Right now you are reading a publication that may not exist were it not for J.P. Morgan vice chairman Jimmy Lee. Not because he was directly involved — beyond giving the occasional quote — but because he was a vital architect in the creation of the modern-day private equity industry, via his early efforts in creating a syndicated leveraged loans market. No Jimmy, probably no Term Sheet.
Lee passed away yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 62, after feeling faint while running on a treadmill in his Connecticut home. He leaves behind his wife Elizabeth, his son James and daughters Alexandra and Elizabeth.
At the time of his death, Jimmy was known as the consummate deal-maker, working on everything from the Facebook IPO to the Dell buyout. He also came close to becoming a private equity executive, going so far as to sign an offer letter with The Blackstone Group back in 2003, before deciding at the last-minute that he couldn’t leave J.P. Morgan.
Yesterday I reached out to some private equity executives for their thoughts on Jimmy’s passing. Here are some of the responses:
Jim Coulter, co-founder of TPG: “Across the history of the buyout business there have been many years, many deals and many cycles but there has been one constant: Jimmy. In basketball no one has to ask who you are talking about when you mention LeBron. In buyouts, no one has to ask who you are talking about when you mention Jimmy.”
Steve Pagliuca, Bain Capital: “Jimmy Lee was a true legend in the business of corporate finance. No one worked harder and was more committed to his clients than Jimmy. I always marveled about how he was so generous with his praise for his clients and the companies they helped to build. He played a critical role in the IPO of Burger King (where Bain Capital had invested and I was a board member) in May of 2006 which was one of the largest and most complex offerings that JPM had led at that time and it was executed flawlessly. His passion for results and relentless drive for excellence helped make that IPO very successful. He is remembered as a force of nature on Wall Street where no deal was ever too complicated or large to make happen. He will be missed by all those at JPM and the many clients he served so well for so many years. We will remember him fondly and we were lucky to have worked with him.”
Steve Klinsky, CEO of New Mountain Capital: “Jimmy was the consummate relationship banker and a real gentleman. He and Nick Forstmann were very close during the glory days of Forstmann Little [where Klinsky worked] in the 1980s and 1990s. When I started my own firm in 1999, Jimmy – on behalf of JPM – pledged $25 million of my original $200 million of assets. Sixty-two is way too young, and he will be missed by many friends.”
My last face-to-face with Jimmy was during last summer’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech, where he appeared on stage alongside me, Josh Koppelman and Jim Breyer. You can view the video by going here.
Rest in peace JBL. You are already missed.
THE BIG DEAL
• Fitbit, a San Francisco-based maker of fitness tracking devices, raised $732 million in its IPO. The company priced 36.6 million shares at $20 per share (above upwardly-revised range), for an initial market cap of around $4.1 billion. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol FIT, while Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and BofA Merrill Lynch served as lead underwriters.
Fitbit reports nearly $132 million in net income on $745 million in revenue for 2014, compared to a $52 million net loss on $271 million in revenue for 2013. For the first quarter of 2015, the company reports $48 million in net income on $337 million in revenue, compared to $8.8 million in net income on $109 million in revenue for Q1 2014.
The company had raised over $80 million in VC funding since its 2007 founding, from firms like Foundry Group (28.9% pre-IPO stake), True Ventures (22.4%) and SoftBank Capital (5.6%), Sapphire Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Bond Street Marketplace Inc., a New York-based online lending platform for small business, has raised $110 million in equity and debt funding led by Spark Capital and Jefferies. Other backers include Homebrew, Founder Collective, Collaborative Fund, Red Swan, Slow Ventures, Eagle Cliff, Nathan Blecharczyk (co-founder of Airbnb), David Chang (founder of Momofuku) and Nic Jammet, Nate Ru and Jonathan Neman (co-founders of Sweetgreen). Read more.
• MapBox, a Washington, D.C.-based customizable mapping platform, has raised $52.55 million in Series B funding. DFJ Growth led the round, and was joined by DBL Partners, Thrive Capital, Pritzker Group, Promus Ventures, Jon Winkelried and return backer Foundry Group. Read more.
• LiveIntent, a New York-based platform for advertising and marketing in email, has raised $32.5 million in growth equity funding. FTV Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Battery Ventures, First Round Capital and Shasta Ventures.
