A few notes to kick off your Wednesday…
• Heavy Lyfting: During Fortune Brainstorm Tech last month, I asked GM president Dan Ammann and Lyft president John Zimmer if GM had either a purchase option or right of first refusal (ROFR), related to GM’s $500 million investment into Lyft back in January. Not surprisingly, they didn’t answer.
This brings us to a story in The Information over the weekend headlined “Lyft Rebuffs Acquisition Approach from GM.” On first read it comes off like Lyft was coming from a position of strength and that GM doesn’t actually have those purchase provisions. But, in reality, the story doesn’t tell us very much about actual M&A discussions between GM and Lyft.
First, it appears that Lyft didn’t actually receive any takeover offers — despite having hired Qatalyst, setting up a data room, etc. ROFRs are irrelevant is there are no bids. Second, there is no information on how much GM was willing to offer to buy Lyft. Was it at the $10 billion price that the company’s bankers are said to have initially floated? At the $5.5 billion post-money price GM bought in at? Or did GM offer a fire-sale price that Lyft rejected out of hand and then expertly spun as Lyft having the upper hand?
Until we learn the price talk, we don’t know much. Save for that GM has at least tacit interest in buying Lyft, which has always made sense as the third leg of a stool that already includes GM’s core business and recent acquisition Cruise.
It’s also worth noting that one major Lyft investor tells me that he does not believe the company is currently raising a new round of funding, outside of the possibility of a strategic deal that includes equity.
• Speaking of ride-hailing: Ford Motor Co. yesterday announced that, by 2021, it would have cars without steering wheels or gas pedals ― with the majority its self-driving revenue coming from car-share and e-hail programs. Three quick thoughts on this:
1. At Fortune Brainstorm E just two months ago, Bill Ford was asked what his company would look like in 2021, and he began his answer by saying: “It’s really hard to put a time-frame on anything because we’re always wrong.” (video here)
2. It seems to me that this is the first step in Ford publicly acknowledging that its dealer network is an endangered species. If the company believes that autonomous fleets are the future ― let alone electric ones that require fewer repairs than do cars with internal combustion engines ― then the current sales model is doomed. And, as an aside, it also could mean big troubles for media companies that rely heavily on auto company advertising (h/t David Skok on that one).
3. Given how Ford views its future, it’s notable that it didn’t make a takeover bid for Lyft.
• Sponsor swap: Hudson Smith has joined tech-focused private equity firm Thoma Bravo as a partner, with an initial focus on the firm’s Discover Fund (lower middle-market software deals). He previously was a managing director with HGGC, and is not related to British Olympian Matthew Hudson-Smith (although that made my Google search a bit confusing this morning).
Expect a formal announcement from Thoma Bravo later today, which also will include the hiring of two new vice presidents: Matt Gilbert (ex-Summit Partners) and AJ Jangalapalli (just got MBA from Wharton).
• Recommended reading: Today’s big deal is that Univision (backed by private equity) has agreed to buy Gawker Media out of bankruptcy for $135 million. Fortune‘s John Jeff Roberts has a deep dive into Gawker’s finances, suggesting that Gawker founder Nick Denton may still have the last laugh on legal antagonist Peter Thiel.
Jeff writes: “Gawker Media emptied its piggy bank well before a judge ruled in favor of [Hulk] Hogan.” Read it here.
• Quiz Time: Can you name the senior private equity secondaries pro who just quit in the midst of fundraising? Hint: He’s going from one publicly-traded firm to another.
• Change change change: Worth noting that Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO Steve Bannon is a former investment banker, including with Goldman Sachs.
• Just linking around: Some of you asked for a shareable link to yesterday’s discussion of the NVCA’s new carried interest argument (even more of you savaged it, and we’ll get to that in a mailbag column). So here it is.
• You ad here: Term Sheet has a few sponsorship opportunities left for the remainder of 2016. So get your message in front of your fellow readers, by shooting an email to Tim_Mullaly@timeinc.com.
THE BIG DEAL
• Univision has agreed to acquire Gawker Media out of bankruptcy for $135 million, beating out rival media company Ziff Davis.
Univision currently is in registration for an IPO. Shareholders include Haim Saban, Madison Dearborn Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and TPG Capital. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• EventBoard, a Salt Lake City-based provider of cloud-based meeting tools and analytics, has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding. NGP led the round, and was joined by GE Ventures and return backers Greycroft Partners, Origin Ventures and Zetta Venture Partners. www.eventboard.io
• Rotation Medical Inc., a Plymouth, Minn.-based developer of medical devices to treat rotator cuffs, has raised $12 million in new Series B funding (tranched out, with $8m up front). Return backers are NEA, Life Sciences Partners and Pappas Ventures. www.rotationmedical.com
• Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, has raised $10 million in Series B funding from NEA, Felix Capital and 14W Venture Partners. Read more.
