A couple of notes to kick off your Tuesday, at least for those of you who aren't already two-days deep into vacation:
• Head-scratcher: When the FTC recently sued to block the Staples from buying Office Depot, it made a decent amount of sense. The two retailers often found themselves as the only bidders for large corporate “consumables” contracts -- pens, printer paper, etc. -- meaning that a merger could have monopolistic implications. And management of both companies certainly erred in relying so heavily on precedent that suggested regulators cared more about their consumer businesses than their corporate businesses.
All of which makes yesterday’s news so confusing. Staples announced that it had offered to divest $1.25 billion worth of its commercial contracts “in an effort to create an acceptable remedy to the FTC.” For context, Staples reported 2014 revenue of around $22 billion. But, according to Staples, the FTC passed without making a counteroffer.
To be clear, we don’t know exactly how much $1.25 billion represents of Staples’ commercial contracts business -- it would be nearly 6% of annual Staples revenue -- nor if that figure includes Office Depot divestitures (i.e., $1.25 billion from today’s Staples, or of a combined Staples). But we do know that this seems, at the very least, to be Staples taking a major step toward addressing the only stated rationale for regulatory objection. Remember, the original complaint didn't mention anything about the consumer business or public sector contract business.
For the FTC to not even engage in negotiations at this point seems, from the outside looking in, to be unreasonably stubborn.
• Background check: Yesterday we mentioned how Turing Pharmaceuticals had referred to the venture capital and private equity background of new interim CEO Ron Tilles, who took over for after Martin Shkreli was arrested for securities fraud. But we couldn't find any information on said experience.
So yesterday we did some more digging and came up with a lot more information on Tilles's work history. Unfortunately, nothing in it seems to be what the company represented it to be. Neither Tilles nor a Turing spokesman returned requests for comment. To see what we found, please go here.
• Your turn: Thursday's issue of Term Sheet is the last one of 2015, which means it will be a mailbag. What I'd like from you, dear reader, is a one-line prediction for what will happen in 2016. Per usual, I'll only disclose first names. So send 'em my way (just hit reply to this email). Thanks in advance...
THE BIG DEAL
• NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) has agreed to acquire SolidFire, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of all-flash storage systems, for $870 million in cash. SolidFire had raised around $150 million in VC funding, from NEA, Greenspring Associates, Novak Biddle, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Shuttl, an Indian minibus operator, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Times Internet. Read more.
• Eved, a Chicago-based provider of event management software, has raised $14.3 million in new VC funding. Huizenga Capital Management led the round, and was joined by Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Merrick Ventures and MK Capital. Read more.
• Neural Analytics Inc., a Los Angeles-based developer of devices and services to measure, diagnose and track brain health, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from JSR Ltd. and Taiyu Capital. www.neuralanalytics.com
• MJ Freeway, a Denver-based provider of software and services for legal cannabis businesses, has raised $8 million in Series B funding. Backers include Roger McNamee and Tao Capital Partners. www.mjfreeway.com
• ChargeItSpot, a Philadelphia-based provider of cell phone charging stations for retail chains and other indoor public venues, has raised $5.26 million in Series A funding. Backers include Robin Hood Ventures, SeedInvest and SoundBoard Angel Fund. www.chargeitspot.com
• Feedvisor, an Israel-based provider of algorithmic repricing and revenue intelligence solutions for online retailers, has raised $5 million in new VC funding. Square Peg Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers JAL Ventures and Titanium Investments. www.feedvisor.com
• Uber China, the ride-sharing giant’s quasi-independent business in China, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Chinese automaker GAC Group. www.uber.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Apax Partners has agreed to acquire the commercial satellite communications business of Airbus Group (Paris: AIR) for an undisclosed amount. www.apax.com
• Azelis, a Belgium-based portfolio company of Apax Partners, has acquired KODA Distribution Group Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based specialty chemicals distributor in North America, from Audax Group. No financial terms were disclosed. Harris Williams & Co. managed the process. www.kodadistribution.com
• Bain Capital has acquired Big Tex, a Mt. Pleasant, Texas-based manufacturer of professional-grade trailers, from H.I.G. Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.bigtextrailers.com
• Dermapharm, a German generic drugmaker, has received first-round takeover bids from at least five private equity firms, according to Reuters. The deal could generate upwards of €1 billion for the company’s selling founder, with suitors reported to include Advent International, Cinven, Carlyle Group, BC Partners and Nordic Capital. Read more.
