Today’s big deal is that QVC, a unit of Liberty Interactive Group, will pay $2.4 billion to acquire Zulily, a Seattle-based ecommerce company focused on children and mothers. The $18.75 per share deal represents around a 49% premium over where Zulily stock closed trading last Friday, but is nearly 15% below where the company went public back in November 2013. Moreover, it is a whopping 54.6% below where Zulily stock traded at the high point of its first day of post-IPO trading.
To be clear, Zulily was an enormous win for most of its venture capitalists. Original investor Maveron invested just over $6 million and generated approximately $900 million in returns (it fully distributed prior to today’s acquisition announcement). Even the Andreessen Horowitz-led $85 million pre-IPO round in late 2012 was done at a valuation of around $1 billion, although it is unclear what return A16Z generated — the firm quietly distributed most of its shares within the past few months, during which time Zulily’s market cap has occasionally sunk below $1 billion, but also generated $17.6m via a sale of 9.5% of its position at IPO.
Beyond those directly involved, however, Zulily could prove problematic for venture capital. It is yet another in a recent strong of VC-backed companies that have had strong IPOs and first-day pops, only to sag in the aftermarket. And, remember, Zulily raised funding in a time of relative valuation sanity.
If public markets use Zulily and its peers as cautionary tales, then we could see even fewer IPOs for highly-valued tech startups (which seems virtually impossible, given that there have been just a handful so far in 2015). The IPO window for such companies is nowhere near closed, but it may be narrowing…
THE BIG DEAL
• QVC, a unit of Liberty Interactive Group, has agreed to acquire online retailer Zulily Inc. (Nasdaq: ZU), for approximately $2.4 billion. The $18.75 per share deal represents around a 49% premium over Friday’s closing price. www.zulily.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• MarketInvoice, a UK-based online lending platform that lets businesses sell outstanding invoices directly to investor, has raised £6 million in new VC funding from return backers Northzone Ventures and Paul Forster (co-founder and ex-CEO of Indeed.com). Read more.
• Grid Dynamics, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of ecommerce tech solutions, has acquired Qubell, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of an autonomic application management platform for cloud applications. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Grid Dynamics also raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by Benhamou Global Ventures. www.griddynamics.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Samson Resources, an oil and gas company acquired by KKR for $7.2 billion in 2011, said that it plans to restructure via a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. As part of the reorganization, KKR would be virtually wiped out of its equity position by a group of second-lien lenders — including Cerberus Capital Management, Anschutz and Silver Point — which would invest upwards of $485 million in new cash to reduce indebtedness. Read more.
• Capital Vision Services (d.b.a. MyEyeDr), a Vienna, Va.-based provider of management services to optometrists, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Atlas Partners and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. www.capitalvisionservices.com
• The Carlyle Group has acquired a minority equity stake in DEE Piping Systems, an India-based provider of pressure piping systems to the power, process and oil & gas markets. The deal was done via a mix of primary capital and the purchase of secondary stake from other investors. Past DEE backers include BanyanTree Finance, Capvent and Generation Growth Capital. www.deepiping.com
• The Carlyle Group has acquired an 85.42% stake in Hermes, a Peru-based cash management company, from Inversiones Centenario, Scotiabank and the Wiese and De Osma family groups (which will retain a portion of their holdings). www.carlyle.com
• The Carlyle Group has offered to acquire Tempo Participações SA, a listed Brazilian specialized assistance provider that is backed by GP Investments and Tarpon Investimentos, for upwards of $204 million. Read more.
