Good morning, Term Sheet readers. There’s a lot going on in the world of dealmaking today.
TECH DEAL: Foxconn, a Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer, is stepping out of the shadows. It has announced plans to buy consumer electronics company Belkin, who owns brands Linksys and Wemo, for $866 million. As my colleague David Meyer reports, the purchase will likely require the scrutiny of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), which recently hit the headlines by stalling Broadcom’s unsolicited bid for Qualcomm until President Donald Trump outright nixed that deal.
But there’s a small twist here that may prove favorable to the deal. Earlier this year, Foxconn unveiled plans to build a $10 billion TV panel factory in Wisconsin, where it’s promising to create at least 13,000 jobs. At the Fortune Global Forum Conference in Guangzhou, China, last year, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou noted that he and President Donald Trump met four times to discuss the factory.
“When I started my business 43 years ago, the opportunity was given to me by the U.S.,” Gou said at the conference. “And now I have this opportunity to return the favor.”
When the deal was announced in July, Trump called Guo’s commitment “an incredible investment” and was quick to take the credit for it: “In other words, if I didn’t get elected, he definitely would not be spending $10 billion.” Trump also claimed that Gou told him “off the record” his company could invest as much as $30 billion in the U.S.
This is one to watch. Read more at Fortune.
PHARMA DEAL: Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline just struck a $13 billion deal to buy Novartis out of their consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion, taking full control of its product line. The joint venture sells products such as Nicotinell nicotine patches, Panadol headache tablets and Sensodyne toothpaste. Until now, the terms of the joint venture dictated that Novartis had the right to demand GSK buys its stake at any point over the next 17 years. GSK now doesn’t need to keep money aside for that possibility. Read more at Fortune.
CHEMICALS DEAL: Akzo Nobel sold its specialty chemicals unit to private equity firm Carlyle Group for 10.1 billion euros ($12.5 billion). This move will transform Akzo into a more focused supplier of paints and coatings. The sale marks the end of a turbulent period for the company following a hostile takeover attempt by rival PPG Industries and friction with activist investor Elliott Management. Read more.
ONE MORE THING: The New York Human Rights Commission is inquiring into The Wing, the women-only club and co-working space that recently raised $32 million in funding from WeWork and New Enterprise Associates. Although the Commission technically calls it a “commission-initiated investigation,” Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller Flexner, who is representing The Wing, pushed back on the notion that there is any sort of formal investigation into the company.
“All that has happened is that The Wing and the Commission have mutually agreed to have a conversation,” she told Term Sheet. “No one I know would refer to that as an investigation. We are looking forward to a productive talk with them.”
Although the reason behind the inquiry is unclear, Jezebel reports the discussion is likely centered around how anti-discrimination laws apply to The Wing. The company’s membership stipulates that men cannot become members or visit as guests. The Commission’s mandate is to investigate potential violations of the city’s Human Rights Law, which forbids businesses that furnish public accommodations, including most private clubs (though not all), from discriminating against customers because of their gender.
“Anti-discrimination laws were passed to empower women and make sure they thrive in a world where the playing field has been tilted against them, which is precisely what The Wing does,” Dunn said. “It would turn these laws upside down to see them as being contrary to The Wing’s values and mission.”
When I spoke with Wing CEO Audrey Gelman in November, I asked her whether The Wing plans to always stay women-only and how she plans to scale nationally and internationally with that exclusive business model. She said yes, adding that “the demand for hunger for women’s places from professional women is really, really deep and broad.” She said: “We’re looking to tap into that and we think there are communities just like the ones we’ve tapped into New York in cities and countries all over the world.”
When asked about her stance today, Gelman said it still stands. She said she was surprised that the Commission reached out to her on the first day of Women’s History Month. Gelman said the company has “been assured that the de Blasio Administration fully supports the mission of The Wing and will work with us to see it prosper.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Twitter Bans Cryptocurrency Ads—With A Notable Exception (by Lucinda Shen)
• Mark Zuckerberg Refuses to Testify in the U.K. (by David Meyer)
• Why Walmart Is Testing Robots in Stores (by Jonathan Vanian)
• Hooters is the New WeWork (by Hallie Detrick)
• Root Insurance, a Columbus, Ohio-based car insurance company, raised $51 million in Series C funding. Redpoint Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Scale Venture Partners, Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners.
• Wizeline, a San Francisco-base product development and technology company, raised $43 million in Series B funding. Apax Digital Fund led the round.
• Nebanan, a Germany-based locally-focused social network for neighborhoods, raised €16 million ($19.8 million) in Series A funding. BurdaPrincipal Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including Lakestar, Deutsche Telemedien, NWZ, and pd ventures.
• Myriota, an Australia-based Internet of things startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Blue Sky Venture Capital and Main Sequence Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Right Click Capital and Singtel Innov8.
• Opentrons, a Brooklyn-based lab automation company, raised $10 million in seed funding. Khosla Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, and Jeff Kindler.
• Focal Systems, a provider of computer vision AI-driven solutions for retailers, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Costanoa Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Zetta Ventures and Uncork Capital.
• Sentieo, a San Francisco-based financial research platform, raised $6 million in funding. Clocktower Ventures and Long Focus Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including David Flaschen, Howard Lindzon, Scott Belsky, and Aniq Rahman.
• Hive Learning, a London-based collaborative learning platform for organizations, raised 3.5 million pounds ($5 million) in funding. Blenheim Chalcot led the round.
• Dandelion, a residential geothermal company, raised $4.5 million. New Enterprise Associates led the round, and was joined by investors including BoxGroup, Daniel Yates, Ground Up, Borealis Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and ZhenFund.
• Candex, a U.K.-based provider of recruitment solutions, raised $3.5 million in funding. Investors include Edenred Capital Partners, Partech Ventures, Advisors.Fund, Camp One Ventures, NFX, Tekton Ventures, Big Sur Ventures and Mark Goines.
• AgShift, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based food tech startup, raised $2 million in seed funding. The investor was Exfinity Ventures.
• Circular Wave Drive, a Columbus, Ohio-based technology company that manufactures compact speed-reducing gears for robotics and applications, raised $2 million in seed funding. Ikove Venture Partners led the round.
• Iggbo, a Richmond, Va.-based healthcare technology startup, rebranded as Workpath and raised $1.5 million in funding. Investors include Structure Capital.
• ZP Group, a McLean, Va.-based provider of cybersecurity services and solutions, raised Series C funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include The Chertoff Group.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Polaris Private Equity agreed to buy a majority of Menu A/S, a Denmark-based supplier of furniture, accessories, and lighting. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• JMH Capital Partners recapitalized All4 LLC, a Philadelphia-based environmental services firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Peak Rock Capital made a “significant” investment in CloudNine, a Houston, Texas-based legal discovery technology company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• AppRiver, a portfolio company of Marlin Equity Partners acquired Roaring Penguin, an Ottawa, Canada-based provider of email security solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• HNA, the Chinese insurance giant, has scrapped plans to IPO Swiss airline catering firm Gategroup. The deal was slated to raise up to $1.37 billion. Read more.
• Saudi Aramco, the Saudi oil giant, is on track for an IPO in the second half of 2018, its CEO said. Read more.
• ICICI Securities, the Indian brokerage, Raised $540 million in an IPO, less than previously expected. Read more
• GreenTree Hospitality, a Shanghai, China-based hotelier, now says its plans to raise $143 million in an IPO of 10.2 million ADSs priced at $14 a piece. Previously, the firm planned to offer 19.4 million ADSs priced between $16 to $18 apiece. The firm posted revenue of $119.6 million and earnings of $43.8 million in 2017. Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch, and UBS are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “GHG.” Read more.
• Smartsheet, Bellevue, Wash.-based spreadsheet provider, filed to raised $100 million in an IPO. The company posted loss of $53.7 million and $111 million in sales for the 12 months ending Jan. 2018. Insight Ventures (32.1% pre-offering), Madrona Ventures (28.4%), and Sutter Hill Ventures (5.4%), back the firm. Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, and RBC Capital Markets are joint bookrunners in the deal. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “SMAR.” Read more.
• YETI Holdings, Austin-based cooler seller, put its $100 million IPO on ice. BofA Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Baird, Piper Jaffray, Jefferies, and William Blair were joint bookrunners in the deal. The firm filed in 2016, and planned to list on the NYSE as “YETI.” Read more.
• ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based biotech, filed to raise up to $86 million in an IPO. The firm posted loss of $40 million in 2017. Shanghai Cenova and BioVeda Singapore back the firm. Leerink Partners and Piper Jaffray are joint bookrunners on the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ASLN.” Read more.
• Meituan-Dianping, China’s biggest on-demand online services provider, has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley to work on an IPO in Hong Kong slated for as early as this year, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.
• Ri Happy Brinquedos SA, a Brazilian toy seller, will postpone its IPO, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.
• Ardian agreed to sell Groupe Bio7, a Paris-based clinical pathology company, to Cerba HealthCare. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.