Skip to Content

Term Sheet — Tuesday, July 21

Random Ramblings

Hello, Erin Griffith here filling in while Dan is on vacation. Please direct your story tips, deal announcements and feedback to I’m also on Twitter at @eringriffith.

• Stay tuned: First Data, KKR’s payments processing company, is going public. There are no details yet on the bookrunner or size of the deal. KKR bought the company at the height of the deal boom eight years ago for $28 billion and then, in an unusual move, put more money in last summer. First Data is, by our calculations, KKR’s single biggest holding.

The S-1 filing shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given Henry Kravis’s coy answer on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference last week when asked about a possible IPO. “All I’ll say is stay tuned,” he said.

He had brought up First Data as an example of KKR’s appeal to startups:

“One thing I like to encourage young companies to do is think about companies like KKR, with a vast portfolio of companies that we have. We have over 100 companies in a lot of different industries and over $220 billion in revenue. Can you start to scale your business much faster by tying in with someone like a KKR that has this, let’s call it for now, offline kind of business? The answer is yes.”

When First Data acquired Clover, a payments startup, in 2013 for just over $50 million, the company gained six million customers overnight, Kravis said.

• Nobody’s safe: Activist investors have historically avoided technology. It’s a growth industry with typically high valuations. Plus, the technology business is complex and fast-moving — leaders need a vision of the future, not financial engineering and cost-cutting expertise. But as the mature, consolidated industry ages, activists are increasingly drawn to tech giants. More importantly, they’re increasingly getting results. Yesterday eBay and PayPal enjoyed a successful split, appeasing agitator Carl Icahn. H-P’s massive upcoming breakup was brought about by activist Ralph Whitworth. And last night we learned Qualcomm is likely to succumb to Jana Partners, with an announcement of a strategic review and possible break-up expected.

If it feels like there’s a new activist situation in tech every month, it’s because there almost is. S&P Capital IQ calculates that between 2005 and 2010, only 11 public tech companies with market caps higher than $1 billion dealt with activist investors. Just two per year. That increased fivefold over the following four and a half years, with 50 activist investor situations taking place between 2010 and mid-year 2015. The “urge to merge” is dead, in tech at least. S&P is calling this the era of “unrest to divest.”

• Shark snark: Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca once believed the TV show Shark Tank to be “a dime-store version of my current job” and “a circus of kitchen gadgets and stocking stuffers optimized for infomercials.” Not anymore. He’ll be featured as a “guest shark” on the next season of the ABC show, alongside Ashton Kutcher and Troy Carter. He tells Fortune he’s already done two deals from the show and that the valuations are much less aggressive than in Silicon Valley. The new season premieres September 15.


• First Data Corporation has filed an S-1 registration statement for an IPO. The company, acquired by KKR in 2006 for $28 billion, has not set the terms of its IPO or identified a bookrunner. As of the first quarter of this year, the company had $21.1 billion in total debt. Read more.


• Apprenda, a Troy, N.Y.-based software development platform has raised $24 million in venture funding led by Safeguard Scientifics, with participation from New Enterprise Associates and Ignition partners. Read more.

• Rex Computing, a San Francisco-based chip company, has raised $1.25 million from Founders Fund’s FF Science Fund. Read more.

• Medallia, a Palo Alto-based provider of SaaS customer service products, has raised $150 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital. Read more.

• Invi, a Palo Alto-based text messaging app, raised $2 million in new funding led by Seven Seas Ventures with participation from Streamline Ventures, InnoValley, F50 and Pre-Angel.

• KFit, a subscription fitness startup based in Malaysia, has raised $3.25 million in venture funding led by Sequoia Capital.

•, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of virtual care solutions, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by Oregon Angel Fund, with participation from Seven Peaks Ventures and Stanford-StartX Fund.

• Inc., a New York-based provider of blockchain IP and tools to automate decentralized peer to peer trading, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Atlantic Merchant Capital Investors and Celeridem Capital Management.

