Some assorted items before getting to an absurd amount of deal news:
• What’s in a name? The Private Equity Growth Capital Council is dead. Long live the American Investment Council.
That’s apparently the private equity lobbying group’s new name, per Bloomberg and a Twitter handle change. Seems the goal is to expand membership, which still is dominated by the large leveraged buyout firms that launched the group back in 2007. Kind of like a previous name change that expanded from Private Equity Council to Private Equity Growth Capital Council, albeit this time to a much more streamlined choice.
• Career change: Lee Wrubel has quietly stepped down as a general partner with Flare Capital Partners, a healthcare IT-focused VC firm, in order to join executive recruiting firm Egon Zehnder.
Wrubel had been a longtime GP with Connecticut-based Foundation Medical Partners, before it effectively merged in 2013 with a pair of Boston-based healthcare investors — Michael Greeley (ex-Flybridge Capital Partners) and Bill Geary (ex-Northbridge Venture Partners). In 2014 the firm rebranded as Flare Capital Partners, and raised $200 million for its debut fund. The trouble for Wrubel, however, apparently was that the firm decided recently to relocate all operations to Boston, and he didn’t want to go.
“A single office will enable us to build an effective partnership and firm culture,” Michael Greeley said via email “Lee did not relocate to the Boston area and therefore has transitioned out.” Wrubel declined comment.
• Debt is back: AbbVie has completed a $7.8 billion senior note offering (2.3% coupon, 5-year maturity) that will be used to fund both the cash portion of its proposed Stemcentrx acquisition and also a set of related share buybacks. The notes were sold at the one-notch credit downgrades that AbbVie received from both S&P and Moody’s following the Stemcentrx announcement. It’s the sort of development that likely warms Michael Dell’s heart…
• Feed up: Energy-focused private equity firm First Reserve has agreed to pay a $5 million SEC fine to settle various fee and expensing discrepancies, according to peHUB. It also will reimburse its investors $12.7 million. No official word from the SEC. Yet.
• The opposite of a loan: As we mentioned yesterday, ousted LendingClub chairman and CEO Renaud Laplanche won’t get any severance, nor will he receive any of his unvested stock options.
Per the company’s most recent filings, it appears that Laplanche normally would have been entitled to receive $870,000 in cash severance (assuming no change of company control). He also received $461,500 in base salary last year, plus nearly $550,000 in cash bonuses (although he opted to take the bonus in the form of LendingClub stock).
THE BIG DEAL
• Global Eagle Entertainment (Nasdaq: ENT) has agreed to acquire Emerging Markets Communications, a Miramar, Fla.-based provider of communications services to maritime and other remote mobility markets, from ABRY Partners. The deal is valued at $550 million in cash and stock. www.emconnected.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Aptinyx Inc., an Evanston, Ill.-based developer of modulators of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor for the treatment of neurological disorders, has raised $65 million in Series A funding. New Leaf Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Frazier Healthcare Partners, Longitude Capital, and Osage University Partners. Also participating were investors who helped Aptinyx spin out of VC-backed Naurex last year: Adams Street Partners, LVP Life Science Ventures, PathoCapital, Goudy Park Capital, Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. and Northwestern University. www.aptinyx.com
• Dyn, a Manchester, N.H.-based provider of Internet performance management solutions, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Pamplona Capital Management. www.dyn.com
• Tradesy, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based online luxury consignment marketplace for women’s clothes and accessories, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Wildcat Capital Management was joined by return backers Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Rincon Venture Partners. Read more.
• Rancher Labs, a Cupertino, Calif.-based container management platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. GRC SinoGreen led the round, and was joined by return backers Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. Read more.
