Greetings from the home office, where it’s good to be back after several days out west. Some notes to kick off your National Devil’s Food Cake Day (seriously, I’m not making these up):
• * New firm alert #1: There was a report yesterday that Tim Franks is planning to step down as head of European retail investing at Advent International, where he also serves as a London-based managing director.
It’s true, but we’ve also got a bit more info: Franks is planning to launch a new firm focused on mid-market European retail buyouts, with a target capitalization of around 500 million euros. It seems to be an amicable split, with Franks remaining at Advent through the end of next month. He has not yet officially hired anyone for his new shop ― nor picked a name ― but has begun meeting with a handful of limited partners (which is why you’re reading about it here).
Franks originally joined Advent in 1999, and in 2010 moved to New York to open and lead the firm’s office there. He returned to London in 2013, and has worked on such deals as BOS Solutions, DFS Furniture, Domestic & General, Equiniti, Fat Face, Poundland, Skillsoft and Sportfive.
• New firm alert #2: Liberty Mutual has launched a strategic corporate VC arm that will focus on early-stage companies at the intersection of technology and services for the insurance industry. It’s $150 million, and under the umbrella of the insurance giant’s personal insurance business unit.
“We’ll have three core focus areas,” says Russ MacTough, a managing director with Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures. “The connected home, next-generation vehicles and the on-demand economy.” For example, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures has quietly invested in smart-lock company August.
MacTough adds that the group’s goal is to invest between $1 million and $5 million per deal (usually as a co-investor), which could range from institutional seed rounds through Series B.
In addition to MacTough, who previously was a VP with Morgan Partners, the group’s team includes managing director and Liberty Mutual vet Dan Robinson, associate Josh Cohen (also from Liberty Mutual) and senior analyst Annabel Ye (ex-Progress Partners).
• Today in Theranos: It can’t get worse than this. Can it?
• Field of Dreams: We need a few more players for our charity softball game at Fenway Park, which will take place on Tuesday, June 28. It’s not cheap, but an amazing experience and for a very good cause. If you’d like more info, just let me know at email@example.com.
• 62k and counting… Every time I add another thousand Twitter followers, I ask you to join the others so we can chat/argue/joke throughout the day. Follow me @danprimack.
THE BIG DEAL
• Monsanto (NYSE: MON) said that it has received a preliminary takeover offer from Bayer AG (DB: BAYN), without disclosing financial details. Monsanto has a current market cap of approximately $42 billion. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Personal Capital, a San Francisco-based digital wealth management firm, has secured $75 million in Series E funding from IGM Financial Inc. at a post-money valuation of around $500 million. www.personalcapital.com
• Showpad, a San Francisco-based content activation platform, has raised $50 million in Series C funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Dawn Capital and Hummingbird Ventures. www.showpad.com
• ThoughtSpot, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of “search-driven analytics in the enterprise,” has raised $50 million in Series C funding. General Catalyst and Geodesic Capital were joined by return backers Lightspeed Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures. www.thoughtspot.com
• Afero, a Los Altos, Calif.-based IoT-as-a-service platform, has raised $20.3 million in Series A fundiung. Samsung Catalyst Fund led the round, and was joined by Fenox Venture Capital, SoftBank, Presidio Ventures, Sanshin Electronics Co. and Assembly Partners. Read more.
• DriveScale, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of “hyperscale computing capabilities to mainstream enterprises,” has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Backers include Pelion Venture Partners, Nautilus Venture Partners and Ingrasys, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foxconn with which DriveScale also announced a manufacturing partnership. www.drivescale.com
• RedPoint Global, a Wellesley, Mass.-based provider of customer engagement and data management software, has raised $12 million in Series C funding co-led by Grotech Ventures and WP Global Partners. www.redpoint.net
• Shift Technology, a SaaS platform to help insurers detect claims fraud, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by return backers Elaia Partners and Iris Capital. Read more.
• Tink, a Sweden-based mobile banking app, has raised $10 million in Series B funding co-led by Creades and SEB Venture Capital. Read more.
• 6SensorLabs, a maker of food allergy testing devices, has raised $9.2 million in Series A funding. Foundry Group led the round, and was joined by Upfront Ventures, SoftTech VC, SK Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Mitch Kapor and Matt Rogers. www.6sensorlabs.com
• Chime, a San Francisco-based mobile bank account provider, has raised $9 million in new VC funding led by Aspect Ventures. www.chimecard.com
• BeMyEye, a London-based mobile task crowdsourcing app, has raised €6.5 million in Series B funding from Nauta Capital, P101 and return backers 360 Capital Partners. It also has acquired French rival LocalEyes for an undisclosed amount. Read more.
• Dojo Madness, a virtual eSports coaching app, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. March Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by the Investment Bank of Berlin and return backers DN Capital and London Venture Partners. Read more.
• Renew Financial, an Oakland, Calif.-based provider of “affordable financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects,” has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding from Braemar Energy Ventures. This follows a recent $70 million growth equity financing for Renew Financial from Apollo Capital Management, Claremont Creek Ventures, Angeleno Group, LL Funds, Prelude Ventures and NGEN Partners. www.renewfinancial.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• ABRY Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Oliver Street Dermatology Holdings LLC, a Dallas-based dermatology practice management organization. No financial terms were disclosed. www.abry.com
• AMP Capital and Northleaf Capital Partners have agreed to acquire Chicago Downtown Public Parking System, the largest U.S. underground parking system, for $370 million. Read more.
• Berkley Capital has acquired Corporate Imaging Concepts LLC, a Northbrook, Ill.-based distributor of promotional products, from Cardinal Equity Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.corp-imaging.com
• The Blackstone Group is a shortlisted bidder for the hardware operations of Australian retailer Woolworths (ASX: WOW), namely the Masters retail chain and its property portfolio, according to a local media report. Read more.
