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Term Sheet — Wednesday, January 14

Random Ramblings

Some notes to kick off your Wednesday…

• Newer Enterprise Associates? Yesterday we mentioned that NEA had filed docs with the SEC that confirmed our previous reporting about how it is in market with what could become the largest VC fund in history. What we neglected to note, however, was that several longtime NEA general partners were missing from the filing.

My understanding is that Jim Barrett is planning to retire, having joined the firm in 2001 after a long career in the healthcare sector. Patrick Kerins is stepping back from certain GP responsibilities, but will continue making new tech investments for NEA. Ryan Drant is expected to remain with NEA through at least 2015 to manage his healthcare portfolio, but may also seek to do something a bit more entrepreneurial in the med device space. Also worth noting that NEA announced several promotions, as reflected in the personnel section below.

• Phoning it in: Kudos to my Fortune colleague Steve Gandell, who asked during this morning’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. earnings call if the firm believes Goldman Sachs should be broken up (in reference, of course, to last week’s GS analyst report that suggested JPM needed a split). Lots of laughter. No comment.

Also worth noting this Jamie Dimon quote:  “In the old days you dealt with one regulator…now it’s five or six. You all should ask the question, how American that is that?” I dunno Jamie. If a JPMorgan client calls up to speak about certain investment issues and because they need a new Chase debit card, do they speak with the same person?

• 2015 outlook: KKR chief economist Henry McVey is out this morning with his 2015 outlook, in which he deviates a bit from his 2014 Outlook message of “stay the course.” A few high-level notes:

  • China: McVey argues that the recent pullback will continue, thus leading to restructuring and recapitalization opportunities in sectors that expanded too much during the 2000-2010 period.
  • Growth equity: KKR is lowering its growth equity allocation in order to increase its allocation to dislocation opportunities not only in China, but also in U.S. energy and European banks.
  • M&A: McVey believes that Corporate America’s inefficient capital structures (i.e., too much cash/too little debt) will continue to promote strong M&A activity. This could be a boon not only for activist hedge funds, but also for buyout firms.

• Just wondering… how much more the Brooklyn Nets would be on the block for if it had any draft picks left.

• Flashback: Alibaba today announced that it has paid an undisclosed amount to acquire a majority stake in Shanghai-based online marketing company AdChina, which has raised more than $30 million in VC funding. It reminds me of a story I wrote nearly two years ago about how AdChina and its Chinese peers had been effectively blocked from going public in the U.S. due to SEC restrictions on the Chinese affiliates of the Big 4 accounting firms (something that remains unresolved). If interested, here was that original piece.


•, a Carpinteria, Calif.–based online learning company and video library, has raised $186 million in new VC funding at around a $1 billion valuation. TPG Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Accel Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and Spectrum Equity. Read more.


• Moovit, a San Francisco–based crowd-sourced public transit app, has raised $50 million in Series C funding. BMW i Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Keolis, Bernard Arnault Group and Vaizra Investments were joined by return backers BRM Capital, Gemini Partners and Sequoia Capital.

• Whistle Sports, a New York-based YouTube sports network, has raised $28 million in new VC funding. Emil Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Liberty Global, Sky Broadcasting and return backers like Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning.

• Basho Technologies, a Bellevue, Wash.-based distributed NoSQL database provider, has raised $25 million in Series G funding led by existing investor Georgetown Partners.

• Obalon Therapeutics Inc., a San Diego-based developer of a balloon-based weight loss device, has raised $20 million in Series D funding. New investors include Axon Ventures, Bader Sultan & Bros., Mirae Asset Venture Investment, NeoPlux Co. and Striker Asia Opportunities Fund. Return backers include Domain Associates, InterWest Partners and Okapi Venture Capital. The company also secured a $10 million term loan from Square 1 Bank.

• Soylent, a San Francisco-based maker of food replacements, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, and was joined by Lerer Ventures, Index Ventures and individual angels like David Friedberg (CEO of Climate Corp.).

• Teads, a London-based video advertising platform, has raised around $15 million in new VC funding from BPI and return backers GIMV, Partech International and Elaia. It also secured another $15 million in new debt financing from Bank of China, HSBC, BNPP and BPI.

• Rounds, an Israel-based online video chat platform, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Sequoia Capital led the round, and was joined by Samsung Ventures and return backers Verizon Ventures, Rhodium and Tim Draper.

• NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, has raised $10 million in new Series D funding (bringing the round total to $27 million). No investor information was disclosed, but past backers have included Shire LLC and Mérieux Développement.

• Gluru, a London-based developer of a machine-learning platform for analyzing and organizing unstructured user data, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from firms like Playfair Capital and GECAD Group.

• Purple WiFi, a London-based provider of public wifi that leverages social media accounts, has raised $5 million in seed funding funding. Terry Leahy (ex-CEO of Tesco) led the round, and was joined by Juno Capital, Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett. Read more.


• Bridgepoint Private Equity has agreed to acquire Paris-based financial software company eFront from Francisco Partners for approximately $300 million, according to peHUB. An earlier report suggested that Francisco was seeking around $400 million. Read more.

• Cinven, EQT Partners and Transdigm each are considering an acquisition offer for German cargo handler Telair, which is being sold by AAR Corp. (NYSE:AIR) for upwards of $800 million, according to Reuters. Read more.

• Concentric Equity Partners has acquired UCI Construction Services Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based provider of infrastructure construction and installation services for the wireless communications industry. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Corinthian Capital Group has acquired Metaltec Steel Abrasive Co., a Canton, Mich.-based manufacturer of metal abrasive materials used in shot-peening, surface profiling and blast cleaning applications in foundries and metal preparation shops. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Abacus Finance Group arranged senior secured credit facilities to support the deal.

• The Gores Group has acquired US Farathane Corp., an Auburn Hill, Mich.–based provider of plastic injection-molded components to the North American automotive industry. No financial terms were disclosed. Evergreen Capital Partners co-invested on the equity, while Wells Fargo Capital Finance and KKR Capital Partners provided leveraged financing.

• TA Associates has acquired a minority stake in RateGain, an India-based provider of SaaS-based hospitality and travel technology solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.


• Bellerophon Therapeutics Inc., a Hampton, N.J.-based developer of drugs focused on cardiopulmonary and cardiac diseases, has filed for a $69 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol BLPH, with Leerink Partners and Cowen & Co. serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include New Mountain Partners (47.94% pre-IPO stake), Linde (16.08%), ARCH Venture Partners (9.52%) and Venrock (9.49%).

• Etsy, a Brooklyn-based homemade crafts marketplace, is prepping an IPO that could raise around $300 million, according to Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are working on the deal. Etsy has raised nearly $100 million in VC funding from firms like Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Glynn Capital Management, Hubert Burda Media and Union Square Ventures. Read more.

• MMI International, a Singapore-based precision engineering company owned by KKR, is reviving IPO plans, according to the WSJ. KKR acquired MMI for $700 million in 2007, and has twice before tried to take the company public (most recently in 2011). Read more.

• Sunrise Communications AG, a Swiss wireless provider owned by CVC Capital Partners, is prepping a $1.3 billion IPO. Read more.


• Incline Equity Partners is seeking a buyer for Wheaton Industries Inc., a Millville, N.J.-based maker of lab supplies like vials and containers, according to Dow Jones. Lincoln International is managing the process.

• Terra Firma Capital Partners has hired Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan to find a buyer for German auto service station group Tank & Rast, according to Reuters. The deal could be worth around $2.4 billion. Read more.


• DRW Trading Group, a Chicago-based prop trading organization, has agreed to acquire smaller rival Chopper Trading for an undisclosed amount.


• Intermediate Capital Group is targeting €2.5 billion for its sixth European mezzanine fund, according to Dow Jones. The London-based firm raised the same amount for its fifth fund back in 2012.

• Riata Capital Group has been formed as a new Dallas-based private equity firm focused on  the consumer, energy, healthcare and business and industrial services sectors. Its two principals are Jeff Fronterhouse, co-founder and co-CEO of Brazos Private Equity Partners, and Barron Fletcher, founder and managing partner of Parallel Investment Partners.


• Michael Adelstein has joined law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP as a New York-based partner focused on alternative investments. He previously was with Greenberg Traurig.

• Salil Donde has joined Nasdasq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) as executive VP and head of global information services. He previously was CEO of Lewtan Technologies Inc.

• Michael Dura, former executive VP of National Financial Services, has joined Lovell Minnick Partners as a senior advisor.

• Guy Gillett has joined Investec’s mergers and acquisitions group to focus on public and private companies in the leisure and retail sectors. He previously was an executive director at DC Advisory.

• Brian Graff has been named president of private finance at American Capital (Nasdaq: ACAS). He joined the firm as a principal in 2001, and has been a senior managing director since 2008.

• New Enterprise Associates has promoted Frank Torti and Rick Yang to partner. Torti joined the firm in 2007 to focus on healthcare investments, and sits on the boards of NeoTract, Galera Therapeutics and Cerecor. Yang joined in 2007 to work on IT and financial tech deals, and sits on the boards of mNectar and TabbedOut. NEA also promoted Aaron Jacobson to principal.

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