I know, it happened again. Very sorry. Trying to figure out why. In the meantime, greetings on a ridiculously busy Wednesday. A bunch of notes to lead us off:
• Next: Earlier this year we mentioned that Lindel Eakman was stepping down as head of private market investments at the University of Texas Investment Management Co., after nearly 13 years with the $35 billion endowment management group. Now comes word that he moving to Colorado to join Boulder-based venture capital firm Foundry Group, which has counted UTIMCO among its LPs since inception.
But Eakman isn’t joining Foundry as a partner on its flagship early-stage funds, nor on its more opportunistic growth equity strategy. Instead, he will lead a new effort that is designed to invest in other venture capital funds (many of which already count individual Foundry partners as LPs). It’s going to be part of what the firm is calling Foundry Group Next, which also will include its later-stage directs in existing portfolio companies and later-stage directs in what it refers to as “relationship investments” (i.e. promising companies in which it doesn’t already have equity).
No details yet on how much Foundry Group Next plans to raise for its debut fund, of which around 25% will be allocated to Eakman’s quasi fund-of-fund efforts.
• Not easy: Staples stock has been on a downward slide since first announcing its Office Depot acquisition plans back in February, and has gotten absolutely hammered since the FTC said on Monday that it would oppose the deal in court.
The key number is $6.3 billion, which is the price in cash and stock that Staples was originally planning to pay for Office Depot. Why key? Because it's just $260 million less than Staples Inc.'s market cap at today's market open.
• New fund alert: Mantra Investment Partners has quietly held an €80 million final close for its first fund dedicated to private equity secondaries. It will focus on LP interests in niche strategy funds like IP, royalties, oil & gas, aircraft leasing and litigation funding. Even though the firm is in France, it views most of its opportunities as being for North America-based funds. The vehicle is led by Fabice Moyne, who joined Mantra in 2011 after having managed the University of Minnesota endowment's private equity portfolio.
• Breaking up is hard to do: Yahoo this morning announced that it will bail on its proposed tax-free spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group, namely because it isn't so sure the IRS will agree with that tax-free stake. Instead it plans to spin off everything else (keeping YHOO as a tracking stock), with board chairman Maynard Webb saying this morning that there are no plans to sell the company.
Webb's comments come one day after Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said at a Business Insider conference that if "it turned out that parts of it, or all of it were for sale, we’d look at it like anything in the digital media area at this point, because it’s so hot.”
So Verizon needs to wait for Yahoo to say it's for sale before taking a look? Did EMC say it was for sale? Did AOL, for that matter? What a bunch of passive aggressive nonsense.
THE BIG DEAL
• Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and DuPont (NYSE: DD) are in advanced talks to merge, in a deal that would create a $120 billion chemicals giant, according to the WSJ.
- Alan Murray: Dow-Dupont merger is bad for America
- Stephen Gandel: Why Dow and Dupont have to merge
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Vice Media reportedly has raised another $200 million in equity funding from The Walt Disney Co. at around a $4 billion valuation. Read more.
• Allena Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Newton, Mass.-based developer of non-systemic oral protein therapeutics to treat metabolic and orphan diseases, has raised $53 million in Series C funding. Partner Fund Management led the round, and was joined by Fidelity, Wellington Management and return backers Frazier Healthcare, HBM BioCapital, and Pharmstandard International. www.allenapharma.com
• GoEuro, a meta-mode travel search platform for Europe, has raised $45 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs led the round, and was joined by fellow new investors Atomico, Yuri Milner, Tom Stafford, Sebastian Siemiatkowski and Ilkka Paananen. Return backers include NEA, Battery Ventures, Hasso Plattner Ventures and Lakestar. Read more.
• Vitals, a Lyndhurst, N.J.-based provider of health care price transparency and consumer engagement solutions, has raised $41 million in new funding from Goldman Sachs and undisclosed existing backers. www.vitals.com
• Eargo, a Mountain View, Calif.-based maker of a “virtually invisible in-ear hearing device,” has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates. www.eargo.com
• Rubius Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech startup focused on treating diseases by putting new genes into red blood cells, has raised $25 million in first-round funding from Flagship Ventures. Read more.
• Interlude, a New York-based developer of “a new kind of video that responds to a person’s emotions and interests,” has raised $18.2 million in new VC funding. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Warner Music Group and Samsung were joined by return backers like Sequoia Capital and Intel Capital. www.interlude.fm
• GroundFloor, an Atlanta-based real estate lending marketplace open to non-accredited investors, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Fintech Ventures. www.groundfloor.us
• Seerene, an analytics spinout from Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Earlybird Venture Capital. www.seerene.com
• Anodot, an Israeli developer of machine learning algorithms for big data analytics, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Disrupt-ive Partners. www.anodot.com
• Yumist, a low-cost meal delivery service for India, has raised $2 million in seed funding. Unilazer Ventures led the round, and was joined by Orios VP and Steven Lurie. Read more.
