Some quick notes to kick off your Thursday:
• Much ado about nothing? Last fall, we began reporting on how Fidelity published monthly valuation reports that included its private company stock holdings, which include such names as Dropbox, Pinterest, Snapchat and Uber. The existence of such documents seemed to surprise the companies and their other investors, and led many to speculate that startups would no longer allow Fidelity into their new deals.
So much for that.
Yesterday, we reported that Oscar Health is raising a massive new funding round led by Fidelity. Today comes news that cybersecurity startup Malwarebytes raised $50 million from the mutual fund giant. Earlier this month, Scholar Rock raised $36 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity. And there have been others.
It seems that Fidelity’s cash is more important to startups than what comes with it.
• In quasi-related news: I’ve been writing for months about late-stage valuation pullback and the startling lack of unicorn exits (back when IPOs were viable). And, by this point, it is conventional wisdom that many (or even most) of the unicorns will lose their horns.
All of that said, however, it is important to note that we still are seeing more new unicorns minted than killed (ForeScout joined the herd just today). This isn’t me changing my position, but rather a caution against those suggesting that rising blood in the water is already drowning everyone.
• Answer key: Yesterday I asked you to name the VC-backed cloud company that IBM has quietly acquired for more than $100 million. The answer was Ustream, a Mountain View, Calif.-based live video platform that had raised nearly $50 million from DCM, Eastward Capital Partners, Labrador Ventures, KT Corp., SoftTech VC, SoftBank, Recruit Strategic Partners, Wasabi Ventures and Western Technology Investment.
IBM isn’t commenting, but word is that the deal includes $130 million in cash and a bit more in possible employee retention and earn-out payments (but less than $150m overall).
• Nothing shocking: Online lender Elevate Credit has postponed its IPO, which had been scheduled to price this evening. Not terribly surprising given the public market mess, but the decision came late given that I received an email at 12:10pm ET yesterday with an offer to interview Elevate CEO Ken Rees after its first public trades on Friday.
In a statement sent this morning, Rees said: “Although the response to the marketing of our planned IPO has been very favorable, we recognize that the current market volatility makes it very difficult to price our offering at present.”
Had Elevate priced, it would have been the first IPO of 2016. The only company still on the January calendar is Shimmick Construction Co., which had been expected to price this week but now says it will try for next week.
• Survey says: Term Sheet has again teamed up with Semaphore on its 8th annual Confidence Survey of private equity and venture capital professionals. Results will be published here early next month. It only takes a few minutes to fill out, and I ask that you do so by going here. Thanks in advance…
THE BIG DEAL
• Columbus Nova Technology Partners has agreed to acquire a minority equity stake in Gawker Media. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which will help Gawker defend itself from a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan. Read more at Fortune.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• WeLab, an online lending platform based in Beijing and Hong Kong, has raised $160 million in Series B funding. Khazanah Nasional Berhad led the round, and was joined by ING Bank and Guangdong Technology Financial Group. Read more.
• ForeScout, a 16-year-old cybersecurity firm based in Campbell, Calif., has raised $76 million in new VC funding at a $1 billion valuation. Wellington Management led the round. ForeScout previously raised around $80 million from firms like Accel, Cross Creek Advisors, Intel Capital, Itochu, Meritech Capital Partners and Pitango Venture Capital. Read more at Fortune.
• Malwarebytes, a San Jose, Calif.-based behavior-based detection engine for computer threats, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Fidelity. It previously raised $30 million from Highland Capital Partners. Read more at Fortune.
• BioTheranostics, a San Diego-based developer of molecular diagnostics for cancer, has raised $32 million in new funding. MVM Life Science Partners led the round, and was joined by Canepa Advanced Healthcare Fund and HealthQuest Capital. The deal results in BioTheranostics spinning out of BioMérieux (Paris: BIM), which will remain a minority shareholder. www.biotheranostics.com
• Qubole, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based cloud data platform for analyzing and processing data sets., has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Institutional Venture Partners. www.qubole.com
• GigaSpaces Technologies, a New York-based provider of cloud orchestration and data scalability platforms, has raised $20 million in new VC funding led by Claridge Israel. Read more.
• Vasopharm, a German developer of therapeutics for the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases, has raised €20 million in new VC funding. Fort Rock Capital was joined by return backers Entrepreneurs Fund, Heidelberg Capital Private Equity, Bayern Kapital and Hanseatic Asset Management. www.vasopharm.com
• MariaDB (f.k.a. SkySQL), a Finland-based developer of open source relational databases, has raised $9 million in new VC funding from return backers Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures. Read more.
• Splice Machine, a San Francisco-based provider of an SQL-on-Hadoop database for big data applications, has raised $9 million in third round funding. Return backers include Correlation Ventures, Interwest Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures. www.splicemachine.com
• Plain Vanilla Games, a Reykjavik, Iceland-based mobile game publisher behind social trivia network QuizUp, has raised $7.5 million in convertible equity funding from Glu Mobile Inc. (Nasdaq: GLUU). Existing Plain Vanilla shareholders include Sequoia Capital and eVentures. www.quizup.com
• QASymphony, an Atlanta-based provider of enterprise-level agile testing tools, has raised $5 million in Series B funding. Fulcrum Equity Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer BIP Capital. www.qasymphony.com
• Waldo Photo, an Austin, Texas-based photo-finding platform, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Upfront Ventures. www.waldo.photos
• Qeexo, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of human-computer interaction technologies for mobile and other touch devices, has raised $4.5 million in Series B funding. KTB Network led the round, and was joined by Inventec and return backers Sierra Ventures and Danhua Capital. www.qeexo.com
• CREO, an Indian developer of a new Android-based operating system, has raised $3 million in VC funding from Sequoia India, Beenext Ventures and India Quotient. Read more.
