Greetings from a Starbucks in midtown Manhattan, which was the only place where I could find decent WiFi this morning (albeit no outlet). Some notes before my laptop takes a mandatory nap...
• Get liquid, but don’t get shut out: Yesterday we put tickets on sale for our next Liquidity Event, which is taking place in San Francisco on the evening of October 21. More than 500 of them have been scooped up already, which means that we are likely to sell out shortly. Be sure to get yours by going to: http://TermSheetSF.eventbrite.com
• Sanctions stuff: Around four years ago, a group of U.S. venture capitalists headed to Russia on a state-sponsored trip that was designed to promote foreign investment in the nation’s startups. One of the most impressed VCs was Brian Dovey, a longtime partner with healthcare-focused Domain Associates. He remained in touch with the Russian organizers, and in 2012 Domain announced a $760 million partnership with Rusnano, a government-owned investment fund in Russia. Under terms of the deal, Rusnano and Domain would form a Russian shell company that would license pharma solutions from Domain portfolio companies for use within Russia. Rusnano also would invest in those companies, alongside Domain.
So I was curious as to the program’s current status, given the Western sanctions against Russia and the broader geopolitical conflict.
Dovey was actually in Moscow when I rang, but fellow Domain partner Jim Blair took the call. He says that the firm is more concerned than it was just a few months back, but that the sanctions have not yet had an impact:
“We’re talked to Treasury and State and all the way up to the Ambassador level,” Blair explains. “What we’ve been told is that the sanctions are targeting the financial, oil and energy sectors – and that, to date, there has been a distinct desire not to target healthcare, since that’s something that really has a value to both the U.S. and Russian populaces… We wouldn’t predict the future, but the flow of cash has not yet been impeded and we haven’t seen any operational problems.”
Domain currently is in the midst of raising its ninth fund.
• Big fundraise: Hellman & Friedman has raised nearly $10 billion toward its next flagship fund (including GP commits), according to a regulatory filing. It is unclear if this represents a final close for the fund, which already is larger than any other Hellman & Friedman has raised in its 30-year history. Bloomberg had reported earlier this year that the San Francisco-based firm was seeking to raise a total of $10.25 billion, compared to the $8.4 billion pool it collected just before the financial crisis in 2007. A firm spokeswoman declined comment.
• Brainstorm: Last night we held a small Brainstorm Tech dinner tied to Ad Week here in NYC, which included Fortune editor Alan Murray interviewing Facebook COO (and future senatorial/gubernatorial/presidential candidate) Sheryl Sandberg. Not surprisingly, Sandberg deftly handled questions about such things as Facebook's competitive position vis-a-vis Google and how it identifies which ads do and don't work on its platform.
Maybe I'm just an incurable critic, but I did think Sandberg did get tripped up a bit when Murray asked her about Ello, the brand-new social network that promises not to put advertising on its platform or sell user data.
She said she had heard of Ello, but had not yet looked at it. Later, when asked about competitors, she said that the most significant one is likely someone in a garage who is working on something new.
Well, couldn't Ello be that garage-dweller? And, if so, shouldn't Facebook's COO at least have taken a cursory glance by now? To be clear, I'm not saying Ello is or isn't a legitimate Facebook rival (way too early to know). But I do know that I've already taken a look, and I have much less reason to do so than does Sandberg...
