THREE UNRELATED THINGS
FALSE START: The finance world experienced a big letdown yesterday, after reports that JP Morgan might enter the bidding for Worldpay, a UK-based payment processor worth nearly $10 billion.
Such a move would be notable for two reasons:
• JP Morgan hasn’t done a major acquisition since the 2008 financial crisis, when it bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. As my colleague Geoffrey Smith notes, the timing of this deal is fortuitous:
The news comes only days after the Fed ruled that the house of Jamie Dimon, and the U.S.'s largest banks, now had more than enough capital to deal with any realistic risk scenarios and cleared them to return billions of dollars to shareholders in the form of dividends or buybacks.
• JP Morgan was acting as Worldpay’s corporate broker in the deal, a British designation that essentially means adviser.
Is that a breach of the bank’s Chinese Wall? Unclear, but it’s not a great look when the company is also being sued by the shareholders of a different company that the firm represented in an M&A deal. In April, investors of Good Technology, a security startup, accused the bank of fraud for advising Good Technology’s board to sell, rather than go public, and for ignoring offers for rescue financing. (Good, once valued at $1 billion, sold to Blackberry for less than half of that.) The shareholders posit that the sale netted JP Morgan a higher commission than an IPO would have, and the asset was sold cheaply to help JP Morgan curry favor with Blackberry, the buyer.
Alas, all those conversations are now moot. Less than 24 hours after the Worldpay news broke, JP Morgan backed out without even making a bid. Vantiv, Worldpay’s U.S. competitor, agreed to buy the company for £7.7 billion ($9.95 billion).
WITHER UBER: Lest we forget, amid all the sexual harassment headlines and Medium takes, Uber still has a massive leadership void. With former CEO Travis Kalanick out, the board has to align around a new CEO, then recruit a CFO, a head of business, and a slew of others to replace the many top executives it has lost this year. Making matters more complicated, the board has three new members: TPG’s David Trujillo, who replaced David Bonderman, Benchmark’s Matt Cohler, who replaced Bill Gurley, and Nestle’s Wan Ling Martello, who fellow board member Arianna Huffington recruited amid the scandals.
A report from The Information suggests that Kalanick and Huffington are aligned, but the former CEO has lost the support of his most loyal board buddy, Uber’s first CEO, Ryan Graves.
Getting everyone to agree on a CEO candidate will be difficult enough. One sticking point: Kalanick wants someone with tech experience and those candidates are hard to come by. But filling all of Uber’s vacant leadership roles is not even the hard part. Once the board does that, the truly difficult work of cleaning up Uber’s toxic culture will begin.
CEO ANGST: It feels like CEOs, both inside the tech industry and out, are taking the fall for bad behavior this year. Wells Fargo, Uber, United Airlines (Oscar Munoz didn’t resign but he lost his shot at becoming chairman).
And indeed, twice as many big company CEOs have resigned this year than during the same period in 2016. But in reality, the most common cause of CEO Fail this year has not been bad behavior. It’s been tech disruption and activist investors. Sometimes both! The Wall Street Journal analyzed this year’s impressive string of CEO departures at companies from GE and Ford to General Mills, J. Crew and Macy’s, and found that almost all of them faced at least one of those two issues.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• The whistleblowers of Silicon Valley.
• The yogurt wars take a strange twist with Danone’s sale of Stonyfield.
• Richard Branson on Brexit and Trump’s trade protectionism.
• Should Apple buy IBM?
• U.S. considering sanctions on Chinese companies to punish North Korea.
• Ofo, a Beijing-based bicycle sharing company, raised $700 million in Series E funding. Investors include Alibaba, Hony Capital and CITIC Private Equity. Existing investors including Didi and DST Global participated.
• Sol Voltaics, a Sweden-based solar energy startup, raised $21.3 million in funding, according to Tech.eu. Investors include Watrium AS, Kagra Gruppen AS, Industrifonden, FAM AB, Nano Future Invest, Blue Marlin AB, and Teknoinvest AS. Read more.
