argentina acquired a majority stake in Miami-based creative agency Gut. https://axios.link/3R2ptZh

🐶 Musti Group, a Helsinki-listed pet care retailer, received an €868m takeover offer from a group that includes Portuguese retailer Sonae. https://axios.link/40WDGeV

Fundraising

FEBE Ventures of Singapore is targeting $75m for its second fund, per TechCrunch. https://axios.link/47uBBZY

New Heritage Capital, a Boston-based PE firm focused on founder-owned midmarket businesses, raised $438m for its fourth fund. https://axios.link/3RoFnyE

Oxx, a VC firm focused on European SaaS companies, raised $190m for its second fund. https://axios.link/3sRVb3p

Tola Capital, a Seattle-based VC firm, raised $230m for its third fund. https://axios.link/46zTbus

It's Personnel

🚑 Chris Collins joined Wells Fargo as a managing director of health care banking, per Bloomberg. He previously was with Piper Sandler. https://axios.link/3RkAx5q

Matthew Lytle is rejoining JPMorgan as a managing director of North American tech investment banking. He previously was with Leerink Partners (fka SVB Securities). https://axios.link/47ALYLZ

Final Numbers

How much the global oil and gas industry invests in clean energy
Data: IEA; Note: Investment amount is in 2022 dollars; Table: Axios Visuals

COP28 kicks off tomorrow in Dubai, and is certain to include numerous conversations on how fossil fuels — and fossil fuel companies — fit into climate policy.

  • This could include how oil companies contributed just 1.2% of global clean energy investments in 2022, Axios' Ben Geman writes. Moreover, over 60% of that meager total came from just four groups: Equinor, TotalEnergies, Shell and BP.
  • Go deeper: What to watch at Cop28

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