Greetings from the home office, where it’s good to be back after a whirlwind trip to San Francisco. Some notes to kick off your Friday:
• You get a car, and you get a car… General Motors this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but we’ve learned that the price-tag was “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.
This deal obviously isn’t to the level of Facebook/WhatsApp, but it’s similar in the sense that few people saw Cruise getting taken out at such a high price. The company had remained pretty stealthy, prompting some initial reports to suggest it was effectively an acqui-hire.
My understanding is that the original talks between GM and Cruise were about a strategic investment, as Cruise was setting out to raise a new round of funding. But that quickly morphed into an acquisition discussion, with the entire agreement getting hashed out in less than six weeks.
Cruise Automation had raised over $18 million in venture capital funding, most recently at a post-money valuation of around $90 million. Investors include Spark Capital, Maven Ventures, Founder Collective and Y Combinator. For more, please go here.
• Speaking of Spark: As we reported earlier this week, the Boston-based VC firm is currently raising its fifth flagship fund. Pretty good timing… It’s like the anti-Leonard Green.
• Personnel scoop: Thomas “TJ” Carella is joining private equity firm Warburg Pincus after leading healthcare private equity investments for Goldman Sachs, Fortune has learned.
At Warburg Pincus, Carella is expected to work with fellow Goldman Sachs veteran In Seon Hwang, who oversees the firm’s healthcare and consumer groups.
Carella originally joined the merchant banking group of Goldman Sachs in 1997 as an analyst, before leaving to co-found an Italian software services business and to get his MBA from Harvard Business School. He rejoined Goldman Sachs in 2004, was named a managing director in 2009, and a partner in 2014.
Most recently Carella has served as global head of healthcare for Goldman’s merchant banking group, and has served on the boards of such Goldman portfolio companies as T2Biosystems, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, iHealth Technologies, and KAR Auction Services.
No comment from Warburg Pincus spokesman.
• Update: On Wednesday morning, I wrote that upcoming earnings from Box and Square might have a major impact on upcoming tech IPOs (or lack thereof). Now we’ve got the numbers, so I dove in a bit.
• Have a great weekend…
THE BIG DEAL
• Soothe, a Los Angeles-based on-demand massage company, has raised $35 million in new equity funding from existing backer The Riverside Company. www.soothe.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce company, is seeking to raise up to $1 billion in new equity funding in a down-round, according to TechCrunch. The company was valued at over $15 billion in an equity round last year. Read more.
• Justworks, a New York-based HR and payments platform, has raised $33 million in Series C funding. Redpoint Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Bain Capital Ventures, Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. www.justworks.com
• Whistle Sports, a New York-based digital sports media content company focused on millennials, has raised $20 million in Series C funding. Backers include TENGA Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky Media and Emil Capital. www.whistlesports.com
• Icertis, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of contract lifecycle management in the cloud, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Ignition Partners led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Partners and Fidelity Growth Partners India. www.icertis.com
• Bustle, a New York-based digital media property targeting millennial women, has raised $11.5 million in new VC funding. Saban Capital Group led the round, and was joined by GGV Capital and return backers Time Warner Investments, General Catalyst Partners and Social Capital. Read more.
• Avametric, a San Francisco-based provider of virtual fitting room software for the fashion market, has raised $10.5 million in new VC funding led by Khosla Ventures. www.avametric.com
• Penrose Studios, a San Francisco-based “VR storytelling” startup, has raised $8.5 million in seed funding. Accelerate-IT Ventures led the round, and was joined by TransLink Capital, Suffolk Equity and 8 Angel. www.penrosestudios.com
• Propel, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of product lifecycle management software, has raised $4.2 million in Series A funding. Cloud Apps Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Salesforce Ventures and SignalFire. www.propelplm.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Altus Capital Partners has acquired Nichols Portland, a Portland, Maine-based maker of precision powder metal fixed and variable displacement gears, from Parker Hannifin Corp. (NYSE: PH). No financial terms were disclosed. www.gerotor.net
• The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire a majority equity stake in JenCap Holdings LLC and the assets of Wholesale Trading Co-Op Insurance Services, a San Francisco-based insurance wholesaler. No financial terms were disclosed. www.carlyle.com
• The Carlyle Group has invested in GGC Group, the parent company of Japanese bean sprout maker Kyushu GGC Ltd. No financial terms were disclosed. www.carlyle.com
• Cornerstone Partners and Oaktree Capital Management have agreed to acquire ProService Agent Transferowy, a Poland-based business process outsourcing company and transfer agent, from Highlander Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.psat.com.pl
• Investindustrial has entered into exclusive takeover talks for Chicco, an Italian baby products brand owned by Artsana Group, according to Bloomberg. Bain Capital and PAI Partners also had expressed interest in the company, which could fetch around $1.1 billion. Read more.
