Tom Stemberg, the founder and former CEO of Staples Inc., passed away on Friday morning after a long battle with stomach cancer. He was just 66 years-old.
Most of today’s founders probably don’t think of Staples as a terribly disruptive company, or of its Romney-supporting creator as a groundbreaking innovator. But that may be because few of them were of working age (or even driving age) during the July 4th weekend in 1985, when Stemberg — then a recently-fired grocery exec — was driving all over town in a futile attempt to find the right printer ribbon so that he could print out a new business proposal.
Just one year later, with the backing of Romney’s Bain Capital, he opened the first-ever office superstore in Brighton, Mass. (where it remains today). Got to wonder, in the years that followed, how many other entrepreneurs printed out their own business plans after a visit to Staples.
Term Sheet readers probably know Stemberg better as the leader of Highland Consumer Fund, a venture capital and growth equity group focused on consumer companies. Investments included Pinkberry and Lululemon. In a phone conversation a couple of months back, Stemberg had expressed interest in raising a new fund — hopeful that his health was on the mend.
That conversation would be the last of many I would have with him, including a particularly memorable chat before he took the stage in support of Romney during the 2012 Republican National Convention.
But my favorite interaction was the first, which I believe occurred in 2011. He was upset with either something I had written or something I was planning to write (Highland Consumer Partners has not lacked for turmoil over the years). He summoned me to his office, and softly berated me for what felt like an eternity. In short, he thought I had done him and the firm wrong.
Then, when he was finished, he said: “Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how can we work together best in the future?”
Rest in peace Tom. You’ll be missed.
THE BIG DEAL
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE) has agreed to acquire Interactive Data Corp., a Bedford, Mass.-based financial information provider, from Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus for $5.2 billion in cash and stock. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• IronNet Cybersecurity, a Fulton, Md.-based cybersecurity startup led by former NSA director Keith Alexander, has raised $32.5 million in Series A funding. Trident Capital Cybersecurity led the round, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Read more.
• SimilarWeb, an Israel-based provider of traffic and analytics data on websites and mobile apps, has raised $25 million in new VC funding at what TechCrunch reports was a $400 million valuation. Naspers led the round, and was joined by Lord David Alliance. www.similarweb.com
• Knip, a Swiss “mobile first” digital insurance broker, has raised $15.7 million in Series B funding. Route 66 Ventures led the round. Creathor Ventures and QED Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Orange Growth Capital and Redalpine Capital. Read more.
• TAI Diagnostics Inc., a Wauwatosa, Wis.-based developer of diagnostic tests for monitoring the health of transplanted organs, has raised $8.2 million in Series A funding led by Venture Investors. www.taidiagnostics.com
• Flex Logix Technologies Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup that allows silicon designers to incorporate FPGA blocks into their SoC designs, has raised $7.4 million in new VC funding. Eclipse Ventures (f.k.a. Formation 8 hardware fund) led the round, and was joined by Lux Capital and the Tate Family Trust. www.flex-logix.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Aeryon Labs Inc., a Canadian maker of small drones and mission control software, has raised C$60 million in new equity funding from Summit Partners. www.aeryon.com
• The Blackstone Group has agreed to acquire MB Aerospace, a UK-based engine component manufacturer and repair business, from Arlington Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mbaerospace.com
• The Carlyle Group and Vinci Partners have agreed to acquire Uniasselvi, a Brazilian education company with 100,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs, from Kroton Educacional. No financial terms were disclosed. www.carlyle.com
• Cerberus Capital Management has been picked by Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency as the preferred bidder for a bad commercial loan portfolio with a face value of $7 billion. Read more.
• Cinven and Sonic Healthcare Ltd. (ASX: SHL) have expressed interest in bidding on Swiss diagnostics company Unilabs SA, a Swiss diagnostics company currently owned by Apax Partners and Nordic Capital, according to Bloomberg. Other potential bidders include Novo AS and PAI Partners. The Geneva-based company recently hired Rothschild to run a sale process that could generate around €1.5 billion. Read more.
• General Atlantic has agreed to acquire a 21.6% stake in India-based IIFL Wealth Management for $173 million. Read more.
