Skip to Content

Term Sheet — Tuesday, November 3


This is Erin Griffith, filling in while Dan is off. 

A few notes to kick off the day.

•  Crushing It: The splashiest deal news this morning is Activision Blizzard’s $5.9 billion deal for King Digital, the maker of the casual mobile game Candy Crush Saga. The $18 per share price is a 20% premium to King’s closing stock price Monday.

King stock has languished below its IPO price of $20.50 almost the entire time it’s been public. No surprise: investors were already lukewarm on King when it went public in March of 2014 over fears that its hit game had already peaked. A quick look at the fates of the makers of Angry Birds and Farmville can tell you that it’s not easy for a gaming company to replicate a breakout hit after the first one falls out of favor.

But King has somehow defied the odds: It hasn’t launched another Candy Crush-sized hit, but Candy Crush hasn’t gone anywhere. My colleague Chris Morris noted this morning that Candy Crush is still the fourth highest-grossing game in the App Store three years after its release, and follow-up game Candy Crush Soda, though not as successful, is the number-six title one year after its release.

That’s got to sting for Zynga, which saw its big hit, Farmville, slip from relevance almost as quickly as it exploded in popularity. Several months ago, my colleague Leena Rao and I used this space to argue that Zynga should go private. That deal looks even more attractive today.

•  IOU: What happens when the firm that acquires your company simply refuses to pay? The Forbes family is finding out. Last year, the family agreed to sell Forbes magazine to Integrated Whale Media, a Hong Kong-based investment vehicle, for a reported $475 million.

Now the family is suing that firm for breach of contractual agreement, according to the Financial Times. From the lawsuit: “From the outset of the supposed partnership, Integrated Whale and its principals have steadfastly refused to pay what they clearly owe, and instead have made a series of baseless — and often patently false — excuses and pretexts for their refusal to honour their basic contractual commitments.” (Emphasis mine.)

Term Sheet readers, is there precedent for this? It’s one thing to try to back out of a signed deal before it has closed. But has a private equity firm ever just refused to pay?

•  Unbundling is out. Rebundling is in: This summer, big media stocks got hammered by investor concerns over cord-cutting. I’ll be closely watching to see what happens when they report their earnings this week. Many are chasing cord-cutters with Netflix-like streaming offerings, making for a very crowded buffet of options for cord-cutters. That’s great for consumers, since competition means streaming services have to give us more for less. This morning I published an analysis of the future of cord cutting here, which you can read here.

•  The Fortune Global Forum is underway in San Francisco with a fantastic lineup of executive interviews. Highlights from last night include Alphabet CEO Larry Page discussing big business’s bad reputation, and Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes defending her company against criticism.

Today’s agenda includes interviews with Paul Tudor Jones, Marc Andreessen, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Beth Comstock, Marc Benioff, Ron Conway and many more. A livestream of the event can be found here, and all of Fortune’s coverage of the event can be found here.

While Dan is out, send deal news and tips here, and follow along on Twitter here.


• Tencent plans to invest as much as $1 billion into the largest Chinese on-demand services startup, which will be formed by the planned merger of, a group-buying service, and Dianping Holdings, a restaurant-review site, according to the Wall Steet Journal. The combined company will be run jointly by the two CEOs and has not yet announced a new name. Read more.


• Vice Media is in talks with Disney to raise $200 million in new investment, as well as transfer 7% of its equity to current investor A&E, according to the Wall Street Journal. Read more.

• Handy, a New York-based provider of on-demand cleaning services, has raised $50 million in new funding from Fidelity and existing investors TPG Growth, General Catalyst, Highland Capital, and Revolution Growth. Read more.

• Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based therapeutics company focused on specialty endocrine disorders, raised $40 million in Series A financing led by 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Vivo Capital.

• Iboss, a San Diego-based cybersecurity company, has raised $35 million in Series A funding from Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group.

• Lumo, a Palo Alto-based provider of health-related wearable devices and software, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Wuxi Healthcare Ventures, with participation from previous investors Madrona Venture Group, Innovation Endeavors, AME Cloud Ventures, and Innovalue Capital Ltd.

