Dec 20, 2017

Vaping startup Juul is raising $150 million

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Photo: Brianna Soukup / Getty Images

Juul Labs, a San Francisco-based maker of vaping devices, has secured $112 million of what could become a $150 million convertible note offering, per an SEC filing.

Why it matters: Because Juul's discrete devices are becoming ubiquitous among high school and college students — despite the official age minimum — and could become even bigger if marijuana legalization expands.

Juul spun out from parent company Pax Labs earlier this year and hired Kevin Burns to be its CEO. He's is a former top partner at private equity giant TPG Capital who left to help turn around yogurt-maker Chobani as COO.

Bottom line: "Juul's flat rectangular devices, shaped like USB sticks, hit the market in mid-2015 and have surpassed similar devices from the tobacco giants. Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a report last month, citing Nielsen data over the prior four weeks, that Juul controls 32.9% of the market, ahead of British American Tobacco at 27.4% and Altria at 15.2%. According to the Nielsen data, Juul has generated revenue growth of almost 700 percent to $224.6 million in the past year." — Ari Levy, CNBC

A Juul spokeswoman declined to comment on the fundraising.

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RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on stage at the conclusion of the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.