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Term Sheet — Wednesday, November 26

November 26, 2014, 3:00 PM UTC

Random Ramblings

Some quick hits on get-away day...

VC scoop: DAG Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture firm focused on later-stage deals, is raising its sixth fund with a $300 million target, according to a regulatory filing. This is less than it sought last time around, likely because the partnership will be smaller.

Firm co-founder Tom Goodrich and longtime managing director John Cadeddu will not help manage the new fund, Fortune has learned. Each will continue to work on active funds and existing portfolio investments (retaining board seats, etc.). I'm also hearing that the new fundraise is basically completed, even though the regulatory filing indicates that no securities have yet been sold. Not entirely clear what the departing partners plan to do, except that Cadeddu is seeking to launch a new investment platform in a non-VC asset class.

Goodrich's active portfolio companies include Bloom Energy and Tabula, while Cadeddu's include Cloudera and Nextdoor.

Big (data) bog: Earlier this fall I sat down for a few minutes with Box CEO Aaron Levie, who was in town to speak at an MIT conference. He mentioned that he had just come from a meeting with Ocean Spray, the grower-owned cranberry cooperative whose products are likely to be on your Thanksgiving table. Their topic of conversation had been how the cranberry growers were interested in using drones to measure various bog conditions, and how they could store and manage the data. Feel free to break that out during a lull in the small-talk tomorrow...

DM&A: There is all sorts of talks that Twitter CFO Anthony Noto's DM fail on Monday was in regards to Shots, the photo-sharing app whose investors include Justin Bieber and Floyd Mayweather (see original story here). So I emailed Shots co-founder and CEO John Shahidi, who declined to comment on the scuttlebutt. He did, however, write the following:

"We aren't focus on selling and are focused on building our product and growing our user base. We've have over 3M users in the first year with 41% DAU (a much higher % when you only look at 13 - 18 year olds). We're tracking 45% in November. We're proud of this and now will focus on user growth since the engagement # is where we wanted it. We have a new feature in Shots coming out in early in 2015 and that's what is making us excited to wake up and go to work in the mornings."

From the mouth of a big tech corp dev exec: "Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are being conditioned to believe their companies either must be worth zero or $1 billion... It's making it very difficult to buy companies that deserve to be valued in the $300 million to $700 million range."

Golden hangover update: More than two years ago, I wrote about private equity's "golden hangover" -- or how a majority of the 25 largest leveraged buyouts completed between 2005 and 2008 still remained in  private equity hands. I just went back through the list, and found that eight of the companies remain PE-owned. This does not include Biomet (in the process of being sold) or Energy Future Holdings (filed for bankruptcy protection).

Deal data: Telecom is the only industrial to experience a year-over-year decline in global M&A activity, according to Thomson Reuters. So far in 2014 there has been $135.6 billion in telecom M&A, down 46% from this time in 2013. Were you to remove Verizon's massive 2013 deal for Vodafone’s stake in the Verizon Wireless, however, the 2014 tally would actually outstrip the 20134 figure.

See you Monday: Term Sheet will be loosening its belt and taking the rest of the week off. So have safe travels, a great holiday weekend and we'll talk again Monday. Go Pats!


 Uber is raising new funding at a valuation of between $35 billion and $40 billion, according to a new report from Bloomberg. This would be one of the richest “venture capital” rounds in history (Facebook still holds the crown), and likely mean that investors expect Uber to eventually go public at a valuation of at least $100 billion. T. Rowe Price reportedly is in talks to come aboard as a new investor, while existing shareholder Fidelity Investments also would participate. Read more.


 YPlan, a UK-based mobile marketplace for local events, has raised $24 million in Series B funding. Return backers include Octopus Investments, General Catalyst Partners, and Wellington Partners.

 Muzik, a New York-based maker of “socially-connected wireless headphones,” has raised $10 million in new VC funding. No investor information was disclosed., a San Francisco-based provider of on-demand written content, has raised $9 million in Series B funding. Storm Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Crosslink Capital and Redpoint Ventures.

 Appear Here, a UK online marketplace for retail space, has raised $7.5 million in new VC funding led by Balderton Capital.

 Agorize, a Paris.-based developer of open innovation challenges and recruitment platforms, has raised €2 million in second-round funding from Iris Capital and Capnamic Ventures.


 Alvarez & Marsal Capital Partners has acquired G4S Government Solutions Inc., a Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based security subsidiary of G4S PLC (LSE: GFS), for $135 million (including the assumption of debt). Read more.

 Ardian has agreed to buy a 65% stake in two Spanish toll roads from Brazil’s BTG Pactual for an undisclosed amount. Read more.

 Brilliance Financial Technology, an Australia-based provider of pricing and credit risk management software for financial institutions’ commercial loan portfolios, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from The Edgewater Funds.

 Fortress Investment Group is nearing a deal to acquire the bad loan business of Italian bank UniCredit SpA, according to Bloomberg. An announcement could come within the next few weeks. Read more.


 No IPO news this morning.


 Equistone Partners Europe has hired Evercore Partners to find a buyer for A-Plan, a British provider of insurance products, according to Dow Jones. The deal could be valued at around £300 million, and has received bids from HgCapital, Vitruvian Partners, Permira, GTCR and Caledonia Investments. Read more.


 Danone (Paris: BN) is considering the sale of a 20% stake in Yakult Honsha, a Japanese maker of dairy drinks, according to Bloomberg. The position would be worth around $2 billion. Read more.

 Samsung Group has agreed to sell its stakes in four companies to Hanwha Group, a listed South Korean explosives maker, for $1.72 billion. The assets relate to companies in the defense, energy and chemicals sectors. Read more.


 Catalyst Capital Group, a Canadian private equity firm, plans to begin raising its fifth fund early next year with a C$1.25 billion target, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

 Charterhouse Capital Partners, a UK-based buyout firm, is targeting €3 billion for its tenth fund, according to LBO Wire.

 EnCap Investments, an energy-focused private equity firm, is targeting $5 billion for its tenth flagship fund, according to peHUB. Read more.

 Herkules Capital, a Norwegian private equity firm, has closed its fourth fund with around €300 million in capital commitments. It originally marketed the fund with a €710 million target capitalization. Read more.

 Kelso & Co., a New York-based buyout firm, has held a first close on its ninth fund with around $1.3 billion in capital commitments, according to peHUB. The total target is $2.5 billion. Read more.

 SummitView Capital (San Francisco) has partnered with the Shanghai government and the China National Fund to raise a $1.7 billion private equity fund focused on semiconductor companies that do business in China. Read more.


 Phil Falcone is stepping down as chairman and CEO of Harbinger Group (NYSE: HRG), one year after agreeing to a securities industry ban related to his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners. He had been allowed to maintain his role with Harbinger Group, which holds stakes in such companies as the maker of the George Foreman grills. Read more.

 Don Lindsey has joined the American Institutes for Research as its first chief investment officer. He previously was chief investment officer for George Washington University.

 Ryan Harris has joined law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP as a Chicago-based partner focused on private equity transactions. He previously was a partner with McDermott Will & Emery.

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