• Fetch Robotics Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based industrial robots startup, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. SoftBank led the round, and was joined by seed backers Shasta Ventures and OATV. www.fetchrobotics.com
• Fullbridge Inc., a Boston-based professional development and education company, has raised $15.4 million in new VC funding led by GSV Capital. www.fullbridge.com
• Managed by Q, a New York-based platform for office cleaning, maintenance and management, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. RRE Ventures led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Partners, Homebrew, Sherpa Ventures, SV Angel,Steadfast Financial and individual angels like Jessica Alba, David Stern and Semil Shah. www.managedbyq.com
• Sikka Software, a Milpitas, Calif.-based retail healthcare cloud platform, has raised $10.5 million in Series C funding. OrbiMed Advisors led the round, and was joined by return backers Sierra Ventures and ATA Ventures. www.sikkasoft.com
• Pronoun, a New York-based digital book publishing platform for authors, has raised $3.5 million in VC funding from Avalon Ventures. www.pronoun.com
• Visage, an Irvine, Calif.-based online platform that helps content marketers create branded data graphics, has raised $2.15 million in seed funding. Venture51 led the round, and was joined by K5 Ventures and Kima Ventures. www.visage.co
• Bluebridge, a Fisher, Ind.-based maker of mobile apps to help organizations interact with their audiences, has raised $2 million in VC funding co-led by Cultivation Capital and Allos Ventures. www.gobluebridge.com
• LinguaLeo, a provider of online English language learning services in Russia and CIS, has raised an undisclosed amount of second-round funding from Social Discovery Ventures and return backer Runa Capital. www.lingualeo.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Ampersand Capital Partners has acquired Protein Technologies Inc., a Tucson, Ariz.–based provider of peptide synthesis instruments. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ptipep.com
• AssuredPartners, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based insurance brokerage platform owned by GTCR, has acquired StoudtAdvisors, a Lancaster, Penn.-based insurance broker focused on employee benefits programs and HR consulting services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.assuredptr.com
• Honeygrow, a Philadelphia-based fast-casual restaurant chain, has raised $25 million in new funding ($5 million of which is a sale by certain existing owners). Miller Investment Management led the round, and was joined by return backer Brook Lenfest. www.honeygrow.com
• LFM Capital has acquired Eckhart & Associates Inc., a Lansing, Mich.–based provider of ergonomic tools and solutions to automotive and industrial manufacturers. No financial terms were disclosed. www.eckhartusa.com
• Live Better Brands, a Minneapolis-based maker of natural tortilla chips and crackers, has secured a minority growth equity investment from Alliance Consumer Growth. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gowaybetter.com
• Lovell Minnick Partners has agreed to acquire a 20% stake in Lincoln Investment Planning Inc., a Wyncote, Penn.–based provider of investment, wealth and retirement planning services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lincolninvestment.com
• Polaris Private Equity has acquired TRIAX AS, a Denmark-based provider of solutions for the reception and distribution of TV, radio and Internet, from Nielsen & Nielsen Holding AS. No financial terms were disclosed. www.polarisequity.dk
• Spell Capital Partners has acquired Vestal Manufacturing Enterprises Inc., a Sweetwater, Tenn.-based steel fabrication and iron foundry. No financial terms were disclosed. www.vestalmfg.com
• Vista Equity Partners has agreed to acquire Powerschool, a provider of back-office software to schools, for $350 million from Pearson PLC (LSE: PSON). Read more.
