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Term Sheet — Monday, October 16

October 16, 2017, 1:50 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

WEINSTEIN FOR SALE: It was reported over the weekend that The Weinstein Co. is exploring a sale or shutdown. I was about to press send on this newsletter when I saw that the Weinstein Co. just announced it has entered a negotiating period with Thomas Barrack's Colony Capital for a potential sale of all or a significant portion of the company's assets. Barrack, Colony’s founder and chief executive, is a close adviser to President Donald Trump. Story is developing. More to come on

AMERICA’S MOST ACTIVE: Here’s an interesting tidbit to start off your week — Boston takes the title for most active buyout firms. HarbourVest Partners and Audax Group have held the top two spots for the first three quarters of the year, according to PitchBook’s Q3 U.S. PE report. HarbourVest did 16 deals in Q3 whereas Audax did 13. Step it up, New York.

ANTI-TECH: I read two articles with two radically different angles this weekend. The first, published on Sunday in The New York Times, is titled “Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend.” It makes the argument that online monopolies need to be broken up before they “smash the foundations of our society.” Here’s a snippet:

“As is becoming obvious, these companies do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need greater regulation, even if it impedes the introduction of new services. If we can’t stop their proposals — if we can’t say that driverless cars may not be a worthy goal, to give just one example — then are we in control of our society? We need to break up these online monopolies because if a few people make the decisions about how we communicate, shop, learn the news, again, do we control our own society?”

Pretty bold. But according to a new poll, no one really cares. Fake news, alleged discrimination, Russia-linked ads? An appropriate way to sum up public sentiment: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Amazon, Facebook, and Google have all held steady in daily favorability polls, according to research firm Morning Consult.

Last night, CNBC published a rebuttal to the NYT story with its own called, “The anti-tech campaign is based on false premises and the public isn't buying it.” Matt Rosoff opines that this “anti-tech campaign” isn’t resonating with consumers because it’s “based on false premises.” He argues it’s not a Facebook problem, it’s a societal problem, elaborating:

“Facebook was built to make the spread of ideas as frictionless as possible. If those ideas are angry, polarizing, ill-informed, ignorant (call them whatever you want) it reflects the people who are spreading them, not the platform on which they're spread. In other words, social media is holding a mirror up to ourselves, and we don't like what we see.”

Yet regulators and much of the press is using Big Tech as “a scapegoat” for the election of Donald Trump, he says. Thoughts?


Elon Musk reveals more details about his plan to colonize Mars (by David Z. Morris)

Tesla fires hundreds of workers after annual performance review (by Kirsten Korosec)

Amazon sent employees a memo addressing sexual harassment allegations (by Tom Huddleston)

Another reason why Bitcoin could soon hit $6,000 (by Lucinda Shen & Grace Donnelly)


Executive millennial mentorship programs are now a thing. Uber is selling shares at two different prices because it can. Google has made a mess of robotics. Blackstone is pushing into products for retail investors. An alternate universe of shopping.


LimeBike, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of a dockless bike-sharing service, raised a $50 million in Series B funding. Coatue Management led the round, and was joined by investors including GGV Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments, Section 32, AME Cloud Ventures, and the Stanford-StartX Fund. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and DCM Ventures participated.

onQ, an Atlanta-based developer of interactive group communications and learning solutions, raised $7 million in funding. The investors were not named.

Meesho, an India-based mobile e-commerce platform, raised $3.4 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. SAIF Partners led the round. Read more.

Crosser Technologies, a Sweden-based provider of intelligent edge computing software for industrial and enterprise internet of things, raised 1.4 million euros ($1.7 million) in seed funding. Investors include Spintop Ventures, Almi Invest and Norrlandsfonden.

Court Buddy, a Miami-based company that matches consumers with solo attorneys, raised $1 million in seed funding. LDR Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including XFactor Ventures, GingerBread Capital, LSS Fund, Uphonest Capital, Equipo Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Unity Influence, a Daly City, Calif.-based operator of an artificial intelligence marketing platform, raised $1 million in funding. The investors were not named.


InflaRx, a Germany-based developer of new therapeutics “in the terminal complement space,” raised $55 million in Series D funding. Investors include Bain Capital Life Sciences LP, Cormorant Asset Management LLC and RA Capital Management LLC.


Hellman & Friedman LLC is exploring the sale of OpenLink Financial LLC, a Uniondale, N.Y.-based software provider to the commodity, energy and financial services sectors. The company could be valued at over $1 billion, including debt, according to Reuters. Read more.

3i Group PLC acquired Smarte Carte International Holdings Inc, a Saint Paul, Minn.-based manufacturer of luggage carts, lockers and massage chairs, for $385 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more.

Culver Franchising System Inc, a Prairie du Sac, Wisc.-based restaurant operator, agreed to sell a minority stake to Roark Capital Group. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Aramark (NYSE:ARMK) will buy Avendra LLC, which is majority owned by Marriott International Inc, and AmeriPride Services Inc, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based uniform rental and linen supply services, for a total of $2.35 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.

Fandango is acquiring, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based website for movie ticketing and news. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Bombardier Inc (TSX:BBD.B) is exploring options for its aerospace businesses, including a sale of some operations, according to Bloomberg. Read more.


Sogou, a Beijing, China-based search engine, filed for an IPO of $600 million. In 2016, Sogou posted revenue of $660.4 million and earnings of $56 million. Sohu(37.8% pre-offering) and  Tencent(43.7%) back the company. The underwriters include J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and CICC. The company plans to list as “SOGO” on the NYSE.

One Madison, a SPAC based out of New York formed to acquire a consumer-facing business, filed for an IPO of $300 million. The company is backed by Jonathan Soros of JS Capital Management(21% pre-IPO) and was formed by Omar Asali, former CEO of HRG Group.

Credit Suisse and Bank of America are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “OMADU.”

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a Crestwood, Kentucky-based company filed for an IPO of $150 million. In 2016, the company posted loss of $27.1 million. Morningside Venture Investments(28% pre-IPO), Potentia Holdings(9.9%), and venBio Funds(9.4%) back the company. Citigroup and J.P. Morgan are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “APLS.”

Four Seasons Education, a Shanghai, China-based math education company, filed for an IPO of $120 million. In 2016, the company posted revenue of $14.2 million and loss of $4.9 million. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and China Renaissance are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE.

Fireman B.V. or InflaRx, a Jena, Germany,-based pharmaceutical company developing treatments for inflammatory diseases, filed for a $86 million IPO. In 2016, InflaRx posted loss of 8.9 million euro, or $10.5 million. Bm-t betetiligungsmanagement thüringen, Staidson Biopharmaceuticals, and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau A.d.ö.R. back the company. J.P. Morgan, Leerink Partners, and BMO Capital Markets are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “IFRX.”

CBTX, a commercial bank based out of Houston, Texas, filed for an IPO of $50 million. The company record loans of $2.2 billion for 2016 and income of $27.2 million. Stephens, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, and Sandler O’Neill + Partners are underwriting the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “CBTX.”


NICE acquired Workflex, a Cincinnati-based provider of workforce engagement solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Workflex had raised approximately $4.5 million in venture funding from investors including CincyTech.


Wavemaker Partners, a Los Angeles and Singapore-based venture firm, raised $66 million for its second Southeast Asia-focused fund.


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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.