Greetings from New York City, where I'm in town for a variety of meetings (including one that takes place before Term Sheet is normally sent out, thus the early delivery). A few quick notes before I run over to Fortune HQ:
• Captain Crunch: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is stepping back from some of his responsibilities at CrunchFund, the seed-stage venture capital firm he launched in 2011.
Arrington is not listed as a general partner on the firm’s third fund, which a regulatory filing shows is raising upwards of $30 million. Instead, the sole general partner is his CrunchFund co-founder Pat Gallagher, Arrington’s old college buddy who previously was an investor with VantagePoint Venture Partners.
In an interview, Arrington says that he decided to take some time off from full-time investing in order to improve his health (“I don’t have cancer or anything, please don’t make it sound so serious”), but adds that he will continue to lead deals for CrunchFund and advise portfolio companies.
• Ouch: Very tough Q1 earnings report out from The Blackstone Group, which reported just $0.31 per share in economic net income, compared to analyst expectations of around $0.37 (which already would have represented a 73% year-over-year decline). On the upside, assets under management increased 11% year-over-year, and fee related earnings grew 21% (despite the PJT spin-off).
The big hit was an 81% decrease in performance-related fees, which includes an 89% performance fee drop from within Blackstone's private equity business. Blackstone said that the carrying value of its PE portfolio appreciated by 1.7% during the quarter.
• Adolescence: Felicis Ventures this morning announced that it has closed its fifth fund with $200 million in capital commitments, and also disclosed some historical performance data.
The Silicon Valley-based firm ― which launched in 2006 as a seed investor with a $4 million fund, but has since expanded its lifecycle focus ― reports total cash-on-cash returns of 8.3x and that it has backed 11 companies valued at $1 billion or more (including two IPOs and three trade sales).
• New firm alert: Last fall we reported that North Bridge Venture Partners would not raise a new fund, and that its partners were moving on to new efforts. This morning an SEC filing disclosed that one of those partners, Jamie Goldstein, is seeking to raise upwards of $100 million for a new VC fund called Pillar Companies. No word yet on strategy or other team members. Goldstein had been with North Bridge for 18 years, leading such deals as Actifio.
• Correction: Yesterday's issue incorrectly reported that Apax Partners was helping to lead the $3.6 billion buyout of Lexmark International (NYSE: LXK), alongside PAG Asia Capital and Legend Capital. The actual buyer is Chinese hardware maker Apex Technology. Apologies.
THE BIG DEAL
• TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners are seeking a buyer for The Palms Casino Resort, according to Reuters. In other casino news, Reuters also reports that Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) is nearing a deal to buy Cannery Casino Resorts LLC for between $225 million and $240 million. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Forter, a Tel Aviv-based provider of antifraud solutions for ecommerce retailers, has raised $32 million in Series C funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers NEA and Sequoia Capital. www.forter.com
• Anomali, a Redwood City, Calif.-based threat intelligence platform, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Institutional Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by General Catalyst, Google Ventures and Paladin Capital Group. www.anomali.com
• Acorns, a Newport Beach, Ca.-based micro-investing platform, has raised $30 million in new strategic funding from PayPal and Rakuten. The company previously raised $32 million over three funding rounds from firms like Greycroft Partners, e.ventures, Sound Ventures, Garland Capital and Math Venture Partners. Read more.
• Framebridge, a Lanham, Md.-based online custom framing startup, has raised $9 million in Series B funding. SWaN & Legend Venture Partners was joined by return backers NEA and Revolution Ventures. www.framebridge.com
• Bridgit, a Canadian provider of construction project management solutions, has raised C$2.2 million in seed funding. Hyde Park Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Vanedge Capital. www.gobridgit.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Aptuit, a portfolio company of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, has acquired Exquiron Biotech AG, a Swiss contract research organization focused on early-stage drug discovery. No financial terms were disclosed. www.exquiron.com
• Rapid Ratings International, a New York-based assessor of public and private company financial health, has raised an undisclosed amount of minority equity funding from LLR Partners. www.rapidratings.com
• Staple Street Capital has acquired substantially all the assets of Mid-States Supply Co., a Kansas City-based distributor of industrial valves, pipes, automation products, fittings, steam specialty items and controls. No financial terms were disclosed. www.midcoonline.com
• VIG Partners, a South Korean private equity firm, has acquired a majority stake in local parking lot managing company HiParking for around $24 million. Read more.
• American Renal Holdings, a Beverly, Mass.-based dialysis services provider, raised $165 million in its IPO. The company priced 7.5 million shares at $22 per share (near middle of $20-$23 range), for an initial market cap of around $654 million. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol ARA, while BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Goldman Sachs served as lead underwriters. ARA reports $16 million of net income on $561 million in net patient revenue (revenue minus uncollectable accounts) for 2014. Centerbridge Capital Partners holds a 79.6% pre-IPO stake. www.americanrenal.com
• Brazos Private Equity Partners has sold Southern Tide LLC, a Greenville, S.C.-based lifestyle apparel brand, to Oxford Industries Inc. (NYSE: OXM). www.southerntide.com
• Shots, maker of a selfie app, has acquired Mindie, a music video-making app. No financial terms were disclosed. Shots has raised over $13 million in VC funding from firms like DCM and individuals like Justin Bieber. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Backed VC, a new pan-European seed-stage investment firm, has closed its debut fund with €30 million in capital commitments. The goal is to use “community” deal sourcing, which means those who bring deals to Backed VC could qualify for carried interest. Read more.
• BBH Capital Partners, the private equity unit of Brown Brothers Harriman, has closed its fifth fund with $802 million in capital commitments (including $110m from the GP). www.bbh.com
• Hony Capital, a Chinese private equity firm, has closed a new dual-currency fund (70/30 U.S. dollars/yuan) with approximately $2.7 billion in capital commitments, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• GIC, a Singapore sovereign wealth fund, announced that chief investment officer Lim Chow Kiat also will serve as deputy group president, while public markets president Jeffrey Jaensubhakij also will serve as deputy group CIO. Read more.
• Vera Minar has joined Columbia Pacific to oversee Columbia Pacific Advisors, which manages more than $1 billion in high-net-worth and institutional assets via a variety of strategies. She previously helped manage Stanford University’s endowment. www.columbiapacific.com
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