• Millstein & Co. has acquired Atlantix Global Systems, an Atlanta-based reseller of reconfigured and refurbished IT and telecom equipment, from Presidio LLC, a New York-based portfolio company of Apollo Global Management. No financial terms were disclosed. www.atlantixglobal.com
• Nautic Partners has acquired a majority stake in Aerostar Aerospace, a Phoenix-based provider of precision machined parts and assemblies used in commercial and military aircraft. Greene Holcomb Fisher managed the process. www.aerostaraerospace.com
• Naspers Ltd. (LSE: NPSN) has agreed to sell its stakes in ecommerce groups Netretail (Czechoslovakia) and Heureka (Romania) to Czech private equity firm Rockaway Capital for $201 million. www.naspers.com
• Sunbelt Transformer, a Temple, Texas-based portfolio company of Grey Mountain Partners, has agreed to acquire Delta Testing Services Inc., a Bakersfield, Calif.-based electrical services company. No financial terms were disclosed. www.sunbeltusa.com
• Tolt Solutions, a Greenville, S.C.-based portfolio company of Clearlake Capital Group, has agreed to acquire Pomeroy, a Hebron, Ky.-based provider of IT solutions and managed services, from Platinum Equity. No financial terms were disclosed. www.toltsolutions.com
• VMG Health, a Dallas-based provider of financial valuation and advisory services for the U.S. healthcare transaction market, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Quad-C Management. www.vmghealth.com
• Japan Post priced its IPO at ¥1,400 ($11.56) per share, with the Japanese government raising around ¥693 billion via a sale of 11% of its shares. That’s the high end of the proposed IPO range for Japan Post, which previously priced IPOs for its banking and insurance units. All three soon will begin trading in Tokyo. Read more.
• HomeAway (Nasdaq: AWAY) has purchased the minority equity stake it didn’t already own in Singapore-based P2P vacation listings site TravelMob. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers included Accel Partners and Jungle Ventures. www.travelmob.com
• The Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: TBBK) has sold a majority of its Health Savings Account (HSA) portfolio to HealthEquity Inc. (NASDAQ:HQY) for $34.4 million. The deal includes around 170,000 accounts totally more than $400 million in deposits. www.thebancorp.com
• BlueScope Steel Ltd. (ASX: BSL) has agreed to acquire Cargill Inc.’s stake in North Star, their U.S. joint venture, for $720 million. Read more.
• Bridgestone Corp. (Tokyo: 5108) has agreed to acquire Pep Boys (NYSE: PBY), a Philadelphia-based provider of auto aftermarket products and services, for $835 million in cash. The $15 per share deal represents a 23.5% premium to Friday’s closing price. www.bridgestone.co.jp
• Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) is in talks to acquire San Francisco-based snack maker Diamond Foods Inc. (Nasdaq: DMND) for more than $1.5 billion, or between $35 and $40 per share, according to the NY Post. Read more.
• Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based satellite company, has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Rapideye and other geospatial assets of Canada-based BlackBridge Geomatics Corp. No financial terms were disclosed. Planet Labs recently raised a $118 million Series C round led by Data Collective. www.planet.com
• Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) has offered to acquire the 62% stake it does not already hold in Northern Tier Energy LP (NSE: NTI) for $27.11 per share (12% premium to Friday’s closing price). The cash and stock deal would value NTE at around $2.52 billion. Read more.
• Yantai Xinchao Industry, a Chinese real estate firm, has agreed to pay around $1.3 billion for oil properties in West Texas. Read more.
• Zschimmer & Schwarz of Germany has acquired Interpolymer Corp., a Canton, Mass.-based maker of specialty emulsion polymers. No financial terms were disclosed. Headwaters MB managed the process. www.interpolymer.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• J.F. Lehman & Co., a New York-based private equity firm focused on the middle markets, is raising its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.jflpartners.com
• Sequoia Capital is raising new U.S. and global growth equity funds, according to regulatory filings. www.sequoiacap.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Elizabeth Hewitt has agreed to join the $1.9 billion Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as a senior vice president and chief investment officer. He previously was a managing director for public investments at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. www.sloan.org
• David Hunter has joined H.I.G. Capital as a senior advisor focused on European real estate. He has been running his own real estate advisory firm for the past decade, before which he was a managing director with Aberdeen Asset Management. www.higcapital.com
• Lydia Jett has stepped down as a vice president with private equity firm M/C Partners, in order to join SoftBank as a West Coast investor. www.softbank.com
• Gretchen McCarey has stepped down as chief financial officer with VC firm Accomplice. No word yet on her future plans.
• Anne Shelton and Edward Karppi are leaving the investment unit of the American Red Cross, where they had served as deputy CIO and managing director, respectively, according to CIO. Read more.
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