Term Sheet — Monday, September 11
Good morning, Term Sheet readers. Here are some things to keep an eye on today:
BYE BITCOIN: Another day, another blow to Bitcoin. Chinese authorities are planning to shut down local cryptocurrency exchanges. The ban will only apply to trading of cryptocurrencies on exchanges, according to Bloomberg. News of the impending exchange ban had an immediate effect on Bitcoin's price — one Bitcoin traded at approximately $4,279 on Monday morning in Beijing, down 16% from its record on Sept. 1.
Why is this a big deal? China accounts for about 23% of Bitcoin trades and is home to many of the world’s biggest Bitcoin miners. The move comes a week after China’s central bank banned initial coin offerings, categorizing them as “illegal fundraising” and lumping them in with pyramid schemes.
NEW LIST: Fortune released its annual 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list — which ranks publicly traded companies by three years’ growth in revenues, profits, and stock returns. Of course, Amazon & Facebook made the list, but the top three companies are pretty interesting: Natural Health Trends, Paycom Software, and LendingTree.
LendingTree, an online loan broker, has multiplied shareholders’ money 30 times, delivering annual returns of 47% since going public in 2008. Fortune’s Shawn Tully reports, “Its nine-year record ranks third among all companies with market caps that now exceed $2 billion, trailing most notably the 50.1% annual gains at Netflix.”
HARASSMENT: Social Finance Inc, a San Francisco-based fintech company, is facing allegations of tolerating sexual harassment in the workplace. Nearly a dozen employees told The Wall Street Journal that some executives, including former SoFi CFO Nino Fanlo, engaged in or tolerated what they described as improper behavior toward women.
It’s the all-too familiar story about a company whose culture “veered out of control at times,” with executives breaking furniture and throwing telephones out of anger.
As Kristen Bellstrom put it in this morning’s Broadsheet, “Growth at all costs was one of the tenets that wreaked havoc at Uber, and it seems that SoFi may have fallen into the same trap. Companies that adhere to the ‘move fast and break things’ mindset would do well to remember that one of the things that can break is company culture—and the norms that protect employees from being harassed and abused.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Tim Cook on how Apple champions the environment, education, and healthcare (by Adam Lashinsky)
• How James Dyson created a $3 billion vacuum empire (by Dinah Eng)
• Meal-kit companies are probably overvalued, so why does Big Food keep buying them? (by Jennifer Alsever)
• The top 10 books to read this fall (by Laura Entis)
• How to ride the vintage watch boom (by Stacy Perman)
Inside Juicero’s demise. A store that only accepts personal data as currency. Portugal is building a startup mega-campus. Bridgewater to launch big investment fund in China. Ellen Pao is not done fighting.
• ManoMano, a Paris-based online marketplace for DIY and gardening products, raised €60 million ($72 million) in Series C funding. General Atlantic led the round, and was joined by investors including Piton Capital, Partech Ventures, and Bpifrance.
• Typeform, a Spain-based conversational data collection platform, raised $35 million in Series B funding. General Atlantic led the round, and was joined by investors including Index Ventures, Point Nine, and Connect Ventures.
• Vemo Education, a Reston, Va.-based provider of income-based student financing solutions for universities, raised $7.4 million in seed funding. University Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners led the round, and were joined by investors including Route 66 Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, Haystack Partners, and Task Force X Capital.
• Arena Solutions, a Foster City, Calif.-based cloud-based product lifecycle management and supply chain software solutions company, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from JMI Equity.
• Aunt Fannie’s, a Portland-based healthy and sustainable cleaning products company, raised $2.5 million in funding. Investors include RCV Partners, CircleUp, and Monica Nassif.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• ClearPoint Investment Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Shore Group Associates, a New York-based provider of data management solutions.
• Ansira Partners, Inc. acquired Local Biz Now, an Auburn Hills, Mich.-based local digital marketing platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Mercer Advisors Inc. acquired Ray Mignone Associates, a New York-based provider of financial planning and investment management services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Warburg Pincus completed a deal to buy a 49% stake in Fortune SG, Chinese asset management company, from Societe Generale, according to Reuters. Read more.
• A group including Bain Capital and SK Hynix raised its offer for Toshiba Corp’s (TSE:6502) chip business to 2.4 trillion yen ($22.3 billion), according to Reuters. Read more.
• VSP Global invested in RightEye LLC, a Rockville, Md.-based eye-tracking technology provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• ZhongAn, an internet-based insurer in China, has reportedly won approval to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange in an offering of more than $1 billion. ZhongAn is backed by Alibaba (16%), Tencent(12.1%), and Ping An (12.1%). Zhong An is reportedly seeking to take orders from investors Sept. 18. Reuters.
• ICICI Lombard General Insurance, an Indian insurer, is seeking an IPO opening next week of about 57 billion rupees, or $892 million. Reuters.
• Oasis Midstream Partners, a Houston, Texas-based MLP formed from Oasis Petroleum, set the terms for its IPO Monday, saying it would raise $150 million in an offering of 75 million shares priced between $19 to $21. The company reported $121 million in revenue on earnings of $40 million in 2016. Morgan Stanley, Citi, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and RBC Capital Markets are underwriting the deal. Oasis plans to go public on the NYSE as “OMP.”
• Switch Inc, a Las Vegas, Nev.-based data center provider, filed for an IPO to raise up to $100 million Friday. The company reported revenue of $318.4 million and income of $31.4 million in 2016. Goldman Sachs J.P. Morgan, BMO Capital Markets, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Jefferies, BTIG, Raymond James, Stifel, and William Blair are underwriters in the deal. Switch plans to list on the NYSE as “SWCH.” Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
• MPM Holdings, a speciality silicone producer based out of Waterford, N.Y., filed for an IPO raising up to $100 million Friday. In the 12 months ending June 30, the company posted loss of $146 million on sales of $2.3 billion. Apollo Management (39.74% pre-offering), Oaktree Capital Management (20.43%), D.E. Shaw (7.44%), Pentwater Capital Management (6.83%), Ares Management (6.73%), and Carlson Capital (5.1%) back the company. MPM plans to list on the NYSE as “MPMH.” Neither the underwriters nor the terms of the deal have yet been disclosed.
• General Electric Co. sold the last of its stake in Penske Truck Leasing Co, a Reading, Penn.-based truck fleet rental provider, for $674 million, to Penske Automotive Group Inc. and a Mitsui & Co. subsidiary, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more.
• TPG named Chang Sun as managing partner in China. Previously, Chang Sun was the founder and managing partner of Black Soil Group Ltd.
• Henri de Castries joined General Atlantic as chairman of Europe and special adviser. He is the former chairman and CEO of AXA Group.