• Genstar Capital has acquired Accruent, an Austin, Texas-based provider of real estate, facilities and asset management software. No financial terms were disclosed, although the WSJ reports an enterprise value of between $500 million and $750 million. Sellers include TA Associates and Vista Equity Partners. www.accruent.com
• Harvest Partners has recapitalized Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, a Maitland, Fla.-based dermatology practice with over 140 locations. Previous sponsor Audax Private Equity will retain a minority equity stake, alongside company management. No financial terms were disclosed, although the WSJ reports a sale price in excess of $600 million. www.advancedderm.com
• KKR and Fajr Capital have teamed on a takeover bid for National Food Products, an Abu Dhabi-based food and dairy manufacturer that could be valued at around $1.5 billion, according to Reuters. Other bidders include Saudi dairy company Almarai. Read more.
• Prospect Partners and Expansion Capital Partners has sponsored a management-led recapitalization of Waste Harmonics, a Victor, N.Y.-based provider of outsourced waste management services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.wasteharmonics.com
• Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM), owner of the Pizza Hut and KFC chains, has shortlisted bidders for around a 20% stake its China business (which, in total, is believed to be valued at between $8 billion and $11 billion, according to Reuters. The remaining suitors include a joint offer from KKR and China Investment Corp., a solo bid from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and a third, unidentified private equity consortium. Read more.
• Grupo Supervielle SA, an Argentinian bank with around $3 billion in assets under management, raised $281 million in its IPO. The company priced 25.5 million American depository shares at $11 per share, compared to plans to offer 20.8 million shares at between $11 and $13. It will trade on both the NYSE and the MERVAL, while Morgan Stanley and BofA Merrill Lynch served as co-lead underwriters. www.gruposupervielle.com.ar
• Merus BV, a Dutch immuno-oncology company focused on bispecific antibody therapeutics, raised $55 million in its IPO. The company priced 5.5 million shares at $10 per share, compared to original plans to offer 4.33 million shares at between $14 and $16 per share. The company will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MRUS, while Citigroup and Jefferies served as lead underwriters. Merus had raised over $170 million in VC funding (which is more than its initial public market cap of $158m) 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
• PhaseRx Inc., a Seattle-based developer of products for the treatment of inherited enzyme deficiencies in the, raised $19 million in its IPO. The pre-revenue company priced 3.7 million shares at $5 per share (low end of $5-$7 range), and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol PZRX. Laidlaw & Co. and Roth Capital served as underwriters. Shareholders include 5AM Ventures, Alexandria Equities, Arch Venture Partners, Savoy Therapeutics and Versant Ventures. www.phaserx.com
• Pulse Biosciences, a Burlingame, Calif.-based developer of solid tumor treatments that are based on pulsed electric fields, raised $20 million in its IPO. The company priced 5 million shares at $4 per share, and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol PLSE. MDB Capital Group and Feltl & Co. served as underwriters. www.pulsebiosciences.com
• FitBit (NYSE: FIT) has acquired Coin, a San Francisco-based smart credit card maker, for an undisclosed amount. Coin had raised around $17 million in VC funding, from firms like Redpoint Ventures, Sherpa Ventures, Spark Capital, K5 Ventures and SoftTechVC. Read more.
• H.I.G. Capital has hired William Blair & Co. to find a buyer for Zmarta Group, a pan-European consumer loan broker that could be valued at more than $150 million, according to eFinancial News. Read more.
• Onex Corp. has relaunched an auction process for Carestream Health, a Rochester, N.Y.-based medical imaging company that could be valued at more than $3 billion (including debt), according to Reuters. Onex had originally tried to sell Carestream in 2013, but ended the process after private equity bids came in too low. This new process includes a possible breakup of the company, with Goldman Sachs hired to sell Carestream’s film and digital medical imaging business, and Jefferies hired to find a buyer for its dental imaging business. Read more.
• TPG Capital has agreed to sell LifeStorage LP, a Roseville, Calif.-based self-storage facilities owner, to Sovran Self Storage Inc. (NYSE: SSS) for around $1.3 billion in cash. Read more.
• Charter Communications has completed its acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, which were valued at a combined $67.1 billion. Read more.
• Smartling, a New York-based provider of cloud-based enterprise translation software, has acquired VerbalizeIt, a New York-based provider of human-powered translation services. No financial terms were disclosed. Smartling has raised over $60 million in VC funding from firms like ICONIQ Capital, First Round Capital, Harmony Partners, IDG Ventures, Tenaya Capital, U.S. Venture Partners and Venrock. VerbalizeIt had raised seed funding via Shark Tank.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• e.ventures has raised $150 million for its latest fund focused on early-stage European companies. Read more.
• The Council for Investor Rights and Corporate Accountability has been launched as a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group for activist investors. Read more.
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Mark Wiseman is stepping down as president and CEO of the CPP Investment Board, in order to join BlackRock as a senior managing director, member of the global executive committee and head of BlackRock’s global active equity business. He also will chair the firm’s global investment committee. www.blackrock.com
• HgCapital, a London-based private equity firm, has promoted both Amanda Good and Sebastien Briens to partner. The firm also has hired Florian Wolff (ex-Advent International) as a Munich-based director, and Enrico Grasso (ex-KKR) as a London-based member of the firm’s TMT team. www.hgcapital.com
• Yi Luo has joined CVC Capital Partners as a partner and head of its China business. He previously was with The Blackstone Group. www.cvc.com
• Kim VanCleef has joined Quarton International, an investment bank focused on the middle markets, as a vice president. She previously was a principal with Altus Capital Partners. www.quartoninternational.com
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