• Stash, a New York-based investment platform for millennials, has raised $9.25 million in Series A funding. Goodwater Capital led the round, and was joined by Valar Ventures and Entrée Capital. www.stashinvest.com
• EasyVista Inc., a New York-based provider of service management for IT organizations, has raised $8.4 million in new convertible debt funding from Isatis Capital, Alto Invest and Conversion Venture Capital. www.easyvista.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advent International has agreed to acquire Fortbras Group, a Brazilian distributor of aftermarket auto parts. No financial terms were disclosed. Fortbras will be led going forward by new CEO Roberto Szachnowicz, who previously led Grupo DPaschoal. Advent is transacting the deal via Gotemburgo Participações, a holding company focused on investments in the Brazilian aftermarket auto parts sector. www.adventinternational.com
• CVC Capital Partners has made it to the second round of takeover bidding for South Korean kitchen appliance maker Tongyang Magic, which is being sold for around $450 million by NG-Glenwood, according to Reuters. Other remaining suitors reportedly include Hyundai Department Store Co., CJ Corp., SK Networks, Unid Co. and a pairing of AJ Networks Co. with Standard Chartered Private Equity. Read more.
• Equistone has acquired a majority stake in United Initiators, a German producer of specialty chemical initiators, from Vision Capital and Speyside Equity. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in partnership with company management. www.united-initiators.com
• Stone Canyon Industries has completed its previously-announced acquisition of BWAY Corp., an Atlanta-based manufacturer of rigid metal and plastic containers, from Platinum Equity for $2.4 billion. www.bwaycorp.com
• Tier One Relocation, a Weirton, W.V.-based residential relocation services provider for military personnel, has acquired the military division of Arpin Van Lines. No financial terms were disclosed. Tier One is a portfolio company of Southfield Capital. www.arpin.com
• Vista Equity Partners completed its previously-announced $1.79 billion purchase of Marketo Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based engagement marketing software, for around $1.79 billion. Marketo shareholders had included Storm Ventures (5.63% stake) and Battery Ventures (1.14%). Vista Equity also held a 1.88% position. www.marketo.com
• There is no IPO news this morning.
• Twich, a videogame streaming platform owned by Amazon, has acquired Curse, a Huntsville, Ala.-based online gaming community. No financial terms were disclosed. Curse had raised around $71 million in VC funding, including a $30 million Series C round last year at a post-money valuation of nearly $160 million. Backers include Riot Games, GGV Capital, IDInvest Partners, SoftTech VC and Ventech Capital. Read more.
• Madison Square Garden Co. (NYSE: MSG) has acquired a 12% stake, or 3.2 million shares, in radio station and website operator Townsquare (NYSE: TSQ) from GE Capital, according to the WSJ. Read more.
• Ola, an India-based taxi e-hail company, has shut down TaxiForSure, a smaller rival it acquired last year for approximately $200 million. Ola backers include SoftBank Capital, Sequoia Capital, Steadview Capital, Matrix Partners India and Tiger Global Management. Read more.
• Universal Robina Corp., a listed Philippine snack and beverage maker, has agreed to acquire Snack Brands Australia for A$600 million. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Brixey & Meyer Capital, a lower middle-market private equity fund focused on Ohio, has closed a new fund with $18 million in capital commitments. www.brixeyandmeyercapital.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Timothy Bluth and Sam Halls have joined Shamrock Capital Advisors as a vice president and senior associate, respectively. Bluth previously was a senior associate with The Gores Group, while Halls was an associate with Silver Lake Sumeru before leaving to get his MBA at Stanford. www.shamrockcap.com
• Mark Emmen has joined private equity firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison as CFO and chief administrative officer. He previously was CFO of former GHJM portfolio company Transport America. www.ghjm.com
• Sean Kelley has joined private equity firm Gridiron Capital as a principal and director of business development. He previously was a VP of investment banking at BB&T Capital Markets. www.gridironcapital.com
• Kevin O’Donnell is joining Adams Street Partners as a partner and global head of business development and investor relations. He previously was a managing director with BlackRock. www.adamsstreetpartners.com
• Bill Paape has stepped down as CEO of Santé Ventures, in order to rejoin audio and video conferencing company Lifesize as CFO. www.lifesize.com
• Kristin Steele has joined investor relations firm Carolon Capital as a Charlotte-based VP and U.S. head of client services. She previously was president and head of marketing and business development for Ikonic Fund Services USA. www.caroloncapital.com
Share today’s Term Sheet: