On-demand ride company Uber has hired Goldman Sachs to raise money from the bank’s high-net-worth clients, as we were first to report yesterday at Fortune.com.
Goldman Sachs was formally engaged last week, and its global wealth management team was informed of the deal early yesterday morning. We have not yet seen the documents sent out to select clients (feel encouraged to send them over, or basic details via our anonymous tip box), but know that the offered securities are structured as convertible debt and could raise hundreds of millions of dollars to support Uber’s balance sheet and rapid international expansion efforts.
This offering is completely separate from a previously-reported fundraise targeted at institutional investors, which could raise more than $1 billion at around a $40 billion valuation.
It is unclear what clients are being told about possible liquidity scenarios, given that they’ll be getting convertible notes for a company that is neither promising an IPO nor one that permits secondary trading of its stock. In the past, Goldman has managed similar fundraises for then-IPO candidates like Facebook.
Goldman Sachs itself does not appear to be buying securities in this offering, but already is a shareholder via a prior equity investment. No comment on all of this from Uber, natch.
• Big spill? Crude oil prices are currently at $68.11 per barrel, and a J.P. Morgan energy analyst predicts that a sustained drop below $65 per barrel could cause up to 40% of all high-yield energy bonds to default. Got to be causing some sleepless nights in a private equity community that has helped bankroll the shale boom.
• Get on the phone: Centerbridge Partners last night announced its $1.2 billion deal for IPC Systems, a provider of communications and IT solutions to global trading floors that had been owned by Silver Lake since 2006. I posted a Q&A with IPC CEO Neil Barua, including a question about whether traders are moving away from voice and toward types of ephemeral communication (Snapchat, etc.) that are more difficult for regulators and compliance officers to track. His reply:
“Compliance is the topic du jour, and I think the pendulum has swung back from traders using those types of new platforms. As you know, all platforms at one point capture information and regulators will eventually find a way to access it. That’s why some of the largest banks of the world have very distinct policies, for example, around chatrooms and want people to use voice because it’s easier to capture… You’d also think in this mobile era that people would sneak out of the offices to make calls on cell phones, but that’s been very limited and a lot of that traffic is coming back — with many firms requiring that people can only talk about trades at their desks. We’re seeing a very forceful rotation against trying to avoid compliance and toward trying to be covered on all sides.”
• Terminology: After several hours of deep thought, I’ve decided that companies like Hortonworks and New Relic should be called Undercorns:
un.der·corn noun [un-der-kawrn]: A company that was valued at $1 billion or more by VCs, but currently is valued <$1 billion.
To be sure, such companies could surprise us with above-range IPO prices and huge first-day pops. But, just like with unicorn status, we only can call a company what it is right now.
• Coming attractions: Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit begins later today in San Francisco, and you can find the full agenda and live-stream link by going here.
• Speaking of conferences: As some of you know, one of my jobs here at Fortune is to co-chair our annual Brainstorm Tech event, which takes place next July in Aspen. We’re in the process of putting together the line-up, which will include CEOs, investors, thinkers, etc. If there is someone under-the-radar who you think we should consider, please let me know. To be clear, I’m not asking PR folks to pitch their clients. I’m asking the rest of you to help surface someone who you’ve seen speak before and think is excellent.
THE BIG DEAL
• Otsuka (Tokyo: 4768) has agreed to acquire Avanir (Nasdaq: AVNR), an Aliso Viejo, Calif–based developer of treatments for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, for around $3.5 billion. The $17 per share deal represents a 13.3% premium over yesterday’s closing price for Avanir stock. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Seres Health Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based microbiome therapeutics platform, has raised $48 million in Series C funding. Return backers include Flagship Ventures. www.sereshealth.com.
