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Who should get PPP funding?

April 20, 2020, 1:58 PM UTC

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Who actually deserves the PPP loans? It’s a question shooting across all industries, including in venture capital.

Even if a company is technically eligible under current guidelines, the ensuing risk—of being “that company” that took much-needed cash away from the smallest of businesses even though it had a sizable cash runway or could have raised other capital—is no small matter. 

Case in point: Restaurant chains including Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Fiesta Restaurant Group, and Shake Shack are now under fire for taking some $10 million in PPP loans each. Despite being larger companies, they received aid thanks to PPP rules stipulating that any one restaurant location with under 500 employees is eligible. 

Shake Shack has since said that it will return the $10 million—and that it launched an offering to raise up to $75 million via equity sales. The company also has some $112 in cash in marketable securities.

This kind of information is, after all, public. Such headlines will only be the start.

Chinese takeovers: They’re becoming a greater concern than before as coronavirus sinks valuations around the world. Some analysts believe China’s draconian measures to tackle the outbreak may have put the country on a faster track to financial recovery compared to Western nations.

Executive vice president of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager recently suggested that European countries should buy stakes in companies to ward off Chinese takeovers. India, whose startups have received billions in funding from China, has erected new rules that curb firms in neighboring countries from buying into local companies—a move that appears to largely impact China. And while Australia’s economy is heavily reliant on the middle kingdom, it has tightened rules of foreign takeovers following concerns that “foreign state-owned enterprises” could pounce on distressed businesses.

Startups get a break in the U.K.: Since France and Germany offered aid to startups in their countries, the U.K. has announced £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) specifically aimed to help tech startups. Previous programs had shut off funds to small businesses without proven profits—AKA most companies in the venture capital space. The country has revealed an initial £250 million matching loan scheme (the other £250 million to be matched by investors) and another £750 million (via loans and grants) for small and medium-sized firms focused on research and development.

VENTURE DEALS

- Alan, a French health insurance startup, raised $54.4 million (€50 million) in Series C funding. Temasek led the round, and Index Ventures.

- FaZe Clan, a Los Angeles-based esports organization, raised $40 million in Series A funding. Jimmy Iovine and NTWRK led the round.

- BibliU, a London, U.K.-based digital learning platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Nesta Impact Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including Guinness Asset Management.

- Edited, a London-based startup helping retailers track product trends and pricing, raised $29 million in funding. Wavecrest Growth Partners and Beringea UK led the round. Read more.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- KKR is considering a sale of its controlling stake in Ramky Enviro Engineers, an Indian environmental services provider, roughly a year after its acquisition, Bloomberg reports citing sources. KKR acquired a 60% stake of Ramky Enviro for about $510 million. Read more.

- Aceto, a portfolio company of New Mountain Capital, acquired Syntor Fine Chemicals, a U.K.-based maker of fine chemicals for pharmaceutical and other life sciences. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Republic acquired Fig, a crowdfunding platform for games. Read more.

- Eros International, a Indian entertainment company and STX Filmworks, a Burbank, Calif.-based media company, will combine in a stock-for-stock merger. The funding will include $125 million of incremental equity from new and existing STX Entertainment investors TPG, Hony Capital, and Liberty Global and a $350 million JP Morgan-led credit facility. The combined company will be called Eros STX Global Corporation, and will trade on the “NYSE.” Read more

F+FS

- Francisco Partners plans to raise roughly $8 billion across two private equity funds. The Francisco Partners VI is targeting the $6.6 billion and the Francisco Partners Agility II plans to raise $1.4 billion. Read more.

- Great Hill Partners raised $150 million for its GHEP VII Coinvest fund. Read more.

PEOPLE

- 17Capital appointed Greg Hardiman as a Senior Associate in its North America team.