Today’s big deal is that German publisher Axel Springer has agreed to buy New York-based content site Business Insider at an enterprise value of $442 million (including debt and cash on hand). More specifically, Axel Springer will pay $343 million for an 88% equity stake in BI, with the remaining 12% mostly consisting of existing Axel Springer shares (it invested earlier this year) and BI stock that Jeff Bezos plans to retain. All of BI’s other VC backers will cash out.
A few quick notes on the deal, in part based on an interview this morning with Stu Ellman, a partner with RRE Ventures and a BI board member.
1. Axel Springer was very concerned with retaining top management for the long-term. “One of their non-negotiables was locking people up,” Ellman says. “They expect the BI team to be core to their digital future, and don’t want them to just walk away in a year.”
2. Business Insider hit a $442 million valuation on just $55 million in venture capital investment. That’s an 8:1 ratio. Buzzfeed has raised nearly $300 million and most recently was valued at $1.5 billion. That’s closer to a 5:1 ratio. No, none of this really matters as they are two very different businesses, but I did find it interesting.
3. Buzzfeed also happens to have been an RRE portfolio company before BI, and Ellman asked Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti to aid him on BI due diligence. The round RRE ultimately led in mid-2010 valued BI at just around $14 million.
4. Ellman says that BI never really had a major pivot or strategic shift, save for changing its original name away from Silicon Alley Insider. “They continued to innovate along the way, of course, but the basic game-plan remained the same.”
• Storyboard: I’ve been speaking with a bunch of life sciences VCs about whether the recent biotech stock slump — driven, in part, by Hillary Clinton’s pharma pricing proposals — is having a tangible impact on private market prices. Also interested in if later-stage tourists aren’t returning VC calls, as they did back when public SaaS stocks tanked in early 2014. Early replies are negative, but I’ll continue to report it out today. As always, please let me know your thoughts.
• No comment: There has been a lot of recent discussion about Carly Fiorina’s track record at Hewlett-Packard and, to a lesser, extent, her prior business experience at AT&T/Lucent. One person we have not heard from, however, is Rich McGinn, the former Lucent CEO who later became a professional investor (first at RRE Ventures and, later, at MR Investment Partners).
I recently reached out to Rich to see if he’d provide his thoughts on Fiorina, but he demurred: “I can certainly understand your interest in learning more about Carly’s record of work and her past in general,” McGinn wrote. “Over time, I have rejected the requests to make comments about Carly. I think it is best to maintain that posture… and let the political process play out.”
• #GetLiquid: Next week’s Liquidity Event in San Francisco is sold out, but we’re still hoping to pull some folks off the wait-list (sign up here). BIG thanks to sponsors Winmark Capital, Gunderson Dettmer, PitchBook Data, TPG Growth and Andreessen Horowitz.
• 54k and counting… Every time I add another thousand Twitter followers, I like to ask you to join the others so we can chat/debate/joke throughout the day. Follow me @danprimack
THE BIG DEAL
• Axel Springer has agreed to acquire news site Business Insider at an enterprise valuation of $442 million. Business Insider had raised around $55 million in VC funding from RRE Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Marc Andreessen, Axel Springer Jeff Bezos, Ken Lerer, Pilot Group and Kohlberg Ventures.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Thumbtack, a San Francisco-based marketplace for home services, has raised $125 million in new VC funding. Baillie Gifford led the round, and was joined by return backers Tiger Global, Google Capital and Sequoia Capital. Read more.
• Civitas Learning, an Austin, Texas-based provider of SaaS-based predictive analytics, has raised $60 million in new VC funding led by Warburg Pincus. The company previously raised more than $18 million from Rethink Education, Austin Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Emergence Capital. Read more.
• Medium, a San Francisco-based blogging platform, has raised $57 million in new VC funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Read more.
