The private equity shop that took Twinkies public leads the largest SPAC merger yet

September 23, 2020, 2:16 PM UTC

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Private equity firm The Gores Group was among the first to jump on this wave of special purpose acquisition companies, taking Twinkies maker Hostess public through a blank-check company in 2016 and valuing the confections maker at $2.3 billion—including debt—at the time.

Amid a surge of SPAC deals in 2020, Gores Group now plans to use its fourth blank-check company to take public a company estimated to be worth $16.1 billion in enterprise value. The group says it will be the largest SPAC merger yet. Data from Dealogic shows it would eclipse the planned $11 billion merger of MultiPlan with Churchill Capital Corp III.

On Wednesday, Gores Holdings IV announced plans to acquire United Wholesale Mortgage Group (which does exactly what it says on the tin). 

Mortgage activity is spiking in the U.S. as the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates amid economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. In a move bolstered by the flurry of activity from its customers, Rocket Companies, the parent company of mortgage lender Quicken Loans, went public in August.

Gores Group has been busy: Another Gores Group SPAC, Gores Metropoulos, recently announced plans to merge with Peter Thiel-backed driverless car startup Luminar in a $3.4 billion deal. Its fifth SPAC, Gores Holdings V, is also out looking for a target.

Gores Holdings IV is by no means the largest SPAC out there. It does have $425 million in cash, and additional investors led by CEO Alec Gores have committed an extra $500 million to finance the merger with United Wholesale Mortgage. But that’s also to say far larger beasts could be coming to public markets, with Pershing Square’s enormous Tontine Holdings sitting on a $4 billion cash pile.

TICKED OFF: Chinese state-owned media is displaying a hardline stance on the proposed Oracle-Walmart-TikTok deal, saying China has no reason to approve a deal.

“What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company,” a Wednesday editorial in China Daily reads, per Bloomberg. “China has no reason to give the green light to such a deal, which is dirty and unfair and based on bullying and extortion. If the U.S. gets its way, it will continue to do the same with other foreign companies. Giving in to the unreasonable demands of the U.S. would mean the doom of the Chinese company ByteDance.”

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- Bright Health, a Minneapolis, Mn.-based health insurance company, raised $500 million in Series E funding. Investors included T. Rowe Price, Tiger Global, NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Greenspring Associates. 

- Robinhood, the stock trading app, raised an additional $460 million in Series G funding on top of the $200 million announced in August. The funding, which values the firm at $11.7 billion, comes from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, DST Global, Ribbit Capital, 9Yards Capital, and D1 Capital Partners.

- Mirakl, a Boston-based platform for launching enterprise marketplaces, raised $300 million. Permira Advisers led the round and was joined by investors including 83North, Bain Capital Ventures, Elaia Partners, and Felix Capital.

- Salsify, a Boston-based commerce experience platform, raised $155 million in Series E funding. Warburg Pincus led the round.

- Rappi, a Colombia-based delivery company, raised $155 million of a targeted $350 million, per an SEC filing. Investors have included SoftBank, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia. Read more.

- SpotOn Transact, a San Francisco-based software and payments company, raised $60 million in Series C funding. DST Global led the round.

- Uncapped, a London-based startup offering revenue-based financing, raised $26 million in debt and equity. Mouro Capital led the round and was joined by investors including All Iron Ventures and existing investors Global Founders Capital, Seedcamp, and White Star Capital.

- Freeletics, a New York-based A.I.-powered fitness coaching app, raised $25 million in  Series B funding. JAZZ Venture Partners and Causeway Media Partners led the round and were joined by KKCG. 

- Servify, a Bangalore-based device lifecycle management company, raised $23 million in a Series C financing. Iron Pillar led the round.

- SigmaSense, an Austin-based touch screen performance company, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Foxconn Technology Group led the round and was joined by investors including Corning, E Ink, GIS, and MRI (managing partner of LG-MRI).

- Syfe, a Singapore-based robo advisor, raised SGD$25.2 million ($18.6 million) in Series A funding. Valar Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Presight Capital, and Unbound. Read more.

- EasySend, a Tel Aviv-based platform for tracking customer experience, raised $16 million in funding. It raised $11 million in Series A led by Hanaco and a $5 million seed round from existing investors Vertex Ventures and Menora Insurance.

- Zoop, a Brazilian B2B fintech, raised $11.4 million in funding. Movile led the round.

- Netdata, a San Francisco-based maker of a health-monitoring solution for systems and applications, raised $14.2 million in  additional Series A funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Bain Capital Ventures and Uncorrelated Ventures.

- Willow, a Mountain View, Calif.-based maker of a wearable breast pump, raised $55 million in Series C funding. Investors included NEA as well as Meritech Capital Partners, Lightstone Ventures, and Perceptive Advisors.

- POM Partners, a New York-based personal and enterprise safety technology provider, raised $3 million in Series A funding. Cayuga Venture Fund led the round.

- Kognos, a San Francisco Bay-based cybersecurity firm, raised $1.8 million in seed funding. Investors included Tim Eades (CEO of vArmour) and  Joe Eandi (Co-Founder and former CEO, BrightPoint Security).