• Moovit, a London-based local transit app, has received an investment of undisclosed size from Sound Ventures, a venture capital firm founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.

• Caldan Therapeutics, a developer of novel therapeutics targeting free fatty acid receptors for Type 2 Diabetes, has raised £4.45 million in Series A investment led by Epidarex Capital.

• Sighten, a solar software provider, raised $3.5M in Series A funding led by Obvious Ventures, the investment vehicle co-founded by Evan Williams.


• Permira has closed its $925 million acquisition of eBay Enterprise from eBay, a deal which includes Magento Commerce, a provider of e-commerce solutions, in partnership with Banneker Partners. The customer relationship management division of the marketing solutions division of eBay Enterprise was sold to marketing technology company Zeta Interactive for an undisclosed price.

• N3, an Atlanta-based provider of outsourced sales and marketing campaigns, has received a $35 million investment from RedBird Capital Partners.

• J. B. Poindexter & Co., Inc. has acquired Reading Truck Body, a Reading, Penn.-based manufacturer of vocational work truck bodies. Reading Truck Body was a portfolio company of LLR Partners.

• FactorTrust, an alternative credit bureau based in Atlanta, has raised $42 million in a new investment led by ABS Capital Partners and MissionOG.

• Lion Equity Partners acquired UE Compression, a Henderson, Colo,-based provider of gas and air compressor systems, from United Holdings, LLC, a division of Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX). Terms were not disclosed.

• Vertu, a UK-based maker luxury smartphones, has sold to Godin Holdings, a Hong Kong-based fund, and “international private investors,” for an undisclosed amount. The company was backed by Swedish private equity group EQT.


No IPO news today.


• Permira has agreed to sell Pharmaq Holding, an aquatic health group, to Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS) for $765 million. The deal represents a 3.2x return for Permira, which bought the company in 2013.

• MidOcean Partners has sold Noranco Inc., a supplier of aerospace components, to Precision Castparts Corp. Deal terms were not disclosed.

• Sprinklr, a New York City-based social media marketing technology company, has acquired Booshaka, a Redwood City, Calif.-based audience segmentation and management platform. Booshaka was backed by $3 million in venture backing from angel investors including Rothenberg Ventures, SGVC, FF Angel, and others.


• Endurance International Group Holdings Inc agreed to acquire Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT), a Waltham, Mass.-based email marketing company which went public in 2007, for $1.1 billion.


• KKR and The Chernin Group created Emerald Media, a new vehicle to fund investments in Asian media and entertainment. KKR has committed up to $300 from its KKR Asian Fund II and The Chernin Group will join as a minority co-investor. KKR has also acquired a minority stake in CA Media, the existing Asian media portfolio of The Chernin Group. The effort will be led by Rajesh Kamat and Paul Aiello.

• GoldPoint Partners has raised $505 million towards its latest mezzanine debt investment vehicle, according to an SEC filing.

• Harvest Partners seeks $2.2 billion for its seventh buyout fund, according to an SEC filing.

• Revelstoke Capital Partners raised $303 million for Revelstoke Capital Partners Fund I, L.P.

• Lindsay Goldberg raised $3.49 billion for its fourth fund, which has a target of $4 billion, according to an SEC filing.


• Will Quist has joined Slow Ventures, the investment firm started by Kevin Colleran and Dave Morin, as a partner. Quist was previously a managing director at Industry Ventures.

• Ned May has joined Napier Park’s private equity group, Napier Park Financial Partners, as a director. May was previously vide president at Morgan Stanley Global Private Equity, focused on the financial services sector.

• Eric Simonson has joined Seyfarth Shaw as a partner in the law firms’ corporate department. He was previously a member of the M&A, securities and Asia practice at Blank Rome.

• Chinh Chu, a Blackstone Group partner who joined the firm in 1990, will leave the firm to pursue non-profit opportunities, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

Share today’s Term Sheet: