Aug 7, 2018

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning
Source: Giphy

TPG has closed on "over $10 billion" in total commitments for its eighth flagship buyout fund and a new healthcare focused fund, per an investor memo obtained by Axios.

  • It is targeting a total of $13.5 billion, including $11 billion for TPG Partners VIII and $2.5 billion for TPG Healthcare Partners.
  • A firm spokesman declined comment.

Why it matters: Because TPG appears to be all the way back in its investors' good graces, after a stumble earlier this decade. There's no indication that TPG is finally planning for a long-rumored IPO, but it wouldn't be the worst time...

Activism: Carl Icahn this morning laid out his opposition the $67 billion merger between health insurer Cigna and pharmacy benefit giant Express Scripts, via an open letter whose arguments include that Cigna is overpaying, too much regulatory risk and competition from Amazon. He also called the deal "a travesty."

• Trumpland: Here's the list of biz execs dining with Trump today in Bedminster, while Axios' David McCabe has scoop on a private White House meeting last week that was designed to allay tech industry worries over tariffs.

Today in SoftBank: The Japanese giant yesterday reported a 49% jump in quarterly earnings and a significant rise in the holding value of its tech investments.

  • Earnings were boosted by divestitures like SoftBank Vision Fund selling its Flipkart stake to Walmart and selling the Chinese operations of ARM.
  • Bloomberg reports that SoftBank Vision Fund plans to lead an investment of between $3 billion and $5 billion into, the Chinese food delivery business owned by Alibaba.
  • SoftBank continues to prep an IPO for its Japan telecom unit, with one report that could float around one-third of the business at a $90 billion valuation. If so, it would be the largest IPO of all time — topping Alibaba's $25 billion raise in 2014.
  • Saudi Arabia, the largest outside investor in Vision Fund, yesterday froze all new trade and investments with Canada, but a Vision Fund spokesman didn't yet know how (or if) it would affect the group's activities.

A tree grows in Palo Alto: Cowboy Ventures has raised $93 million for its third seed-stage fund, and its first since founder Aileen Lee added longtime Silicon Valley lawyer Ted Wang as a second general partner.

  • This is a step-up from the $57 million Cowboy raised for its second fund, which Lee attributes to both the extra GP and a desire for more follow-on capital.
  • Half of the LP "point people" on Fund III are women, with Lee saying the 50/50 mix was an intended goal.
  • Lee is a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit formed earlier this year to accelerate the success of female investors and founders, but she says that it doesn't have a direct impact on Cowboy: "The culture of All Raise is that you have to check your own business at the door."

🎧 Listen up: Yesterday's Pro Rata podcast broke down the Twitter "shadow ban" controversy, including the possibility of Jack Dorsey testifying on Capitol Hill.

Source: Giphy

Zillow (Nasdaq: Z) agreed to buy Mortgage Lenders of America, a national mortgage lender based in Overland Park, Kansas.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff tells me that MLA isn't large enough "to satisfy our long-term ambitions." In other words, expect Zillow to buy up other home mortgage lenders.
  • Market reaction: Not good. Zillow stock was down 17% at the open, although Rascoff believes investor angst is more about missed guidance than the acquisition.
  • Bottom line: Home mortgages are a lower-growth business than what many investors are used to from a tech company, but Zillow believes its relatively new (and expanding) home-buying/selling efforts must be full-service — much like how many home-builders have in-house mortgage lending groups.
Venture Capital Deals

Klook, a Hong Kong-based in-destination booking platform, raised $200 million in Series B funding from Sequoia China, Matrix Partners, Goldman Sachs, Boyu Capital, TCV, OurCrowd and an undisclosed Asian sovereign wealth fund.

Moviebook, a Beijing-based video recognition company, raised nearly $200 million in Series D funding. SB China Venture Capital and SenseTime co-led, and were joined by Qianhai Wutong, PAC Partners, Oriental Pearl Group and Lang Sheng Investment.

Freee, a Japanese accounting software company, raised $60 million in Series E funding from firms like Line, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Life Card.

🚑 Akouos, a Boson-based developer of gene therapies to restore hearing, raised $50 million in series A funding. Seed backers 5AM Ventures and NEA co-led, and was joined by Partners Innovation Fund, Sofinnova Ventures, RA Capital Management and Novartis Venture Fund.

