Some very quick notes as we head into the weekend…
• From the trail: After Jeb Bush released his tax plan earlier this month, I had a pair of follow-up questions. The first was if his plan to eliminate the 100% deduction for borrowing costs would have any sort of carve-outs (such as for small businesses taking out equipment loans). The second was if the change in tax treatment of carried interest would apply to all carried interest, or if there would be exceptions for deals in which general partners had small investments (since Bush’s language seemed to open up that possibility).
A source close to the Bush campaign tells me that there will be no carve-outs on the borrowing cost issue (save for interest payments on existing debt, which would be grandfathered in), and that the carried interest change would apply to all carried interest (GPs, of course, would still get capital gains rates on their personal investments). You can read more here.
• Operational decision: Jordan Cooper has been a partner in the first four Lerer Ventures funds, but will not on its next one. Instead he’s focusing all of his time on Wildcard, a New York-based startup he co-founded last year to serve as a “seamless replacement for the Internet on your phone.” Cooper says he will continue to support his existing portfolio companies.
• Managing conflicts: Twitter and Square last week announced a partnership whereby people could donate to political candidates via tweets, with Square serving as the back-end payment infrastructure. Both companies, of course, currently share the same CEO in Jack Dorsey (permanent at Square, perpetually interim at Twitter), so I was interested in how they handle the obvious conflicts of fiduciary duty.
A Twitter spokesman says that Dorsey was not involved in the discussions, and that the partnership does not include any money changing hands (although Square does generate revenue off each donation). He adds that Dorsey “recuses himself whenever Square things come up at Twitter and vice versa.”
• To the exits: Middle-market investment bank Harris Williams & Co. recently surveyed nearly 700 “leaders of privately-held, high-growth companies,” and found that 80% are interested in some form of M&A within the next three years. Nearly 52% of them said such activity would involve a sale of their business, but just half of those have a detailed plan in place.
• Nothing shocking: Earlier this week came reports that The Blackstone Group had pulled out of talks to acquire listed ATM maker NCR Corp., whose market cap has since taken a tumble down to around $4 billion. This may have surprised some NCR shareholders, but not anyone who’s paid attention to Blackstone’s quiet tech practice over the years. Remember, Blackstone hired David Johnson in early 2013 to lead tech and, in nearly three years in the position, he only sits on the boards of four portfolio companies (one of which — SunGard — long predated Johnson’s arrival at Blackstone). Most notably, Blackstone never ultimately made a rival bid for Johnson’s former employer, Dell Inc.
• Gift bag: I don’t typically receive or accept gifts from biz folks due to the obvious conflicts of interest — my Steve Schwarzman speedboat notwithstanding — so I wanted to disclose that a toy unicorn arrived last night from the fine (and clever) folks at Hasbro. It talks and moves and was all set to spend its days on my desk, until it was intercepted by E. But that’s okay. She’ll love it even if tech valuations crater…
• Have a great weekend. Go Pats!
THE BIG DEAL
• Auris Surgical Robotics, a San Carlos, Calif.-based developer of robotics technology for medical applications, has raised $150 million in new equity funding, according to a regulatory filing. A source close to the deal says it was led by a large public-market investor at a post-money valuation north of $600 million. Return backers include Lux Capital, Mithril Capital Management and Highland Capital Partners.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Replimune, a UK-based developer of ‘oncolytic immunotherapies’ for cancer treatment, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Atlas Venture led the round, and was joined by seed backers Forbion Capital Partners and Omega Funds. www.replimune.com
• DriverUp, a Dallas-based online marketplace for automotive financing, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. SF Capital Group led the round, and was joined by return backers Emerald Development Managers and RRE Ventures. www.driverup.com
• Amino, a Boston-based developer of mobile community aps, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Venrock led the round, and was joined by return backer Union Square Ventures. Read more.