• Sleepace, a Chinese maker of a sleep-monitoring gadget, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Luolai Home Textile with participation from, according to TechinAsia. Read more.

• Rotimatic, a Singapore-based kitchen device company, raised a $15 million in a Series B round round of funding, according to Deal Street Asia. The investment was led by Robert Bosch Venture Capitalthe venture capital arm of German engineering and electronics company MNC Bosch. Read more.

• Adphorus, a marketing startup based in Instanbul, has raised $1 million in seed funding led by 500 Startups and European angel investors.

• GroupBy Inc., a Toronto-based ecommerce technology company, has raised $3 million in funding from Tier One Capital LP and B.E.S.T. Active 365 Fund LP.

• InnaVirVax, a French drug company whose lead candidate is aimed at restoring the immune system of people living with HIV, has raised €3.6 million in new VC funding from return backers The FCPR CapDecisif 2, G1J Ile-de-France, Pradeyrol Development, Fa Dièse and FRCI.

• SemaConnect, a provider of electric vehicle charging services, raised $15 million in venture funding led by Pear Tree Partners LP.

• Sensity Systems Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based energy-efficient LED lighting company, has raised $36 million in venture funding led by Cisco Investments with participation from Acuity Brands, GE Ventures and Simon Venture Group, the corporate investment arm of Simon Property Group.

• Limelight Health, a San Francisco-based provider of mobile enterprise technology for the health insurance industry, raised $3 million in Series A funding from MassMutual Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and AXA Strategic Ventures, with participation from LaunchPad Digital Health.

• Besomebody Inc., an Austin, Texas-based social media app, has raised $1 million in funding led by Fred Tillman, with participation from E.W. Scripps Company.

• Zo Rooms, a Bangalore-based marketplace for budget hotels, has raised around $15 million in Series A funding from Tiger Global, with participation from Orios Venture Partners, according to the Economic Times. Read more.

• Irth Solutions, a Columbus, Ohio-based provider of productivity tool for the utility, energy and telecom industries, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Bregal Sagemount, a private capital firm.


• KKR has acquired Deutsche Glasfaser, a German fiber-optic network company, from Reggeborgh, a Dutch investment firm, for €450 million ($487.6 million).

• KPS Capital Partners has recapitalized American & Efird Global, a manufacturer of thread and textiles, raising $275 million of financing. The deal is comprised of a $65 million revolving credit facility and a $210 million term loan.

• The Carlyle Group, Macquarie Group and HNA Group (China) are among the short-listed bidders for ANZ Banking Group’s $6 billion-plus car and equipment loan book, according to Reuters. Bidders that didn’t make it to this round included pairings of TPG Capital with The Blackstone Group and KKR with Varde Partners. Read more.

• ABRY Partners has sponsored a recapitalization of Frontline Performance Group, a Winter Park, Fla.-based provider of outsourced sales performance management services. No financial terms were disclosed.

• The Austrian government has completed its previously-announced sale of the Balkans network of nationalized bank Hypo Alpe Adria to Advent International (80%) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (20%). The deal is valued at upwards of €200 million, including a €50 million upfront payment. Read more.

• EVX Midstream Partners, a Woodlands, Texas-based oil development company founded by Five Point Capital Partners, has been capitalized with $75 million in equity from Five Point Capital’s second midstream fund.   

• Marquee Brands LLC, a brand acquisition company backed by Neuberger Berman Private Equity acquired the Ben Sherman apparel brand and related intellectual property assets from Oxford Industries, Inc. for $64 million. Earlier this year, Marquee Brands acquired Bruno Magli, an Italian luxury brand.

• KKR has agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Gestamp Asetym Solar, S.L. the photovoltaic solar energy division of Gestamp Renewables, for $1 billion. The investment comes from KKR’s $3.1 billion second infrastructure investment fund.

• Centerview Partners is considering joining forces with Bonduelle SCA, a French food company, to buy Green Giant, the frozen and canned food subsidiary of General Mills, according to Reuters. Read more.

