Some assorted items to kick off your Thursday:
• Mystery solved: After nearly a week of questions, Fortune was first to report yesterday that the anonymous buyer of the Las Vegas Journal-Review newspaper is Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and GOP mega-donor. Then, late last night, the paper itself reported that Adelson directed and financed the purchase, but that it was technically put together by son-in-law Patrick Dumont (who also is senior VP of finance and strategy at Adelson's company, Las Vegas Sands Corp.).
Still no word from Adelson, or explanation as to why he chose for a secrecy strategy that would limit his own editorial influence, reduce the newspaper's overall credibility and cause employee confusion/resentment.
• Surprise unicorn: The year's biggest VC-backed exit isn't from the technology sector. Nor is it from the U.S.
AstraZeneca still morning announced an agreement to acquire a 55% stake in Dutch drug developer Acerta Pharma that could value the company at upwards of $7 billion. It includes a $2.5 billion up-front payment, $1.5 billion in milestone-based earnouts and a $3 billion option to buy the remaining shares.
Acerta Pharma raised $13 million in Series A funding back in 2013 from a group of venture investors that included BioGeneration Ventures,Frazier Healthcare Ventures, BOM Capital and OrbiMed Advisors. It also raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding this past May.
• Personnel scoop: Kirby Bartlett has agreed to join Sherpa Capital, the San Francisco-based VC firm with a particular focus on on-demand startups, as a managing director, COO and chief compliance officer. He previously spent the past 18 years with Bay City Capital.
• Freudian slip? The Institutional Limited Partners Association earlier this year distributed a draft document that referred to carried interest as “incentive compensation,” as first reported by Dow Jones.
It seems the Private Equity Growth Capital Counsel has already asked that the “proposed template be modified so that it does not incorrectly describe carried interest as incentive compensation or a fee.” After all, it will make PEGCC’s tax lobbying much more difficult if the institutions actually funding private equity have codified that carried interest is incentive compensation (i.e., should be taxed as ordinary income) rather than as a capital gain.
• Happy holidays: It's that time of year again, when First Round Capital releases a parody music video featuring lots of its founders dancing and making general fools of themselves. Plus, of course, partner Howard Morgan and some fun references to Fidelity markdowns. Check it out by going here.
THE BIG DEAL
• Cerberus Capital Management has agreed to purchase an 80.1% stake in the North American business of cosmetics company Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) for $170 million. Cerberus also would invest another $435 million for a 17% stake in the parent company. Read more at Fortune.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Tastemade, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of foodie-focused video content, has raised $40 million in new VC funding. Backers include Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Media, Scripps Networks Interactive and Tohokushinsha Film Corp. Read more.
• Janrain, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of customer identity management solutions, has raised $27 million in Series D funding. HighBar Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Millennium Technology Value Partners, Split Rock Partners, Epic Ventures, Emergence Capital, RPM Ventures and DFJ Frontier. www.janrain.com
• NextCapital, a Chicago-based “enterprise digital advice firm,” has raised $16 million in Series B funding. AllianceBernstein, Manulife and Route 66 Ventures co-led the round. www.nextcapital.com
• Orig3n, a Boston-based regenerative medicine startup focused on rare and genetically inherited diseases, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. Hatteras Venture Partners and Syno Capital co-led the round, and were joined by DEFTA Partners and return backers Harris & Harris Group, Inc., LabCorp, MGC Venture Partners and KTB-KORUS Fund. www.orig3n.com
• PatSnap, a Singapore-based provider of IP analytics and management software, has raised $10 million in growth equity funding from Summit Partners.
• Textio, a Seattle-based “platform for intelligent text,” has raised $8 million in Series A funding. Emergence Capital led the round, and was joined by seed backers Cowboy Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and Upside Partnership. www.textio.com
• Hallux, a Laguna Hills, Calif.-based developer of a new dosage form and route of administration for treating onychomycosis, has raised $7.1 million in Series A funding led by Deerfield Management. www.halluxinc.com
• Depositphotos, a New York-based stock photo marketplace, has raised $5 million in new VC funding. The EBRD Venture Capital Investment Programme led the round, and was joined by TMT Investments. www.depositphotos.com
• Full Circle Insights Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of marketing performance management solutions, has raised $4.7 million in new Series B funding. Aligned Partners led the round, and was joined by Salesforce Ventures. www.fullcirclecrm.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Abraaj Group is the frontrunner to acquire a majority stake in Al Raya for Foodstuff Co., a Saudi supermarket chain currently controlled by Levant Capital and Citi Venture Capital International, according to Reuters. Apollo Global Management also submitted a bid. Read more.
