Some assorted notes to kick off your Wednesday:
• ACA attitude: Yesterday at the SuperReturn U.S. conference in Boston, I watched a “creating alpha in the mid-market panel” that included three senior executives at PE firms with significant healthcare practices. Each one touched on Obamacare during their comments, particularly in how they slowed down investments in potentially-affected companies in the run-up to the law’s implementation.
During Q&A, I asked if the pending Supreme Court ruling on state subsidies would similarly affect their investment strategies. For starters, two of the three did believe that SCOTUS would rule against the Obama Administration — but also felt the states would then figure out workarounds, so as not to leave millions of people without health insurance. As for investing, however, what I really heard was that the firms plan to continue restricting their exposure to reimbursement risk — with the SCOTUS case not really factoring into their decision.
Stewart Kohl, co-CEO of The Riverside Company, explained it thusly: “No matter what the Supreme Court does, the government is going to continue being involved in healthcare insurance. Even if Congress has to write new laws, do you think they are going to do anything that makes healthcare more expensive for people by making reimbursements lower?”
• Just asking: Starbucks today announced that it would close all 23 locations of La Boulange bakeries this fall, just two years after buying the chain for $100 million from private equity firm Next World Group. In other words, Howard Schultz is Ray Zalinsky, just wanting Callahan Auto for the box (or, in this case, the pink bag).
Moreover, this is becoming something of a trend. Starbucks already has shut down Seattle’s Best, and is planning to shutter its Evolution Fresh store in San Francisco. So here is my question: Does Starbucks run the risk of alienating future acquisition targets, particularly if they are founder-owned businesses in which the seller cares about the doors remaining open and the workers remaining employed?
• Terminology: Over the past couple of weeks I’ve heard the phrase “private IPO” a lot, referring to the later-stage private financing rounds that often include crossover investors. An alternative phrase offered up in the Andreessen Horowitz presentation is “quasi IPO,” which it defined as a financing of $40 million or more.
I know it’s tough to be a stickler for venture semantics when I hold dear to “unicorn,” but we should be clear that there is no such thing as a private IPO. And I’m not just talking about the basic contradiction of modifying an acronym for public with the word private. Instead, I mean that these financings only satisfy two of an IPO’s four main functions: (1) Raise money. Yup, it does that. (2) Give company added credibility. It likely does that, so it gets a mostly filled-in star. (3) Create a public currency that can be used to make acquisitions and better access the capital markets. Nope. (4) Create liquidity for early investors and employees. Not usually.
• Paid In? Yesterday I got into some Twitter discussion about my harping on the lack of VC liquidity events, with some critics arguing that distributions are stronger than at any time since 2000 (even when including called capital, per some partial data from Cambridge Associates).
So I reached out to third-party research firm Preqin, for its analysis of VC capital called vs. distributions. What it found was that global VC capital called has exceeded global VC capital distributed for 2013 and the first 9 months of 2014. And the 2014 difference was significant, at $54.71 billion called compared to $42.17 billion distributed. For U.S.-focused funds, distributions outpaced call-downs in 2013 (($26.95b vs. $20.98b) but the opposite was true for the first three quarters of 2014 ($25.54b distributed vs. $29.56b called). Or, put another way, LPs are currently sending VCs more checks than they are receiving back.
THE BIG DEAL
• The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group are prepping a joint bid for NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR), a Duluth, Ga.-based cash register and ATM maker that would be valued north of $10 billion, according to Reuters. Other private equity firms, including Apollo Global Management and Thoma Bravo, also have expressed interest. J.P. Morgan is managing the process. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Tujia.com, a Chinese home and property rental site (i.e., China’s Airbnb), has raised $250 million in new VC funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, according to the WSJ. All-Stars Investment led the round, and was joined by return backer Ctrip International. Read more.
• CytomX, a South San Francisco-based developer of cancer therapeutics, has raised $70 million in Series D funding. Fidelity led the round, and was joined by Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Deerfield Management, Perceptive Advisors, Redmile Group, Tekla Healthcare Investors and Tekla Life Sciences Investors, Venrock and Wellington Management Co. www.cytomx.com
• Cohesity, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of enterprise data storage solutions, has raised $55 million in Series B funding. Artis Ventures and Qualcom Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, Google Ventures, Trinity Ventures and return backers Sequoia Capital and Wing Venture Capital. The company previously raised $15 million. Read more.
• Doctor on Demand, a San Francisco-based online platform for connecting patients with doctors, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Tenaya Capital led the round, and was joined by Qualcomm Ventures, Dignity Health, Anne Wojcicki and return backers Venrock, Shasta Ventures and Richard Branson. Read more.
• FreedomPop, a Los Angeles-based provider of bare-bones mobile data and voice services, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Partech Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers DCM Capital and Mangrove Capital. Read more.
• LeadPages, a Minneapolis-based landing page and lead generation platform, has raised $27 million in Series B funding. Drive Capital led the round, and was joined by Foundry Group and Arthur Ventures. www.leadpages.net
• Cynvenio, a Westlake Village, Calif.-based developer of a technology platform for detecting rare cancer cells in whole blood, has raised $25.5 million in Series B funding. China’s Livzon Pharmaceutical Group led the round, and was joined by Greenwoods Private Equity Funds and Syno Capital. www.cynvenio.com
• Neuravi, an Irish developer of a therapy platform for stroke patients, has raised €19 million in Series B funding. Life Sciences Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Fountain Healthcare Partners, Delta Partners and the Western Development Commission. www.neuravi.com
• Convene, a New York-based network of urban meeting centers and workplace amenity services, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Backers include Conversion Venture Capital, Boathouse Capital and OFS Capital Corp. As part of the deal, early investor Sunrise Capital Partners received liquidity. www.convene.com
• Studitemps, a German provider of jobs for students and young professionals, has raised €11 million in Series C funding. Iris Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers XAnge, Seventure and b-to-v. www.studitemps.de
• Car Lister, a Naples, Fla.-based mobile app for buying and selling new and used cars, said that it has raised $6.5 million in angel funding. www.carlister.co
• Iris.tv, a Los Angeles-based provider of personalized video recommendations for short clips, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding. Backers include Sierra Wasatch, BDMI and Progress Ventures. Read more.
