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Term Sheet — Monday, September 18

September 18, 2017, 1:44 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

MORE SOFTBANK: If you’re starting to lose track of all of SoftBank’s investments, you’re not alone. As previously reported (and now confirmed), messaging company Slack raised $250 million in fresh funding at a $5.1 billion valuation, which is up from $3.8 billion. Investors include SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Accel. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told Fortune in an email the new funding will bring the company “long term flexibility and resources” to move faster. (And perhaps try to keep well-funded rivals Microsoft, Cisco, and Google at bay.)

Although it might appear that SoftBank is just throwing money around at this point, a senior SoftBank executive told Recode that’s not a fair assessment. “It’s not about taking a bunch of dollar bills and spreading them around,” said Deep Nishar, SoftBank’s managing director, noting that the company is looking at making similar investments in Europe and South America.

UP FOR SALE: After 50 years in operation, legendary music publishing magazine Rolling Stone is giving in to the pressures of the media industry. Founder Jann Wenner plans to sell the company’s controlling stake amid falling ad revenues. Although we don't know how much the magazine will be sold for, the company sold its other titles — Us Weekly for $100 million and Men's Journal for an undisclosed amount — to American Media. Rolling Stone could be the publishing company's next target. “Publishing is a completely different industry than what it was,” Rolling Stone’s COO Gus Wenner said in an interview last week. “The trends go in one direction, and we are very aware of that.” You know the media landscape is looking pretty bleak when you’ve got phrases like “surprise layoffs” and “mini bloodbath” making the rounds.

WOMEN IN TECH: Over the weekend, Ellen Pao wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about whether anything has changed for women in tech. She says most companies don’t address the underlying problems of bias against underrepresented employees, but instead pay only “lip service” to diversity and inclusion. She adds:

Certain actions, and lack of action, could keep us in this unfair loop indefinitely. Public apologies and one-off actions are superficial ways to react to criticism or put on a happy face, but they often cover up company culture failures that are hard to fix, especially if no one is seriously trying. Read the full op-ed here.

Correction, September 18, 2017: Tuesday’s Term Sheet misstated the amount that The Riverside Company raised for its fifth Europe-focused fund. It is more than 312 million euro, or about $371 million.


These VCs are bringing ‘hard science’ to Fortune 500 companies (by Erin Griffith)

Why no executives will go to jail for Equifax breach (by Jeff John Roberts)

A company that makes custom fit suits for under $500 (by Sheila Marikar)

The Emmy winners who made history (by Claire Zillman)


A Queens bodega owner by day, political pundit by night. Incomes are up & poverty is down, but many Americans still feel left behind. Ray Dalio is ready to give away Bridgewater’s secrets. Uber is pushing hard to hire new executives. Inside the Equifax hack.


Sonendo, Inc., a Laguna Hills, Calif.-based dental technology company, raised $50 million in funding. General Atlantic led the round.

HighRadius Corp, a Houston, Texas-based financial supply chain management software, raised $50 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity.

Ellevest, a New York-based digital investment platform focused on women, raised $34.6 million in funding. Rethink Impact led the round, and was joined by investors including PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings and SK Impact Fund, LLC. Existing investors Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, and Astia Angels participated.

Panoply, and Israel-based analytics infrastructure solutions provider, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Investors include C5 Capital, Intel Capital, Blumberg Capital, and 500 Startups.

ComparaOnline, a Chile-based insurance and financial products comparisons developer, raised $14 million in funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Bamboo Capital Partners and the International Finance Corp. Read more.

Ushr Inc., a Livonia, Mich.-based provider of high-definition mapping technology and software for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Forté Ventures led the investment round, and was joined by investors including EnerTech Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, and GM Ventures.

Dharma, a Washington, D.C.-based software-as-a-service data platform, raised Series A funding of an undisclosed amount. The Rise Fund led the round.


Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC) will buy missile and rocket maker Orbital ATK Inc (NYSE:OA) for about $7.8 billion in cash. Read more at Fortune.

Toys ‘R’ Us Inc, a Wayne, N.J.-based toy retailer, could file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks, according to Reuters. Read more.

Jollibee Foods Corp is exploring a bid for Pret A Manger, a U.K.-based upscale sandwich chain, at over $1 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.


ZhongAn, a China-based online-only insurance agency, is planning an IPO that could raise up to $1.5 billion for a potential valuation of $10 billion. The share sale will begin on Monday morning, with SoftBank Group as a cornerstone investor with a 5% stake. Read more at Fortune.

Roku, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming entertainment device company, set terms for its IPO. It plans to raise $204 million by offering 15.7 million shares (43% insider) at a price range of $12 to $14.


Francisco Partners sold R2Net, a New York-based owner of online jewelry retailer, and Segoma Imaging Technologies, to Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG), for $328 million in cash.

ArcLight Capital Partners acquired a 30% stake in the company that owns the Olympic Pipeline, a refined products pipeline system that runs across the states of Washington and Oregon. The seller was ARCO Midcon LLC. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Fulcrum Capital Partners sold Skyservice Investments Inc, a Canada-based persona and commercial charter aviation provider, to InstarAGF Asset Management Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Dominic Murphy is planning to raise 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), for 8C Capital, a new private equity fund, which will focus on deals in the healthcare and consumer industries, according to  Read more.

Water Street Healthcare Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, is seeking to raise $800 million for its fourth fund, according to an SEC filing.

Abris Capital Partners, a Poland-based private equity firm, raised €500 million ($598 million) for its third buyout fund.

Flagship Pioneering, a Cambridge, Mass.-based private equity and venture capital firm, set a $500 million target for its sixth fund, according to an SEC filing.

ArchiMed, a France-based private equity firm, raised €315 million ($377 million) for its Med II fund.


Russell J. Cassella joined Revelstoke Capital Partners as a partner.

Cici Zheng joined ParkerGale Capital as a principal.

Stephen Hickey, managing partner of CVC Capital Partners' credit arm, is stepping down for personal reasons.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.