• E8 Storage, an Israel-based enterprise storage startup, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by return backers Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital. www.e8storage.com
• FreshGrade, a Canada-based online education platform for teachers, parents and students, has raised US$11.6 million in Series A funding. Reach Capital led the round, and was joined by Relay Ventures, Accel and the Emerson Collective. www.freshgrade.com
• Nearpod, a San Francisco-based online platform that lets K-12 teachers find, create and distribute digital learning experiences, has raised $9.2 million in Series A funding. Reach Capital led the round, and was joined by Storm Ventures, Rothenberg Ventures, Marc Benioff, Deborah Quazzo, AGP Miami, Arsenal Venture Partners, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Krillion Ventures, Scott Cook and Stanford’s StartX fund. www.nearpod.com
• Bayshore Networks, a Bethesda, Md.-based provider of cybersecurity solutions for IoT, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding from Trident Capital Cybersecurity and returning angel investors. www.bayshorenetworks.com
• MegaBots Inc., an Oakland, Calif.-based developer of giant fighting robots (yes, you read that correctly), has raised $2.4 million in seed funding. Backers include nd have so far included Azure Capital Partners, AME Cloud Ventures, Autodesk, Maveron and Ray Rothrock. Read more.
• Fluent, a “financial operating network for global commerce built on blockchain technology,” has raised $1.65 million in seed funding. ff Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by Digital Currency Group, Crosscut Ventures, Draper Associates, Fenbushi Capital, Lindbergh Tech Fund and the St. Louis Arch Angels. www.fluent.network
• Zarget, a Walnut, Calif.-based provider of conversion rate optimization SaaS solutions, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding co-led by Accel and Matrix Partners. www.zarget.com
• Evariant, a Farmington, Conn.-based healthcare CRM and analytics solution built on Salesforce, has raised an undisclosed amount of new Series C funding from McKesson Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. Existing backers include Health Enterprise Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Goldman Sachs. www.evariant.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• American & Efird, a Mt. Holly, N.C.-based thread and textiles maker owned by KPS Capital Partners, has agreed to acquire a majority equity stake in India-based Vardhman Yarns and Threads Ltd. from its joint venture partner, Vardhman Textiles Ltd. No financial terms were disclosed. Following the deal, A&E will hold an 89% stake in the joint venture, while Vardhman Textiles retaining an 11% stake. www.amefird.com
• Aptuit, a Greenwich, Conn.-based portfolio company of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, has agreed to acquire Kuecept Ltd., a London-based provider of technical expertise in CRO services supporting preclinical drug development. No financial terms were disclosed. www.aptuit.com
• EIG Global Energy Partners has submitted a new $830 million takeover offer for Canada-based oil producer Pacific Exploration & Production Corp., which it argues is “vastly superior” to Pacific’s existing restructuring agreement with Catalyst Capital Group. Read more.
• Elite Sportswear, a Reading, Penn.-based portfolio company of The Riverside Company, has acquired Jade Swimwear (d.b.a. Dolfin), a Toronto-based maker of swimwear and accessories for training, competition and fitness enthusiasts. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gkelite.com
• KKR and Pensions Infrastructure Platform reportedly are among the private equity firms circling Green Deal Finance Co., a UK platform that manages loans associated with residential energy-efficiency upgrades that it being sold off by the British government. Read more.
• Riverstone Holdings is the “leading contender” to acquire Talen Energy Corp. (NYSE: TLN), an Allentown, Penn.-based power generation company in which Riverside already owns around a 35% stake, according to Bloomberg. Talen’s current market cap is around $1.5 billion, plus it holds another $4.8 billion in debt. Read more.
• Warburg Pincus reportedly has acquired an undisclosed stake in UIB, a Shanghai-based gynecological and pediatric hospital chain, for an undisclosed amount. No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Athene Holding Ltd., a Bermuda-based life insurance and fixed annuities provider backed by Apollo Global Management, has filed for a $100 million IPO (although Renaissance Capital estimates that it may raise upwards of $1 billion). The company plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol ATH, and reports $2.6 billion in 2015 revenue. www.athene.bm
• GEMS Education, a Dubai-based private school operator backed by The Blackstone Group, is beginning to talk to banks about a 2017 IPO, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Merus BV, a Dutch immuno-oncology company focused on bispecific antibody therapeutics, has set its IPO terms to 4.33 million shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $214 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MRUS, with Citigroup and Jefferies serving as lead underwriters. Merus has raised over $170 million in VC funding from firms like Novartis Bioventures (13.7% pre-IPO stake), Bay City Capital (13.7%), Aglaia Oncology Fund (11%), Johnson & Johnson (10.6%), Pfizer Inc. (9.1%), Sofinnova Venture Partners (8.2%), Novo AS (7.8%), Baker Brothers Life Sciences (7.2%) and Cooperatief LSP (6.8%). www.merus.nl
• Mid Europa Partners is exploring exit options Polish convenience store chain Zabka for upwards of €1 billion in either a sale or IPO, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Cinven has hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for German residential and technical lighting company SLV, in a deal is hopes could generate €800 million, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Equistone has hired Macquarie to find a buyer for Konrad Hornschuch, a German maker of artificial leather, for upwards of €400 million, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Lime Rock Partners has sold Tercel Oilfield Products, a Dubai-based maker of oilfield products, to Rubicon Oilfield International. No financial terms were disclosed. www.terceloilfield.com
• Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has acquired OPS Rules, a boutique analytics consulting company with offices in Waltham, Mass. and Richardson, Texas. No financial terms were disclosed. www.accenture.com
• Ferro Corp. (NYSE: FOE), a Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based specialty chemicals company, has hired Lazard to explore a possible sale, according to Reuters. The company has a current market cap of around $1.15 billion. Read more.
• Lawson Products (Nasdaq: LAWS) has acquired F.B. Feeney Hardware, a fleet specialist hardware company for the Greater Toronto industrial market. No financial terms were disclosed. www.feeneyhardware.com
• SBE Entertainment Group of Los Angeles has agreed to acquire New York-based Morgans Hotel Group (Nasdaq: MHGC) for approximately $800 million (including assumed debt), or $2.25 per share. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Nohovation is raising up to €25 million for its debut fund, with €10 million already circled. The new VC firm is focused on helping Irish companies scale globally, and is led by Pat Phelan (Trustev founder) and Illann Power. Read more.
• Pamplona Capital Management, a London-based private equity firm, has raised $1 billion for a new fund that will make growth equity investments in between 12 and 15 tech, media and telecom companies. It will be led by new partners Darren Battistoni (ex-Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe) and Hiren Mankodi (ex-Audax Group). www.pamplonafunds.com
• Stonecourt Capital has been launched as a New York-based private equity firm (with offices in Cleveland and Houston) by Lance Hirt and Jaime Buehl-Reichard (both ex-Lindsay Goldberg) and David Lumpkins and Nathan Ticatch (PatroLogistics Co.). www.stonecourtlp.com
• Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese oncology pharma company, has launched a Silicon Valley-based strategic VC arm called Taiho Ventures. www.taiho.co.jp
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Cooley has added three partners to its private equity practice: Ron Hopkinson (New York, previously with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft), Eric Schwartzman (Palo Alto, Weil, Gotshal & Manges) and Stephen Rosen (London, Olswang). www.cooley.com
• Brad Critchell has joined Hycroft as a managing director, with a focus on the secondary private equity partner (including GP restructurings). He previously was a managing director with Stanwich Advisors. www.hycroftadvisors.com
• Shaun Dreyer has joined Wells Fargo Securities as a managing director and head of investment grade loan syndications. He previously was with BofA Merrill Lynch as a managing director and head of EMEA acquisition finance and syndicated loans. www.wellsfargo.com
• Scott Harley has quietly stepped down as a venture partner with Metamorphic Ventures. He joined the New York-based firm last year, after having served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow and a partner with Mohr Davidow Vetures. He did not return a request for comment. www.metamorphic.vc
• Daniel Heintzelman, former vice chairman of General Electric, has joined The Blackstone Group as a senior advisor, with a focus on the aerospace and industrial sectors. He also will serve as chairman of Blackstone portfolio company MB aerospace. www.blackstone.com
• Charles Moorse has joined Norwest Equity Partners and Norwest Mezzanine Partners as in-house general counsel. He previously spent over 30 years with law firm Lindquist & Vennum. www.nep.com
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