WHITMAN FOR PRESIDENT?
Happy New Year to those celebrating, or just happy Friday. It’s Jen Wieczner cutting in on Polina today to bring you an exclusive story. Tweet your feedback to @jenwieczner or send it to me here email@example.com.
A few weeks ago, I went swimming with Meg Whitman. Well, she did the swimming. But that turned into a profile of the billionaire executive, published today—on Whitman’s 6th anniversary of becoming CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Now, almost two years after Whitman broke HP in two—the largest company, by revenue, that has ever been split—the question at the heart of the story is this: Is Whitman simply a Bain-trained financial engineer, managing what’s left of Silicon Valley’s first company into obscurity, or the only CEO in more than a decade willing to do what was needed to preserve HP’s future?
The story was already in the works before Whitman, now running Hewlett Packard Enterprise, became a leading candidate for Travis Kalanick’s job as CEO of Uber. But of course that changed the narrative. And as usual, not everything could fit in the magazine. So rather than rehash what I wrote there, I’m going to give you some exclusive tidbits that aren’t published anywhere else.
For example, I asked Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist and HP board member who convinced Whitman to take the CEO job in the first place (read what happened here), if she’d consulted him on Uber. All he’d say was: “Uber would have been very lucky to get her, and I’m thrilled that they didn’t.” (Remember, Andreessen invested in Uber rival Lyft.)
But the VC was adamant that HP and HPE are much better off because of Whitman: “I think she’s been the best-case scenario for the company in the last five years,” Andreessen says. “Like I can’t imagine—I can’t imagine somebody doing a better job than she’s done.”
But what has she done exactly? For starters, the reports yesterday that she will cut another 5,000 jobs from HPE later this year come on top of the 75,000 or so she has already eliminated. That will leave HPE with fewer than 50,000 employees, down from nearly 200,000 when it split from HP in 2015. Click here for a cool chart showing how it shrunk.
And Whitman has turned Hewlett-Packard into “an investment banker’s dream,” as Baird analyst Jayson Noland calls it: “Fees to build it up and fees to tear it back down.”
Case in point: she divested HPE’s enterprise services and software divisions earlier in 2017. As a result, revenue will drop by a third this year—even after HPE completed six bolt-on acquisitions in the last 11 months (including SGI, SimpliVity, and, most recently, Cloud Technology Partners).
But as Term Sheet readers know well, investment bankers sometimes have very different dreams than investors, employees, and founders. Sure, HPE’s profits increased in the last two years, and its downward revenue slope in its remaining businesses has flattened into more of a soft knoll. But in Silicon Valley, Steven Milunovich, a longtime IT hardware analyst at UBS, reminds us, “A rule of thumb is, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
That’s why some think Whitman is looking for something more fun to do now that she’s done most of the hard stuff at HPE. Don’t forget the Republican (and California gubernatorial nominee 2010) campaigned for Hillary Clinton last fall. On that note, here’s an idea from one well-known name in the VC community: Says Bob Kagle, co-founder and general partner at Benchmark, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Meg ended up the first female President.”
Which party, though, is an open question. Check out my full profile of Meg Whitman here.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• HPE’s Meg Whitman could be the first female president (by Jen Wieczner)
• 5 ways toymaker Mattel wants to be more like Google (by Michal Lev-Ram)
• Inside this 32-year-old CEO’s radical radical approach to making drugs (by Sy Mukherjee)
• Jamie Dimon says the whole Bitcoin craze will ‘end badly’ (by Lucinda Shen)
• GE is grounding private jets for executive travel (by Barb Darrow)
America is in a startup slump. Electric cars can create the biggest disruption since the iPhone. SoftBank’s banker stash. Uber loses its license to operate in London. Facebook to turn over Russian-linked ads to Congress.
• Flexport, a San Francisco-based provider of online customs brokerage and freight forwarding services, raised $110 million Series C at an $800 million pre-money valuation, according to TechCrunch. Investors include DST. Read more.
• Pilot, a New York-based provider of fiber internet services to businesses, raised $17 million in funding. Foundry Group led the round.
• ShoCard, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based blockchain-based identity management system, raised $4 million in funding. Morado and AME Cloud Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Storm Ventures, Danhua Capital, Correlation Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners and Robert Tinker.
• EquitySim, a San Francisco-based online simulation-based recruiting platform, raised $3.1 million in seed funding. University Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Peak Ventures and 500 FinTech.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Landos Biopharma, a Blacksburg, Va.-based emerging biopharmaceutical company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Perceptive Advisors led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Waud Capital Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Anovia Payments, an Irving, Texas-based provider of payment processing and merchant relationship management software to small and medium-sized businesses.
• Falfurrias Capital Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in SixAxis LLC, an Andrews, S.C.-based manufacturer of safety products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer based out of Shanghai, has raised $1.5 billion in a Hong Kong offering. The company plans to debut on the exchange Sept. 28. Back in October, ZhongAn choose Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, and UBS to carry out the deal in the mainland—but paused due to regulatory hold ups. The company is backed by Chinese giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba spinoff Ant Financial. Reuters.
• Secoo Holdings, a Beijing-based online luxury retailer, said it raised $111 million in an IPO of 8.5 million shares at $13. In 2016, the company lost $94.5 million on revenue of $382.6 million.Secoo is backed by IDG Ventures(24.5% pre-offering) Ping An Insurance(9.2%) China Capital Media (11.7%), and Ventech China(7.2%). Jefferies and BNP Paribas have been named joint bookrunners in the deal,. Secoo plans to list on the Nasdaq as “SECO.”
• MongoDB, a New York-based cloud company, filed for an IPO to raise up to $100 million.In 2016, the company posted revenue of $101.4 million and loss of $86.7 million. The company, which is valued at about $1.6 billion, is backed by investors including Sequoia Capital(16.9% pre-offering), Flybridge Capital(11.6%), Union Square Ventures(9.7%) and NEA(7.2%). MongoDB serves clients including Adobe, eBay, and Citigroup. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Allen & Company, Stifel, Canaccord Genuity, and JMP Securities are named underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “MDB.”
• Votorantim Metais Holding(VM Holding), a Sao Paulo-based company that produces base metals, has filed for an IPO of $100 million with the SEC. VM Holding posted revenue of $1.9 billion and earnings of $110.5 million in 2016. The company is backed by Votorantim Group. J.P. Morgan, BMO, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse have been named global coordinators in the deal. BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Scotiabank, Bradesco BBI, and Credicorp Capital are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “NEXA.”
• Blackstone acquired Schenck Process, a Germany-based measuring technology group, from IK Investment Partners. While a purchase price was not disclosed, Schenck is valued at more than 700 million euros ($834 million), according to Reuters. Read more.
• Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) agreed to acquire Angie’s Artisan Treats, LLC, a North Mankato, Minn.-based maker of popcorn and other snacks, from TPG Growth. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based investment firm, raised $180 million for its second fund.
• Jessica Jackley joined SparkLabs Global Ventures as a venture partner. Jackley is the co-founder of Kiva.
Aaron Rudberg joined S2G Ventures as a managing director and chief operating officer.