Most of yesterday was spent dealing with the blizzard and related childcare complications (the home office got nearly three feet), so just a few notes to kick off your Wednesday:
• I know this is a bit of an exaggeration, but: If you are a large private equity firm not raising a new fund to explicitly take advantage of recent energy market dislocation, then you might not be a large private equity firm. It feels a lot like what we saw following the financial crisis, when lots of big buyout shops launched distressed credit and financial services-focused vehicles with much short investment horizons than would be featured in a traditional private equity fund (most of which worked out, thus creating an attractive template this time around).
Got to wonder how long until PE firms will expand from distressed energy into the broader commodities sector. Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman yesterday said during an earnings call that he was expecting sustained pricing weakness in everything from copper to coal, and today’s top story is that Bain Capital and Private Equity Partners have bailed on a big mining sector deal due to commodity price concerns. I kind of like the ring of Carlyle Copper Credit Partners…
• Dealflow: Intralinks is out with its latest index of future M&A activity based on its virtual datarooms, and finds a 1% quarter-over-quarter increase in early-stage global M&A activity. The year-over-year increase is 12%, with particular boosts in EMEA (+18% year-over-year) and North America (+10%).
• New job: Suzanne Rombeau Fletcher has quietly joined Stanford-StartX, to lead the nonprofit accelerator’s venture capital fund. She previously spent more than nine years as a managing director of Paul Capital’s secondary private equity group.
• Recommended reading: Yahoo yesterday announced plans to spin off its remaining 15% investment in Alibaba Group, which is valued at around $40 billion. It’s basically a tax play, and the best explainer I’ve seen comes from Bloomberg View’s Matt Levine. You can read it here.
• Get Liquid: Full details on our Boston Liquidity Event will come next week (I’m pretty psyched about the venue). We’re still seeking one more sponsor so, if interested, please let me know via email.
THE BIG DEAL
• Bain Capital and Pacific Equity Partners have pulled an A$870 million takeover offer for Australian mining services company Bradken Ltd. (ASX: BKN), due to commodity sector volatility. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• APUS Group, a Beijing-based Android app development company, has raised $100 million in Series B funding. Chengwei Capital, SIG and Qiming Venture Partners were joined by return backers Redpoint Ventures and Northern Light Venture Capital. www.apusapps.com
• UserTesting, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based user experience platform, has raised $45.5 million in Series C funding. Accel Partners led the round, and was joined by OpenView Venture Partners. www.usertesting.com
• Advance Health, a Chantilly, Va.-based provider of managed care prospective health assessments and care management solutions, has raised $40 million in minority growth equity funding. Summit Partners led the round, and was joined by Noro-Moseley Partners. www.advancehlth.com
• ClickTale, an Israel-based provider of digital customer experience management solutions, has raised $35 million in new funding. KKR led the round, and was joined by return backers like Amadeus Capital Partners and Viola Credit. www.clicktale.com
• Beckon, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of marketing intelligence software, has raised $13 million in Series B funding. Venrock led the round, and was joined by return backers August Capital, Canaan Partners and El Dorado Ventures. www.beckon.com
• Araxid Prime, a McLean, Va.-based developer of a SaaS-based identity platform, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Columbia Capital. www.araxiad.com
• RedShelf, a Chicago-based e-textbook distributor, has raised $2 million in Series A funding led by the National Association of College Stores. www.redshelf.com
• Final, a Mountain View, Calif.-based credit card that “enables users to generate multiple card numbers,” has raised $1 million in seed funding from firms like Ludlow Ventures, T5 Capital Partners and YCombinator. www.getfinal.com
• Querium Corp., an Austin, Texas-based mobile learning software platform for math and science skills, has raised $800,000 in Series A-3 funding led by ICG Ventures. www.querium.com.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Accel-KKR has merged portfolio companies EPiServer (Stockholm) and Ektron (Nashua, N.H.), in order to form a combined provider of cloud-based digital experience platforms. The combined company will operate under the EPIServer name, but will use both original brands. www.accel-kkr.com
• Borsa Istanbul is in talks to sell a minority equity stake in itself prior to a 2016 IPO, according to Bloomberg. A deal could value the Turkish stock exchange at around $1 billion, with Silver Lake Partners and Warburg Pincus among possible investors. www.borsaistanbul.com
• Elliott Management plans to agitate for Informatica Corp. (Nasdaq: INFA), a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of data integration software, to sell itself either to private equity or to another tech company, according to Bloomberg. Informatica shares climbed nearly 7% on the news, giving it a market cap north of $4.6 billion. Read more.
• Lone Star Funds has agreed to acquire Ireland-based hotel chain Jurys Inn for an enterprise value of £680 million, which represents a 4x return on equity investments from a 2013 restructuring that included Mount Kellett Capital Management and the sovereign wealth fund of Oman. Read more.
• Partners Group has acquired the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City from Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. for an undisclosed amount. www.partnersgroup.com
• The Blackstone Group has launched a dual exit process for British resorts operator Center Parcs, according to the WSJ. Either a sale of IPO could value the company at upwards of £2.5 billion. Read more.
• Shake Shack Inc., a New York-based premium burger restaurant chain, has increased its IPO price range from $14-$16 per share to $17-$19 per share. It still plans to offer 5 million shares, and would have an initial market cap of approximately $639 million, were it to price in the middle of its revised range. Shake Shack plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol SHAK, with J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $3.5 million in net income on $83.7 million in revenue for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 24, 2014, compared to $4.4 million in net income on $59.5 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Shareholders include Leonard Green (30.5% pre-IPO stake). Read more.
• Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia-based developer of one-time gene therapy products, has increased its IPO terms to 6.5 million shares being offered at between $19 and $21 per share. It previously filed to offer 5.5 million shares at between $15 and $17 per share. It initial market cap would be around $460 million, were it to price in the middle of its revised range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ONCE, with J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse serving as co-lead underwriters. Shareholders include Sofinnova Ventures (11.45% pre-IPO stake), Baker Brothers (7.63%), Brookside, Deerfield Management, Rock Springs Capital, T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. www.sparktx.com
• Zosano Pharma Corp., a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of transdermal delivery patches for the treatment of severe osteoporosis, raised $50 million in its IPO. The company priced 4.3 million shares at $11 per share, and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ZSAN. Ladenburg Thalmann and Roth Capital Partners served as lead underwriters. Shareholders include BioMed Realty (43.53% pre-IPO stake) and New Enterprise Associates (38.75%). www.zosanopharma.com
• Evergreen Industrial Services, a La Porte, Texas-based portfolio company of Platform Partners, has acquired GEM Mobile Treatment Services, a provider of engineered environmental remediation solutions for vapor control and wastewater treatment, from Sterling Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.evergreenes.com
• GTCR has retained Barclays and RBC to explore a sale of Israel-based financial services software provider Fundtech Ltd., which could be worth around $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. Potential acquirers include Fidelity National Information Services Inc. and Fiserv Inc. www.fundtech.com
• Enstar Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESGR) has acquired Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Co., a Columbia, S.C.-based property and casualty insurance agency, from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina. The deal was valued at $218 million. www.companiongroup.com
• Danny Wimmer Presents, a producer of 10 annual music festivals, has sold an undisclosed equity stake in itself to the United Auburn Indian Community Development Corp. No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• The Israeli government is seeking a buyer for Israel Military Industries Ltd., maker of Uzi submachine guns, for upwards of $500 million. Read more.
• Lattice Semiconductor (Nasdaq: LSCC) has agreed to acquire Silicon Image (Nasdaq: SIMG) for around $600 million in cash, or $7.30 per share (23.7% premium to yesterday’s closing price). Read more.
• Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR) has agreed to acquire Delta Hotels and Resorts, a Canadian hotel operator, from British Columbia Investment Management Corp. for approximately $135 million. Read more.
• Prosper Marketplace, a San Francisco-based peer-to-peer lending company, has acquired patient financing platform American Healthcare Lending for $21 million in cash. Prosper has raised over $180 million in VC funding, from firms like DFJ, Accel Partners, Crosslink Capital, BlackRock, Francisco Partners and Sequoia Capital. www.prosper.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Abraaj Group has raised between $900 million and $1 billion for its third Africa-focused fund, according to Dow Jones. www.abraaj.com
• CHAMP Private Equity, an Australian mid-market private equity firm, is preparing to raise its fourth fund with a A$1.5 billion target, according to Private Equity International. www.champequity.com.au
• EnCap Flatrock Midstream, an energy-focused private equity firm, has opened a new office in Houston. It will be led by managing director Sam Pitts, and will be the firm’s third office (San Antonio and Oklahoma City are the others). www.efmidstream.com
• NXT Capital has closed its third leveraged loan fund with $800 million in capital commitments. www.nxtcapital.com
• Riverstone Holdings is planning to raise its first-ever energy debt fund, according to peHUB. The firm remains in market with its sixth flagship fund, which is targeting $7.5 billion. Read more.
• Vintage Investment Partners, a later-stage VC co-investment firm, has closed its eighth fund with $125 million in capital commitments. www.vintage-ip.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Christophe Bejachjoined has joined Monument Capital Group Holdings as a managing director of European operations. He previously was an advisor to French Minister of Economy and Industry Arnaud Montebourg, with a focus on national industrial policy. www.monumentcapitalgroup.com
• André Bourbonnais has joined the Public Sector Pension Investment Board as president and CEO, effective March 30. He previously was with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as a senior managing director and global head of private investments. www.investpsp.ca
• Bryan Hale has joined DFJ as a Seattle-based executive-in-residence. He previously spent five years as an executive with DFJ portfolio company Chef, before which he was an investment professional with DFJ and a corporate development exec with Salesforce.com. www.dfj.com
• Shasta Ventures has promoted Sean Flynn to managing director. He joined the firm in 2008 from Yahoo, and sits on the boards of such portfolio companies as Bloc, Swipely, TaskRabbit and ZEFR. www.shastaventures.com
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