• Return Path, a New York-based email data analytics company, has raised $35 million in growth equity funding led by Vista Equity Partners. The company previously raised around $60 million from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Costanoa Venture Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Industry Ventures, and Union Square Ventures. www.returnpath.com
• Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a Louisville, Ky.-based developer of immunotherapies, has raised $33 million in Series C funding. Morningside Ventures and AJU IB Investment co-led the round, with return backer Epidarex Ventures also participating. www.apellis.com
• PMV Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Doylestown, Penn.-based developer of p53-targeted small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. OrbiMed led the round, and was joined by Osage University Partners and existing backer InterWest Partners. www.pmvpharma.com
• Conventus Orthopaedics Inc., a Minneapolis-based developer of medical devices for fracture treatment, has raised $24 million in Series AA funding. Backers include Deerfield Management Company, Ally Bridge Group, Sightline Partners, Spray Fund, Blue Stem Capital, BioStar Ventures and Blue Sky Fund. www.conventusortho.com
• Helping, a European on-demand home cleaning company formed by Rocket Internet, has raised $17 million in Series A funding. Backers include Mangrove Capital, Phenomen Ventures and Point Nine Capital. Read more.
• Veniam, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of citywide WiFi networks of connected vehicles to expand coverage and enable the Internet-of-Things, has raised $4.9 million in Series A funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by Union Square Ventures, Cane Investments and individual angels. www.veniamworks.com
• Ecrebo, a UK-based personalized customer engagement platform, has raised £4 million in VC funding from Octopus Investments. www.ecrebo.com
• AYOXXA Biosystems GmbH, a German developer of a tech platform for multiplex protein analysis, has raised €2.3 million in new Series B funding from BioMedPartners AG and Grazia Equity GmbH. The round total is now €11.3 million. www.ayoxxa.com
• El Loco LLC, a Walnut, Calif.–based provider of app localization solutions, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from unidentified angel investors. www.elloco.com
• ClientSuccess, a Lehi, Utah–based provider of customer success management software, has raised $1 million in new VC funding. Peak Ventures led the round, and was joined by Josh James and Scott Dorsey. Existing backers include Plus550, Techstars Bullet Time Ventures and Robb Kunz. www.clientsuccess.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• CCMP Capital Advisors has completed its previously-announced $890 million acquisition of the Eco Services business unit of chemicals company Solvay (Euronext: SOLB). www.solvay.com
• CregannaCenterbridge Partners has agreed to acquire IPC Systems Inc., a Jersey City, N.J.-based provider of network services and trading communication technology to financial firms, from Silver Lake Partners for around $1.2 billion. Silver Lake had originally acquired IPC in 2006 from a Goldman Sachs private equity affiliate for $800 million. Read more.
• Creganna-Tactx Medical, a Ireland-based portfolio company of Permira, has acquired Precision Wire Components LLC, a Tualatin, Ore.-based maker of custom medical wire components, from The Riverside Company. www.pwcwire.com
• Fathom, a Phoenix-based provider of cloud‐based data and customer service solutions for water utilities, has raised an undisclosed amount of new private equity funding from Silver Lake Kraftwerk and return backer XPV Capital Corp. www.gwfathom.com
• First Reserve has invested an undisclosed amount into Hoover Container Solutions, a Houston, Texas–based provider of chemical tanks, cargo carrying units and related services to the global energy and petrochemical markets. www.hooversolutions.com
• Grace Hill LLC, an Augusta, Ga.–based provider of online education and learning management solutions for the multifamily housing industry, has acquired The Training Factor LLC for an undisclosed amount. Grace Hill is a portfolio company of The Riverside Company. www.gracehill.com
• H.I.G. Capital has sponsored a recapitalization of Pegasus Electronic Distribution Services, a Dallas–based electronic distribution network for e-shopping and booking of hotel rooms. www.higcapital.com
• L Capital Asia, a private equity affiliate of LVMH Moët Hennessy, has acquired a control stake in Australian swimwear company Seafolly for an undisclosed amount. www.seafolly.com
• Sterling Partners has acquired Surgical Solutions, a Henderson, Ky.–based provider of support and equipment for surgical procedures. No financial terms were disclosed. www.surgical-solutions.org
• Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras, a Brazilian airline, has refiled for a $100 million IPO. It originally filed for the offering in May 2013, but withdrew this past July. It plans to trade on the NYSE and in Brazil, with Morgan Stanley serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include Weston Presidio (12.29% pre-IPO stake), TPG Growth (8.47%) and Gávea Group (7.32%). www.voeazul.com.br
• Connecture Inc., a Brookfield, Wis.-based health insurance shopping and enrollment platform, has set its IPO terms to 5.77 million shares being offered at between $12 and $14 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $271 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq, under ticker symbol CNXR, with Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan serving as lead underwriters. Connecture reports a $12 million net loss on $35 million in revenue for the first six months of 2014, compared to an $18 million net loss on $19 million in revenue for the deal earlier period. Shareholders include GreatPoint Partners (39.2% pre-IPO stake), Chrysalis Ventures (28.5%), SSM Partners (20.2%) and LiveOak Equity Partners (10.6%). www.connecture.com
• AirBNB has acquired Pencil Labs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based maker of scheduling app, according to BetaBoston. No financial terms were disclosed. Pencil Labs had raised VC funding from CRV and Matrix Partners. Read more.