• Base, a Mountain View, Calif.-based “all-in-one” sales platform, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Tenaya Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers like Index Ventures. www.getbase.com
• Exabeam, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of user behavior analytics for cybersecurity, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Icon Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Norwest Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures and Shlomo Kramer. www.exabeam.com
• Origami Logic, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based marketing data analytics platform, has raised $25 million in Series C funding. Next World Capital led the round, and was joined by DAG Ventures and return backers Accel Partners, Icon Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company has now raised $49.3 million in total VC funding. www.origamilogic.com
• More2, a London-based provider of data analytics to multi-channel retailers, has raised $17 million in minority equity funding from Eight Roads Ventures. www.more2.com
• Madison Reed, a San Francisco-based provider of at-home hair coloring products and services, has raised $16.1 million in Series C funding. Comcast Ventures and Shea Ventures were joined by return backers Norwest Venture Partners and True Ventures. www.madison-reed.com
• UNIFi Software, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of enterprise data integration solutions, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Pelion Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Canaan Partners. www.unifisoftware.com
• Swarm64, a data acceleration startup with offices in Oslo and Berlin, has raised €7.1 million in new VC funding from Alliance Venture, Target Partners and Investinor. www.swarm64.com
• Apitope, a Belgium-based drug developer focused on “treating the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases,” has raised €12 million in Series B funding. Wales Life Sciences Fund led the round, and was joined by Vesalius Biocapital, LRM, PMV and Wyvern. www.apitope.com
• Urgent.ly, a McLean, Va.-based provider of on-demand roadside assistance services, has raised $7 million in Series A funding from Allianz Digital Corporate Ventures, Verizon Ventures and Forte Ventures. www.urgent.ly
• InfoWorks, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of automated big data management solutions, has raised $5 million in Series A funding. Nexus Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Knoll Ventures. www.infoworks.io
• PaperG, a New Haven, Conn.-based programmatic creative ad startup, has raised $5 million in Series B funding. Backers include KLP Enterprise, Wavemaker Partners, WI Harper Group and Brian O’Kelley (CEO of AppNexus). www.paperg.com
• Revegy Inc., an Atlanta-based provider of B2B sales planning and execution solutions, has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Runa Capital. www.revegy.com
• Triplebyte, a technical recruiting platform for Y Combinator startups, has raised $3 million in new VC funding. Backers include Initialized Capital, Caffeinated Capital, SV Angel, Felicis Ventures and more than a dozen individual angels. www.triplebyte.com
• PhageTech Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based developer of biosensors for the early detection of cancers, has raised $2.4 million in Series A funding co-led by Mark IV Capital and Black River Investments. www.phagetech.com
• BeneStream, a New York-based company that moves qualified employees onto free government health insurance, has raised $2 million in new Series A funding from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and Sandbox Advantage Fund. The round total is now $6.26 million. www.benestream.com
• Tru Optik, a Stamford, Conn.-based provider of “cookie-less audience segmentation and over-the-top audience targeting,” has raised $1.7 million in VC funding from Progress Ventures and Alex Blum. www.trueoptik.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, a Maitland, Fla.-based portfolio company of Audax Group, has acquired the assets of Dermatology of Northern Colorado, a dermatology practice in Fort Collins, Colorado. No financial terms were disclosed. Audax said it was the firm’s 500th completed acquisition. www.advancedderm.com
• AnaCap Financial Partners has agreed to acquire a €1.2 billion portfolio of non-performing loans from UniCredit (BIT: UCG). Read more.
