Greetings from the home office. Some notes…
• Snap stock: Lots of buzz over a WSJ report that Snapchat is prepping an IPO that could value the company at north of $25 billion (compared to approximately $18b post-money it got on its last round). Normally I’d dismiss this sort of thing, under the theory that most mega-unicorns have draft IPO docs tucked behind their horns.
But the key difference here is that WSJ also includes possible timing, by saying that the offering could come “as early as late March.” That’s a lot more specific than “sometime in 2017,” and also makes sense from a post-holiday filing perspective. Makes me more confident in this report than others of similar ilk, although that’s admittedly just tea leaf reading…
• As we predicted: The NY Post reports that Verizon is trying to get a $1 billion discount on its $4.8 billion Yahoo purchase, following the recent hack and email reading revelations. If successful, it would suggest that Verizon believes it can make a case that there were misrepresentations, given that Delaware courts are unlikely to accept an MAE argument.
• Venture context: Following yesterday’s release of Q3 venture capital stats ― showing continued dollar volume erosion ― there has been a lot of commentary on how hard it has become for startups to raise money. Two notes on this: First, “harder” only is in relation to recent boomtimes, as 2016 VC disbursements are still quite high compared to typical levels. Second, I’d think a part of the downturn relates to how companies realized in Q3 2015 that the worm was beginning to turn, and began raising rainy-day reserves. Remember, it’s almost a year to the day that I wrote this.
• Conflicts ahead: The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs and AlpInvest (a unit of Carlyle) all reportedly are raising new vehicles to purchase stakes in private equity firm management companies, joining existing players like Dyal Capital Partners. The potential conflicts are too many to list in the short amount of time I have this morning. But I do not see this ending well, at least for the non-dedicated players (i.e, those that are primarily direct investors — despite the many firewalls and lines of strategy demarcation that are sure to be erected).
• Unscientific polling: Yesterday I moderated a session at the annual meeting of growth equity firm Edison Partners, about which major presidential candidate would be better for the U.S. economy. Before beginning, I asked the audience for its thoughts, via a show of hands. Only a few went up when I asked if a President Trump would be better (over 4 years), while there were between one and two dozen for a President Clinton. The vast majority chose Door #3, or “unsure.”
• Quiz Time: Can you name the head of private equity at a major public university who is leaving to join a private foundation as chief investment officer? Think West Coaster who wasn’t always a West Coaster…
• Have a great weekend. Go Pats!
THE BIG DEAL
• The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire Atotech BV, a Dutch specialty chemicals group, from Total SA (NYSE: TOT) for approximately $3.2 billion (representing 11.9X EBITDA). Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• MSI Methylation Sciences, a Vancouver-based developer of small molecule therapy for adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder, has raised US$30 million in VC funding from Quark Venture. www.methylationsciences.com
• Financeit, Toronto-based point-of-sale financing provider, has raised US$17 million in new VC funding co-led by The Pritzker Organization and DNS Capital. http://www.financeit.io
• Code Climate, a New York-based provider of automated code review solutions, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. Backers include Union Square Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Fuel Capital and Trinity Ventures. www.codeclimate.com
• Lulalend, an online business lending platform in South Africa, has raised an undisclosed amount of new VC funding. Accion Venture Lab led the round, and was joined by Newid Capital and Hallmann Holding International Investment. www.accion.org
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• American Securities has acquired Henry Co., an El Segundo, Calif.-based maker of “energy-efficient building envelope solutions,” from Graham Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.henry.com
• Thomas H. Lee Partners and TPG Capital are the leading bidders for Learfield Communications, a Jefferson City, Mo.-based sports marketing company being sold by Providence Equity Partners, according to Bloomberg. Other bidders include Atairos and New Mountain Capital. The deal could be values at around $1.3 billion. Read more.