Dianrong, a Shanghai-based P2P lending platform, raised $40 million from Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group.

🚑 Care/of, a New York-based personalized vitamin and supplement shopping platform, raised $29 million in Series B funding. GS Investment Partners led, and was joined by return backers Goodwater Capital, Juxtapose, RRE Ventures and Tusk Ventures.

🚑 Cure Genetics, a Chinese drug developer that leverages gene editing, raised $17 million in Series A funding. Qiming Venture Partners led, and was joined by CTS Capital and Ascendin Investment.

Spruce, a New York-based title insurance and escrow company, raised $15.6 million in new Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and Collaborative Fund.

Steady, an Atlanta-based provider of “personalized income-building opportunities,” raised $9 million in Series A funding. Propel Venture Partners led, and was joined by Omidyar Network, 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures and Commerce Ventures., a Lisbon-based robotics operating system, raised $3 million in seed funding. Viola Ventures led, and was joined by NFX.

FloodFlash, a UK-based flood insurance startup, raised £1.9 million in seed funding from LocalGlobe, Pentech Ventures and InsurTech Gateway.

Private Equity Deals

⚾ LionTree acquired a minority stake in Ripken Baseball, a youth sports education and entertainment company.

ONCAP acquired Precision Global, a New York-based maker of valves and actuators, from Peak Rock Capital.

🚑 Silver Lake has invested in GoodRx, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based prescription drug price comparison platform, at a reported valuation of $2.8 billion.

Tower Arch Capital has acquired Kiinde, a White Plains, N.Y.-based maker of infant and child feeding products.

Warburg Pincus has acquired Procare, a Medford, Ore.-based provider of child care management software, from TA Associates (which will retain a minority stake).

Liquidity Events

KPS Capital Partners agreed to sell the attachments business of International Equipment Solutions, including brands Paladin, Genesis and Pengo, to Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) for $690 million.

Nordic Capital sold Danish logistics company Unifeeder to Dubai-based port operator DP World for €660 million.

🚑 Sotera Health, a Broadview Heights, Ohio -based portfolio company of Warburg Pincus, sold its medical isotopes business to BWX Technologies (NYSE: BWXT).

Swissquote (Swiss: SQN) agreed to buy Luxembourg-based Internaxx Bank for €28 million.

More M&A

The Justice Department on Monday filed an appeal brief of a judge's ruling that allowed AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85 billion, arguing that he failed to properly evaluate how the merger would give AT&T too much leverage over its competition (and why AT&T would be motivated to use that leverage). View the appeal.

China Poly Group Corp. has interest in buying Waltham, Mass.-based piano maker Steinway Musical Instruments from Paulson & Co., per Bloomberg.

Google bought GraphicsFuzz, a UK-based company that tests the security and reliability of Android graphics drivers.

HNA Group is in “advanced talks” to sell aircraft leasing business Avalon to Japan’s Orix Corp., per Reuters.

SJW Group (NYSE: SJW) has agreed to buy utility Connecticut Water Service (Nasdaq: CTWS) for $1.1 billion in cash, replacing a previously-announced all-stock merger.

⚽ Stan Kroenke has agreed to acquire the minority stake he doesn’t already own in English Premier League team Arsenal, at around a $2.3 billion valuation.

⛽ Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) is out of the coal business, selling its 40% stake in Australia’s Bengalla mine for A$860 million to New Hope Corp. (ASX: NHC).


Foundry Group closed its seventh fund with $750 million, and said it will include three strategies that previously were broken into separate funds (early-stage, growth and fund-of-funds).

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners raised $516 million for its third hedge fund secondaries and co-investment fund.

It's Personnel

The Riverside Company promoted Madrid-based Rafael Álvarez-Novoa from principal to partner. It also added two operating partners: Filip Van de Vliet (ex-CEO of Globachem) and Philip Rowland (ex- OC&C Strategy Consultants).

Barry Reynolds, a managing director of Housatonic Partners, has resigned from the board of ServiceSource (Nasdaq: SREV).

Final Numbers
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Note: Data reflects CEOs and company rankings at the time each year's list was published by Fortune; Data: Fortune; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
Dan Primack

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