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Silver Lake wants to make travel deals happen

May 28, 2020, 2:31 PM UTC

The coronavirus has left many travel and retail deals out to dry. Now Silver Lake is trying to save one while making yet another bet on travel’s comeback.

The tech-focused private equity firm, which has made high-profile bets in Airbnb and Expedia in recent months, is pushing for a deal to take public Global Blue, a company that provides tax refunds to tourists. 

In January, Far Point Acquisition announced plans to acquire Global Blue for $2.6 billion and take it public. But it reversed course earlier this month as the pandemic raged on, saying management believed the combined company would lack sufficient liquidity. Global Blue, though, was undeterred, saying it would continue to pursue the combination that had attracted a $1 billion investment from Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Silver Lake is flying straight into the turmoil. The private equity giant is urging for a merger with some concessions to sweeten the deal for Far Point’s shareholders after taking a 12% stake in the blank check company for about $100 million, Silver Lake revealed in a Wednesday filing. Silver Lake is now the blank-check company’s largest shareholder outside of hedge fund Third Point.

“COVID-19 is having more of a short-term impact on GB’s industries than prior downturns,” read Silver Lake’s letter to Far Point’s board of directors.

As part of its plan to convince Far Point shareholders of the deal, Silver Lake has offered to forgo its $168 million in cash dividends in favor of common stock, a move that reduces the transaction costs of the deal. It also offered to boost the value of warrants following the deal’s close.

Will Global Blue get its wish? Silver Lake’s deal will need to be sweet enough that another 13.1% of Far Point shareholders think the acquisition is worth it. A combination requires 50.1% of shareholders to agree—and so far, with Silver Lake and Third Point’s support, the deal has about 37% support.

Buy the shovel: Card issuing startup Marqeta more than doubled its valuation to $4.3 billion after raising $150 million from a U.S.-based institutional investor, the company said Thursday. 

The raise is an extension to its Series E raise of $260 million led by Coatue Management a year earlier, meaning the terms of the deal are the same aside from the valuation bump, CEO Jason Gardner tells Term Sheet. Gardner declined to name the investor in Marqeta’s most recent round.

The startup—which helps the likes of DoorDash, Uber, Square, and Brex build out their own card offerings—has benefited from the boom in companies of all stripes diving into financial services. And while the coronavirus has hurt its revenues from sources like corporate spending and travel (a vertical in which fintech darling Brex operates), food delivery and buy-now-pay-later demand (think Klarna, another Marqeta client) has helped push the company to record volumes in March, April, and May, Gardner says. The company plans to expand further, and internationally, with the fresh funding.

For many investors, Marqeta was among the candidates for an IPO in 2020. An employee asked as much about the timing of a potential public offering of the nearly 10-year-old company in an all-hands on Wednesday. Gardner was coy and declined to give a timeline.

“The IPO window is closed and this year was going to be the year of the IPO,” he says, adding that Marqeta was not previously planning to go public in 2020.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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- Q32 Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company developing treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, raised $46 million in Series A funding. Atlas Venture led the round and was joined by investors including OrbiMed Advisors, Abingworth, Sanofi Ventures, and University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Innovation.

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- Sunstone Partners invested in Med Tech Solutions, a healthcare information technology company.


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- Big Hit Entertainment, the management label of South Korean K-Pop group BTS, filed for a preliminary review of a planned initial public offering, Read more.


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- Tuesday Morning Corp. a discount home-goods retailer, filed for bankruptcy protection. 

- The parent company of Advantage Rent a Car filed for bankruptcy protection. Read more.


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- SoftBank is exploring a sale of its stake in OsiSoft, an industrial software company. Read more.


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