Term Sheet — Wednesday, December 17

December 17, 2014, 3:10 PM UTC

Random Ramblings

A bunch of quick notes to kick off your Wednesday.

 Try again Mark: I've been struggling a lot with what to write, or what not to write, related to information that has come to light related to the Sony hack. It's stolen information that, in a number of cases, touches on items of interest to Term Sheet readers. For the most part, my bias is to let you find it elsewhere. Reporting something in which one party breaks confidentiality is one thing (since he/she was a party to the agreement), whereas this is more akin to an illegal wiretap. Consider it a very hazy ethical line.

That said, there was one anecdote which struck me as amusing and hardly trade secret (see how fast I smashed my own moral compass?): After Snapchat turned down Facebook's takeover offer in late 2013, Mark Zuckerberg apparently complained to early Facebook employee Matt Cohler (now a venture capitalist) that Snapchat had leaked news of the failed deal in order to help in fundraising. But here's the thing: Zuckerberg was wrong.

News of the leak was first reported by the WSJ just a few days before Halloween. I remember it vividly, because I was at a costume store frantically texting back-and-forth with a colleague, as we had been just an hour or so away from posting the exact same story. I can't speak to WSJ's sources, but can say with certainty that ours were neither Snapchat nor Snapchat investors. But it was a good theory...

 Related: If you have information you'd like to share with me but no longer trust regular email, remember that you can message me at danielprimack@gmail.com via the secure Confide mobile app.

 Personnel scoop: Eric Liaw has quietly joined The Blackstone Group as a principal in its private equity business. He had spent the past six years as a principal with TPG, where he focused on the energy sector and sat on the boards of such companies as Petro Harvester Oil & Gas, Axip Energy Services and Northern Tier Energy.

 Personnel scoop #2: Alex Crisses has left Insight Venture Partners, where he served as a managing director focused on infrastructure software and Internet investments. No word yet on his future plans.

Next emerging market: President Obama is expected to make a major announcement today related to Cuba, with the AP reporting that the U.S. may be in the early stages of normalizing full diplomatic relations. If so, how long until we see Cuba-focused private equity funds?

Today's big deal is that online small business lender On Deck raised $200 million in an IPO that priced above its offering range. But arguably the more impressive IPO pricing came from a company that came in well below target: Rice Midstream Partners, a limited partnership formed by Rice Energy (NYSE: RICE) to own midstream gas assets in the Marcellus Shale. Successfully pushing into the public markets with that sort of company in the midst of the energy price swoon is really quite remarkable.

 Morning missives: Do you have a colleague who wants to sign up for Term Sheet? Or perhaps you want to receive one of Fortune's other newsletters, like Broadsheet (focused on women in business) or Data Sheet (enterprise tech). Now you can now do it all in one place, just by heading to http://fortune.com/newsletters.


 OnDeck, a New York-based online platform for small business lending, raised $200 million in its IPO. The company priced 10 million shares at $20 per share (above $16-$18 range), for an initial market cap of $1.32 billion. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol ONDK, while Morgan Stanley was listed as left lead underwriter.

OnDeck reports a $14.4 million net loss on nearly $108 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2014, compared to an $18.7 million net loss on $42 million in revenue for the year-earlier period.

The company had raised over $170 million in VC funding, from firms like RRE Ventures (15.4% pre-IPO stake), Institutional Venture Partners (14.4%), Village Ventures (10.8%), SAP Ventures (10.1%), First Round Capital (6.5%), Google Ventures (6.3%) and Tiger Global (6%). www.ondeck.com


 Phononic, a Raleigh, N.C.-based developer of solid state thermal management solutions, has raised $44.5 million in Series D funding. Eastwood Capital and the Wellcome Trust co-led the round, and were joined by WLR China Energy Infrastructure Fund, Tsing Capital, Venrock, Oak Investment Partners and Rex Health Ventures. www.phononic.com

 Annexon Bioscience, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of treatments for Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders, has raised $34 million in Series A-1 funding. Novartis Venture Funds led the round, and was joined by existing backers Satter Investment Management and Clarus Ventures. www.annexonbio.com

 Quantenna Communications Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based provider of Wi-Fi video networking for whole-home entertainment, has raised $22 million in new VC funding. Centerview Capital Technology, Vivint and NTT Group were joined by return backers like Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Rusnano, Sigma Partners and Venrock. The company now has raised around $166 million in total funding. www.quantenna.com

