Some quick notes to kick off your Tuesday:
• Off the rig: Ken Moore has quietly left First Reserve, the energy-focused private equity firm which he had first joined in 2004 from Morgan Stanley. He most recently served as a managing director.
No word yet on why Moore left, or where he's headed next. He becomes the latest in a series of senior departures from First Reserve, some of which relate to a disappointing fundraise that netted only $3.4 billion of its $6 billion target.
• Revalued: As we wait for Fidelity's month-end revaluations of its private stock portfolio, I took a look at a Dec. 31 update from The Hartford Growth Opportunities Fund, which houses shares of such companies as General Assembly, Pinterest, WeWork and Uber. Then I dumped it all into a spreadsheet, alongside its October 31 marks and original purchase prices. You can view all of the data by going here.
• Update: Yesterday we reported that Nagraj Kashyap was stepping down as head of Qualcomm Ventures, after a 12-year run. Shortly thereafter, we learned that his next stop will be with Microsoft Ventures.
• No warm intro here: One of today's VC deal blurbs is a $17 million round for The Zebra, a Pittsburgh-based auto insurance comparison site. As Erin Griffith reports, the company's original financing came after founder Adam Lyons ― who dropped out of high school at 15 year-old ―sent a cold email to Mark Cuban, who had assumed such a site already existed. Cuban became an original investor, and also participated in the more recent deal.
• Come clean: Last night we learned that there had been widespread corporate layoffs at Staples Inc., the office supplies retailer that is fighting federal regulators over its proposed acquisition of Office Depot. So I rang up the top Staples spokesman for comment, and to see if he would disclose the official number of pink slips.
Rather than confirm or deny the layoffs, he simply referred me to a press release the company had put out earlier in the day, detailing a few senior leadership changes and that Staples was "streamlining its structure." There was no mention at all of the layoffs, save for the "resignation" of Demos Parneos, president of North American stores and online.
Maybe I'm just a cockeyed idealist, but if a company fires hundreds of its employees ― in part due to strategic M&A errors by a chairman/CEO who is retaining his job ― the least it could do is fess up publicly.
THE BIG DEAL
• Sony has agreed to acquire Altair Semiconductor, an Israel-based developer of LTE chipsets, for $212 million. Altair had raised over $100 million in VC funding from firms like JVP, BRM Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Giza Venture Capital and Pacific Technology. Read more at Fortune.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Cadre, a New York-based institutional real estate investment tech platform and marketplace, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Yuri Milner, Goldman Sachs, Founders Fund, Jack Ma, Thrive Capital, Ford Foundation and Khosla Ventures. www.cadre.com
• Inivata Ltd., a UK-based cancer genomics company that employs circulating tumor DNA analysis, has raised around $45 million in Series A funding. Woodford Patient Capital Trust was joined by return backers Imperial Innovations, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Johnson & Johnson. www.inivata.com
• Grovo, a New York-based training platform for digital and professional skills, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers Costanoa Venture Capital, SoftTech VC and Greg Waldorf. New investor Vayner Media also participated. Read more at Fortune.
• Vidyard, a Canada-based video marketing platform, has raised US$35 million in Series C funding. Battery Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, OMERS Ventures, iNovia Capital and SoftTech VC. Read more at Fortune.
• 5miles, a Dallas and Shanghai-based mobile app marketplace, has raised $30 million in new VC funding. Backers include Blue Lake, IDG, Morningside Ventures and SIG-China. www.5milesapp.com
• CARsgen Therapeutics, a Shanghai-based developer of CAR-T-based autologous immunotherapy to treat solid tumors, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. KTB Ventures and Jolly Innovation Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Kaitai Capital and JIC GenesisFountain Healthcare Ventures. www.carsgen.com
• Cedexis, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of Internet performance control and monitoring solutions for the enterprise, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. Ginko Ventures led the round, and was joined by Foxconn, Nokia Growth Partners, Citrix Systems and return backers ATV and Madrona Venture Group. Read more.
• BaubleBar, a New York-based online jewelry retailer, has raised $20 million in Series C funding. Hubert Burda Media and DSW (NYSE: DSW) were joined by return backers Accel, Greycroft Partners and Burch Creative Capital. Read more.
• Jitterbit, an Alameda, Calif.-based provider of data and application integration software, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by KKR. www.jitterbit.com
• Powerhive, a Berkeley, Calif.-based provider of microgrid solutions in the emerging markets, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. Prelude Ventures led the round, and was joined by Caterpillar Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Pi Investments. www.powerhive.com
• The Zebra, a Pittsburgh-based site that allows insurance customers to compare prices before they purchase, has raised $17 million in new VC funding. Ballast Point Ventures and Bahar Capital co-led the round, and were joined by return backers like Mark Cuban. Read more at Fortune.
• CustomerMatrix, a New York-based cognitive computing platform for CRM optimization, has raised $10.5 million in Series B funding. HSBC led the round, and was joined by Aster Capital, Newfund and True Global Ventures. www.customermatrix.com
• HopSkipDrive, a Los Angeles-based ride service for kids, has raised $10.2 million in Series A funding. FirstMark Capital led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and return backers Upfront Ventures, BBG Ventures and 1776. In other HopSkipDrive news, the company has hired Eyal Gutentag, former GM for Uber in Los Angeles, as COO. www.hopskipdrive.com
• Seebo, an Israeli Internet-of-Things platform for launching “smart products,” has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Carmel Ventures led the round, and was joined by TPY Capital. Read more.
• Eyeota, a Singapore-based ad targeting and consumer data startup, has raised $7 million in Series A funding from Global Brain Corp., Infinity e.Ventures and Project A Ventures. Read more.
• Authorea, a New York-based science collaboration and publishing platform, has raised $1.5 million in new VC funding. Lux Capital led the round, and was joined by The Knight Foundation. www.authorea.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Katun Corp., a Minneapolis-based provider of imaging equipment, has completed a $52 million recapitalization that was used to repay existing debt and to pay a dividend to shareholders like Monomoy Capital Partners. The new capital was provided by HSBC and Comvest Capital. www.katun.com
• KKR is in talks to acquire arounds a €1 billion take in TrelleborgVibracoustic, the automotive vibration control technology business for Sweden’s Trelleborg, according to Reuters. The discussions are a backup plan for Trelleborg, which still wants to float the business. Read more.
• Xact Data Discovery, a Mission, Kansas-based portfolio company of Clearview Capital, has acquired Orange Legal Technologies, a Salt Lake City-based provider of eDiscovery and outsourced managed review services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.orangelt.us
• OneMain Financial, an Irving, Texas-based subprime lending business, has withdrawn IPO registration. The move comes after OneMain was acquired for around $4.25 billion by Springleaf (NYSE: LEAF). It previously had been a unit of Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C).
• Tactile Systems Technology Inc., a Minneapolis-based provider of at-home lymphedema treatments, has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol TCMD, with Piper Jaffray, William Blair and Canaccord Adams serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $134,000 in net income on nearly $42 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2015. Shareholders include Galen Partners and Radius Ventures. www.tactilesystems.com
• GAF, a Wayne, N.J.-based roofing manufacturer, has agreed to acquire Danish peer Icopal AS from Investcorp for approximately €1 billion. Read more.
• Genstar Capital has hired Evercore Partners to find a buyer for Acrisure LLC, a Caledonia, Mich.-based insurance brokerage that could fetch upwards of $2 billion (including assumed debt), according to Reuters. Read more.
• USA Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: USAT) has acquired the assets of VendScreen, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of vending industry cashless payment technology. The deal was valued at $5.6 million in cash. VendScreen had raised over $18 million in VC funding from firms like 3x5 Special Opportunity Fund and Merrickhanna Ventures. www.vendscreen.com
• Huntington Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: HBAN) has agreed to acquire rival Midwestern bank FirstMerit Corp. (Nasdaq: FMER), at a total transaction value of around $3.4 billion, or $8.80 per share. Read more.
• Rabobank is in early talks to sell its leasing unit, De Lage Landen International BV, for upwards of €4.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Clyde Blowers Capital, a Scottish private equity firm focused on the industrials sector, has postponed its plans to raise a £500 million fourth fund due to a lack of deal flow, according to Private Equity International. www.clydeblowerscapital.com
• DSCN Capital has launched as a Miami, Fla.-based early-stage VC firm. There are no plans to raise a third-party fund. Instead, DSCN will invest the capital of founders David Schottenstein (co-founder of Viewabill), Ben Nash (founder of PCS Wireless) and Eli Nash (founder of JEG & Sons). www.dscncapital.com
• JZ Capital Partners has closed its third fund with €400 million in capital commitments (including €100 million from the firm and its founders). JZCP is a London-listed group that invests in U.S. and European microcap companies and U.S. real estate. www.jzcp.com
Moving In, On & Up
• Kenneth Berliner, former president of investment bank Peter J. Solomon & Co., has joined Centerview Partners as a partner, as first reported by Fortune. Read more.
• Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, has joined The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) as a member of its board of directors. www.blackstone.com
• Pine Brook has promoted Annie Sloyer to CFO and Claire Harvey to a principal on its energy investment team. Sloyer joined the investment firm in 2010 as controller. Houston-based Harvey joined in 2014 and serves on the board of portfolio company Red Bluff Resources. www.pinebrookpartners.com
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