The World’s Most Valuable Company

December 6, 2019, 3:22 PM UTC

After multiple delays, Saudia Arabia is finally making it happen. 

A much-watched step in the country’s goals to modernize and privatize parts of its economy, its state-owned oil business, Saudi Aramco, raised $25.6 billion in the world’s largest IPO ever after pricing 3 billion shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) apiece. 

The raise beats the largest yet—that of Alibaba’s in 2014—by about $600 million. It also crowns the company as the most valuable among publicly-traded companies right now.

Still, the road to becoming a publicly-traded firm has come with some missed expectations. The pricing values the company at about $1.7 trillion—shy of an earlier $2 trillion goal. One reason for the demand shortfall: Concerns over the company’s politics, governance, and impact on the environment, per Reuters.

Indeed local and regional buyers appear to be making up the bulk of the demand. That’s also created an interesting twist on the lockup period as the absolute monarchy seeks to privatize its assets, per the Wall Street Journal.

“Locals won’t rush to sell their piece of the kingdom’s crown jewel. The large group of high net worth individuals, government-related entities and other local institutional investors under pressure to buy shares are also unlikely to sell them early and risk the crown prince’s ire. Individual investors are in line to receive a 10% bonus allocation from the state’s holdings if they hold their shares for six months, capped at 100 additional shares. There are almost no fast-money hedge-fund investors involved.”

But even if the listing is raising less than the $100 billion figure often touted early on, $25.6 billion is still a hefty chunk of money. Now the question is, how exactly will Saudi Arabia deploy those funds as it seeks to modernize and diversify its economy away from oil? After all, it is already a big player at any rate in the venture world through SoftBank.

The Sharing Economy

In Uber’s first-ever safety report Thursday, the ride-sharing company found over 3,000 allegations of sexual assault involving drivers or passengers through its platform. The report comes as advocates have placed greater pressure on sharing economy companies over holding their workforce accountable. 

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Lucinda here filling in for Polina until her return on Monday Dec. 9. Please do send deals to


- Chime, a San Francisco-based branchless bank, has reportedly raised $500 million in Series E funding led by DST Global, valuing the company at $5.8 billion per CNBC citing sources. Read more.

- Black Diamond Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based precision oncology medicine company, raised $85 million in Series C funding. Boxer Capital of the Tavistock Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Wellington Management Company, BVF Partners L.P., Deerfield Management, funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors, Casdin Capital, and Logos Capital.

- Limelight Bio, a Philadelphia-based biopharmaceutical company developing novel gene therapies, raised $75 million in funding. Apple Tree Partners led the round.

- Wildlife Studios, a San Francisco-based mobile gaming technology, raised $60 million in Series A funding led by Benchmark. 

- Ogury, a New York-based  marketing engine, raised $50 million in funding. Idinvest Partners led the round.

- Thoughtexchange, a British Columbia-based crowdsourcing intelligence platform, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Information Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Voyager Capital and existing investor Yaletown Partners.

- Cyberhaven, a Palo Alto-based firm focused on behavioral data analytics, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Vertex Ventures and Costanoa Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Crane Venture Partners.

- Nutriati, a Richmond, VA-based developer and manufacturer of plant-based ingredients, raised $12.7 million in Series C funding. Manna Tree Partners was the anchor investor and was joined by Open Prairie.

- Allstacks, a Raleigh-based predictive forecasting and risk management platform for software development outcomes, raised $4.7 million in seed funding led by Hyperplane Venture Capital, and was joined by investors including Polaris Partners, Uncommon Denominator, and Wildcat VC. Existing investors S3 Ventures, Moneta Ventures and Bala Investments also participated.

- MeetFrank, Estonian job search platform, raised €1.5 million ($1.7 million) in funding., Enern VC, Change Ventures, and Hummingbird invested.


- Investors led by Motive Partners agreed to acquire a majority stake in Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv’s investment services businesses. Fiserv will receive about $510 million in net after-tax proceeds. 

- Apax Partners is investing up to $400 million in Verint, a New York-based provider of solutions for the cyber intelligence operations of companies and government agencies.

- Suvoda, a Pennsylvania-based SaaS provider of clinical trial software, raised $40 million in minority funding from LLR Partners.

- CDM Fitness Holdings, a portfolio company of Spanos Barber Jesse & Co, acquired KiwiMex Holdings, and developer of 17 Planet Fitness clubs in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- AmerCareRoyal, backed by HCI Equity Partners, acquired McNairn Packaging, a Westfield, Mass.-based maker of food packaging. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- One World Fitness, back by Centre Partners, acquired BMC Mgmt Inc. and affiliates (collectively, “San Diego Fitness”), an operator of seven fitness clubs in the South California area. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Marmic Fire & Safety Co., a portfolio company of Thompson Street Capital Partners, acquired Fire Control Systems of Charlotte, a Charlotte, N.C.-based based a provider of commercial fire protection services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Transom Capital Group has acquired Scantron Corporation, a Twin Cities, Minn.-based provider of comprehensive assessment and technology solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- United Urology Group, a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, acquired Arizona Urology Specialists, a Phoenix-based urology platform of 24 providers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- PAI Partners and Lego owner Kirkbi are acquiring insulation foam maker Armacell from Blackstone, per Reuters. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TRUE Sports, backed by Lincolnshire Management, acquired Aerotech Golf, Bellingham, Wash.-based a designer and distributor of composite golf shafts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Sartorius agreed to acquire a majority stake in Biological Industries, an Israel-based cell culture media developer and manufacturer, for about 45 million euros ($50 million), from Kibbutz Beit Haemek and Fortissimo Capital. 


- Ardian is selling Competence Call Center Group, a Berlin-based business process outsourcing service provider, to TELUS International. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Applied Systems acquired Indio Technologies, a workflow management platform for P&C insurance applications and renewals. Indio previously raised $28 million in total funding from investors, including Menlo Ventures, NEA and 8VC.


- Revelstoke Capital closed its second fund with $714 million.

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