Some very quick notes before we head into the weekend (and before I head to Disney World to celebrate E’s fifth birthday).
• Better late than never: The SEC today is expected to vote on finalized JOBS Act equity crowdfunding rules, a scant three years after its original deadline. More specifically, these are the so-called Title III rules, which would allow small businesses to raise up to $1 million in funding from the general public (read: unaccredited investors) via online platforms. If approved today, the rules likely would take effect in early 2016.
Everyone seems to expect that the SEC commissioners will vote in favor of the final rule, but we don’t yet know all of the actual specifics. For example, will crowdfunding portals be held liable for fraudulent offerings? How much commission can they take? And did the SEC drop a costly financial audit requirement of issuers that would effectively make all of this moot? More on this to come later today on the website.
• Moving on: Nate Richey is stepping down as a managing director with private equity firm Centre Lane Partners, which he joined five years ago from Monomoy Capital Partners. His Centre Lane board seats included Haggar Clothing Corp., Easy Gardner Products Inc. and Oracle Flexible Packaging.
Via email, Richey says the following about his next job: “I’ve decided to leave the traditional private equity ‘fund’ construct in order to partner with a few folks to launch a family office that will make control equity investments in middle market companies. Essentially, I’ll be doing exactly what I did at Centre Lane and Monomoy but with a more flexible and longer-term focused source of capital.”
• Billion dollar listing: KKR made some Manhattan waves yesterday, announcing that it would leave 9 West 57th Street for a new global headquarters in the new Hudson Yards project on the West Side of town. That makes KKR the second major corporate tenant to commit to the massive project, following Time Warner. For more on Hudson Yards, check out Shawn Tully’s cover story for Fortune from last year.
• Substitute rambler: Erin Griffith will be pinch-hitting next Monday-Wednesday, so please send her any news and helpful tidbits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, it seems that Erin is about 500 Twitter followers shy of 20k. Let’s give get her over that threshold: Please follow Erin @eringriffith.
• Have a great Halloween weekend…
THE BIG DEAL
• Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is in “advanced negotiations” to acquire European counterpart Visa Europe for around $22 billion, according to the WSJ. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• TrendKite, an Austin, Texas-based PR analytics company for agencies and corporate brands, has raised $10.7 million in Series C funding. Noro-Moseley Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Battery Ventures, Silverton Partners, and Mercury Fund. www.trendkite.com
• Edgecase, an Austin, Texas-based provider of curated product software for e-commerce, has raised $7.5 million in new equity funding led by Austin Ventures. www.edgecase.io
• SignalSense, a Seattle-based provider of network security intelligence solutions, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Trilogy Equity Partners. www.signalsense.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Blackstone Group and listed German defense group Rheinmetall are partnering on a bid for the defense electronics of Airbus (Paris: AIR), according to Reuters. The deal could be worth upwards of 1 billion. Rival suitors reportedly include Cinven, The Carlyle Group and KKR. Read more.
• Voyager Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of gene therapy solutions for fatal and debilitating CNS diseases, has set its IPO terms to 4.69 million shares being offered at between $15 and $17 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $412 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol VYGR, with Cowen & Co. and Piper Jaffray serving as lead underwriters. Voyager Therapeutics has raised around $105 million in VC funding from Third Rock Ventures (52.6% pre-IPO stake), Aventis (11.2%), Fidelity (7.5%), Brookside Capital (5.6%), Partner Fund Management (5.2%), Wellington Management and Casdin Capital. www.voyagertherapeutics.com
• Showroomprivé, a French fashion ecommerce company backed by Accel Partners, raised around €260 million in its Paris IPO at a valuation of around $726 million (after pricing at the low end of its offering range). Read more.
• Centerbridge Partners has hired Bank of America and Barclays to find a buyer for Spanish property services firm Aktua, according to Reuters. The deal could be worth around €300 million. Read more.
• Francisco Partners has agreed to sell Aesynt, a Cranberry Township, Penn.-based provider of pharmacy automation solutions for hospitals and health systems, to Omnicell Inc. (Nasdaq: OMCL) for $275 million. www.aesynt.com
• LifeLock (NYSE: LOCK) has acquired Bop.fm, a San Francisco-based music sharing platform, for an undisclosed amount. The service is expected to be shut down, meaning that this likely amounts to an acqui-hire. Bop.fm is a Y Combinator startup that had raised seed funding from CRV. Read more.
• OMERS has hired Bank of Montreal to explore a sale of Marketwired LP, a Toronto-based distributor of press releases, according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at upwards of C$200 million. Read more.
• Porch.com, a Seattle-based provider of a recommendation engine for home improvement professionals, has acquired Fountain, a San Francisco-based maker of an interactive home improvement and repair video app. No financial terms were disclosed. Porch has raised nearly $100 million in VC funding , from firms like Capricorn Investment Group, Founders Fund, Lowe’s Corp, SV Angel and Valor Equity Partners. Fountain had raised around $4 million from First Round Capital and Shasta Ventures. www.porch.com
• TPG Capital is considering a sale of IPO of Nexeo Solutions, a The Woodlands, Texas-based chemicals distributor, according to Reuters. The private equity firm currently is interviewing banks to explore the options, which could value Nexeo at nearly $2 billion (including debt). Read more.
• American International Group (NYSE: AIG) is considering a sale of spinoff of its small mortgage insurance business, in response to pressure from activist investors like Carl Icahn, according to the WSJ. Read more.
• Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) has acquired Avalon Correctional Services Inc., an Oklahoma City-based owner and operator of correctional facilities, for $157.5 million. www.avaloncorrections.com
• KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) is nearing a deal to purchase First Niagara Financial Group (Nasdaq: FNFG) for just over $4 billion, according to the NY Times. First Niagara has a current market cap of around $3.7 billion. Read more.
• MB Financial Bank, a unit of MB Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:MBFI), has agreed to acquire MSA Holdings, the parent company of both MainStreet Investment Advisors and Cambium Asset Management. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mbfinancial.com
• McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI) has hired Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives for J.D. Power, a marketing information services unit that has annual revenue of nearly $350 million. www.mhfi.com
• Samsung has agreed to sell its chemicals business to South Korea’s Lotte Group for approximately $2.6 billion. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Harvest Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, is raising upwards of $2.2 billion for its seventh fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.harvestpartners.com