THE BIG DEAL
• Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has agreed to acquire Alios BioPharma Inc., a South San Francisco–based developer of therapies for viral diseases. The deal is valued at $1.75 billion in cash. Alios had raised a $41 million VC round in 2008 from Novo AS, Roche Venture Fund and SR One. www.aliosbiopharma.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Heliatek GmbH, a German maker of organic solar films, has raised €18 million in Series C funding. AQTON SE led the round, and was joined by return backers Bosch, BASF, Innogy Venture Capital, Wellington Partners, eCAPITAL, HTGF and TGFS. www.heliatek.com
• Cognoptix, an Acton, Mass.-based developer of an eye test to identify Alzheimer’s Disease patients, has raised over $15 million in Series D funding. Alopexx and return backer Inventages co-led the round, and were joined by Launchpad Venture Group. www.cognoptix.com
• Pica8, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based network switch startup, has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding. Backers include VantagePoint Capital Partners, Cross Head and Pacific Venture Partners. www.pica8.com
• Flocasts, an Austin, Texas-based sports media platform for “overlooked” sports, has raised $8 million in VC funding from Causeway Media Partners. www.flocasts.com
• Netuitive, a Reston, Va.-based provider of IT analytics, has raised $6.5 million in new equity funding. MK Capital and Rembrandt Venture Partners co-led the round, and were joined by Cross Creek Advisors and Columbia Capital. www.netuitive.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• CapMan has sold its stake in Profit Software Oy, a Finnish provider of service management software for insurers, to Via Venture Partners, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. and company management. No financial terms were disclosed, except that the company generated €9.6 million in 2013 revenue. www.profitsoftware.com
• LANDesk, a South Jordan, Utah-based systems lifecycle management company owned by Thoma Bravo, has acquired Naurtech, a provider of mobile connectivity solutions for enterprise data and applications using Windows CE platform devices. No financial terms were disclosed. www.landsesk.com
• Palladium Equity Partners has made a “significant investment” in Pronto General Agency Ltd., a Brownsville, Texas–based managing general agency focused on the non-standard auto insurance market segment in Texas. No financial terms were disclosed. www.prontoinsurance.com
• TPG Growth has acquired a “significant stake” in Angie’s Artisan Treats, a North Mankato, Minn.–based healthy snacks maker, from company founders and Sherbrooke Health and Wellness. No financial terms were disclosed. www.angieskettlecorn.com
• Trinity Hunt Partners has acquired Miller Environmental Services, a Corpus Christie, Texas–based provider of industrial cleaning and environmental services. www.trinityhunt.com
WestView Capital Partners has acquired a minority stake in The Paper Store LLC, an Acton, Mass.-based specialty gift retailer with more than 50 locations. No financial terms were disclosed. Company management will retain a majority ownership stake. www.thepaperstore.com
• Fibrogen Inc., a San Francisco-based developer of therapeutics in such areas as fibrosis and anemia, has filed for a $125 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq, with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Leerink Partners serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $30.5 million in net income on around $108 million in revenue for the first half of 2014. Shareholders include Astellas Pharma. www.fibrogen.com
• Vivint Solar, a Provo, Utah-based provider of distributed solar energy to residential customers, raised $330 million in its IPO. It priced 20.6 million shares at $16 per share (low end of $16-$18 range), for an initial market cap of approximately $1.68 billion. The company will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol VSLR, with Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse serving as co-lead underwriters. Vivint Solar is owned by The Blackstone Group, and reports a $76 million net loss on around $10 million in revenue for the first six months of 2014. www.vivintsolar.com
• CSL Capital Management has agreed to sell Independence Oilfield Chemicals LLC, a Houston-based provider of completion, stimulation and production chemicals for the oil and gas industry, to Innospec Inc. (Nasdaq: IOSP). www.innospec.com
• Parthenon Capital Partners has completed the previously-announced $265 million sale of Sequoia Golf Holdings, an Atlanta-based owner and operator of golf clubs, to ClubCorp (NYSE: MYCC). www.sequoiagolf.com
• UBM PLC (LSE: UBM), a UK-based events and communications group, has agreed to acquire Advanstar, a Santa Monica, Calif.–based trade show organizer, for $972 million from Anchorage Capital Group, Ares Management and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. www.advanstar.com
• Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe has completed its €820 million sale of Dutch payment processing company GlobalCollect to Ingenico Group (Paris: ING). www.globalcollect.com
• OnCore Biopharma Inc., a Doylestown, Penn.-based developer of oral treatments for chronic hepatitis B virus, has acquired Enantigen Therapeutics Inc., a pharma company whose lead programs focus on the inhibition of s-antigen secretion and the inhibition of capsid assembly. No financial terms were disclosed. www.enantigen.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Galena Asset Management, an asset management subsidiary of Switzerland’s Trafigura Group, has closed its debut private equity resources fund with $400 million in capital commitments. www.galena-invest.com
• General Catalyst Partners announced a $10 million allocation for startups that are building applications on the Stripe Connect platform. General Catalyst is an existing investor in Stripe. www.generalcatalyst.com
• Industry Ventures has closed its third hybrid VC fund-of-funds with more than $170 million in capital commitments. The fund will focus on primary commitments and early secondary purchases in smaller venture capital funds, plus co-investments alongside its managers. www.industryventures.com
• Macquarie Group has closed its third North American infrastructure and real assets fund with $3 billion in capital commitments. www.macquarie.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Keith Harrison and Jamie Bellanca have joined Pritzker Group Private Capital as senior advisors. Harrison previously spent 41 years with Procter & Gamble, most recently as its global product supply officer. Ballanca previously was VP of Cleversafe’s advanced technology group and was a regional principal and national director for Lante Corp. www.pritzkergroup.com
• Onex Corp. announced that managing director Christopher Govan will take over as CFO, effective March 1, 2015. Current CFO Donald Lewtas will continue to manage the company’s purchasing and share services initiative. www.onex.com
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