• Ysance, a French provider of cloud and big data consulting services, has raised €5 million in Series A funding from Creadev. www.ysance.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• CM Equity Partners has acquired Graco Supply & Integrated Services Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas-based provider of inventory services for the commercial, military and general aviation markets, from Cold Mountain Capital and Cotton Creek Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gracosupply.com
• Denham Capital has made an investment in Jenner Renewables, a new Madrid-based power company that will develop, finance and construct renewable power generation assets globally. No financial terms were disclosed. Jenner is led by founder and CEO Jorge Calvet, who previously le d wind energy company Gamesa. www.jenner-renewables.com
• Lariat Partners has sponsored a recapitalization of LaMi Holdings LLC, a Huntingdon Valley, Penn.-based distributor and merchandiser of non-edible, general merchandise impulse items to grocery and other retail channels. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lariatpartners.net
• Lone Star Funds has increased its offer for Quintain Estates & Development PLC (LSE: QED), a London-based residential real estate developer and investor, from 131 pence per share to 141 pence per share (total value of around $1.13 billion). The bid bump followed pressure from activist investor Elliott Associates. Read more.
• Magnum Capital has acquired Orliman, a Spanish maker of medical devices for the upper limb, torso and lower limb, from The Riverside Company. No financial terms were disclosed. www.orliman.com
• Tunbridge Partners LLC, a New York-based asset management firm that will make minority equity investments in real estate- and real asset-focused investment managers, has launched with $500 million of shareholder capital from an investor consortium led by Pine Brook and Quantum Strategic Partners. www.tunbridgepartners.com
• Aclaris Therapeutics Inc., a Malvern, Penn.-based developer of dermatological therapeutics, has set its IPO terms to 5 million shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $291 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The pre-revenue company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ACRS, with Jefferies and Citigroup serving as lead underwriters. Aclaris has raised $31.5 million in VC funding from Vivo Ventures (31.2% pre-IPO stake), Fidelity Biosciences (28.5%) and Sofinova Ventures (12%). www.aclaristx.com
• Albertsons, the Cerberus Capital Management-owned supermarket giant that completed its acquisition of Safeway earlier this year, filed amended IPO documents that show it plans to raise upwards of $1.84 billion. Prior filings included just a $100 million placeholder. The company plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol ABS, with Goldman Sachs listed as left lead underwriter (18 total banks). www.albertsons.com
• Bioceres SA, an Argentina-based agricultural tech company, has filed for an $80.5 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol BIOX, and also applied to list ordinary shares in Argentina on the MERVAL. Piper Jaffray and Itau BBA are serving as lead underwriters. The company reports around a $2 million loss on $3.9 million in revenue for the first half of 2015. www.bioceres.com.ar
• Prosper Marketplace, a San Francisco-based P2P lender, has acquired BillGuard, a New York-based of a personal finance security app. No financial terms were disclosed, but VentureBeat reports the deal included $30 million in cash and an undisclosed amount of stock. Prosper has raised more than $350 million from firms like Accel Partners, DFJ, Sequoia Capital, Francisco Partners, IVP, BlackRock and Credit Suisse. BillGuard had raised more than $16 million in VC funding from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, Founders Fund, IA Ventures, Innovation Endeavors and Khosla Ventures. Read more.
• Terra Firma Capital Partners has received interest from two Chinese suitors — ICBC Financial Leasing Co. and Aviation Industry Corp. of China — for AWAS Aviation Capital, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing firm that Terra Firma is trying to sell for more than $5 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) has agreed to sell nine U.S. production facilities to three of its largest independent bottlers for $380 million. Read more.
• Japan Tobacco (Tokyo 2914) is in talks to acquire around $5 billion in cigarette assets from Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI), according to Bloomberg. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is planning an October final close for its fourth European fund, according to Dow Jones. The firm had closed on €3.2 billion through August, and is expecting €3.5 billion overall. www.kkr.com
• Wellfleet Credit Partners, the credit business of Littlejohn & Co., has closed a $360 million collateralized loan obligation. www.littlejohnllc.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Sean Cunningham has joined Trident Capital Cybersecurity as a managing director. He previously spent more than 15 years with Intel Capital. www.tridentcap.com
• Anu Gupta has joined Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) as senior vice president of operational excellence, reporting to the retail giant’s COO John Mulligan. She previously was a senior operating executive with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and, before that, VP of process and profit improvement at Michaels Stores. www.target.com
• Scott Higbee has joined private equity firm GoldPoint Partners (fka NY Life Capital Partners) as a senior managing principal and head of business development. He previously led the New York office of Partners Group. www.goldpointpartners.com
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