I was on CNBC earlier this morning to discuss the Dow-Dupont merger, and my basic message was that we simply don't have enough information to pass judgment (yes that makes for horrible television, which may be why the segment was so short).
The two companies have not yet made any public announcements, which means we have no information on who would run the combined company -- nor on who would run what ultimately would become three independent companies focused on different business verticals. That last part may have some pretty broad economic and technological implications, given that Dupont has spent much more on R&D in certain areas than has Dow.
Moreover, the specifics will help determine regulatory scrutiny. There has been some smart analysis of market share breakdowns -- implying that Dow-Dupont don't have duopolies in any of their largest segments -- but regulators often take other factors into account (see Comcast-Time Warner Cable), which may be addressed by whatever divestitures Dow-Dupont choose to make.
Finally, there is the activist angle. Reports are that Nelson Peltz worked hand-in-hand with Dupont on this agreement, but no word yet on Dan Loeb's sentiments from the Dow side. He is nearing the end of a public detente with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris, and well could come out in opposition.
• Recommended reading/viewing: Fortune has just published its annual Investor Roundtable, which was moderated by Joshua Brown (otherwise known as @ReformedBroker).
The participants were Jim Chanos (president of $2.5b hedge fund Kynikos Associates), Kate Warne (investment strategist at brokerage Edward Jones), Deven Parekh (managing partner of Insight Venture Partners), Savita Subramanian (head of U.S. equity and global quant strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch) and Shawn Driscoll (portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price’s $5.2bn global natural-resources equity strategy). You can get videos and a full transcript by going here.
• ROI: The Private Equity Growth Capital Council today released its annual rankings of which public pension funds generated the highest returns from their private equity portfolios (on a 10-year annualized basis, generally net of fees).
Leading the pack was Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (17.93%), followed by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (17.8%), the Minnesota State Board of Investment (16.2%), the Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund (16%) and the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (15.7%). Overall, the 155 systems analyzed -- based on available data through the end of October -- had an average allocation to private equity of 9.3%.
• Hey, it's the holidays: There is nothing I like to unwrap more than a juicy scoop. So if you have one that you'd like to share, please be sure to drop me a note or use our nifty anonymous tip form.
THE BIG DEAL
• Atlassian, an Australia-based maker of cloud-based workplace collaboration software, raised $462 million in its IPO. The company priced 22 million shares at $21 per share (above $19-$20 offering range, which was already an increase), for an initial market cap of nearly $4.38 billion (fully-diluted valuation of $5.53 billion).
Atlassian is a so-called unicorn, but it is markedly different from most of its cohort. For more, please go here.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Magic Leap, the “cinematic reality” startup backed by Google (plus a boatload of VC firms), is in the process of raising $827 million in new equity funding, based on documents filed in Delaware. Read more.
• Kallyope, a New York-based drug development platform focused on the “gut-brain axis,” has raised $44 million in Series A funding. Backers include Lux Capital, Polaris Partners, Column Group, Illumina and Alexandria Venture Investments. Read more.
• SnapLogic, a San Mateo, Calif.-based enterprise integration platform as a service for big data, has raised $37.5 million in new financing. Microsoft and Silver Lake Waterman were joined by return backers Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners and Triangle Peak Partners. www.snaplogic.com
• Vinted, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based online marketplace for secondhand clothing, has raised $27 million in Series C funding. Hubert Burda Media led the round, and was joined by Accel and Insight Venture Partners. www.vinted.com
• DataScience Inc., a Culver City, Calif.-based provider of a human and machine powered solution for extracting knowledge from data, has raised $23.5 million in new Series A funding. Whitehart Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Greycroft Partners (which led an original $4.5m Series A round). www.datascience.com
• Greensmith, a Herndon, Va.-based provider of energy storage software and integration services, has raised $18 million in Series C funding. E.ON led the round, and was joined by American Electric Power. www.greensmithenergy.com
• ItsOn, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of a cloud-based mobile services platform, has raised $12.5 million in Series D funding. Delta Partners Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers like Verizon Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Tenaya Capital. www.itsoninc.com
• CloudEndure, an Israel-based provider of live-migration and disaster recovery solutions, has raised $7 million in new VC funding co-led by Infosys and return backer Magma Venture Partners. www.cloudendure.com
• Boundless, a New York-based provider of open source geospatial software and services, has raised more than $5 million in Series B funding. Motorola Solutions Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Vanedge Capital and In-Q-Tel. www.boundlessgeo.com
• The Tab, a UK-based hyperlocal news site that is primarily produced by unpaid student journalists, has raised $3 million in new funding from Balderton Capital. Read more.
• Channel Mechanics, a provider of a cloud-based channel enablement SaaS solution, has raised $2.3 million in angel funding. Backers include Enterprise Ireland, Konstantin Sidorov (RRC Business Telecom) and Karl Flannery (Knowledge Transfer Ireland). The company has offices in Ireland, San Francisco and London. www.channelmechanics.com
• Curve, a London-based personal finance startup that remains in stealth mode, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Speedinvest, Seedcamp, London Co-Investment Fund, Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise) and Ed Wray (Betfair). Read more.
• Boomf, a British producer of personalized marshmallows, has raised £700,000 in angel funding from Andy Phillips (ActiveHotels founder) and Jo Staveley (ex- Cath Kidston). www.boomf.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• American Securities and P2 Capital Partners have agreed to acquire Blount International Inc. (NYSE: BLT), a Portland, Ore.-based maker of replacement parts and equipment for markets like forestry, lawn, garden, agriculture and concrete cutting. The deal is valued at $855 million in cash, or $10 per share (86% premium to yesterday’s closing price). www.blount.com
• Audax Group has acquired Senior Care/Active Day Inc., a Trevose, Penn.-based operator of adult day health centers, from Clearview Capital. No financial terms were disclose. www.audaxgroup.com
• Carter-Waters LLC, a Kansas City-based portfolio company of Merit Capital Partners and Aiglon Capital Management, has acquired CMA Supply Co., an Indianapolis-based regional distributor of concrete and masonry products. No financial terms were disclosed. www.cmasupply.com
• Council Capital has acquired a minority equity stake in Adva-Net, a Sarasota, Fla.-based provider of workers’ compensation network management solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. www.adva-net.com
• Estancia Capital Partners has acquired a minority equity stake in Redwood Investments LLC, a Newton, Mass.-based investment management boutique focused on large and small-cap equity portfolios for institutional and individual clients. No financial terms were disclosed. www.redwoodinv.com
• Gauge Capital has sponsored a recapitalization of Texas Teachers of Tomorrow LLC, an alternative certification program provider in Texas. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gaugecapital.com
• Gryphon Investors has sponsored a recapitalization of Washing Systems LLC, a Loveland, Ohio-based provider of chemicals and technical services to the commercial laundry processing industry. No financial terms were disclosed. www.washingsystems.com
• Industrialvest has agreed to acquire Sergio Rossi, an Italian luxury shoe maker, from Kering (Paris: KER). No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is “in the lead” to acquire Mills Fleet Farm, a Baxter, Minn.-based outdoor retailer, for around $1.2 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Li Tong Group, a Hong Kong-based electronics recycler, has secured $45 million in equity funding from Olympus Capital Asia for an undisclosed ownership stake. Read more.
• Tengram Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Cos Bar USA Inc., an Aspen, Colo.-based luxury specialty cosmetics retailer. No financial terms were disclosed. www.cosbar.com
• TPG Growth has acquired a 28% stake in Asiri Hospital Holdings, a private healthcare provider in Sri Lanka, from Actis. No financial terms were disclosed. The company will continue to be controlled by Softlogic. www.asirihospitals.com
• Veritas Capital has completed its previously-announced acquisition of General Electric’s (NYSE: GE) embedded technology and systems business, which has been renamed Abaco Systems Inc. www.abaco.com
• Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd., a Swiss developer of drugs for resistant fungal infections, has withdrawn registration for a $189.52 million IPO that it filed for in October. No explanation was provided beyond “market conditions.” The company currently trades on the Swiss stock exchange and had planned to trade in the U.S. on the Nasdaq. Cowen & Co. and Guggenheim Securities were serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders include Franklin Resources (8.74% stake) and HBM Healthcare Investors (7.82%). www.basileapharma.com
• EndoStim Inc., a St. Louis-based maker of a neurostimulation device for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, has withdrawn registration for a $35 million IPO that it filed for in September 2014 due to “market conditions.” It had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include Santé Ventures (35.4% stake) and Prolog Capital (5.7%). www.endostim.com
• Soulcycle, a New York-based fitness chain, has filed to go public. The chain generated $112 million in annual sales last year, with $25.3 million in net income from $7.6 million two years earlier. Read more.
• Apax Partners has agreed to sell its approximately 50% stake in Tommy Hilfiger’s China business to joint venture partner PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH), according to Bloomberg. No financial terms were disclosed, but the report suggests an overall enterprise value of around $500 million for the business, which might be taken public next year. Read more.
• Axel Springer has agreed to purchase the 15% stake in its digital classifieds business that it doesn’t already own. The seller is General Atlantic, which would receive around €465 million worth of Axel Springer stock, giving it an 8.3% stake in the German publisher. Read more.
• TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) has agreed to acquire Trustev, an Ireland-based provider of digital verification technology. The deal is valued at upwards of $44 million, including a $23 million earn-out. Trustev had raised around $7 million in VC funding from groups like ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland, Notion Capital, Greycroft Partners and Mangrove Capital Partners. www.trustev.com
• Vendini, a San Francisco-based event and fundraising management platform, has acquired CrowdTorch, an Austin, Texas-based consumer ticket solution and live event platform, from Cvent (NYSE: CVT). No financial terms were disclosed. www.vendini.com
• Accor (Paris: AC) has agreed to acquire FRHI Holdings, a Toronto-based hotel operator whose brands include the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, for approximately $3 billion in cash and stock. Sellers include Qatar Investment Authority and Kingdom Holding Co. Read more.
• CalAmp (Nasdaq: CAMP) has offered to acquire LoJack Corp. (Nasdaq: LOJN), a Canton, Mass.-based provider of vehicle theft recovery systems and fleet management solutions. The bid values LoJack at approximately $113 million in cash, or $5.50 per share (58% premium to yesterday’s closing price). www.lojack.com
• Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) has acquired the shares it doesn’t already hold in Japanese data center operator Bit-isle Inc. No financial terms were disclosed. www.bit-isle.co.jp
• Media General (NYSE: MEG) has rejected a sweetened $16.31 cash and stock takeover offer from Nexstar Broadcasting Group (Nasdaq: NXST), which would have valued Media General at around $4.3 billion (including debt). Media General continues to move forward with its $2.4 billion agreement to acquire magazine publisher Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP). 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
• Endless LLP, a British private equity firm, has promoted Francesco Santinon to partner. He joined the firm in 2012, and has worked on such deals as Ink Global and Midfloor. www.endlessllp.com
• Carlos Oyarbide is stepping down as a managing director and chief operator officer for Morgan Stanley in China, in order to launch a private equity firm focused on Chinese tech companies, according to Dow Jones. Read more.
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