• Dominus Capital has acquired Complete Nutrition, an Omaha, Neb.-based distributor of nutritional supplements and franchisor of health-focused retail stores. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Monroe Capital arranged a $25.1 million senior credit facility to support the acquisition. www.completenutrition.com
• Eletromidia, a Brazilian outdoor advertising company owned by H.I.G. Capital, has acquired two Brazilian companies that operate out-of-home advertising in the subway systems of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, respectively: DMS Publicidade Mídia Interativa (DMS) and Telefónica On The Spot Soluções Digitais Do Brasil (TOTS). No financial terms were disclosed for either deal. www.eletromidia.com.br
• Pague Menos Pharmacies, Brazil’s third-largest drugstore retail chain, has secured approximately US$151 million in growth equity funding from General Atlantic. The company expects to generate around $1.25 billion in revenue this year. www.portalpaguemenos.com.br
• Piada Italian Street Food, a Columbus, Ohio-based fast-casual Italian eatery chain that will have 26 locations by year-end, has secured an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Catterton Partners. www.MyPiada.com
• Siteimprove AS, a Danish provider of web governance software, has raised $55 million in minority equity funding from Summit Partners. www.siteimprove.com
• SQM, Blakeney Asset Management and the Tunisian-Kuwaiti Consortium of Development are part of a group that has acquired an 83% stake in Tunisian pharmaceutical company Unimed from the Abraaj Group and Proparco. No financial terms were disclosed. www.abraaj.com
• Acacia Communications, a Maynard, Mass.-based provider of transceivers for ultra-high speed fiber optic transmission to the telecom infrastructure industry, has filed for a $125 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ACIA, with Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $18 million of net income on $170.5 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2015, compared to $11 million of net income on $105 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Shareholders include Matrix Partners (39.2% pre-IPO stake), Commonwealth Capital Ventures (19.7%), Summit Partners (9.4%) and Egan Managed Capital. www.acacia-inc.com
• Altice (Paris: ATC) has completed its previously-announced acquisition of a 70% stake in St. Louis-based cable operator Suddenlink Communications at an enterprise value of around $9.1 billion. The sellers were BC Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which paid $6.6 billion to acquire the company in July 2012. BC Partners and CPPIB retained the other 30% interest. www.suddenlink.com
• Apax Partners has agreed to sell Rhiag-Inter Auto Parts Italia SpA, a Milan-based B2B distributor of aftermarket spare parts for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, to LKQ Corp. (Nasdaq: LKQ) at an enterprise value of €1.04 billion. www.rhiag.com
• KPS Capital Partners has completed its previously-announced sale of Motor Coach Industries International Inc., a Des Plains, Ill.-based maker of intercity coaches, to New Flyer Industries Inc. (TSX: NFI) for approximately $480 million. www.mcicoach.com
• Leviton has acquired Brand-Rex Ltd., a UK-based provider of cabling solutions for network infrastructure and industrial applications, from Murray Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.leviton.com
• Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired London-based craft brewer Camden Town Brewer for an undisclosed amount. .
• China National Chemical has sweetened its takeover offer for Syngenta (SWX: SYNN), a Swiss chemicals company that now would be valued at $44 billion (up from $42 billion), according to Bloomberg. The revised deal would be for a 70% stake in Syngenta, with an option to buy the remainder. Earlier this year, Syngenta fended off a $46 billion takeover offer from Monsanto (NYSE: MON). Read more.
• Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has acquired Talko, a Manchester, Mass.-based mobile collaboration startup founded by Ray Ozzie (who will not be joining Microsoft). No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Orange is considering an acquisition of French telecom company Bouygues Telecom, according to Les Echos. Read more.
• McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is seeking to sell part of its stake in publicly-traded McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan), according to the Nikkei daily. The report sent McDonald’s Holdings shares down nearly 8%, their sharpest drop in years. Read more.
• PharmMerica Corp. (NYSE: PMC) has made two acquisitions: Integrated Pharmacy Network, a Midland, Mich.-based long-term care pharmacy; and Alternacare Infusion Pharmacy, an Olathe, Kan.-based provider of specialty home infusion services. No financial terms were disclosed for either deal. www.pharmerica.com
• Recruit Holdings, a listed Japanese provider of HR services, has agreed to purchase listed Dutch rival USG People for €1.61 billion in cash, or €17.50 per share (31% premium over yesterday’s closing price). Read more.
• UniEnergy Technologies, a Mukilteo, Wash.-based provider of energy storage solutions, has secured an undisclosed amount of strategic equity funding from ORIX Corp. (NYSE: IX). www.uetechnologies.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Colle Capital Partners, a New York-based early-stage tech VC firm led by Victoria Grace (ex-Wall Street Technology Partners) is raising upwards of $20 million for its debut fund, according to a regulatory filing. It already has closed on $9.45 million.
Moving In, On & Up
• Karl Rodger has joined New York-based private equity firm Spire Capital Partners as a vice president. He previously was a VP with Dubin Clark & Co. Spire also announced that it has promoted Kerri McNicholas to vice president. www.spirecapital.com
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