Mar 12, 2018

Axios Pro Rata

Greetings from the home office, where the neighborhood electrician is furiously working to get generators online before yet another scheduled nor'easter. Here we go...

Top of the Morning

It's time for our annual March Madness Extravaganza. The winner will get the chance to write part of a Pro Rata column, plus some Axios swag and big-time bragging rights. To play:

  1. Log into your account, or sign up for one at Both are in the top-right corner, and you can register via your Facebook account.
  2. Go to the Tournament Challenge group page and search for the Pro Rata 2018 group. Password: TheBFD
  3. Create your bracket before the games begin Thursday at noon ET.
  4. Good luck! If you have any troubles with 1-3, please email me.

Chip chat: Broadcom this morning said that it plans to complete its redomiciliation in the U.S. by April 3, which is at least a month earlier than prior projections.

  • Spoiler alert, via WSJ: "Intel is watching the takeover battle closely and is eager for Broadcom to fail as the combined company would pose a serious competitive threat... If it becomes apparent that Broadcom is likely to prevail, Intel could step in with its own offer for Broadcom."

• Scoot scoot: Bird, an Uber-like service for electric scooters, on Friday announced that it has raised $100 million in Series B funding.

  • The pre-money valuation was $300 million, per a source familiar.
  • Arena Ventures founder Paige Craig is joining Bird as head of ops, which means he'll not proceed with plans to launch a new pre-seed fund.

• Game of Goldman: Harvey Schwartz this morning announced his retirement as Goldman Sachs' co-president and co-COO, effective April 20. That leaves David Solomon alone in the jobs, just days after the WSJ reported that CEO Lloyd Blankfein may be planning a year-end exit of his own (something Blankfein non-denied denied).

• Mega-merger: SoftBank is planning to put both Vision Fund and Fortress Investment Group under the same umbrella, as separate units of a new, London-based asset management business, per the NY Times.

• Backtrack: Five months ago, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser denied media reports that the oil giant's IPO could be pushed beyond 2018. Maybe he shouldn't have been so obstinate.

  • The FT reports that the Saudis have told UK officials not to expect the offering until 2019.
  • Saudi Arabia's energy minister to Bloomberg: “Between December 31st and January 1st there is no value lost for the kingdom. So, I don’t see this artificial deadline that you refer to as being significant.” (Yes, Amin Nasser seemed to believe the deadline was significant.)
Photo by Sven Nackstrand/Getty Images

Elbit Systems (Tel Aviv: ELST) has agreed to buy IMI Systems, a weapons maker known for Uzi submachine guns, for around $523 million from the Israeli government (which announced plans to privatize IMI back in 2013).

  • Why it's the BFD: Because it likely would create Israel's largest defense contracting company.
  • Bottom line: "The deal will create a company with a heavy emphasis on research and development, and whose product range will extend from IMI’s shoulder-launched missiles, precision-guided mortar munitions and rocket-propulsion systems to Elbit’s portfolio of avionic systems, drones and intelligence and cybertechnology." — Haaretz
Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Radiology Partners, an El Segundo, Calif.-based onsite radiology practice network, has raised $234 million in growth equity funding co-led by return backers NEA and Future Fund.

Scout Exchange, a Boston-based platform for marketplace recruiting, has raised $100 million in funding from TRI Ventures.

T. Rowe Price is leading Warby Parker's new $75 million funding round, per multiple sources. T. Rowe is an insider, but there may be at least one large new investor also participating.

KIXEYE, a developer of mobile game marketing technologies, has raised $20 million in new funding. Icon Ventures led, and was joined by return backers Ridge Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

HubHaus, a co-living startup, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Social Capital led, and was joined by seed backer General Catalyst.

Ponddy Education, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of personalized language learning software, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Chenco Holding Co.

Smartcare, a provider of cloud-based solutions for child care centers, has raised $6 million in new funding. Lyrical Partners led and was joined by Charter Oak Equity and Dakota Capital.