• AOL (NYSE: AOL) has acquired Vidible, a San Francisco-based video content exchange, for a reported $50 million. Vidible earlier this year announced $3.35 million in Series A funding from Greycroft Partners and IDG Ventures. Read more.
• The Blackstone Group has agreed to sell U.S. industrial real estate company IndCor Properties to Singapore’s GIC for $8.1 billion. Read more.
• Ebix Inc. (Nasdaq: EBIX) has acquired Oakstone Publishing LLC, a Birmingham, Ala.-based provider of continuing education, certification materials for physicians, dentists and allied healthcare professionals. No fi nancial terms were disclosed. Sellers include BV Investment Partners. www.oakstone.com
• The Qatari royal family is in pole position to acquire Spanish apparel maker Pepe Jeans, according to Reuters. The deal is expected to be worth at least €700 million. Pepe Jeans currently is controlled by Torreal, Arta Capital and L Capital Partners, while company management holds a 30% stake. Read more.
• Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has acquired Acompli, a San Francisco–based provider of mobile email solutions. No financial terms were disclosed, but various reports peg the purchase price at more than $200 million. Acompli raised a $7.3 million Series A round last year from Felicis Ventures, Harrison Metal and Redpoint Ventures. Read more.
• The Riverside Company has agreed to sell Baby Jogger Holdings, a Richmond, Va.-based developer of jogging strollers, to Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) for $210 million. www.babyjogger.com
• Aviva PLC (LSE: AV) has agreed to acquire rival British insurer Friends Life Group (LSE: FLG) for around £5.6 billion in stock. Read more.
• Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: CY) has agreed to acquire Sunnyvale, Calif.-based flash memory company Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE) for approximately $1.6 billion in stock. The $25.62 per share deal represents around a 12% premium to yesterday’s closing price for Spansion stock. Read more.
• Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. has agreed to sell its fiber optics operations to Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) for an undisclosed amount. Read more.
• SS&C Technologies Holdings (Nasdaq: SSNC) has acquired DST Global Solutions Ltd., a UK-based provider of financial industry software, from DST Systems Inc. (NYSE: DST) for $95 million in cash. www.dstglobalsolutions.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Lexington Partners is expecting to hit the $10 billion hard cap for its seventh private equity secondaries fund by the end of Q1 2015, according to Dow Jones. It also plans to hold an interim close at close to its $8 billion target later this month, and has expanded the firm’s credit line from $1.25 billion to $1.75 billion. www.lexingtonpartners.com
• SK Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on the chemicals, specialty materials and healthcare sectors, has closed its fourth fund with $1 billion in capital commitments. www.skcapitalpartners.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Terra Fuller has joined Pritzker Group Asset Management as director of research. She previously was with Advanced Strategies as a senior VP and head of hedged equity strategy. www.pritzkergroup.com
• The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has named Jo Taylor as managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He also will lead the group’s London office. Taylor joined OTPP back in 2012. www.otpp.com
• Geoffrey Weg, creator of newsletter curation service Happy Inbox, has joined equity crowdfunding platform Alphaworks as head of business relations. www.alphaworks.com
• Su Yeo and Eric London have joined WL Ross & Co. as a principal and senior director, respectivcely. Yeo will focus on new investments, and previously was with Morgan Stanley Principal Investments. London will focus on investor relations, and previously was with Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group.
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