 InVisage Technologies Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker of image sensors, has raised $14.5 million in new VC funding from China Oceanwide USA Holdings. This brings its round total to $32.5 million (and more than $115m in total funding), including prior investments from GGV Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, Intel Capital and OnPoint Technologies. www.invisageinc.com

 Serviz, a Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based provider of on-demand home services, has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding led by PointGuard Ventures. www.serviz.com

 P97 Networks, a Houston-based provider of a cloud-based mobile commerce and behavioral marketing platform for the convenience and fuel retailing industry, has raised $8 million in Series A funding. Emerald Technology Ventures led the round, and was joined by American Trading and Production Corp. www.p97.com

 Mattermark, a San Francisco-based provider of financial deal intelligence, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by the Foundry Group. www.mattermark.com

 Carwow, a British online platform for buying new cars in the UK, has raised £4.6 million in Series A funding. Balderton Capital led the round, and was joined by Episode 1 Ventures and Samos Investments. www.carwow.co.uk

 Freight Farms, a Boston-based maker of cloud-connected hydroponic farms made from insulated shipping containers., has raised $3.7 million in new VC funding led by Spark Capital. www.freightfarms.com

 Mavrck (f.k.a. Splashcore), a Boston-based social influence marketing platform, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from GrandBanks Capital. www.mavrck.co

 Foko, a Canada-based photo-sharing and messaging service for the enterprise, has raised C$2 million in new seed funding from BDC Capital and Real Ventures. www.foko.co

 Talkspace, a text messaging startup focused the mental health talk therapy market, has raised $1 million in new seed funding from Metamorphic Ventures. It previously raised $2.5 million from Spark Capital and Softbank. www.talkspace.com


 Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire half of the services business of Australian builder Leighton Holdings Ltd. (ASX: LEI) for A$700 million. Read more.

 Beautycounter, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based maker of skin and body care products, has raised an undisclosed amount of minority equity funding from TPG Growth. Read more.

 Bluefin Payment Systems, an Atlanta-based provider of payments technology for organizations, has secured an undisclosed amount of new private equity and debt funding led by the Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group. Existing shareholders include Napier Park Global Capital and Camden Partners. www.bluefin.com

 Central Conveyor Co., a Brighton, Mich.–based provider of custom material handling and storage retrieval systems, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from New State Capital Partners. www.centralconveyor.com

 FranConnect, a Reston, Va.-based provider of franchise management systems, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Serent Capital. www.franconnect.com

 HGGC has completed its previously-announced acquisition of a majority stake in Survey Sampling International, a Shelton, Conn.-based provider of corporate surveys, from Providence Equity Partners and Sterling Investment Partners (each of which will retain a minority stake). No financial terms were disclosed, but the NY Times reports that the deal values SSI at around $500 million. www.surveysampling.com

 Partners Group has agreed to acquire a control stake in Dynacast International, a Charlotte, N.C.–based maker of die-cast metal components. The deal gives Dynacast an enterprise value of $1.1 billion, and is expected to close in February. Sellers include Kenner & Co., which bought Dynacast in 2011 from Melrose PLC for $590 million. www.dynacast.com

 The Riverside Co. has invested an undisclosed amount into Alcohol Monitoring Systems, a Littleton, Colo.-based provider of monitoring services for non-violent drug, alcohol and criminal offenders. www.alcoholmonitoring.com

 Renovus Capital Partners and Graycliff Partners have acquired the flight training division of Oregon-based Hillsboro Aviation Inc. No financial terms were disclosed. D.A. Davidson managed the process. www.hillsboroaviation.com

 Star2Star Communications LLC, a Sarasota, Fla.-based provider of unified business communications systems, has raised $30 million in new funding led by NewSpring Growth Capital, according to Dow Jones. Read more. PPM America Capital Partners, a NewSpring limited partner, also participated. Read more.


 Juno Therapeutics, a Seattle-based developer of immunotherapies for cancer, has increased its proposed IPO price range from $15-$18 per share to $21-$23 per share. It still plans to offer 9.25 million shares, and now would have an initial market cap of approximately $1.68 billion, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol JUNO, with Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriters. The pre-revenue company has raised around $310 million over two rounds of VC funding, from firms like Crestline Management (34.75% pre-IPO stake, on behalf of the Alaska Permanent Fund), Arch Venture Partners (15.17%), Fidelity Investments, Bezos Expeditions and Venrock. Its strategic partners are The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (5.17%), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Seattle Children's Research Institute. www.junotherapeutics.com

 Rice Midstream Partners, a limited partnership formed by Rice Energy (NYSE: RICE) to own midstream gas assets in the Marcellus Shale, raised $413 million in its IPO. The company priced 25 million units at $16.50 per unit (below $19-$21 range). It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol RMP, while Barclays was listed a sole underwriter. www.riceenergy.com


 21st Century Fox (Nasdaq: FOXA) has agreed to acquire True[x] Media, a Los Angeles-based provider of ad-tech solutions for brands. No financial terms were disclosed, although various reports put the sale price at around $200 million. True[x] had raised over $44 million in VC funding from Jafco Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures. www.truex.com

 Brandwatch, a UK-based social media monitoring platform, has acquired PeerIndex, a UK-based social influence analytics and marketing company. No financial terms were disclosed. Brandwatch has raised more than $22 million in VC funding from Highland Capital Partners and Nauta Capital, while PeerIndex had raised $3 million  from Antrak Capital and individual angels like ex-Reuters CEO Tom Glocer. Read more.

 The Carlyle Group has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for ITS Technologies and Logistics, a Tinley Park, Ill.-based logistics company, according to the WSJ. The deal could be valued at around $500 million. Read more.

 DeVry Education Group (NYSE: DV) has agreed to acquire Damásio Educacional, a Brazilian provider of bar exam test prep and law education programs, from Victoria Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.devryeducationgroup.com

 Janrain, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of social identity management solutions for businesses, has acquired Arktan, a Menlo Park, Calif.–based provider of real-time social curation and social engagement products. No financial terms were disclosed. Janrain has raised in VC funding from Anthem Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier, Emergence Capital Partners, RPM Ventures and Tim Draper. www.janrain.com


 Bravofly Rumbo of Switzerland has agreed to acquire UK-based travel site Lastminute.com from Sabre (Nasdaq:SABR) for $120 million. Sabre had paid $120 million to buy Lastminute.com back in 2005. Read more.

 Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: DHK) has closed a new $4 billion, $5-year senior unsecured revolving credit facility. www.chk.com

 FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) has acquired Bongo International, a St. Petersburg, Fla.–based provider of “cross border enablement technologies and solutions.” No financial terms were disclosed. www.bongous.com

  J.P. Morgan Asset Management has acquired the Asia-Pacific real estate platform of Aviva Investors. No financial terms were disclosed. www.jpmorgan.com

 Philips (Amsterdam: PHIA) has agreed to acquire Volcano Corp. (Nasdaq: VOLC), a San Diego-based maker of “precision-guided” medical devices, for approximately $1.2 billion (including the assumption of debt). The $18 per share deal represents a 57% premium over yesterday’s closing price. Read more.


 Energy Spectrum Capital has closed its seventh energy-focused private equity fund with $1.225 billion in capital commitments. www.energyspectrumcapital.com

 Sheridan Production Partners has raised $1.5 billion for its third private equity fund, which will acquire onshore U.S. producing oil and gas properties. www.sheridanproduction.com

 Upfront Ventures, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based early-stage VC firm focused on the tech sector, has closed its fifth fund with $280 million in capital commitments. The firm had been targeting $250 million, and around $170 million of the commitments were from new limited partners. www.upfront.com



 Martin Angert has joined Susquehanna Growth Equity as a director. He previously was a principal with Insight Venture Partners. www.sgep.com

 James Robinson has agreed to join the Tokyo office of law firm Morrison & Foerster, as a corporate partner focused on M&A. He previously led the Tokyo corporate and M&A practices for Herbert Smith Freehills. www.mofo.com

 Paul Gibson has joined Horizon Technology Finance Corp. (Nasdaq: HRZN) as managing director for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest U.S. tech markets. He previously was with Bridge Bank. www.horizontechnologyfinancecorp.com

 Joel Sng, an angel investor whose deals have included Facebook and Xiaomi, has joined venture capital firm Formation 8 as a Singapore-based partner. www.formation8.com

 UBS said that it will nominate James Staley, a managing partner with hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management, to its board of directors. Read more.

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