Term Sheet — Tuesday, November 28

November 28, 2017, 2:27 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers!

Uber’s moment of truth: Everyone is anxiously awaiting SoftBank’s multi-billion dollar tender offer for Uber shares. But, according to media reports, the offer isn’t so hot. A Softbank-led group is hoping to buy up to 20% of Uber, which has a valuation of ~$69 billion. The proposed price per share is reportedly $32.96, which comes out to a much lower valuation of just about $50 billion. In other words, this is a 30% discount to Uber’s private valuation. The offer is conditional on Softbank buying 14% of Uber’s shares through the tender, so if enough shareholders choose not to tender, it may have to raise its price — or the deal could crumble entirely. An analyst told The Financial Times:

From a seller’s standpoint, the value proposition [for the SoftBank tender offer] is that they are able to liquidate their holdings,” he said, noting that Uber’s public offering is not expected until 2019 at the earliest. “If employees do not sell in this tender offer, they are looking at another two- to three-year holding period.”  

New money: TuSimple, a China-based autonomous truck technology startup, raised $55 million in a Series C funding round led by Composite Capital. The company plans to use the influx of capital to scale up its testing to two full truck fleets in China and the U.S. The idea is to introduce commercial autonomous trucking services in 2019.

This is part of a much bigger trend that’s exploding in China at the moment. Just today, NIO Capital, an investment firm founded by leading Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO, said it was in talks with prospective investors to raise up to $500 million in a dollar fund aimed at the country’s auto sector. In September, Chinese search engine giant Baidu announced a 10 billion yuan ($1.52 billion) autonomous driving fund. The “Apollo Fund” will invest in 100 autonomous driving projects over the next three years. These investments are indicative of a much wider plan to help accelerate technical development and help China compete with rival U.S. market leaders.

Speaking of China, I’ll be reporting from the Fortune Global Forum next week in Guangzhou (see agenda here). But first, I want to hear from you guys. What innovations within China are attracting your attention? If you’re an international investor, what are some opportunities you’re looking at in the Chinese market? What are some emerging trends Term Sheet readers should be aware of?

Bitcoin is ‘an investor mania:’ As Bitcoin flirts with the $10,000 mark, my colleague Grace Donnelly spoke with analysts about what’s driving the price surge. Ritholtz Wealth Management’s Josh Brown called it “officially an investor mania” thanks to a growing public awareness of the cryptocurrency. Here’s a fun (and kind of terrifying) fact: More than 100,000 people opened new Coinbase accounts between November 22 and November 24, which means there are now more Coinbase users than Charles Schwab accounts. Grace reports:

It may seem that everybody is investing in bitcoin, but there are a few things to consider before you buy: the cryptocurrency is extremely volatile, crypto hedge funds charge serious fees to invest your money, and the value of bitcoin is only based on the assumption that it will continue to grow and become the predominant cryptocurrency.

Before you partake in the crypto craze, just keep in mind that Bitcoin has crashed, losing 80% of its value, on five different occasions over the last few years.


SpaceX raised $100 million in an extension to a financing round

Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp is leaving the company (by Aric Jenkins)

The 50 best companies for working parents (by Fortune editors)

Elon Musk doesn’t know where he left his Bitcoin (by David Meyer)


Fullerton Healthcare Corp Ltd, a Singapore-based provider of corporate healthcare services, raised 800 million yuan ($121 million). Investors include Ping An Capital Co Ltd.

Rx Savings Solutions, an Overland Park, Kansas-based pharmacy transparency software provider, raised $18.4 million. McCarthy Capital led the round.

Biolinq, a San Diego-based digital health company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include M Ventures, Hikma Ventures, Grey Sky Venture Partners, Three Leaf Ventures and LifeSci Venture Partners.

BetterLesson, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of a professional development platform for teachers, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Owl Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including New Markets Venture Partners, Reach Capital and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Libra, a New York City-based provider of financial software for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. Investors include Liberty City Ventures, XBTO, Boost VC and Lee Linden.

Omniex Holdings, Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of software infrastructure, raised $5 million in seed funding. Wicklow Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Sierra Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Clocktower Ventures, and ThirdStream Partners.