• Harvest, a site where hedge fund managers and other investors can disclose positions and discuss ideas, has raised $5 million in Series B funding. Highland Capital Management led the round, and was joined by Marketplace Fund and return backers Third Point LLC and Golden Tree Asset Management. www.hvst.com
• Tute Genomics, a Provo, Utah-based provider of cloud-based analytics, interpretation, and reporting for clinical sequencing, has raised $3.9 million in Series A1 funding. Backers include Intermountain Healthcare, Healthbox and Tencent. www.tutegenomics.com
• Minio, an open source cloud object storage project, has raised $3.3 million in seed funding. Nexus Venture Partners and General Catalyst co-led the round, and were joined by AME Cloud Ventures, Index Ventures and individual angels. Read more.
• Brightwheel, a San Francisco-based mobile platform for preschools and daycares, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. RRE Ventures and Eniac Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by CrossLink Capital, Golden Venture Partners, Red Swan Ventures and Sherpa Ventures. www.mybrightwheel.com
• FaceIt, a UK-based competitive gaming platform, has raised $2 million in VC funding led by United Ventures. www.faceit.com
• GSI Health, a Philadelphia-based provider of care coordination solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Rittenhouse Ventures. www.gsihealth.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Dynatrace, a Waltham, Mass.-based digital performance software company owned by Thoma Bravo, has acquired Keynote, a San Mateo, Calif.-based app performance management software company also owned by Thoma Bravo. www.dynatrace.com
• Il Bisonte, an Italian luxury leather accessories brand, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Palamon Capital Partners. www.palamon.com
• Transaction Data Systems (dba Rx30), an Ocoee, Fla.-based provider of pharmacy management software, has secured an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from GTCR. www.rx30.com
• Aeglea BioTherapeutics Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of treatments for inborn errors of metabolism and therapies targeting tumor metabolism, has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol AGLE, with Cowen & Co., UBS and BMO Capital Markets serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include Lilly Ventures (26.3% pre-IPO stake), Novartis Bioventures (25.6%), OrbiMed Advisors (7.1%) and Jennison Associates (5.7%), UT Horizon Fund, Venrock, RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, Ally Bridge Group and Cowen Investments. www.aegleabio.com
• Green Plains Partners LP, an Omaha, Neb.-based owner and operator of ethanol transportation and storage assets, has set its IPO terms to 10 million units being offered at between $19 and $21 per unit. The company is a master limited partnership backed by Green Plains Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRE). It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GPP, with Barclays and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as lead underwriters. www.gpreinc.com
• Guotai Junan Securities, a Chinese brokerage, plans to raise upwards of $4.8 billion in a Shanghai IPO, which Reuters says would be the largest IPO in China since 2010. Read more.
• Houlihan Lokey has made a confidential IPO filing, according to the WSJ. The boutique investment bank is expected to list later this year, with Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as underwriters. Read more.
• Lamudi, a real estate classifieds site operating in Asia, South America and MENA, has acquired Indonesian rival Propertykita.com for an undisclosed amount. Lamudi rearlier this year raised $19 million in new VC funding from Holtzbrinck Ventures, Rocket Internet and Tengelmann Ventures. www.lamudi.com
• Magic Software Enterprises (Nasdaq: MGIC) has acquired Infinigy Solutions LLC, a Latham, N.Y.–based provider of telecom technical services to the wireless industry. No financial terms were disclosed. www.infinigy.com
• Tracinda Corp. said that it will sell its 16.2% stake in MGM Resorts C(NYSE: MGM) per a stipulation in the will of Tracinda founder Kirk Kerkorian, who died on Monday at the age of 98. The stake was worth around $1.75 billion at the time of Kerkorian’s death. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Cabot Square Capital, a UK-based private equity firm focused on the financial services market, has closed its fifth fund with £275 million in capital commitments. www.cabotsquare.com
• Forbes Private Capital Group, a New York-based fund placement agency, has renamed itself FocusPoint Private Capital Group. www.fpcgllc.com
• TechStars has acquired UP Global, the nonprofit parent company of Startup Weekend and related programs. No financial terms were disclosed. www.techstars.com
• Tengram Capital Partners, a Westport, Conn.-based private equity firm focused on mid-market consumer and retail companies, has closed its second fund with $320 million in capital commitments. www.tengramcapital.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Alexander Dibelius has agreed to join CVC Capital Partners as a managing partner, according to the FT. He currently is with Goldman Sachs, where he led German operations until stepping down last fall to become co-chair of global investment banking. Read more.
• Grey Mountain Partners has promoted Will Pucillo to vice president. He joined the private equity firm in 2011 as an associate. www.greymountain.com
• Brynn Rail has joined law firm Ropes & Gray’s asset management practice as counsel in New York. She previously was with Skadden Arps. www.ropesgray.com
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