Just a few quick notes to kick off your Thursday:
• Red ink: U.S. private equity performance was negative for Q3 2015, according to new data released by Cambridge Associates. That's the first negative mark in years, and seems to have been driven both by the large size of the 2007 vintage sample (which is down 2.4%) and energy sector write-downs. Overall in Q3, U.S. private equity capital calls fell 6.1% and distributions were off 9.8%.
U.S. venture capital performance also went red, both both it and the PE index beat the Nasdaq, DJIA and S&P 500 for Q3. Both PE and VC performance data remains in positive territory for Q1-Q3 2015, plus all other listed time periods (1-year, 5-year, 10-year, etc.).
• New firm alert: Omidyar Technology Ventures has quietly launched as an early-stage VC firm solely funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
It is being led by managing partner Todor Tashev, a former TellMe and JPMorgan exec who most recently led global tech, Internet and mobile investments of Omidyar Network (Pierre's longstanding "philanthropic" venture firm). Other team members include partner Chris Bishko (ex-Omidyar Network), principal Pearl Chan (ex-Omidyar Network) and associate Sid Trevidi (ex-Symphony Technology Group).
• And another: The VR Fund is out raising $50 million for its debut fund, according to a regulatory filing. This is a new Silicon Valley effort focused on early-stage virtual reality and augmented reality startups, and led by Marco DeMiroz (ex-Evolution Media Capital, ex-CEO of PlayFirst) and Tipatat Chennavasin (ex-Rothenberg Ventures and ex-Samsung Accelerator).
• Recommended reading : Bloomberg has a stunning piece up from Dune Lawrence, a journalist who for two years was the subject of a very public smear campaign by Benjamin Wey (operating under a pseudonym, natch). If that name sounds familiar, it may be because he was considered the "king of Chinese reverse mergers," before being charged by U.S. authorities with securities fraud and other financial crimes. Read it by going here.
• Gametime: We've now got more than 1,000 Term Sheet readers competing in our annual March Madness contest. Actual games kick off early this afternoon, so you've got just a couple more hours to join us. To do so, please follow this link, hit "Join Group," enter our password (carriedinterest) and fill out a bracket.
If for some reason you have troubles with the above link, just go to the main ESPN homepage and hit on its Tourney Challenge. Our group name is “Term Sheet 2016."
THE BIG DEAL
• Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Saudi Aramco plan to end their decades-old Motiva fuel partnership, in a move that will result in America’s largest oil refinery being owned by Saudi Arabia. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• 10x Genomics, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based genomics sequencing company, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. Fidelity led the round, and was joined by Softbank, JS Capital Management and return backers Venrock, Foresite Capital and Paladin Capital. www.10xgenomics.com
• M-Files Corp., a Finland-based provider of document management software, has raised $36 million in Series B funding. Partech Ventures led the round, and was joined by Finnish Industry Investment and Draper Esprit. www.m-files.com/fi/
• Gecko Biomedical, a Paris-based developer of polymers to support tissue healing, has raised €22.5 million in Series A2 funding. Sofinnova Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Omnes Capital, CM-CIC Innovation and CapDecisif Management. www.geckobiomedical.com
• Handshake, a New York-based maker of software that lets wholesale businesses sell online, has raised $14 million in Series B funding. Sozo Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Emergence Capital, SoftTech VC, BOLDstart Ventures, MHS Capital, Point Nine, and Primary Venture Partners. Read more.
• Afluenta, an Argentina-based peer-to-peer lending network for Latin America, has raised $8 million in Series B funding from the International Finance Corp. and Elevar Equity. www.afluenta.com
• FloQast, a Los Angeles-based provider of month-end closing software for accountants, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Polaris Partners and Toba Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Amplify.LA, Wavermaker Partners and Danmar Capital. www.floqast.com
• Mandae, a shipping platform for individuals and small businesses in Brazil, has raised $2.5 million in new VC funding. Qualcomm Ventures led the round, and was joined by Monashees+ and Valor Capital Group. www.mandae.com.br
• Trusted, an on-demand childcare platform, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Backers include KPCB Edge, Slow Ventures, Crunchfund, Metamorphic, Techstars Ventures, Great Oaks, Naval Ravikant and Semil Shah. www.usetrusted.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advent International reportedly is planning to bid £1 billion for the UK government’s Land Registry operations, which collects data on property purchases and ownership. British Chencellor George Osborne had raised the possibility of privatizing the group in a statement last November. Read more.
• Bain Capital has invested $150 million for a control stake in Asia Pacific Medical Group, a China-focused hospital operator, according to the WSJ. Read more.
• Clearlake Capital Group has sponsored a recapitalization of Globe Energy Services LLC, a Snyder, Texas-based provider of oilfield services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.globeenergyservices.com
• ExactCare Pharmacy, a Cleveland-based pharmacy focused on improving medication adherence for patients with chronic conditions and on multiple medications, has secured an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Nautic Partners. www.exactcarepharmacy.com
• Halex Istar, a Brazil-based maker of pharmaceutical parenteral solutions, has secured an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from H.I.G. Capital. Proceeds will be used to acquire local rival Isofarma. www.halexistar.com.br
• Liberty Hall Capital Partners has acquired Bromford Industries, a UK-based maker of close tolerance engine components, fabrications and assemblies and landing gear components for the global aerospace and power generation industries. www.bromfordindustries.co.uk
• TPG Capital is among several firms seeking to acquire an equity stake in Indian state-owned lender IDBI Bank Ltd., according to Bloomberg. A deal could be valued at upwards of $564 million. Read more.
• Williams Sound, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of assistive listening systems, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity and subordinated debt financing from Graycliff Partners. Existing shareholders include Cardinal Equity Partners.
• Hutchison China MediTech, a China-focused oncology pharma company backed by CK Hutchinson (Hong Kong: 1), raised $101 million in its IPO. The company priced 7.5 million American depository shares at $13.50 per share. This compares to plans to offer 6.1 million shares at $16.33, which was the issuer’s previous trading price on London’s AIM market. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol HCM, while BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank served as lead underwriters. www.chi-med.com
• Cinven said that it has entered into exclusive talks to sell Prezioso, a French provider of technical and engineering services to the energy and infrastructure sectors, to France’s Altrad Group for an undisclosed amount. www.prezioso.fr
• Banco Santander Brasil is considering a takeover offer for the Brazilian subsidiary of Citigroup (NYSE: C), according to a Banco Santander official. Read more.
• China Merchant Bank has submitted an informal bid to acquire London’s Baltic Exchange, according to Reuters. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Accel has closed its thirteenth early-stage U.S. fund with $500 million in capital commitments, plus raised another $1.5 billion for its new U.S. growth equity fund. Read more.
• Contour Venture Partners, a New York-based early-stage VC firm, has closed its third fund with $56 million in capital commitments. www.contourventures.com
• The European Investment Fund has launched a €225 million VC fund focused on early-stage and growth-stage investment opportunities in Germany. www.eif.org
• Founders Fund, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, has raised more than $1 billion for its sixth fund, according to the NY Times. Read more.
• Marble Ridge Capital has launched a hedge fund focused on distressed assets, according to Reuters. It is founded by former Paulson & Co. partner Dan Kamensky, and counts early Bain Capital employee Coleman Andrews among its initial investors. Read more.
• Partners Group has closed its sixth private equity secondaries fund with €2.5 billion in capital commitments. www.partnersgroup.com