• BioCardia Inc., a San Carlos, Calif.-based regenerative medicine company focused on developing therapeutics for cardiovascular diseases, has filed for a $57.5 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol BCDA, with Cantor Fizgerald serving as lead underwriter. www.biocardia.com
• ConforMIS Inc., a Burlington, Mass.-based developer of medical devices for osteoarthritis treatment and joint damage, has set its IPO terms to 9 million shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $586 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CFMS, with J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities serving as lead underwriters. ConforMIS reports a $46 million net loss on $48 million in revenue for 2014. It has raised nearly $220 million in VC funding, from firms like Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Aeris Capital, AGC Equity Partners and Axel Johnson Inc. www.conformis.com
• Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc., a Toronto-based maker of drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease, raised $63 million in its IPO. The company priced 4.5 million shares at $14 per share, with existing backer Dexxon buying pro rata shares via the offering. Cynapsus will trade on the Nasdaq and continue to trade on the TSX under ticker symbol CTH. BofA Merrill Lynch served as lead underwriter. www.cynapsus.ca
• Nivalis Therapeutics Inc., a Boulder, Colo.-based developer of drugs for patients with cystic fibrosis, raised $77 million in its IPO. The company priced 5.5 million shares at $14 per share, compared to original plans to offer 4.26 million shares at between $13 and $15 per share. Its initial market cap is around $205 million. Nivalis will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NVLS, while Cowen & Co. and Stifel served as lead underwriters. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include Deerfield Management (38.16% pre-IPO stake), Wellington Management Co. (10.7%), Tiger Partners (7.13%) and RA Capital (6.65%). www.n30pharma.com
• Univar Inc., a Redmond, Wash.-based distributor of chemistry and related services, raised $770 million in its IPO. The company priced 35 million shares at $22 per share, compared to earlier plans to offer 20 million shares at between $20 and $22 per share. Its fully diluted initial market cap is $3.1 billion ($5.9b enterprise value), and it will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol UNVR. Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch served as lead underwriters. Clayton Dubilier & Rice acquired a 42.5% stake in the company in 2010. Other backers include CVC Capital Partners, Parcom, Apollo Global Management, Highbridge Capital Management and Norwest Equity Partners. www.univar.com
• Allergan (NYSE: AGN) has agreed to acquire Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: KYTH), a Westlake Village, Calif.–based developer of prescription products for the aesthetic medicine market. The deal is valued at approximately $2.1 billion (80% cash and 20% stock), or $75 per share (23.51% premium over Tuesday’s closing price). Current Kythera shareholders include Prospect Venture Partners (5.48%), Palo Alto Investors (5.36%), OrbiMed Advisors (3.67%) and Arch Venture Partners (3.67%). www.allergan.com
• Baring Private Equity Asia has agreed to sell its 14% stake in Lafarge India back to French cement maker Lafarge SA for €270 million. Read more.
• Leonard Green & Partners has sold Animal Health International Inc., a Greeley, Colo.-based distributor of animal health products and supplies, for approximately $1.1 billion to Patterson Companies Inc. (Nasdaq: PDCO). Harris Williams & Co. managed the process. www.animalhealthinternational.com
• Spire Capital Partners has sold Carpathia Hosting Inc., a Dulles, Va.–based provider of hybrid cloud services, to QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS) for approximately $326 million. www.carpathia.com
• Ant Financial Services Group, an online finance affiliate of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding that values the business at around $45 billion, according to Reuters. Investors include China’s National Social Security Fund. Read more.
• REC Solar has acquired Stellar Energy, a California–based solar provider in the western U.S., via an asset purchase agreement. No financial terms were disclosed. www.recsolar.com
• Sun Life Financial (TSX: SLF) has agreed to acquire Bentall Kennedy & Associates, a Toronto–based real estate investment manager with C$27 billion in assets under management. No financial terms were disclosed. www.betallkennedy.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• LNK Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on the consumer and retail sectors, is raising upwards of $460 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.lnkpartners.com
• Powerplant Ventures is raising upwards of $25 million for its debut fund, according to a regulatory filing. The Pasadena, Calif.-based firm is led by Dan Beldy (ex-Hummer Windblad, ex-Steamboat Ventures), Mark Rampolla (ex-ZICO Beverages CEO) and Veggie Grill co-founders Kevin Boylan and TK Pillan. It will make early and growth-stage investments in “businesses that leverage the power of plants to promote consumer wellness and sustain the planet.”
• TZP Group has closed its third fund with $177 million in capital commitments. The New York-based private equity firm focuses on control investments in business and consumer services companies that have less than $8 million in EBITDA. www.tzpgroup.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Barney Frank has joined the board of New York-based commercial bank Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY). Read more.
• Magic Johnson has joined the board of VC-backed mobile payments company Square. Read more.
• Nathan Mortensen has joined Arizona-based VC firm Tallwave Capital as a principal. He previously served as a director at student-run VC group Cougar Capital while getting his MBA at BYU. www.tallwave.com
• Rock Organ has joined Cleveland-based Resilience Capital Partners as an aviation operating executive. He previously was CEO of PE-backed aviation businesses Schneller (bought by Transdigm) and Align Aerospace (acquired by AVIC International). www.resiliencecapital.com
• Beth Scheer has joined San Francisco-based VC firm Homebrew as head of talent. She previously was head of executive recruiting at Salesforce.com. www.homebrew.co
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