It survived the Great Depression and World War II. The coronavirus pushed it to bankruptcy
It survived multiple financial crises. But late Friday, Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection as the pandemic razes the travel industry and cripples the company’s ability to pay off a massive pile of debt.
The pandemic decimated a large part of Hertz’s revenue that depended on rentals at airports. While U.S. airlines have managed to avoid bankruptcy by brokering billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. government, Hertz and its car-rental brethren were left to fend for themselves.
Other car-rental companies such as Enterprise and Avis are facing the same crisis, but Hertz’s heavy debts and acquisition strategies have left it most exposed to the coronavirus. In 2010, the rental car company sought to expand outside of its business traveler core and into the leisure market by acquiring Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for $1.2 billion. Hertz eventually paid $2.6 billion following a protracted bidding war. Now, its bankruptcy petition lists roughly $25.8 billion in assets and $24.4 billion in debts.
What’s worse: In a financing move meant to lower the cost of debt, Hertz issued bonds with cars as collateral following its spin-out from Ford in the early 2000s. But used car values have dropped sharply during the pandemic, making repayments even more acute.
The used-car market might feel reverberations. Hertz could be forced to liquidate much of its fleet of over 500,000 in the U.S. as it seeks to repay its debts, adding to other used-car sellers doing the same in a widespread move that analysts fear could drive down prices even further.
One bright spot: Used-car sales are expected to come online faster as lockdown restrictions lift and wary consumers eschew public transportation.
Never waste a crisis: Tech-focused private equity fund Silver Lake has been actively picking up downtrodden companies during the coronavirus—sprinkling a couple hundreds of millions on bets including Airbnb and Expedia. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, known for its recent bets in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, has also been stepping on the pedal: PIF has picked up stakes in Live Nation, a U.S.-based live entertainment company, and a 7.3% holding in Carnival, the cruise-liner. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read more.
- MissFresh, a Beijing-based meal kit delivery company, is close to closing on $500 million in new funding, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Tencent, Goldman Sachs, and Tiger Global back the company. Read more.
- Apeel Sciences, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company focused on food waste, raised $250 million in funding. GIC led the round, and was joined by investors including Viking Global Investors, Upfront Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group. Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry also joined.
- insitro, a San Francisco-based machine-learning driven drug discovery platform, raised $143 million in Series B funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, and was joined by investors including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, T. Rowe Price Associates, BlackRock, Casdin Capital, HOF Capital, and WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund.
- Bolt, an Estonia-based rival to Uber, raised €100 million ($109 million) in convertible notes, valuing it at €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion). Naya Capital Management is the investor.
- Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Cambridge, Mass.-based fusion energy startup, raised $84 million in Series A2 funding. Temasek led the round, and was joined by investors including Equinor and Devonshire Investors.
- Scandit, a Zurich, Switzerland-based platform for mobile computer vision and augmented reality, raised $80 million in Series C funding. G2VP led the round and was joined by investors including Atomico, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and Swisscom Ventures.
- Exscientia, a U.K.-based AI drug discovery company, raised $60 million in Series C funding. Novo Holdings led the round and was joined by investors including Evotec, Bristol Myers Squibb, and GT Healthcare Capital.
- Platform Science, a La Jolle-based trucking software maker, raised $42 million in Series B funding. Prologis led the round and was joined by investors including Daimler, 8VC, NewRoad Capital Partners, Schematic Ventures, and Cambridge Capital. Read more.
- Medwing, a German job matching platform for healthcare workers, raised €28 million ($30 million) in Series B funding. Cathay Innovation led the round and was joined by investors including Northzone, Cherry Ventures, and Atlantic Labs.
- Oncology Analytics, an Atlanta, Ga.-based data analytics platform for oncology, raised $28 million in Series C funding. Baird Capital led the round and joins existing investors Oak HC/FT, McKesson Ventures, and The Blue Venture Fund.
- Attest Technologies, a London-based market research platform, raised $15 million in funding. The round was led by a confidential investor with participation from NEA.
- CalciMedica, a La Jolla, Calif.-based clinical-stage biotechnology company treating acute and severe inflammatory diseases, raised $15 million in Series C funding. Valence Life Sciences led the round and was joined by investors including Bering Capital, Mesa Verde Venture Partners and existing investor Sanderling Ventures.
- Fundbox, a San Francisco-based B2B payment and credit network, raised $15 million in extended Series C funding from MUFG Innovation Partners. Fundbox has raised nearly $200 million in Series C total.
- Statespace, a New York-based gamer training platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Khosla led the round, and was joined by investors including June Fund, FirstMark Capital, Lux, and Expa. Read more.
- Curu, a Denver, Colo.-based solution for lenders to find leads for loans, raised $3 million in seed funding. Vestigo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Harlem Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Carolina Fintech Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Holt Accelerator, Chingona Ventures, and Upscale Fund.
- CVC invested £116 million ($141 million) in the PRO14 league, a rugby union, per the Wall Street Journal citing sources. That would give the rugby union a value of roughly £415 million ($453 million). Read more.
- RedBird Capital Partners is in talks to acquire 85% of Toulouse, a Ligue 1 soccer club. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.
- Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group Founder Guy Laliberte says he is planning to invest in the company three months after selling his remaining stake. TPG and Fosun back the firm. Read more.
- Naspers and an investor group backed by Axel Springer SE are among those seeking to acquire EBay Inc.’s classified-advertising business, per Bloomberg citing sources. Axel Springer has reportedly teamed up with KKR. Read more.
- Fortress Investment Group, backed by Softbank, acquired Krystal Restaurants, an Atlanta, Ga.-based quick service restaurant chain. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Tencent is acquiring a 20% stake in Marvelous Inc. (TYO:7844), a Japanese games studio, for about 7 billion yen ($65 million).
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals plans to repurchase $5 billion of its shares from Sanofi, without altering their partnership. Read more.
- EagleClaw Midstream, backed by Blackstone, is suing Energy Spectrum Capital, the former owners of Caprock Midstream, alleging they failed to disclose tens of millions of dollars of liabilities during acquisition talks. EagleClaw acquired Caprock for $950 million. Read More.
- Burning Rock Biotech, a Chinese precision oncology and early cancer detection company, filed for an $100 million IPO. Northern Light Venture Capital (13.7% pre-offering), Sequoia Capital China (9.1%), and CMB International (8.8%) back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “BNR.” Read more.
BANKRUPTCIES AND BREAKUPS
- Renault and Nissan shelved plans to push towards the full merger, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.
- LATAM Airlines Group SA, Latin America’s largest airline, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.
- Tuesday Morning, a Dallas-based discount retailer, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, per the WSJ citing sources. Read more.
- Aurora Capital Partners agreed to acquire FMG Suite, a San Diego-based advisor marketing platform, from K1 Investment Management.
- Roche (SIX: RO) acquired Stratos Genomics, a Seattle.-based, early-stage sequencing technology company. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Stratos previously raised venture capital from Fisk Ventures and Roche Ventures.
- The backers of Voodoo SAS, a French mobile game developer, are seeking to sell the company in a deal that could value it at over 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion), per Bloomberg. West Street Capital Partners VII backs the firm. Read more.
- Realterm closed Realterm Logistics Fund III at its hard cap of $370 million.