• PayFit, a Paris-based HR and fintech startup, raised €14 million ($16 million) in Series B funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by Xavier Niel and Otium Venture.
• OnboardIQ, a San Francisco-based mid-market and enterprise hiring automation platform, raised $9.1 million in Series A funding. Origin Ventures led the round, and was joined by SoftTech VC, Crosslink Capital, and Y Combinator.
• MobileODT, an Israel-based developer of connected medical devices, raised $6.825 million in Series B funding. OrbiMed Advisors led the round, and was joined by Tristel plc.
• UVeye, a New York-based builder of automatic vehicle inspection systems, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The investors were not named.
• Clark, a New York-based data-driven tutoring platform, raised $2 million in seed funding. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round.
• Kangarootime, a Long Beach, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based software for early learning centers, raised seed funding of an undisclosed amount from Skyview Ventures, Mucker Capital, and Tech Coast Angels.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Anaeropharma Science, a Tokyo-based developer of genetically enhanced bacteria to fight tumors, raised $13.1 million in funding. Investors include Seventure Partners and Novartis Pharma.
• Diasome Pharmaceuticals, a Cleveland, Ohio-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from the JDRF T1D Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• A fund led by Greystar Real Estate Partners will acquire Monogram Residential Trust Inc (NYSE:MORE), for approximately $3 billion. The fund’s other investors include APG Asset Management N.V., GIC, and Ivanhoe Cambridge.
• Vista Equity Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Upserve, a Providence, R.I.-based smart management assistant for restaurants. Existing investors including First Round Capital and Pritzker Group Venture Capital participated in the round.
• Luminate Capital Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Comply365, a Beloit, Wisc.-based provider of enterprise content management solutions for the aviation sector.
• TCV made an investment of an undisclosed amount, in AxiomSL, a London-based risk data management provider.
• Ivanti, a portfolio company of Clearlake Capital, acquired RES Software, a U.K.-based digital workspace software company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• KPS Capital acquired Winoa, a France-based maker of steel abrasives for the transportation, equipment, energy and construction sectors. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Bradford Health Services, a portfolio company of Centre Partners, acquired Red Oak, a Leicester, N.C.-based provider of substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment for young adults. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Argand Partners acquired Brintons Carpets Limited, a U.K.-based maker of luxury carpets. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• SEI acquired Archway Technology Partners, an Indianapolis-based provider of operating technologies and services for the family office industry. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Ardian acquired a minority stake in Sarbacane Software, a France-based email and digital marketing software publisher for small businesses. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:AEIS) acquired Excelsys, an Ireland-based designer and manufacturer of high efficiency and highly reliable power supplies, for 15.5 million euros ($17.6 million).
• Oaktree Capital Management has entered the race to buy control of Renova Energia SA (BOVESPA:RNEW11) with a proposal of 170 million reais ($51 million) for Light SA’s 16% stake in Renova, according to Reuters. Oaktree Capital would spend another 1.2 billion reais to dilute Renova’s controlling bloc. Read more.
• Celgene Corp will buy a stake in BeiGene Ltd, a Cayman Islands-based biopharmaceutical company, according to Reuters. Celgene will acquire 32.7 million, or 5.9% of BeiGene's ordinary shares. BeiGene will receive $263 million in upfront license fees and $150 million equity investment. The company will also be eligible to receive up to $980 million in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments. Read more.
• Apple, Google, Deezer, and Spotify are said to be interested in acquiring SoundCloud, a Berlin-based audio platform, according to the New York Post. Of all the suitors, Deezer is reportedly the most interested. Read more.
VW Credit, Inc. will make an investment of an undisclosed amount in AutoGravity, an Irvine, Calif.-based fintech startup that develops vehicle leasing and financing apps.
• Allied Irish Banks, whose collapse helped push Ireland into bailout territory in 2010, raised 3.4 billion euros($3.87 billion) in its IPO, Reuters reports. The Irish government offered about 25% of the bank at about 4.40 euros, though by the stock’s open, it was priced at 5.15 euros. The bank was nationalized seven years earlier.
