TikTok is looking for ways to avoid a sale
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The White House set a tight deadline for Chinese-owned social media app TikTok: Find a U.S. buyer for your stateside operations by Sept. 20, or face a potential shutdown.
It became a mad scramble. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has been in talks with almost every tech giant, or so it seems, with names such as Microsoft and Oracle among the frontrunners for the company’s U.S. assets. But those talks hit yet another hurdle when the Chinese government announced new restrictions in late August that could make it even more difficult for TikTok to sell a U.S. company.
Now, TikTok is in talks directly with the U.S. government about potentially avoiding “a full sale of its U.S. operations,” per the Wall Street Journal. What could that mean? Well, it could lead to a deal in which, instead of buying the company outright, a U.S. tech partner takes a potential minority stake in TikTok and secures its data—which appears to be the crux of the White House’s concerns anyway.
LVMH BACKS OUT OF TIFFANY: French luxury conglomerate LVMH—which already owns brands including Chrstian Dior and Louis Vuitton—bid hard to acquire jeweler Tiffany & Co. to its roster late last year. In late October, it made a bid valuing the latter firm at $14.5 billion and then bolstering the offer at least twice before agreeing on $16 billion in a move that would allow LVMH to compete more strongly in the jewelry segment. It was very much the top of the market.
Now, amid the pandemic, LVMH has moved to back off the acquisition while Tiffany & Co. is suing its maybe-fiancee in the hopes of keeping the deal intact. The global lockdown halted international travel and cut into luxury sales by extension. Read more.
PALANTIR SETS AN LISTING DATE: Palantir Technologies, the big data company planning to go public via direct listing, plans to debut Sept. 23 on the New York Stock Exchange. Last valued at $20 billion in 2015, its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission have shorn down that valuation. Based on back-of-the-envelope calculations of Palantir’s share price in private-market transactions, the company held an average valuation of about $12 billion in August. Read more.
- Xometry, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based on-demand manufacturing marketplace, raised $75 million in equity. T. Rowe Price Associates led the round and was joined by investors including Durable Capital Partners, ArrowMark Partners, BMW i Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Highland Capital Partners, and Almaz Capital.
- Orchard, a New York-based home buying and selling platform, raised $69 million of Series C funding. Revolution Growth led the round and was joined by investors including FirstMark, Navitas, Accomplice, and Juxtapose.
- Groww, a Bangalore-based stock investing startup, raised $30 million in Series C funding. YC Continuity led the round and was joined by investors including Sequoia India, Ribbit Capital and Propel Ventures. Read more.
Ubicquia, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based smart city solution, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Investors included Fuel Venture Capital.
- StackRox, a Mountain View, Calif.-based container and Kubernetes security provider, raised $26.5 million in funding. Menlo Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Highland Capital Partners, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Sequoia Capital, and Redpoint Ventures.
- Sana Benefits, an Austin-based provider of self-funded health insurance for small businesses, raised $20.8 million in Series A funding. Gigafund led the round and was joined by investors including Trust Ventures and mark vc.
- Iron Ox, a San Francisco-based startup working on agricultural robotics, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Pathbreaker Venture led the round and was joined by investors including Crosslink Capital, Amplify Partners, ENIAC Ventures, R7 Partners, Tuesday Ventures, At One Ventures and Y Combinator.
- Klue, a Canadian the AI-powered market intelligence platform on competitors, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Craft Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including HWVP, OMERS Ventures, Rhino Ventures, and BDC Ventures.
- Descartes Underwriting, a Paris-based insurtech focused on climate risk modeling and data-driven risk transfer, raised $18.5 million in Series A funding. Investors included Serena, Cathay Innovation and BlackFin Capital Partners.
- Oyster Financial, a Mexico-based fintech startup, raised $14 million in seed funding. monashees and SV Latam Capital led the round and were joined by investors including Fintech Collective, Kevin Efrusy, Redpoint eventures, S7 Ventures and Ulu Ventures.
- CredoLab, a Singapore-based developer of digital credit scorecards based on smartphone metadata, raised $7 million in Series A funding. GBG led the round.
- Bolster, a New York-based marketplace for executive talent, raised $6 million in funding. Investors included High Alpha, Union Square Ventures, Costonoa Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.
- Terabase Energy, a Berkeley, Calif.-based solar digital startup, raised $6 million in Series A funding. SJF Ventures led the round.
- Manifold Bio, a Boston-based startup focused on boosting throughput of protein therapeutics testing in vivo, raised $5.4 million in seed funding. Playground Global led the round and was joined Fifty Years, GETTYLAB and Allston Venture Fund.
- Omnitracs, backed by Vista Equity Partners, agreed to acquire SmartDrive, a video-based safety and transportation intelligence company backed by Sixth Street Partners. The deal is estimated to be worth $450 million.
- ECI Software Solutions, backed by Insight Partners, agreed to acquire Shoptech Industrial Software Corp., a Glastonbury, Conn.-based provider of software for job shops and made-to-order manufacturers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Symplr Software, a portfolio company of Clearlake Capital Group and Skyknight, acquired ComplyTrack, a healthcare regulatory risk solution, from Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
- Providence Strategic Growth recapitalized Wagepoint, a Toronto-based online payroll software provider.
- LRN Corporation, a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners, acquired Interactive Services, a Ireland-based compliance training company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Bristol Hospice, a portfolio company of Webster Equity Partners, acquired Remita Health, a hospice care provider, in the states of Arizona, California and Nevada. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Cove Hill Partners will invest in SecureLink, an Austin-based provider of vendor privileged access management solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG) acquired Intact Vascular, a Wayne, Pa.-based maker of medical devices for minimally invasive peripheral vascular procedures, for up to $360 million. Intact has been backed by Versana Capital and NEA.
- Astute acquired Socialbakers, an A.I.-powered social media marketing platform. Draper Esprit and Index Ventures backed Socialbakers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Digital Currency Group acquired Luno, a London-based cryptocurrency exchange. Luno investors have included Balderton Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Hyland agreed to acquire Alfresco, a Wellesley, Mass.-based content services platform and solutions provider, from Thomas H. Lee Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Petco Animal Supplies, a San Diego retailer of pet supplies, is weighing an IPO or sale that could kick off next year and value the firm at $6 billion, per Bloomberg. CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board back the firm. Read more.
- Codiak BioSciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based early stage biotech developing exosome therapeutics, filed to raise $100 million. Arch Venture Funds, Flagship Venture Funds, and Fidelity back the firm. Read more.
- PWP Forward Acquisition Corp., a SPAC seeking to invest in a female-led company proposed by Perella Weinberg Partners, will seek to raise about $200 million, per Bloomberg. Read more.
- Starboard Value Acquisition Corp., a blank check company formed by Starboard Value, raised $360 million by offering 36 million units priced at $10. Read more.
- Bridgepoint Development Capital raised £1.5 billion (about $1.95 billion) for its fourth fund.
- Benford Capital Partners, a Chicago-based middle market private equity firm, raised $130 million for its first fund.
- SK Capital Partners added Christopher Fraser as Senior Director.
- Cressey & Company promoted Steve Dildine to Partner and Ryan Moseley to Principal.
- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners promoted Tannaz Chapman to Managing Director; Michael Knapp to Director; Jay Berajawala to Associate Director; Steven Korff to Associate Director; Monty Ismail to Associate Director; Robert Papetti to Senior Associate, and Alexander Bruno to Senior Associate