• Sentenai, a Boston-based developer of a cloud infrastructure platform to automate data engineering, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from Flybridge Capital Partners, Founder Collective, Project 11 Ventures, and Hyperplane Venture Capital.
• Kii, a San Mateo, Calif.-based mobility and Internet of Things platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Cisco Investments. www.kii.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Fluid Delivery Solutions LLC, a Ft. Worth, Texas-based provider of oilfield water management services, has acquired Water Transfer LLC, a Midland, Texas-based water transfer and equipment rental business focused on the Permian Basin. No financial terms were disclosed. FDS is a portfolio company of Trilantic North America. www.fdsllc.com
• HgCapital has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Sovos Compliance, a Wilmington, Mass.-based provider of regulatory tax compliance software, from Vista Equity Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.sovos.com
• KKR and UltraTech Cement Ltd. have submitted first-round bids for the cement assets of India’s Jaiprakash Associates Ltd., according to Bloomberg. The deal could require the buyer to take on upwards of $2.9 billion in existing debt. Read more.
• Luxe Energy LLC, an oil and gas acquisition platform launched last year by former Statoil executives with $500 million in equity commitments from NGP Energy Capital Management, has acquired 18,000 acres in the Delaware Basin of Texas from Endeavor Energy Resources LP and Finley Resources Inc., according to Reuters. Read more.
• Lion Capital and Chinese textile producer Shandong Ruyi Group are among the bidders for MCP, a French fashion company owned by KKR that could be valued north of $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Sparta Systems, a Hamilton, N.J.-based provider of enterprise quality management software, has acquired 123Compliance, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based complaint handling, quality management, regulatory reporting and document management systems for small and mid-sized pharma and medical device companies. No financial terms were disclosed. Sparta was acquired last year by Thoma Bravo. www.spartasystems.com
• Spectrio, an Oldsmar, Fla.-based portfolio company of The Riverside Company, has acquired TMS Audio Productions, a Jefferson City, Mo.-based provider of on-hold and messaging and marketing services (particularly for the healthcare and financial markets). No financial terms were disclosed. www.spectrio.com
• TierPoint LLC has agreed to acquire Cosentry, an Omaha, Neb.-based provider of cloud, colocation and managed services. Current Cosentry owner TA Associates will become a shareholder in TierPoint, which was acquired last year by an investor group that included Thompson Street Capital Partners, The Stephens Group, RedBird Capital Partners and Jordan/Zalaznick Advisers. No financial terms were disclosed. www.tierpoint.com
• No IPO news this morning.
• FireEye (Nasdaq: FEYE) has acquired iSight Partners, a Dallas-based threat intelligence company, for upwards of $275 million (including $200m upfront and $75m of earnouts). Sellers include Bessemer Venture Partners and The Blackstone Group. Read more at Fortune.
• The Gores Group has sold Unify, a Munich-based provider of integrated communication solutions, to Atos SE (Paris: ATO). No financial terms were disclosed. Unify was formed in 2008 as Siemens Enterprise Communications, via a joint venture between Gores and Siemens AG. Today, the company generates around €1.2 billion annual revenue. www.gores.com
• Bryan, Garnier & Co., a London-based investment bank, has merged with Cartagena Capital, a Munich-based technology advisory boutique. No financial terms were disclosed.
• Foxconn (Taiwan: 2354) has bid around $5.3 billion to acquire Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. (Tokyo: 6753), according to the WSJ. Read more.
• GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) is in talks with Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) over a $1 billion joint venture to develop medical technologies, according to the FT. Read more.
• Questis, a Charleston, S.C.-based employee wellness platform, has raised $2.3 million in venture debt funding from firms like Capital A Partners. www.myquestis.com
• Parexel International Corp. (Nasdaq: PRXL) has agreed to acquire Health Advances LLC, a Weston, Mass.-based life sciences strategy consulting firm. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was managed by Clearsight Advisors. www.parexel.com
• Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA), a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of touch-screen technology, is nearing an agreement to be acquired for nearly $4 billion by a Chinese state-backed investor group, according to Bloomberg. The $110 per share deal represents an 84% premium to yesterday’s opening price for Synaptics stock. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Abingworth has raised $105 million for a new fund that will invest in late-state therapeutic clinical programs derived from the UK-based firm’s life sciences co-development portfolio companies. www.abingworth.com
• Neuberger Berman has closed its third global private equity co-investment fund with $1.5 billion in capital commitments. www.nb.com
• Scale Venture Partners has closed its fifth fund with $335 million in capital commitments. www.scalevp.com
• Turquoise Partners, an investment firm with offices in London and Iran, is raising upwards of $150 million for an Iran-focused private equity fund, according to Private Equity International. It already has secured more than $30 million in soft commitments from European individuals. www.turquoisepartners.com
Moving In, On & Up
• Harjinder Johal has joined London-based VC firm Balderton Capital as head of investor relations. She previously led IR and fundraising for Darwin Private Equity. www.balderton.com
• Ryan Miller has joined KKR as a London-based principal focused on the energy sector. He previously was in the M&A unit of Genel Energy (LSE: GENL). www.kkr.com
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