• Pensare Acquisition, a blank check company based out of Atlanta, filed for an IPO of $250 million. The company is backed by MasTec (75% pre-IPO) and Darrell Mays who is a senior advisor at MasTec. EarlyBirdCapital is sole bookrunner in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “WRLS.U.”
• GetBack, a Polish debt collector, priced its IPO at 18.5 zlotys($5) per share, Reuters reports. That’s at the lower end of what the company had previously estimated for the IPO of 40 million shares: 18.5 zlotys to 27 zlotys. The company raised roughly $200 million in the IPO. According to sources familiar with the matter to Reuters, the company priced low to avoid a disappointing debut.
• Post Holdings bought Weetabix, a U.K.-based breakfast brand in a deal worth around £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). Weetabix was formerly owned by Bright Food Group and Baring Private Equity Asia.
• Clearlake Capital Group merged enterprise software providers Syncsort Incorporated and Vision Solutions. It also sold a significant stake of the combined company to Centerbridge Partners for $1.26 billion.
• CVC Capital Partners completed its previously announced acquisition of PDC Brands, a Stamford, Conn.-based provider of beauty and personal care products. The seller was Yellow Wood Partners. The purchase price was $1.425 billion.
• Symantec will acquire Fireglass, an Israel-based cybersecurity startup. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Fireglass has raised about $20 million in venture funding from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Singtel Innov8. Read more at Fortune.
• BC Partners agreed to sell a 30% stake in Mergermarket Group, a U.K.-based merger and acquisition service provider, to GIC. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Forum Energy Technologies Inc acquired Multilift, a Houston, Texas-based maker of completion tools. The seller was Pelican Energy Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Ardian acquired a 44% stake in SPMR, a France-based refined pipeline network company. The sellers were Total and BP. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• North Castle Partners sold Mineral Fusion Natural Brands, a Denver, Colo.-based mineral-based cosmetic manufacturer, to BWX Limited (ASX: BWX). Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Gryphon Investors will buy Ob Hospitalist Group, a Mauldin, S.C.-based obstetrics and gynecology physician support provider, from Ares Management LP. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Silver Lake and General Atlantic acquired A Place for Mom, a Seattle, Wash.-based network connecting families to senior living service providers from Warburg Pincus. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. (This item has been updated to include both buyers.)
• Swander Pace Capital sold Lavo Inc., a Canada-based manufacturer and marketer of laundry detergent, household cleaners, fabric softeners and bleach, to KIK Custom Products Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised $985 million for its eighth fund, Wind Point Partners VIII.
• ICONIQ Strategic Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $570.44 million for its third fund, according to an SEC filing.
• Stabilis Capital Management, a New York-based investment firm, raised $525 million for its fifth fund, Fund V.
• Unigestion, a Switzerland and London-based investment manager, raised 255 million euros ($290 million) for its Unigestion Direct Opportunities 2015 fund.
• Nordea (OM:NDA SEK) and AlpInvest, a Netherlands-based investment firm, raised 200 million euros ($228 million) for their new co-investment fund, NPE Direct. It is anticipated that the size of the fund may expand to up to 400 million euros ($455 million).
• Leeds Equity Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, raised more than $400 million for its sixth fund, Leeds Equity Partners VI LP, according to The Wall Street Journal. The fund’s target is $750 million and could raise as much as $1 billion. Read more (subscription required).
• Felix Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, raised $150 million for its second fund.
• Main Capital Partners, a Netherlands-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised over 100 million euros ($114 million) for its fifth fund, Main Capital V.
• Alex Bard is joining Redpoint Ventures as a partner and early-stage investor. Previously, Bard was the CEO of Campaign Monitor.
• Castle Harlan promoted Murat T. Konuk and Patrick A. Zyla to vice presidents.
• Christopher Hooper joined Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe as a general partner. Previously, Hooper was at Golden Gate Capital.