• The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire a 51% stake in global business and public sector consultancy PA Consulting. The deal values PA at around $1 billion and is expected to close in December. www.paconsulting.com
• Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners have agreed to acquire Ascensus Inc., a Dresher, Penn.-based provider of retirement and college savings plans, from J.C. Flowers & Co. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ascensus.com
• Nassau Reinsurance Group Holdings has agreed to acquire The Phoenix Companies Inc. (NYSE: PNX) at an equity value of $217.2 million, or $37.50 per share (188% premium over yesterday’s closing price). Nassau Reinsurance was formed earlier this year by former Fidelity & Guaranty Life (NYSE: FGL) execs and backed by more than $750 million in capital commitments led by Golden Gate Capital. Following the deal, Nassau will contribute $100 million in new equity capital to Phoenix. www.nsre.com
• ProTransport-1, a Cotati, Calif.-based portfolio company of New Heritage Capital, has acquired Century Ambulance Service Inc., an inter-facility medical transport provider in the Jacksonville, Florida metro area. No financial terms were disclosed. www.protransport-1.com
• Spring & Sprout Dental Holdings, a Dundee, Mich.-based portfolio company of Huron Capital Partners, has acquired Rising Stars Pediatric Dentistry (Austin, Texas) for an undisclosed amount. www.springandsprout.com
• Trust Healthcare Consulting Services, a Springfield, Mo.-based provider of outsourced coding and health information management consulting services to the medical sector, has secured an undisclosed amount of equity funding from MTS Health Investors. www.trusthcs.com
• MyoKardia Inc., a South San Francisco-based provider of therapies for genetic heart disease, has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MYOK, with Credit Suisse and Cowen & Co. serving as lead underwriters. The company reports a $12.2 million net loss on $7.1 million in collaboration and license revenue for the first half of 2015. It has raised over $90 million in VC funding, from firms like Third Rock Ventures (52.67% pre-IPO stake), Fidelity (13.19%), Aventis Inc. (11.22%), Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Life Sciences and BioBridge. www.myokardia.com
• NeuroSigma Inc., a Los Angeles-based developer of bioelectronic products to treat people suffering from major neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as epilepsy and depression, has withdrawn registration for a $50 million IPO. The company originally filed its S-1 in August 2014, and did not provide a reason for its withdrawal. Jefferies had been listed as lead underwriter. www.neurosigma.com
• Kinetic Technologies, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of power management solutions, has acquired Akros Silicon, a Folsom, Calif.-based provider of intelligent energy management ICs. No financial terms were disclosed. Akros Silicon had raised over $45 million in VC funding from firms like Levensohn Venture Partners and Technology Partners. www.kinet-ic.com
• IBM (NYSE: IBM) has agreed to acquire Meteorix LLC, a Boston-based provider of Workday implementation services, for an undisclosed amount. Clearsight Advisors managed the process. www.meteorix.com
• PulsePoint, a New York-based programmatic platform for brand engagement, has secured $30 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. It previously raised over $12 million in VC funding from DFJ, DFJ Gotham, Investor Growth Capital, Updata Partners and VantagePoint Venture Capital. www.pulsepoint.com
• Nexstar Broadcasting Group (Nasdaq: NXST) has offered to acquire Media General (NYSE: MEG) for $1.85 billion in cash and stock. The unsolicited offer comes less than a month after Media General agreed to acquire magazine publisher Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) for $2.4 billion. Read more.
• XL Group PLC (NYSE: XL) has acquired New Energy Risk Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of data analytics, strategic consulting and financial risk transfer solutions to the renewable energy industry worldwide. No financial terms were disclosed. www.newenergyrisk.com
• Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) said it would proceed with plans to spin off its 15% stake in Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) into a separate, publicly-traded company called Aabaco Holdings. The move comes despite Yahoo receiving no assurances from the IRS on if the spin-off will be tax-free. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Black River Asset Management will spin out of parent company Cargill Inc., and the split into three separate employee-owned firms. Two Black River commodities funds focused on agriculture and energy, respectively, will remain with Cargill. Read more.
• Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, has opened an office in New York City. It is QIA’s first U.S. office, and is “part of a commitment by the State of Qatar to invest $35 billion in the U.S. over the next five years.” www.qatarholding.qa
• Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) announced “its intention to invest up to $150 million in Indian startup companies across all stages.” www.qualcommventures.com
• Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm focused on the lower middle markets, has closed its second fund with $500 million in capital commitments. www.trivecapital.com