Smarter Sorting, an Austin, Texas-based startup that repurposes consumer chemical waste, has raised $5 million from backers like RTP Ventures.

Bitt, a Barbados-based blockchain payment startup, has raised $3 million in new VC funding from Medici Ventures.

🚑 Metactive, a Fairway, Kansas-based developer of medical devices for neurovascular, peripheral vascular and structural heart disease, has raised $1.2 million in Series A funding from backers like Mid-America Angels and Serra Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

🚑 Clearlake Capital has acquired Provation Medical, a Minneapolis-based provider of procedure documentation software, from Wolters Kluwer.

Energy Capital Partners has acquired Gopher Resources, an Eagan, Minn.-based provider of recycling and other environmental solutions, from Norwest Equity Partners.

🚑 Gen Cap America has sponsored a buyout of CoreMed, a Manchester, N.H.-based healthcare staffing agency.

GTCR has completed its purchase of EaglePicher, a Joplin, Mo.-based provider of power solutions for the defense, aerospace and medical end markets, from Apollo Global Management portfolio company Vectra.

Public Offerings

Four companies are expected to price IPOs this week on U.S. exchanges: Zscaler, Arcus Biosciencews, Bridgewater Bancshares and Opes Acquisition. Also, Spotify’s investor day will take place on Thursday.

Dropbox this morning set its IPO terms to 36 million shares being offered at between $16 and $18. The San Francisco-based file storage and sharing company would have a fully-diluted market value of around $7.9 billion, were it to price at the top of its range. That's not inclusive of shares reserved for future issuance under equity compensation plans — some of which would become effective prior to the IPO. Were those shares included, the high-mark climbs to around $9.9 billion.

Liquidity Events

Clorox (NYSE: CLX) has agreed to buy Sunrise, Fla.-based dietary supplements manufacturer Nutranext for $700 million from WM Partners.

Nutanix (Nasdaq: NTNX) has agreed to acquire Netsil, a San Francisco-based application discovery and operations management provider that had raised over $5 million from Plug and Play, Moment Ventures and Engineering Capital.

More M&A

Elbit Systems (Tel Aviv: ELST) has agreed to buy IMI Systems, a weapons maker known for Uzi submachine guns, for around $523 million from the Israeli government (which announced plans to privatize IMI back in 2013).

General Electric (NYSE: GE) is considering a sale of its electrical engineering unit, which it acquired for $3.2 billion in 2011, according to Reuters.

Melrose Industries (LSE: MRO) has increased its hostile takeover offer for British engineering firm GKN (LSE: GKN) by 10%, and says the revised £8.1 billion price is as high as it will go.


Bose, a Framingham, Mass.-based audio tech company, has launching a $50 million fund for startups developing services for its new AR platform.\

The Companion Fund has been launched as a $100 million venture fund focused on pet care startups. It’s bankrolled by Mars Petcare, and will be managed by Digitalis Ventures. Mars Petcare also launched a pet care-focused accelerator called Leap Venture Studios, in partnership with Michelson Found Animals and R/GA.

Equistone, a European mid-market private equity firm, has closed its sixth flagship fund with €2.8 billion in capital commitments.

High Alpha, an Indianapolis-based venture studio, has raised over $38 million for a second fund that could raise a total of $85 million, per an SEC filing.

Math Venture Partners, a Chicago-based early-stage firm, is raising upwards of $39 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing.

It's Personnel

Chris Liddell, a White House official who previously served in senior roles with both Microsoft and GM, is being considered as Gary Cohn's successor as director of the National Economic Council.

Steve Nelson, former COO of Cambridge Associates, has been named CEO of the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA).

Jim DuBois (ex-Microsoft CIO) and Satbir Khanuja (Datasphere CEO) have joined venture firm Ignition Partners as venture advisors.

Littlejohn & Co. has promoted both Gentry Klein and Brian Michaud to managing directors.

Final Numbers
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Data: Peterson, et al., 2018, "Asset Managers and Climate-Related Shareholder Proposals: Report on Key Climate Votes", 50/50 Climate Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios