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Term Sheet — Thursday, May 28

Random Ramblings

Federal authorities believe that venture capitalist Ifty Ahmed has fled the United States rather than stand trial for insider trading and fraud, according to new court documents. He also is accused of having attempted to “access certain of his assets” in violation of a partial asset freeze, causing the court to order a more expansive asset freeze that includes six real estate holdings.

Ahmed had been a general partner with Oak Investment Partners until April, when he was arrested for insider trading that was unrelated to his work with Oak. He was subsequently charged with fraud and self-dealing, related to deals that he had led on Oak’s behalf.

Oak originally put Ahmed on a leave of absence following the insider trading allegations, but later terminated him for cause after making internal discoveries that ultimately helped lead to the fraud charges.

It is unclear how Ahmed left the country, as court records suggest that authorities were in possession of both his U.S. and India-issued passports. (Some folks have voted that India doesn’t permit dual citizenship, so it’s possible some of the India passports were expired or for family members).

Prior to being placed on leave, Ahmed served on the boards of such Oak portfolio companies as Circle Financial, Kenet LLC, Wonga, and His prior deals included Airespace (acquired by Cisco), GMarket (acquired by eBay) and Kayak (acquired by Priceline).

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hughes confirmed to Fortune that Ahmed is believed to have left the country, but had no further information on the passports. SEC attorneys managing the case have not yet responded to requests for comment, nor has Ahmed’s attorney. An Oak spokeswoman also declined comment, beyond saying the firm has no “direct knowledge” of Ahmed’s whereabouts.

• Don’t believe the IPO pop: Since the beginning of last year, there have been 23 VC-backed companies that have gone public on U.S. exchanges that were valued at $1 billion or more either at the start or close of its first day of trading (per Pitchbook). But 13 of those 23 finished trading yesterday with stock prices below where they had finished their first day of public trades. Eleven of them closed yesterday below where the stocks had opened on IPO day.

• Growth equity scoop: Geraldine Alias has quietly stepped down as a principal with North Bridge Growth Equity, after more than three years with the firm (she previously was with Volition Capital). No word yet on her future plans.

We’re also hearing that Rob Hansen has left his principal role with Symphony Technology Group, which he joined in late 2013 after having led product management for Cambrium Networks. He is expected to remain in the investment world, but his new employer’s name has proved elusive.

• Strategic alternatives: AOL said in a regulatory filing this week that it held talks with three other suitors before agreeing to be acquired by Verizon for $4.4 billion. The most serious of those was an unidentified private equity firm. Read more.

• Nothing to see here: On Tuesday, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said at the Code Conference that “we need to IPO.” Yesterday, on the same stage, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti said that he was working on product diversification efforts that would “allow us to be a public company.” Both of these comments generated headlines, but they shouldn’t have. CEOs of heavily-funded startups are supposed to be planning for an eventual IPO (emphasis on eventual). What would be noteworthy, however, is if the CEO of a heavily-funded startup said that an IPO isn’t in the cards.

• Big thanks. More than 4,000 of you yesterday participated in my “birthday wish,” by visiting J’s book blog. For context, the site had been averaging around 50 visits per day. She initially assumed it was some weird spam attack, but ultimately was quite grateful to all of you (a.k.a. the greatest readers ever).


• Avago Technologies (Nasdaq: AVGO) announced that it has agreed to acquire rival chipmaker Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) for around $37 billion (including $17b in cash).

The acquisition, expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, values Broadcom at $54.50 per share in cash — well higher than Broadcom’s $47.06 per share closing price on Tuesday, but below Wednesday’s media-fueled closing price of $57.16. Per Bloomberg, this is the largest pure tech M&A transaction in history. Read more.


 Trustpilot, a Denmark-based review community for global online shoppers, has raised $73.5 million in Series D funding. Vitruvian Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers DFJ Esprit, Index Ventures, Northzone and Seed Capital Denmark.

• Pronutria Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of therapeutics to mediate amino acid biology, has raised $39 million in Series C funding. Fidelity Management & Research Co. led the round, and was joined by existing backer Flagship Ventures.

• GumGum, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of an in-image advertising platform, has raised $26 million in Series C funding. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers NEA, Upfront Ventures and First Round Capital.

• ClearDATA, a Tempe, Ariz.-based provider of cloud computing and information security services to the healthcare industry, has raised $25 million in Series C funding. Heritage Group, HLM Venture Partners and Flare Capital Partners were joined by return backers Norwest Venture Partners, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Excel Venture Management.

• NeuWave Medical, a Madison, Wis.–based developer of medical devices for us in the ablation of soft-tissue lesions, has raised $25 million in Series C funding. Versant Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers H.I.G. BioVentures and Venture Investors LLC.

• Flat4Day (dba Hemenkiralik), a Turkey-based vacation rentals site, has raised $2 million in minority equity funding from HomeAway Inc. (Nasdaq: AWAY).

• Brilliant Bicycle Co., a Los Angeles-based maker of “affordable” hand-made bicycles, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from four individual partners at RRE Ventures, Aspiration Growth and individuals at Bonobos.

• Lystable, a UK-based enterprise platform for managing partners, suppliers and freelancers, has raised $1.5 million in VC funding led by Valar Ventures.

• Wealthminder, a Reston, Va.-based provider of financial planning and investment advice software, has raised $1.45 million in seed funding from Green Visor Capital, Signatures Capital and individual angels.

• Manta Instruments, a La Jolla, Calif.–based developer of technology for characterizing nanoparticles, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Triton Technology Fund.


• Apollo Global Management is investing $300 million for around a 15% preferred equity stake in CH2M Hill Inc., an Englewood, Colo.-based global engineering services company. Read more.

• BlueArc Capital has acquired Brunswick Bowling Products Inc., a Muskegon, Mich.-based maker of bowling products, from Brunswick Corp. (NYSE:BC) for an undisclosed amount. Other members of the buying consortium included Gladstone Investment Corp. and Capitala Finance Corp.

• Cinven has agreed to acquire Labco, a France-based operator of medical diagnostic laboratories, for €1.2 billion. Sellers would include 3i Group, Electra Partners, TCR Capital, Natixis Investment Partners and CIC Finance.

• Duravant, a portfolio company of Odyssey Investment Partners, has agreed to acquire Hamer LLC from Hanover Partners and Tuckerman Capital. No financial terms were disclosed, although the sellers said the deal represented a 7x cash-on-cash return. Hamer LLC is a Plymouth, Minn.–based maker of specialty automated packaging equipment.

• Liquid Web, a Lansing, Mich.–based provider of web hosting and managed cloud services, has secured a “substantial investment” from private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners.

• NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Corp. has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Jefferson, La.-based B&G Crane Holdings Inc. from The Sterling Group for an undisclosed amount. NCSG Crane shareholders include TriWest Capital Partners, Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund and NCA Partners.

• NXP Semiconductor (Nasdaq: NXPI) has agreed to sell its RF Power business to JAC Capital for $1.8 billion. Read more.

• Sheridan Legacy Group, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the lower middle markets, has acquired Lone Star Distribution, a Dallas-based specialty distributor of sports nutrition and fitness products. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include Spell Capital Partners.

• Survey Sampling International, a Shelton, Conn.-based provider of corporate surveys, has agreed to acquire both MyOpinions Ltd. (Australia) and SmileCity Ltd. (New Zealand). No financial terms were disclosed for either deal. SSI was acquired last year by HGGC, with sellers Providence Equity Partners and Sterling Investment Partners retaining minority ownership stakes.

• Worldwise, a San Rafael, Calif.-based pet products company owned by Mistral Equity Partners, has agreed to merge with Quaker Pet Group, a Whippany, N.J.–based maker of dog toys and pet carriers.


• MultiVer Inc., a Houston, Texas-based biotech company focused on oncology, has withdrawn its IPO registration. No explanation was provided. The company had planned to offer 4.6 million shares at between $12 and $14 per share. The pre-revenue company had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with RBC Capital Markets serving as lead underwriter.

• Seres Therapeutics Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of a microbiome therapeutics platform, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MCRB, with Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include Flagship Ventures (54.7% pre-IPO stake), Nestlé Health Science (18.3%), Fidelity (8.1%) and Enso Ventures (5.9%).


•, a Provo, Utah-based provider of cloud-based sales acceleration technology, has acquired C9 Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.–based provider of predictive sales analytics software. No financial terms were disclosed. InsideSales has raised around $200 million in VC funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Acadia Woods, EPIC Ventures, Salesforce, Microsoft, Zetta Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and U.S. Venture Partners. C9 backers included InterWest Partners, LeapFrog Ventures and Mayfield.


 CA Technologies (Nasdaq: CA) has agreed to acquire Rally Software (NYSE: RALY), a Boulder, Colo.–based provider of Agile development software and services. The deal is valued at $480 million, or $19.50 per share (44.34% premium over yesterday’s closing price). Rally went public in 2013 at $14 per share, and VC backer Mohr Davidow Ventures still holds a 7.02% stake.

• Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT), a Sunnyvale, Calif.–based provider of cyber security solutions, has agreed to acquire Meru Networks (Nasdaq: MERU), a Sunnyvale, Calif.–based provider of “intelligent WiFi networking.” The deal is valued at $44 million in cash, or $1.63 per Meru share. Meru went public in 2010 at $15 per share, and Clearstone Venture Partners still holds around an 8% ownership stake.

• GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has paid around $509 million for an undisclosed stake in Brazilian hospital chain Rede D’Or from BTG Pactual. According to Reuters, GIC also has agreed to buy an equal number of shares from the family of Rede D’Or founder Jorge Moll, which would give GIC a total ownership position of 16%. Read more.

• Sunac China Holdings (HK: 1918) has abandoned its efforts to acquire a 49.3% stake in Chinese property developer Kaisa Group (HK: 1638). Read more.

• Weibo (Nasdaq: WB) has agreed to invest $142 million into Didi Kuaidi, a company that soon will be formed via the merger of Chinese taxi e-hail services Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. Read more.


 Cortec Group has closed its sixth private equity fund with $1.1 billion in capital commitments.

 Passion Capital, a London-based seed-stage investment firm, said that it has closed its second fund with £45 million in capital commitments. Term Sheet first reported on the fund close yesterday.

• Tenaya Capital today announced that it has closed its seventh VC fund with $450 million in capital commitments. The fund actually was raised last year, but has not yet called down capital (first deal is expected this summer).


 Lea Lazaric Calvert has joined Evercore as a managing director in the firm’s private capital advisory unit. He previously was an executive director in the private funds group of UBS.

• Farah Champsi has joined VC firm InterWest Partners as a healthcare-focused managing director. She previously was a managing director with Alta Partners.

• Brian Gart has joined boutique investment bank Gordian Group as a managing director and general counsel. He previously was a partner with law firm Berger Singerman LLP.

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