SK Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd., an Australian opium-poppy processing company, from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Wellnext LLC, a nutritional supplements maker backed by WM Capital, has agreed to acquire Natural Dynamics LLC, whose brands include Natural Calm and Organic Life Vitamins. No financial terms were disclosed. www.wellnexthealth.com
• Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Burlingame, Calif.-based developer of immuno-oncology therapies, has set its IPO terms to 4.7 million shares being offered at between $15 and $17 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $327 million were it to price in the middle of its range. The pre-revenue company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CRVS, with Credit Suisse and Cowen & Co. serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders include OrbiMed Advisors (29.98% pre-IPO stake), Novo AS (15.84%), Adams Street Partners (15.84%) and Fidelity (8.18%). www.corvuspharma.com
• Valeritas Inc., a Bridgewater, N.J.-based maker of insulin delivery devices for Type 2 diabetics, has formally withdrawn IPO registration papers. The company had planned to offer 5 million shares at between $14 and $16 per share (market cap of $237 million if it priced in the middle). Piper Jaffray and Leerink Partners were serving as lead underwriters. Valeritas reported nearly a $65.5 million net loss for 2014 on $13.5 million in revenue. Shareholders include Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, Onset Ventures and Pitango Venture Capital. www.valeritas.com
• GIMV and Capricorn Venture Partners have agreed to sell their remaining minority stakes in Punch Powertrain, a €1 billion Belgian maker of vehicle powertrain solutions, to China’s Yinyi Group, according to AltAssets. Read more.
• Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TEVA) has gotten EU approval for its proposed $40.5 billion purchase of the generics unit of Allergan (NYSE: AGN), after Teva agreed to sell some of its European operations. Read more.
• Toyota has acqui-hired the team of Jaybridge Robotics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based artificial intelligence software startup. Read more.
• TransCanada (TSX: TRP) is in talks to acquire Columbia Pipeline Group (NYSE: CPGX), an $8.5 billion pipeline operator, according to the NY Times. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Long Ridge Equity Partners, a New York-based growth equity firm focused on the financial services sector, has closed its second fund with $227 million in capital commitments. www.longridgecap.com
• Mucker Capital, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based seed-stage investment firm, has closed its third fund with $45 million in capital commitments. www.muckercapital.com
• Navitas Capital, an Alameda, Calif.-based VC firm focused on the energy and IT sectors, is raising up to $50 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.navitascap.com
• Partners Group of Switzerland plans to reorganize its Americas staff around a new Denver headquarters, which would require relocation of its San Francisco employees and some of its New York and Houston employees, according to Private Equity International. www.partnersgroup.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Anita Marangoly George has joined Canadian pension system Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec as managing director for South Asia, working out of a new office in Delhi. She previously was with The World Bank. www.cdpq.com/e
• Sanjeev Mehra is stepping down as vice chairman of global private equity with Goldman Sachs. Read more.
• Giuseppe Mirante has joined Bayside Capital, the distressed debt and special situations affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, as a London-based managing director. He previously was head of distressed and loan research at BNP Paribas. www.higcapital.com
• Jon Rubenstein, a longtime Apple executive, has been named co-CEO of hedge fund manager Bridgewater Associates. www.bwater.com
• Hannah Tobin is leaving HarbourVest Partners after 19 years on the EMEA investor relations team, according to LBO Wire. She will remain as a consultant with the firm through year-end. www.harbourvest.com
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