• Camping World Holdings Inc., a retailer of recreational vehicles and TV accessories, raised $250 million in its IPO. The company priced 11.36 million shares at $22 per share (middle of range), and will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol CWH. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan served as co-lead underwriters. Camping World is controlled by Crestview Partners, and reports $178.5 million of net income on $3.3 billion in revenue for 2015. www.campingworld.com
• CRISPR Therapeutics AG, a Swiss gene editing company, has set its IPO terms to 4.7 million shares being offered at between $15 and $17 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $636 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CRSP, with Citigroup, Piper Jaffray and Barclays serving as lead underwriters. Crispr has raised around $160 million in VC funding, from firms like Versant Ventures (20.74% pre-IPO stake), Celgene (12.4%), S.R. One (9.69%), New Enterprise Associates (9.69%), Bayer AG (8.01%), Abingworth (7.82%), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (7.6%), Franklin Templeton Investments, New Leaf Venture Partners, Clough Capital Partners and Wellington Capital Management. www.crisprtx.com
• Everspin Technologies, a Chandler, Ariz.-based maker of magnetic RAM products, raised $40 million in its IPO. It priced 4 million shares at $8 per share, compared to earlier plans to offer 3.75 million shares being offering at between $11 and $13 per share. The company will trade Nasdaq under ticker symbol MRAM, with Stifel and Needham & Co. serving as lead underwriters. Everspin had raised around $77 million in VC funding, from firms like New Venture Partners (31.5% pre-IPO stake), Sigma Partners (9.3%), Lux Ventures (7.6%), Globasl Foundries (6.23%), Freescale Semiconductor (5.3%), Epic Ventures (4.6%) and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (4.6%). www.everspin.com
• Forterra Inc., an Irving, Texas-based manufacturer of pipe and precast products, has set its IPO terms to 18.42 million shares being offered at between $19 and $21 per share. It would have an initial market cap of $1.28 billion, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol FRTA, with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Credit Suisse serving as co-lead underwriters. It reports a $13.4 million net loss (pro forma) for Q1 2016 on $362 million in revenue. www.forterrabp.com
• Bain Capital has agreed to sell Blackhawk Specialty Tools LLC, a Houston-based provider of well construction and well intervention services and products, to Frank’s International (NYSE: FI) for approximately $321 million in cash and stock.
• Rinse, a Los Angeles-based on-demand laundry service, has acquired the assets of defunct Washio for an undisclosed amount. Rinse has raised VC funding from firms like Arena Ventures and CAA Ventures, while Washio had raised over $16 million from Canaan Partners, A Grade Investments, Pejman Mar Ventures, Sherpa Ventures and Jerry Yang. Read more.
• RLJ Equity Partners has launched a sale process for MarketCast LLC, a Los Angeles-based provider of entertainment industry research services, according to Bloomberg. The company could be valued at around $280 million, which would represent a 14x multiple on EBITDA. Read more.
• Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to sell its minority stake in candy maker Mars Inc. back to the company for an undisclosed amount. Read more.
• CIT Group (NYSE: CIT) has agreed to sell its aircraft leasing business to China-based Avolon Holdings (a unit of HNA Group) for around $10 billion. Read more.
• Concardis, a German maker of card payment terminals and other payment technologies, is being cut up for sale with an estimated price tag of between €360 million and €550 million, according to Reuters. The company currently is owned by a consortium of German banks. Read more.
• Grupo Villar Mir, a Spanish conglomerate, is considering a sale of its hydroelectric assets, according to Bloomberg. The deal could include 14 facilities in Spain and France, and could be worth around $1 billion. Read more.
MOVING IN, UP AND ON
• Joseph Lovell has joined Perella Weinberg Partners as a New York-based managing director in the firm’s financial institutions group. He previously was with Wells Fargo Securities. www.pwpartners.com
• John Vaske, who recently stepped down as co-chairman of M&A at Goldman Sachs, has joined Temasek Holdings as joint head of North America (effective January 16). Read more.
• Mauricio Voorduin has joined Mizuho as a managing director and head of structuring for its Latin America corporate and investment banking business. He previously was with HSBC. www.mizohu.com
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