Greetings from New York City, where I’m in town for a variety of meetings. Some items before I head over to Fortune HQ:
• Personnel move: Maryfrances Metrick has decided to step down as a senior managing director and global head of investor relations with Centerbridge Partners, in order to pursue unspecified philanthropic endeavors. Prior to joining Centerbridge in 2010, she had been a senior managing director with The Blackstone Group.
According to a letter sent to Centerbridge limited partners, Metrick’s IR role will be filled by two existing staffers: Amy Schneidkraut and Sam Riter. A firm spokeswoman declined comment.
• New firm alert: Clear Ventures has launched as a new VC firm focused on early-stage software infrastructure companies. IT’s led by Chris Rust (ex-USVP) and Rajeev Madhavan (founder of Magma Design Automation).
According to an LP source, Rust originally planned to raise $40 million for a sole GP fund when he left USVP in 2013 (as part of a much larger shakeup at the veteran firm). The target is now $80 million with the addition of Madhavan, although it’s unclear if Clear has managed to hard circle on commitments yet.
• Special purpose: Bit9+Carbon Black, a Waltham, Mass.-based cybersecurity startup, this morning announced $54.5 million in Series F funding. What was unusual wasn’t so much that it was led by existing shareholder Accomplice (f.k.a. Atlas Venture), so much as why and how.
Accomplice partner and Bit9 board member Jeff Fagnan says that the company received term sheets from multiple crossover investors, but said that none of them were willing to save pro rata room for existing shareholders (which also include .406 Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital). So Accomplice effectively formed a special purpose vehicle via Angelist, backed by several of its own limited partners, in order to lead the round with a $17 million investment (at around the same valuation as the crossover folks offered, per Fagnan). The SPV doesn’t charge management fees, but does have carry.
I also asked Fagnan about Bit9’s IPO plans, as the company had been widely seen as a 2015 candidate. He said that such a move was pushed back after the CFO hired late last year — ex-Brightcove CFO Chris Menard — left the company earlier this year. A search process for his replacement appears to be nearing its conclusion.
• Speaking of cybersecurity startups: One of my roles at Fortune Brainstorm Tech this past summer was to organize and MC what we called Unicorn Idol, in which VC-backed startups pitched themselves as the next billion dollar company. This morning, Unicorn Idol participant Area 1 Security announced $15 million in Series B funding. My colleague Robert Hackett has the story here, including video of Area 1 CEO Oren Falkowitz (ex-NSA) presenting at BST.
• Drop a dime: Just a reminder that you always can send me an anonymous message by using our tip function. Just go here.
THE BIG DEAL
• Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH) has agreed to acquire the parent company of Jostens, a Minneapolis-based maker of keepsake jewelry, yearbooks and championship products, for around $1.5 billion from KKR and aPriori Capital Partners. The purchase price represents a 7.5x multiple on adjusted EBITDA. www.jostens.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Kabbage, an Atlanta-based provider of working capital for small businesses, has raised $135 million in Series E funding at a reported $1 billion valuation. Reverence Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by ING, Santander and Scotiabank. The company also expanded its credit facility to $900 million. Existing shareholders include SoftBank, TCW/Craton, Lumia Capital, David Bonderman, Warren Stephens, UPS’ Strategic Enterprise Fund, Thomvest, BlueRun Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures. Read more.
• SteelBrick, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of quote-to-cash apps built on the Salesforce1 platform, has raised $48 million in Series C funding. Institutional Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Emergence Capital,Salesforce Ventures and Shasta Ventures. Read more.
• CyPhy Works, a Danvers, Mass.-based consumer drone startup led by iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Lux Capital, General Catalyst and return backers Motorola Venture Solutions, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund and Draper Nexus. Read more.
• Minoryx Therapeutics, a Spain-based developer of drugs for orphan diseases, has raised €19.4 million in Series A funding. Ysios Capital led the round, and was joined by Kurma Partners, Roche Venture Fund, Idinvest Partners, Chiesi Ventures and return backers Caixa Capital Risc and HealthEquity. www.minoryx.com
• Quri, a San Francisco-based provider of retail technology intelligence solutions, has raised $17 million in Series C funding. Kern Whelan Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Matrix Partners, Catamount Ventures and Simon Equity Partners. www.quri.com
• Area 1 Security, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based cybersecurity startup, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Icon Ventures and return backer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-led the round, and were joined by existing shareholders Allegis Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Data Collective, First Round Capital, RedSeal Networks CEO Ray Rothrock and Shape Security CEO Derek Smith. Read more.
• Moven, a New York-based mobile banking platform that provides real-time behavioral feedback to consumers, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Route 66 Ventures led the round, and was joined by Anthemis Group, Moneytime Ventures, Atlas Asset Management, NY Angels and Jim Palotta. www.moven.com
• PlayLab, a Thai developer of mobile games, has raised $5 million in Series B funding from Monk’s Hill Ventures. Read more.
