Good morning. No column today, back Monday!
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• Stock picking managers are even worse at beating the market than we thought.
• Snap shares take a hit from Instagram stories news.
• Analyst expectations for Fitbit and Apple watch continue to drop.
• Bill Gross: Stocks are priced for too much hope.
Buyout firms are magically (and legally) pumping up returns. The small mercies of email etiquette. Instagram’s efficiency guru. The Kapor Capital’s diversity pledge. That persistent Disney-Apple rumor (which Term Sheet discussed months ago). Kalanick’s iron grip hampers COO search. Tesla seeks independent directors.
• Lynn Electronics, a Radnor, Pa. manufacturer of data and telecommunications products, raised $14.3 million in funding from NewSpring Capital.
• Pluto VR, a Seattle-based virtual reality startup, raised $13.9 million in Series A funding, according to GeekWire. Maveron led the round, and was joined by Madrona Venture Group and Trilogy Equity Partners. Read more.
• LVH, a fintech startup and the parent company of 55 Capital, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include Point 72 Ventures, Calibrate Management, and Tectonic Ventures.
• goTenna, a Brooklyn, N.Y. messaging startup, raised $7.5 million in Series B funding. Union Square Ventures led the round, and was joined by Walden Venture Capital, MentorTech Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, BBG Ventures, and Collaborative Fund.
• Skyline Vet Pharma, a Groton, Conn. developer of veterinary drugs, raised $5 million in Series A funding from AgTech Accelerator.
• Elmodis, a Polish IoT startup, raised $4.9 million in funding. Investors include Intel Capital, SET Ventures, and Innovation Nest.
• Fishbrain, a Swedish social network for fishing enthusiasts, raised $3.7 million in funding from FJ Labs.
• BestMile, a Swiss developer of a platform for driverless vehicles, raised an additional $2 million in seed funding, closing the round at $5.5 million. Investors include Partech Ventures, Serena Capital, and Airbus Ventures.
• Intapp, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of business applications for law firms and professional services firms, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Temasek.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Milepost Power Holdings, a Hull Street Energy portfolio company, acquired Maxim Power (TSX:MXG) for approximately $106 million.
• Warren Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in SSP Innovations, a Denver, Colo. provider of workplace management solutions to the electric, gas, and water utilities industries.
• Pandora (NYSE:P) is reportedly in talks with several private equity firms, including Providence Equity Partners, Silver Lake, and KKR (NYSE:KKR), to sell itself, according to the New York Post. Read more.
• Sweeping Corporation of America, a portfolio company of Soundcore Capital Partners, acquired Sky Sweeping, a Louisville, Ohio provider of parking lot, street, and industrial sweeping services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Unilever (LSE:ULVR) hired Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) to advise on the sale of its spreads unit in a deal that could value the business at as much as £6 billion ($7.5 billion), according to Reuters. Read more.
• Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) agreed to buy Alere (NYSE:ALR) for about $4.48 billion, according to Reuters. At $51 per share, Abbott’s offer represents a premium of 20.5% premium on Alere’s closing price Thursday. Read more.
• Starwood Capital Group agreed to acquire Forestar Group (NYSE:FOR) for around $605 million.
• Reckitt Benckiser Group (LSE:RB.) hired Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) to advise on the sale of its food business in a deal that could value the unit at around $3 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
• High Tech Private Equity Fund acquired nChain, a London-based blockchain startup. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Guala Closures, an Italian packaging firm backed by Apriori Capital Partners, is preparing for a public offering that could value the company at more than €1 billion ($1.06 billion) including debt, according to Reuters. Read more.
• HighTower agreed to acquire WealthTrust, which includes $6.4 billion in client assets nationwide, from Lee Equity Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• TZP Group, a New York private equity firm, raised $565 million for its third fund, TZP Capital Partners III.
• Eniac Ventures, a San Francisco early-stage venture capital firm, raised $100 million for its fourth fund, Eniac IV..
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