Some quick notes to kick off your Thursday:
• Buyout buyback: KKR this morning reported Q4 earnings, which beat analyst expectations on revenue but fell short on economic net income (even though the firm swung into the black from a Q4 2014 loss). The conference call begins at 10am ET, and I’ll be listening in (particularly to hear what they say about energy investing).
Also worth noting that KKR said it has spent $270 million on share buybacks since last October, when it said it would purchase upwards of $500 million worth of its own stock. This playbook has been mimicked in recent weeks by both Apollo Global Management and The Carlyle Group, which said the plan to buy back $250 million and $200 million of their own stock, respectively.
• Lyft Off: Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund quietly sold $148 million worth of shares in ride-hailing company Lyft, as part of the company’s recent $1 billion funding round ($5.5 billion valuation), as first reported by the WSJ. The buyer was Saudi Arabia’s Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, who had been a known participant in the larger Series F financing.
I’ve heard murmurs that certain other Lyft investors aren’t thrilled about this transaction, thinking that perhaps it shows a lack of faith in Lyft’s long-term prospects. But, to me, this is simply about being good fiduciaries to limited partners ― many of whom are overexposed to a small number of unicorn companies (including Lyft). If they were bailing completely, then I’d better appreciate the argument. But they are just taking their principal (plus a little profit) off the table, which means their fund IRRs are still highly correlated to Lyft’s success or failure. Kind of like what Union Square Ventures did with Twitter and Zynga and Etsy (and, going way back for Fred Wilson, Geocities). It’s prudent investing.
• Welcome to the family: Time Inc. (a.k.a. Term Sheet’s corporate overlord) today announced that it has acquired Viant, a VC-based marketing platform whose top property is called Specific Media. But a footnote in the related filing shows that Viant also is the parent company of MySpace. That means Term Sheet is now a sister product to what I like to think of as Retro Facebook. Unclear which property is more valuable, as the entire Viant deal was apparently so small that Time Inc. didn’t even need to disclose its value…
• Correction: Yesterday’s Term Sheet reported that Wing Venture Partners is “targeting $300 million for its second fund.” I had been under the impression that the firm had begun actively fundraising, but this appears to have been a reporting error for which I sincerely apologize (both to you, dear readers, and to the receptionist at Wing). Expect formal fundraising to kick off either late this year or in early 2017.
THE BIG DEAL
• Student.com, a London-based online marketplace for international student accommodations, has raised $60 million in new VC funding. Vy Capital led the round, and was joined by Horizon Ventures, Expa, Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon and Hugo Barra. www.student.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Renew Financial, an Oakland, Calif.-based clean energy finance company, has raised $70 million in growth equity funding. Backers include Angeleno Group, Apollo Capital Management, Claremont Creek Ventures, LL Funds, Inc., NGEN Partners, and Prelude Ventures. www.renewfinancial.com
• DataRobot Inc., a Boston-based machine learning automation company, has raised $33 million in Series B funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by Accomplice, Intel Capital, IA Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners and New York Life. www.datarobot.com
• Veniam, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure solutions, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. Verizon Ventures led the round, and was joined by Cisco Investments, Orange Digital Ventures, Yamaha Motor Ventures and return backers True Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Cane Investments. www.veniam.com
• Lantern, a San Francisco-based provider of online mental health wellness services, has raised $17 million in new funding. UPMC led the round, and was joined by return backers Mayfield Fund, SoftTechVC and Stanford University. www.golantern.com
• Payleven, a German mobile payments startup, has raised $10 million in Series D funding. Seventure Partners was joined by return backers Holtzbrinck Ventures, ru-Net, B Cinque, NEA and MePay. Read more.
• Hemovent, a German maker of a portable extra corporeal membrane oxygenation system, has raised $6 million in Series A funding. MIG Verwaltungs led the round, and was joined by WCTI Partners, Seed Fond Aachen, KfW Bank, NRW.Bank Venture Fonds and PB Beteiligungund Vermoegensverwaltung.
• Woo, a San Francisco-based platform that lets “tech talent gauge their market value,” has raised $2.35 million in seed funding from Acequia Capital and Israel Growth Partners. www.woo.io
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• CAM Integrated Solutions LLC, a Houston-based provider of engineering services to E&P producers for the “first mile” midstream tie-in, has been formed via a $40 million equity investment from EIV Capital. www.camintegrated.com
• Entegra LLP, an Indianapolis-based provider of in-line inspection services to the energy industry, has been formed via an investment from Intervale Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.entegrasolutions.com
• JW Childs has acquired an equity stake in RevZilla Motorsports LLC, a Philadelphia-based retailer of apparel, accessories and parts for motorcycle enthusiasts. RevZilla will become an independent sister company to existing JW Childs portfolio company Cycle Gear Inc. (Benicia, Calif.). No financial terms were disclosed. www.revzilla.com
• KarpReilly has acquired Zola, a maker of coconut waters, acai juices and chocolate-covered fruit. No financial terms were disclosed. www.livezola.com
• Metalmark Capital and Silverhawk Capital Partners have acquired WorldStrides, a Charelottesville, Va.-based educational travel company, from The Carlyle Group. Company management will retain an equity position. No financial terms were disclosed. www.worldstrides.com
• Mister Car Wash, a Tucson, Ariz.-based portfolio company of Leonard Green & Partners, has acquired four Bill’s Car Wash locations in Florida. No financial terms were disclosed.
• OMERS Private Equity has acquired a majority stake in Forefront Dermatology, a Manitowoc, Wis.-based provider of practice management services to dermatology clinics, from Varsity Healthcare Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.forefrontdermatology.com
• Sun Capital Partners has acquired Furniture Factory Outlet (a.ka. FFO Home), a Fort Smith, Ark.-based value retailer of home furnishings, from Alpine Investors. No financial terms were disclosed. www.suncappart.com
• Vitruvian Partners has acquired a majority equity stake in Unifaun Group (f.k.a. Memnon Networks), a provider of transport management software solutions in the Nordic region, from Bridgepoint Development Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.unifaun.com
• AveXis Inc., a Bannockburn, Ill.-based developer of gene therapies for patients with severe genetic and orphan diseases like spinal muscular atrophy, raised $95 million in its IPO. The company priced 4.75 million shares at $20 per share, compared to original plans to offer 4.25 million shares at between $19 and $21 per share. Its initial market cap is around $438 million. The pre-revenue company will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol AVXS, while Goldman Sachs and Jefferies served as lead underwriters. Shareholders in AveXis include PBM Capital (15% pre-IPO stake), Deerfield Management (9.9%), JDH Investment Management (9.5%), Roche Finance (8.4%), White Rock Capital Partners (6.6%), Third Security (6.6%), T. Rowe Price (5.4%), Venrock (5.3%), Janus Capital Management, Adage Capital Management, RA Capital Management, QVT Financial, Rock Springs Capital Management, Foresite Capital Management, RTW Investments and Boxer Capital. www.avexisbio.com
• GLM, a Kyoto-based maker of electric sports cars, is pepping what would be the first IPO for a Japanese carmaker in nearly 30 years, according to the FT. Read more.
• The Scandinavian Tobacco Group, a Danish maker of cigars and tobacco products, priced an IPO that valued the company at around $1.5 billion. It will trade in Copenhagen under ticker symbol STG, while J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Nordea Bank Danmark served as lead underwriters. Read more.
• Champlain Financial Corp. has acquired L.B. Maple Treat Corp., a Canadian bottler of branded and private-label maple syrup, from Bedford Capital. No financial terms were disclosed.
• Wipro Ltd. (NYSE: WIT) has agreed to acquire HealthPlan Services, a Tampa, Fla.-based services provider to the insurance and managed care markets, from Water Street Healthcare Partners. The deal is valued at $460 million. www.healthplan.com
• Natixis SA (Paris: KN) has agreed to acquire a majority stake in New York-based M&A advisory firm Peter J. Solomon Co. As part of the deal, PJS vice chairman Marc Cooper will be promoted to CEO. Read more.
• PepsiCo. (NYSE: PEP) said that it would return around $7 billion to shareholders via dividends and buybacks in 2016. Read more.
• Mylan (Nasdaq: MYL) has agreed to acquire Swedish generic drugmaker Meda AB (Oslo: MEDA) for approximately $7.2 billion in cash and stock. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Cerberus Capital Management is raising its third leveraged loan opportunities fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.cerberuscapital.com
• IMJ, a Japanese venture capital firm, has held a ¥2 billion ($52m) first close for a Japan-focused fund that is targeting a total of ¥6 billion. Read more.
• JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) has formed JetBlue Technology Ventures, an investment group that will invest in and partner with early-stage startups “at the intersection of technology, travel and hospitality.” It will be based in Silicon Valley and led by Bonny Simi, a JetBlue pilot who had spent the past several years as the airline’s VP of talent. Read more.
• L Catterton, a consumer-focused private equity firm, has closed its thirds North American growth equity fund with $615 million in capital commitments. www.lcatterton.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Teddy Kapan has joined New Mountain Capital as a managing director and head of the firm’s net lease real estate unit. He previously was with Angelo, Gordon & Co. www.newmountaincapital.com
• Scott Weiss said in a blog post that he would step back from new investing at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, where he has been a general partner, in order to spend more time with his family. He plans to maintain his existing portfolio company board seats.
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