• Concord, a San Francisco-based provider of a cloud-based contract management platform, has raised $2.7 million in new VC funding from Cota Capital, WTI, Alven Capital and individual angels. www.concordnow.com
• Lookup, a chat app that connects consumers and retailers in India, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. Backers include Vinod Khosla, Biz Stone, Catamaran Ventures and Global Founders Capital. www.lookup.to
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Carlyle Group has completed its previously-announced $98 million acquisition of Blyth Inc., a Greenwich, Conn.-based direct-to-consumer manufacturer and seller of candles and home fragrance products. As part of the $6 per share deal, Blyth delisted from the NYSE. www.blythinc.com
• Guardian Capital Partners has acquired “a substantial interest” in Engineered Network Systems LLC, a Burnsville, Minn.-based maker of commercial-grade products for mounting, storing, charging and securing technology. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ens-co.com
• Hyland, a Westlake, Ohio-based portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, has acquired LawLogix, a Phoenix-based provider of cloud-based immigration and compliance software solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lawlogix.com
• Palladium Equity Partners has invested an undisclosed amount in Fora Financial LLC, a New York-based provider of financing to small and mid-sized businesses. www.forafinancial.com
• Swander Pace Capital has acquired Voortman Cookies, an Ontario-based maker of cookies and wafers. No financial terms were disclosed. www.voortman.com
• Uniguest, a Nashville, Tenn.-based portfolio company of Atlantic Street Capital, has acquired Vertical Systems Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of a mobile app platform for hotel back-end operations. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ver-sys.com
• Axsome Therapeutics Inc., a New York-based developer of drugs to treat pain and CNS disorders, has filed for a $57.5 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol AXSM, with Ladenburg Thalmann serving as sole underwriter. www.axsome.com
• Neiman Marcus Group Inc. has delayed its IPO until “next year at the earliest following the recent bout of stock-market volatility,” according to the WSJ. The Dallas-based luxury retailer had filed for its IPO in August. This was its second attempt to return to the public markets, having filed for an IPO in June 2013, but just months later agreed to be acquired for $6 billion by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (sellers were TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus). Read more.
• Station Casinos, a Las Vegas-based casino operator that emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, has filed for a $100 million IPO. Deutche Bank Securities is listed as left lead underwriter. The company reports $74 million of net revenue on $731 million in gross revenue for the first half of 2015, compared to $77 million in net revenue on $695 million in gross revenue for the year-earlier period. www.sclv.com
• SynCardia Systems Inc., a Tucson, Ariz.-based developer of an artificial heart, has withdrawn IPO registration. The company had planned to offer 2.5 million shares at between $10 and $12 per share, with Roth Capital Partners serving as underwriter. SynCardia reports an $18.6 million net loss on $8.7 million in revenue for the first six months of 2015. Shareholders include SWK Holdings (30.4% pre-IPO stake), Athyrium Capital Management, Highway 12 Ventures and Delta Electronics Capital. www.syncardia.com
• Olympus Partners has agreed to sell Professional Service Industries Inc., an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based provider of building materials testing and geotechnical services, to Intertek Group PLC (LSE: ITRK) for $330 million. www.psiusa.com
• Platinum Equity has agreed to sell the parent company of DMS Health Technologies Inc., a Fargo, N.D.-based provider of mobile diagnostic imaging and related services, to Digirad Corp. (Nasdaq: DRAD) for $36 million in cash. www.digirad.com
• Zendesk Inc. (NYSE: ZEN) has acquired We Are Cloud SAS, a French maker of the BIME Analytics business intelligence app. The deal is valued at $45 million in cash, plus stock-based employee retention agreements. We Are Cloud had raised VC funding from Alven Capital and SIRS Business Angels. www.bimeanalytics.com
• Conde Nast has acquired Pitchfork Media, a music content site and quarterly magazine. No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Rapid7 Inc. (Nasdaq: RPD) has acquired RevelOps Inc. (dba Logentries), a Boston-based provider of machine data search technology, for $68 million (including $36m in cash). www.rapid7.com
• Nippon Life Insurance is considering an offer of between $1.7 billion and $2.5 billion for National Australia Bank’s (ASX: NAB) insurance unit, according to Bloomberg. The two sides are hoping to reach a final agreement this month. Read more.
• SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) reportedly is in talks with at least two rival chipmakers — Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) and Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) — to be acquired. SanDisk has a current market cap of around $12.6 billion. Read more.
• Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (ASX: TWE) has agreed to acquire most of the British and U.S. wine assets of Diageo PLC (LSE: DGE) for $552 million. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Comvest Partners has closed its fifth private equity fund with $893 million in capital commitments (including $43 million from the GP). www.comvest.com
• Highland Europe, a London-based growth-stage tech investment firm, has closed its second fund with €332 million in capital commitments. www.highlandeurope.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• James Dunham has joined Perella Weinberg Partners as a New York-based managing director in the firm’s asset management unit. He previously was with Goldman Sachs. www.pwpartners.com
• Excellere Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm, has promoted Brad Cornell and Ryan Glaws to partner. Cornell joined the firm in 2011 from Lake Capital, while Glaws joined in 2007 from GE Capital. www.excellerepartners.com
• Eric Feng has stepped down as chief technology officer with social media aggregation startup Flipboard, in order to join venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a general partner. He also will continue to work with Flipboard in an advisory role. This will be Feng’s second stint with Kleiner Perkins, having been a junior partner back in 2010, before which he was CTO at Hulu. Read more.
• Gridiron Capital has promoted Josh Gault to principal. He joined the firm in 2007, and currently sits on the boards of portfolio companies Quality Solutions, Executive Cabinetry and LRS. www.gridironcapital.com
• Alan Weinfeld has joined Gatewood Capital Partners as a partner. He previously was a managing director and head of biz dev with GoldPoint Partners.
• Joseph Zabik has joined Broadhaven Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on the financial services sector, as a partner. He previously was head of corporate development with Sterne Agee. www.broadhaven.com
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