- Ecomedes, a San Francisco-based platform for finding sustainable building materials, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Investors included Saint-Gobain NOVA and existing investor PivotNorth. 

- Voliro, a Swiss inspection drone startup, raised CHF2 million ($2.2 million) in seed funding. Alpana Ventures led the round.

- Meallogix, a San Diego, Calif.-based software maker for meal prep companies, raised $1.3 million in seed funding. 

- Fan Controlled Football, a Los Angeles-based professional sports league that enables fans to call the plays in real-time, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Verizon Ventures, and others.


- Blackstone Group is nearing a deal to buy Precision Medicine Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based drug development and clinical trials firm, for about $2.3 billion, per Bloomberg. Bloomberg would acquire stakes from Berkshire Partners and TPG. Read more.

- Apollo Global Management is the frontrunner to acquire Asda, the U.K.-based grocery chain, from Walmart. Read more.

- Compass Diversified agreed to acquire BOA Technology, a Denver-based maker of performance wear, for $454 million. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Greenlight Planet, a provider of solar-powered home energy products in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, raised $90 million in equity and debt. Providers included CDC Group, FMO, Norfund, ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships, and ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund.

- AHEAD, backed by Centerbridge Partners, plans to acquire RoundTower Technologies and Kovarus, two IT infrastructure providers. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- H.I.G. Capital invested in Construction Forms, a Port Washington, Wis.-based manufacturer of engineered, abrasion-resistant piping systems and accessories for concrete, mining, power generation, and other industrial applications. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Hunter Street Partners acquired All-Star Equipment Rental, a Naples, Fla.-based equipment rental company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Thomas H. Lee Partners and existing investors will invest $23.5 million in Phytech, a digital farming company.

- Fircroft, backed by Equistone, merged with NES Global Talent, an engineering and technical talent job search platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- 3M (NYSE: MMM) is weighing a sale of its food safety business, per Bloomberg, in a deal that could value it at $3.5 billion (£2.75 billion). Read more.

- Yandex is in talks to acquire Tinkoff, a Russian online bank, owned by TCS Group Holding, for $5.5 billion (£4.3 billion). Read more.

- Accenture has agreed to acquire N3, an Atlanta-based sales solution provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Diploma plans to acquire Windy City Wire, a U.S.-based wire and cable distributor, for about $465 million (£357 million). 


- KKR is in talks to acquire 1-800 Contacts, a Draper, Ut.-based eye contacts company, for over $3 billion from AEA Investors, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Z Capital Group is exploring a potential sale of Sports Information Group, which owns horse-racing media platform Daily Racing Form, per Bloomberg. Potential buyers include  Penn National Gaming, DraftKings, and Flutter Entertainment. The company could be worth over $350 million, Read more.

- Permira agreed to acquire Neuraxpharm, a European specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of the central nervous system, from Apax Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Thomas H. Lee Partners and Frazier Healthcare Partners acquired a part of Adare Pharmaceuticals, a provider of pharmaceutical technologies, from TPG Capital. The acquisition includes Adare’s contract development and manufacturing organization, pharmaceutical technology and microbiome businesses, while TPG Capital will retain rights to Adare’s Eosinophilic Esophagitis product, which has been spun out into a separate entity dubbed Ellodi Pharmaceuticals. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Odyssey Investment Partners agreed to acquire ProPharma Group, an Overland Park, Kansas-based regulatory and compliance services provider to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device customers, from Linden Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.



- Siemens Energy, a spinout of German conglomerate Siemens (FRA: SIE), could be valued at over €17 billion ($20 billion) when it floats on the Frankfurt stock exchange next week, per Reuters. Read more.

- GoodRx, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based company for discount drugs, raised $1.1 billion in an IPO of 34.6 million shares priced at $33 a piece.  Silver Lake, Francisco Partners, and Spectrum back the firm. Read more.

- Corsair Gaming, a Fremont, Calif.-basd supplier of gaming hardware, raised $238 million in an IPO of 14 million shares (46% insider sold) priced at $17 apiece. It posted revenue of $1.1 billion and a loss of $8.4 million in 2019. EagleTree Partners backs the firm. Read more.

- Mission Produce, a California-based distributor of fresh avocados, plans to raise $150.4 million in an offering of 9.4 million shares priced between $15 and $17 apiece. Read more.

- Freshly, a ready-made meal delivery company, is planning to go public as soon as 2021 and is targeting a valuation of over $1 billion, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.


- Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp., a blank check company targeting a lifestyle brand, raised $225 million. Executives at LVMH and L Catterton formed the company. Read more.

- VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company targeting a fintech, raised $200 million. Victory Park Capital formed the company. Read more.


- Sequoia Capital China is raising 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion), per Reuters. Read more.

- Blue Sage Capital raised $300 million for its third fund.


- Greylock promoted Mike Duboe to general partner. 

- Tribe Capital hiredMarcelino Pantoja as a vice president. 

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