2 DEALS & A BANKRUPTCY
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
PE MEGA-DEAL: PE firms are sitting on $545.5 billion of dry powder, and it looks like they’re about to start deploying it. Many large PE groups are looking to buy a considerable stake in Netherlands-based paint maker Akzo Nobel. The deal could be worth as much as €10 billion ($12.4 billion). Bidders include Carlyle; a collaboration between Advent and Bain; another collaboration between Apollo and Lanxess; and Hal Investments, according to The Financial Times.
The transaction comes at a time when PE firms are under growing pressure to deploy the record amount of capital they have raised in recent months. There were very few mega-deals last year, so let’s see if this trend reverses in 2018.
CHINA’S DEALMAKERS UNITE: Alibaba strikes again. During my tenure at Term Sheet, there’s one clear trend: Alibaba and Tencent have emerged as star players. Dalian Wanda Group, a property-to-entertainment firm, is selling 13% (a $1.24 billion stake) in its listed film business to a pair of investors led by Alibaba Group.
Here’s where it gets interesting & complicated: It was only a week ago that Dalian Wanda’s commercial property arm received a $5.3 billion cash infusion from Tencent and JD.com, among others. Rivals Alibaba and Tencent usually pump money into competitive companies within the same sector. In a rare instance, they have invested in the same business. This is one to pay attention to.
FINAL CHAPTER: Bon-Ton Stores, one of the largest regional department-store chains in the country, has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As Bon-Ton grapples with crushing debt and declining sales, it will also explore strategic alternatives including a sale of the company or certain assets. My colleague Phil Wahba reports that its problems are deeper than those of its peers:
The challenges the chain now faces are how cluttered its stores have become, how much overlap there is with other retailers, and how discount-driven its business is. As GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders put it in a research note, Bon-Ton must fix its problem that its offerings are “undifferentiated, unclear and have become increasingly irrelevant to consumers.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Former Intel President Renee James Is Back With A New Chip Company (by Jonathan Vanian)
• Another Bank Says Its Credit Cards Can't Be Used to Buy Bitcoin (by David Meyer)
• Tesla Strikes Deal to Give 50,000 Australian Homes Solar Power (by David Z. Morris)
• Early Tesla Semi Buyers Will Build Their Own Charging Stations (by David Z. Morris)
• Harmless Harvest, a San Francisco-based producer of organic coconut water, raised $30 million in funding. Danone Manifesto Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Mousse Partners and AccelFoods.
• Medopad, a U.K.-based health tech AI company, raised $28 million in funding. Investors include NWS Holdings.
• Figma, a San Francisco-based open design platform, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round.
• Infarm, a Germany-based startup that has developed vertical farming tech for grocery stores, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Balderton Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including TriplePoint Capital, Mons Investments, Cherry Ventures, QUADIA, and LocalGlobe. Read more.
• Wildmoka, a France-based live clipping, editing and publishing platform for broadcasters, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Alven led the round, and was joined by investors including Apicap.
• Indio Technologies, a San Francisco-based developer of a platform which provides tools for traditional commercial insurance brokers, raised $6 million in Series A funding. 8VC led the round and was joined by 500 startups, Merus Capital and Compound.
• Zebra Fuel, a U.K.-based on-demand energy startup which delivers fuel directly to vehicles, raised $2.5 million (£1.8 million) in seed funding. LocalGlobe led the round.
• Lightful, a U.K.-based social media and campaign management platform for charities and social enterprises, raised £4 million ($5.6 million) in Series A funding. Investors include Nick Mason and Dario Franchitti.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Bain Capital Private Equity agreed to acquire Bugaboo, a Netherlands-based maker of mobility products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Audax Private Equity recapitalized Protective Industrial Products Global Holdings Inc, a Latham, New York-based provider of hand protection products and other consumable personal protective equipment. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Cairngorm Capital Partners acquired MJ Wilson Group Limited, U.K.-based distributor of process instrumentation and control products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Ridge Runner Resources, an oil and gas exploration and production company, raised up to $300 million in funding from Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing.
• Central Puerto, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based power company, said it plans to raise $330 in an IPO of 20 million shares priced at $16.50. The company previously said it planned to price between $17.50 to $21.50 a piece. BofA Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “CEPU.”
• ION Investment Group agreed to acquire Openlink Financial, a New York-based transaction lifecycle management software provider, from Hellman & Friedman. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired Safe Fleet Holdings LLC, a Belton, Mo.-based provider of safety and productivity solutions, from Sterling Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Quantum Capital Partners, a Germany-based investment firm, raised 77.5 million euros ($96.6 million) for its second fund.
• Zachary Kaplan is joining Cove Hill Partners as a managing director. Previously, he was at General Atlantic.