Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TKC Holdings, a portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, is seeking creditor approval to spin off prisoner phone services company Inmate Calling Solutions via a management buyout.

Why it matters: When a for-profit prison services company like TKC decides a business has become too politically toxic to own, you know there's a serious problem. Particularly when it wants to divest so badly that it's willing to hurt its own credit-worthiness.

  • TKS would help finance the deal via $280 million in new debt, including a $220 million PIK note.

The bottom line: "The controversial prison phone industry has come under fire for charging inmates as high as $25 for a 15-minute call... ICS and [rival] Securus, which was once owned by HIG but is now a portfolio company of Platinum Equity, dropped plans to merge in April 2019 after the Justice Dept and FCC raised concerns that the deal could harm competition," writes Bloomberg's Davide Scigiluzzo.

Go deeper: Global merger and acquisition activity decreased in 2019

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Big Pharma launches $1B venture to incentivize new antibiotics

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A group of large drug companies launched a $1 billion AMR Action Fund Thursday in collaboration with policymakers, philanthropists and development banks to push the development of two to four new antibiotics by 2030.

Why it matters: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing problem — possibly killing up to 20 million people annually by 2050 — but a severe lack of R&D market incentives has hampered efforts to develop a robust antibiotic pipeline to address the issue.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inside Geoffrey Berman's closed-door testimony

Berman arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, was expected to say in closed-door testimony today that Attorney General Bill Barr repeatedly urged him to take another job, warned him that getting fired would not be good for his resume or job prospects and steered him toward a high-level Justice Department post in DC.

Driving the news: Axios has obtained a copy of Berman's opening statement for his closed-door hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

14 mins ago - Health

Schools confront broadband access crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

School districts are taking it upon themselves to help families get connected to the internet as they face down a long future of virtual learning.

Why it matters: In the COVID-19 era of education, broadband is an essential service that families need to stay connected — and that school systems require to equitably educate children in their districts.