• Backed, a New York-based digital lending platform focused on young adults, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from iAngels and Cyhawk Ventures. www.backedinc.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Blackstone Group’s real estate unit has agreed to acquire 32 multifamily apartment properties in the U.S. from Greystar Real Estate Partners for approximately $2 billion. Read more.
• Cerberus Capital Management has invested $105 million for a majority stake in PaxVax Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based specialty vaccine company focused on infectious diseases. Existing investor Ignition Partners will retain a minority equity position. www.paxvax.com
• China Resource Holdings is leading a Chinese investor consortium that will bid around $2.5 billion to acquire Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (Nasdaq: FCS), which previously had agreed to a $2.4 billion takeover by ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ON), according to the NY Times. Hua Capital Management is among the consortium’s other participants. Read more.
• Halyard Capital has sold EducationDynamics, a Hoboken, N.J.-based student prospecting and enrollment solutions for colleges and universities, to an investor consortium that includes Muirlands Capital, KnowledgeShares and Prudential Capital Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.educationdynamics.com
• KKR has agreed to acquire LGC, a British forensic sciences company, from Bridgepoint. No financial terms were disclosed, although the deal had been expected to be worth more than $1 billion. Losing bidders included The Carlyle Group, CVC Capital Partners and EQT Partners. Read more.
• Marlin Equity Partners has acquired BlueHornet Networks Inc., a San Diego-based provider of SaaS-based email marketing software and services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.bluehornet.com
• On Location Experiences, an experiential hospitality business jointly owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital and the National Football League, has secured an undisclosed amount of new equity funding from singer Jon Bon Jovi. In related news, On Location Experiences also has acquired Runaway Tours, the VIP hospitality business for music acts that had been created by Bon Jovi. www.runawaytours.com
• Paine & Partners has acquired a majority stake in AgBiTech Pty Ltd., an Australia-based provider of biological pest control solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. www.agbitech.com
• Siris Capital Group has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Premiere Global Services Inc., an Atlanta-based provider of collaboration software and services, for approximately $1 billion. As part of the deal closing, PGS has de-listed from the NYSE. www.pgi.com
• Technimark, an Asheboro, N.C.-based injection-molded packaging and components manufacturer owned by Pritzker Group Private Capital, has acquired Ci Medical Technologies, a Latrobe, Penn.-based medical component manufacturer, from Altaris Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.technimark.com
• TPG Capital has acquired a 50% stake in Myanmar Distillery for between $100 million and $200 million, according to the WSJ. Read more.
• Tronair, a Holland, Ohio-based portfolio company of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, has acquired Eagle Industrial Truck Manufacturing LLC, a Taylor, Mich.-based provider of tow tractors and tugs for commercial aviation and military customers. www.eagletugs.com
• No IPO news this morning, although Atlassian is scheduled to price after today's market close.
• Cradlepoint, a Boise, Idaho-based provider of 4G LTE networking solutions for distributed enterprises, has acquired Pertino, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based networks-as-a-service for enterprise and SMB customers. No financial terms were disclosed. CradlePoint shareholders include Sorenson Capital, Delta-v Capital and The Carock Group. Pertino had raised around $28 million in VC funding from firms like Icon Ventures, Wing Venture Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. www.cradlepoint.com
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has acquired ClearLeap, a Duluth, Ga.-based company that processes and packages video for distribution. No financial terms were disclosed. ClearLeap had raised around $40 million in VC funding from Noro-Moseley Partners, Susquehanna Growth Equity and Trinity Ventures. Read more.
• Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) has agreed to acquire Xchanging PLC (LSE: XCH), a British outsourcing company, for around £480 million, or 190 pence per share. Read more.
• Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NCS) has rejected a second takeover approach from Canadian Pacific (TSX: CP), saying that the railroad mega-merger would be met by "substantial regulatory risks and uncertainties that are highly unlikely to be overcome.” The new bid would have valued Norfolk Southern at around $27.4 billion, which actually is a bit lower than the original offer. Read more.
• Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) said that it has scrapped a planned spin-off of its stake in Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), citing concerns over whether or not the IRS would rule the transaction to be taxable. Instead, Yahoo now is planning a “reverse spin-off” of the rest of its business, with stock of the new company to be distributed pro-rata to Yahoo shareholders. In other Yahoo news, director Max Levchin has resigned. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Arrowroot Capital, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based VC firm focused on software companies, is raising upwards of $50 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.arrowrootcapital.com
• CVC Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm, announced plans to open a new office in São Paulo, Brazil. It will be led by Jean-Marc Etlin, the firm’s new head of Latin America who previously was CEO of Itaú BBA Investment Bank. www.cvc.com
• Nexus Venture Partners, an Indian venture capital firm, has closed its fourth fund with $450 million in capital commitments. www.nexusvp.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Alistair Darling, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer during the financial crisis, has joined Morgan Stanley’s board of directors, effective January 1. Read more.
• John Rodkin has joined The Samsung Accelerator as managing director and GM of its San Francisco group, according to his LinkedIn profile. Rodkin previously was chief product officer with ShopRunner. www.samsungaccelerator.com
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