• AEA Investors has agreed to acquire a majority stake in 1-800 Contacts Inc., an Orem, Utah-based contact lenses retailer, from Thomas H. Lee Partners (which will retain a minority equity stake). No pricing terms were disclosed for the deal, which will include leveraged financing from Credit Suisse, Barclays and Goldman Sachs. www.1800contacts.com
• Anchorage Capital Partners has acquired listed Australian childcare center operator Affinity Education Group for A$258 million. Read more.
• Airbus Group (Paris: AIR) has short-listed The Carlyle Group and KKR for its defense electronics unit, according to Reuters. The business has annual revenue of around $2.2 billion. Bids from Germany’s Rheinmetall and Cinven (working with OHB) did not make the cut. Read more.
• AnaCap Financial Partners, Apollo Global Management and Centerbridge Capital Partners are among those considering bids for a quartet of Italian lenders that received €3.6 billion in government bailouts last month, according to Bloomberg. A sale could be valued at more than €1 billion. Read more.
• Baring Private Equity Asia has acquired China-based HCP Packaging from TPG Capital. No financial terms were disclosed, but Reuters reports a price-tag of $775 million. Read more.
• The Blackstone Group has agreed to pay $170 million to acquire a minority equity stake in IBS Software, an India-based provider of travel, transportation and logistics software, from General Atlantic and other selling shareholders. www.ibsplc.com
• The Blackstone Group has completed its previously-announced acquisition of MB Aerospace, a UK-based engine component manufacturer and repair business, from Arlington Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mbaerospace.com
• H.I.G. Capital has acquired two regional shopping centers in the UK -- The Kennet Centre in Newbury and the Kirkgate Centre in Bradford. -- for an undisclosed amount. www.higcapital.com
• Signavio GmbH, a German provider of SaaS-based business process and decision management technology, has raised €31 million in minority equity funding from Summit Partners. www.signavio.com
• Azure Power Global, an India-based solar power company, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol AZRE, with Barclays serving as lead underwriter. The company reports nearly a $4 million net loss on $9 million in revenue for Q2 2015. Shareholders include Helion Venture Partners and International Finance Corp. www.azurepower.com
• BuildingIQ Inc., a Foster City, Calif.-based provider of building energy management software, raised A$20 million in an IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange. The deal gives the company an initial market cap of around $85 million (fully-diluted). The company had raised VC funding from firms like Aster Capital, Siemens Venture Capital and Paladin Capital. www.buildingiq.com
• Century Park Capital Partners has sold Lynx Grills Inc., a Commerce, Calif.-based manufacturer of outdoor kitchen products, to Middleby Corp. (Nasdaq: MIDD). No financial terms were disclosed. www.lynxprofessionalgrills.com
• ICON PLC (Nasdaq: ICLR) has agreed to acquire PMG Research Inc., a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based provider of clinical research services, from Frontier Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.pmg-research.com
• Purch, an Ogden, Utah-based digital content and commerce company, has acquired ShopSavvy, a Dallas-based barcode scanning app for commerce that had raised $7 million in VC funding from backers like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Purch backers include Canso Investment Counsel. Read more.
• Shaw Communications (TSX: SJR) has agreed to acquire Wind Mobile, a Canadian wireless provider, for C$1.6 billion. The selling group includes Globalive Capital, Tennenbaum Capital Partners, West Face Capital and LGT Capital Partners. Read more.
• Bloomberg LP has agreed to acquire the risk analytics and index solutions business of Barclays PLC (LSE: BARC) for around $787 million. Read more.
• Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is “pursuing a spinoff of its hotels into a real-estate investment,” according to the WSJ, which says that Hilton has requested an IRS ruling on the transaction. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• No firm or fund news this morning.
Moving In, On & Up
• 5AM Ventures has promoted Kush Parmar to managing partner and Paul Stone to partner. The healthcare-focused VC firm also said that Louis Tartaglia is joining as CEO of the “4:59 Initiative,” which is focused on incubating new business ideas. Tartaglia, a former Third Rock Ventures partner who most recently was CEO of Solstice Biologics, also will serve as an executive-in-residence for 5AM. Finally, 5AM has hired Mira Chaurushiya (ex-Genetech) as an associate. www.5amventures.com
• Apax Partners has promoted London-based Mark Zubko to partner, as first reported by LBO Wire. It also promoted three New York-based senior associates to principal: David Evans, Bo Huang and Jonathan Simmons. www.apax.com
• James Kase has joined HarbourVest Partners as global head of investor relations. He previously served in the same role with London-based hedge fund manager Capula Investment Management. www.harbourvest.com
• Andy Lee has joined Evercore as a member of its private funds group, with a primary focus on Korea. He previously was with placement agent Campbell Lutyens. www.evercore.com
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