• City Wide Towing & Recovery Service Ltd., a Canadian provider of vehicle recovery services in the Calgary region, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Signal Hill Equity Partners. www.citywidetowing.com
• Gen Cap America has acquired Canfield Technologies Inc., a Sayreville, N.J.-based maker of lead-free solders, brazing alloys and fluxes, from SKF AB for approximately $23 million. www.canfieldmetals.com
• KKR has acquired a 25% equity stake in SoftwareONE, a Swiss provider of software portfolio management solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. www.softwareone.com
• Levine Leichtman Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Trinity Consultants, a Dallas-based environmental consulting firm, from Gryphon Investors. No financial terms were disclosed. www.trinityconsultants.com
• Penta Investments has agreed to acquire Vltava-Labe-Press, publisher of regional newspapers in the Czech Republic, from German media group Verlagsgruppe Passau. No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Piramal Realty, a Mumbai-based real estate developer, has secured $150 million in minority equity funding from Goldman Sachs. Last month, the company raised $284 million in minority equity funding from Warburg Pincus. www.goldmansachs.com
• Edge Therapeutics, a Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based developer of therapies for life-threatening neurological conditions, has filed for a $115 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol EDGE, with Leerink Partners and Credit Suisse serving as co-lead underwriters. The pre-revenue company has raised just over $100 million in VC funding, from firms like Sofinnova Ventures (9.2% pre-IPO stake), Venrock (8%), Janus Capital Management (8%), New Leaf Venture Partners (6.4%), Franklin Templeton (6.4%) and BioMed Ventures. www.edgetherapeutics.com
• Penumbra Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based maker of medical devices for those who have experienced strokes and other neurovascular diseases, has filed for a $115 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol PEN, with J.P. Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as co-lead underwriters. The company reports a $169,000 net loss on $81 million in revenue for the first six months of 2015, compared to $1.6 million in net income on $58 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Fidelity holds an 11.6% pre-IPO stake. www.penumbra.com
• Altor and Bain Capital have agreed to sell Norwegian fish feed maker Ewos for around $1.5 billion to Cargill Inc. The private equity firms had paid $1.08 billion to acquire Ewos in 2013. www.ewos.com
• BNP Paribas has agreed to acquire Sharekhan Ltd., an Indian online retail broking house, from an investor consortium led by The Rohatyn Group. Others sellers will include Baring Private Equity Asia, IDFC Private Equity and Samara Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.sharekhan.com
• CA Technologies (Nasdaq:CA) has acquired Xceedium Inc., a Reston, Va.-based provider of identity management solutions for on-premise, cloud and hybrid IT environments. No financial terms were disclosed. Xceedium had raised over $22 million in VC funding from firms like ArrowPath Venture Partners and Western Technology Investment. www.xceedium.com
• Mann + Hummel, a German auto parts maker, has agreed to acquire the auto filter unit of Michigan-based Affinia for between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, according to Reuters. Affinia is a portfolio company of Cypress Group and OMERS Private Equity. Read more.
• Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT) has acquired Telligent, a Dallas-based provider of community applications and social intelligence software solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Telligent shareholders include Intel Capital, and last year it acquired the assets of Zimbra, a provider of enterprise email and collaboration software, from VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW). www.verint.com
• Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM) has completed its previously-announced acquisition of GrafTech International Ltd. (NYSE: GTI), an Independence, Ohio-based provider of graphite and carbon material science-based solutions. www.graftech.com
• General Electric (NYSE: GE) is expected to win European Union approval for its proposed $13.8 billion acquisition of Alstom SA’s (Paris: ALO) power business, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Greenko Group PLC (AIM GKO), an India-focused renewable energy company, has signed a nonbinding agreement to sell all of its operations and projects to Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC for $254.2 million.
• Housing.com, an Indian property portal, has acquired HomeBuy360, a Bangalore-based provider of an online sales and customer relations management platform for the real estate market. The deal was valued at $2 million. Housing.com recently raised $90 million in new VC funding led by SoftBank Corp. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on the middle-markets, is targeting upwards of $600 million for its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.gryphon-inv.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Michael Billings has joined the Vanderbilt University investment office to focus on public market investments, particularly hedge funds. He previously spent four years with First Pacific Advisors. www.vanderbilt.edu
• Tyson Clark has joined Google Ventures as a partner on the investment team. He most recently worked in corporate development for Andreessen Horowitz, and before that held corporate development jobs at both Oracle and Morgan Stanley. Read more.
• David Cooper is stepping down as chief investment officer of the $30.2 billion Indiana Public Retirement System, in order to lead the $2.8 billion endowment at his alma mater, Purdue University. INPRS will launch a search for a permanent successor, with Scott Davis (deputy CIO and head of public equities) to serve as interim CIO once Cooper formally departs next month. www.in.gov/inprs
• Ren Riley has joined Robertson Stephens Partners, a new alternative asset platform of Robertson Stephens that will include a branded VC fund, a series of co-branded private equity funds and separate pooled asset vehicles. Riley previously was a partner with Oak Investment Partners. www.rsadv.com
• John Stewart, a senior VP with Cisco Systems, and Joe Levy, chief technology officer of Sophos, have joined Allegis Capital as a venture partners focused on cyber security. www.allegiscap.com
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