Medeor Therapeutics Inc, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of personalized cellular immunotherapies, raised $57 million in Series B funding. RA Capital Management led the round, and was joined by investors including Sofinnova Ventures, 6 Dimensions Capital, Vivo Capital and WuXi Healthcare Ventures.

Qool Therapeutics, Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based company developing a novel non-invasive targeted temperature management system, raised $8 million in Series A-1 funding. Investors include Zhongji Holdings LTD/Join Medical Technology, TAMCAP LLC, BrilliMedical International Corp., BioPacific Investors, Western Technology Investment, and FundRx.


Roark Capital Group’s majority-owned Arby’s Restaurant Group will buy Buffalo Wild Wings Inc (Nasdaq:BWLD) in a deal valued at about $2.9 billion. Read more at Fortune.

Thoma Bravo LLC will acquire Barracuda Networks Inc (NYSE:CUDA) in an all-cash deal worth $1.6 billion.

Marlin Equity Partners agreed to acquire Bazaarvoice (Nasdaq:BV) for $5.50 in cash or about $521 million.

Pearson agreed to sell its Wall Street English business to Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital for approximately $300 million, according to Reuters. Of the $300 million, $50 million would cover tax and net transaction costs while $150 million would be retained in the disposed business. Read more.

Great Hill Partners will invest up to $75 million to Reliam LLC, a Los Angeles-based managed service provider for public cloud platforms, Reliam is a managed services provider for public cloud platforms.

TSG Consumer Partners sold Raybern Foods, LLC, a Hayward, Calif.-based maker and seller of sandwiches, Premium Brands Holdings.  Financial terms weren't disclosed.

StatLab, a Cressey & Company LP portfolio company, acquired American MasterTech Scientific Inc, a Lodi, Calif.-based maker and distributor of specialty laboratory products, including stains and special stains used by pathologists and laboratories to diagnose cancer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Spanos Barber Jesse & Co.  recapitalized Under Canvas Inc, a Belgrade, Minn.-based adventure-hospitality brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Temasek Holdings Pte is in talks about a potential sale of its stake in Asian drug distributor Zuellig Pharma, according to Bloomberg. Temasek may seek $1 billion for its roughly 20% stake of Zuellig, and the auction is expected to draw interest from private equity firms and strategics, including Mitsui & Co. Read more.

Unilever will buy Sundial Brands, an Amityville, N.Y.-based maker of hair and skincare products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


SpringerNature, which publishes Nature and Scientific American magazines, has reportedly asked J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley to work on a 2018 IPO. The offering could raise 4 billion euro, or $4.8 billion, Reuters reports. Read more.

Luther Burbank, a Santa Rosa, Calif.-based residential loan-focused bank, plans to raise $131 million in an IPO of 11.35 million shares priced between $10.50 to $12.50 a piece. In 2016, the company posted income of $52.1 million and assets of $5.1 billion. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Sandler O’Neill + Partners are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “LBC.”

Curo Group, a Wichita, Kansas-based payday lender, said it plans to raise $100.5 million by offering 6.7 million shares priced between $14 to $16 a piece. The company posted revenue of $828.6 million and income of $65.4 million in 2016. Friedman Fleischer & Lowe (34.86% pre-offering) backs the company. Credit Suisse, Jefferies, and Stephens are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company says it plans to list on the NYSE as “CURO.”


WeWork acquired Meetup, a New York-based local community meetup organizing platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Meetup had raised approximately $18.3 million in venture funding from investors including Omidyar Network, Union Square Ventures, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Avista Capital Partners agreed to acquire United BioSource, a Blue Bell, Penn.-based provider of pharmaceutical and patient support services. The seller was Express Scripts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Seabury Capital LLC sold a controlling stake in SGI Aviation Services BV, an Amsterdam-based provider of aircraft and engine asset management, to FinTech Global Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


NFX, a San Francisco-based venture firm, raised $150 million for its debut fund.

NeoTribe Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture firm, raised $113.5 million for its debut fund, according to an SEC filing. The fund’s target is $130 million.


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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.

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