Consolo Services Group, a Lexington, Ky.-based a hospice and palliative care technology provider, completed $12.6 million in financing from Bluff Point Associates.

• ShoreView Industries, a Minneapolis-based private equity firm, has acquired the pacific aerospace & electronics subsidiary of Esterline Corporation, for an undisclosed amount.


• Ooma Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of telecom solutions to consumers and small businesses, raised $65 million in its IPO. The company priced 5 million shares at $13 per share (below $16-$18 range), for an initial market cap of around $220 million. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol OOMA, while BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse served as lead underwriters. The company reports a $6.4 million net loss on around $72 million in revenue for 2014. Shareholders include Worldview Technology Partners (56.31% pre-IPO stake) and WI Harper Group (5.96%).

• Gores Holdings Inc., a blank check acquisition company sponsored by Beverley Hills, Calif.-based private equity firm Gores Group, has filed for a $400 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GRSHU, with Deutsche Bank Securities serving as sole underwriter.

• MasterCraft Holdings Inc., a Vonore, Tenn.-based sports boat maker, raised $91 million in its IPO. The company priced 6.1 million shares at $15 per share (high end of $13-$15 range), and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MCFT. Baird, Raymond James and Wells Fargo Securities served as co-lead underwriters. The company reports $20 million in net income for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, on $177.5 million in revenue. Wayzata Investment Partners held a 95.41% pre-IPO ownership stake.


• Blackstone Group LP and Corsair Capital will acquire a majority stake in First Eagle Investment Management, a New York-based investment company with approximately $100 billion in assets under management. The company is owned by TA Associates. The deal values First Eagle at $4 billion.

• eBay has acquired Twice, an online clothing resale startup, for an undisclosed amount. The company had raised $23 million in venture funding from Upfront Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, SV Angel, Highline Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, IA Ventures, Western Technology Investment, and angel investors.


• FanDuel, a New York-based fantasy sports app maker, has acquired Kotikan, a Scotland mobile development agency, in an acqui-hire deal. FanDuel is backed by $275 million in venture funding from a long list of investors including KKR and Google Capital.

• Pearson PLC is exploring a potential sale of its subsidiary The Financial Times for as much as $1.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

• Schryver Medical Sales and Marketing, a Denver-based medical services company owned by Revelstoke Capital Partners has acquired two companies: Southaven, Miss.-based clinical laboratory Main Street Clinical Laboratory, and Little Rock, Ark.-based On-Site Imaging Solutions, for an undisclosed amount.


• Bain Capital is raising upwards of $2.5 billion for its third Asia-focused buyout fund, according to a regulatory filing.

• Prosper Capital, the investment arm of a St. Louis-based group called Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, has raised $3 million for Prosper Startup Accelerator Fund, a program designed to fund female entrepreneurs.

• Clean Fund, a Sausalito, Calif.-based provider of capital for clean energy renovations to buildings, raised $60 million from undisclosed venture investors and an undisclosed investment manager.

• Athyrium Capital Management LP, a New York-based asset management company focused on healthcare, has closed its second funding with more than $1.2 billion in commitments. NB Alternatives, the alternative asset business of Neuberger Berman, serves as the subadvisor to the fund.

• Glide Buy Out Partners, a Dutch private equity firm, is planning to raise up to €1 billion for its fifth private equity fund, according to LBO Wire.

• Ares Management is working on a deal to acquire Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, a $28 billion investment firm focused on oil and gas, energy infrastructure, real estate, credit, growth private equity and distressed municipal securities, according to Bloomberg. Read more.


• Private equity firm First Reserve has promoted Doug Vaccari and Paul Steen, who joined the firm in 2011, to the role of vice president.

• Dominic Rispoli has joined Lincoln International as managing director and head of retail in North America. Rispoli was previously a managing director and head of consumer and retail at the investment bank division of Canaccord Genuity.

Share today’s Term Sheet: