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Alibaba’s making an opportunistic investment in Dufry

October 5, 2020, 2:39 PM UTC

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On Monday, the hospitality and tech sectors saw a marriage, highlighting how the former may not ever be the same again due to COVID-19.

Chinese tech titan Alibaba announced plans to acquire up to a 10% stake in Dufry, a Swiss duty free group that has struggled with the effects of global lockdowns. They’re forming a joint venture that will focus on expansion in the Middle Kingdom.

The partnership will help the two “explore and invest in opportunities in China” while bolstering “Dufry’s digital transformation,” according to a statement from Dufry.

It’s a tie-up that makes sense not only because of the e-commerce line—but also because appetite for duty-free spending appears to continue in China, pandemic or not.

In China, travel stocks have soared as domestic travel has resumed with coronavirus rates within the country remaining low. In the hopes of reviving spending, Chinese authorities in June relaxed rules on domestic duty-free spending. Travelers to Hainan, dubbed the Hawaii of China, can now spend three times more on duty-free items than previously allowed.

And when it comes to luxury goods—a staple of duty-free shopping—retailers are now doubling down on China as mainland tourists forgo Paris and Milan for closer-to-home abodes. China is “the only major economy expected to show growth this year” in the luxury market, per Reuters.

Dufry also plans to buy out its Hudson unit via a new rights issue. While it previously hoped to raise about 500 million Swiss francs through the process, it now hopes for about 700 million Swiss francs ($763 million) with the Alibaba commitment. Advent International, the private equity firm, is also expected to invest in the rights issue.

AIRBNB’S IPO? The home-sharing startup is reportedly seeking to raise $3 billion at a valuation of $30 billion. It’s surprising, considering the pandemic took that number from $31 billion to $18 billion at one point in private rounds. Airbnb reportedly is seeking to release its IPO filing in November after the election and target a listing sometime in December. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Strava Inc., a San Francisco-based social network for athletes, is looking to raise at a $1 billion valuation, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.

- Cooler Screens, a Chicago-based maker of screens for store coolers, raised over $80 million in Series C funding. Investors include Verizon Ventures, M12, Great Point Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.

- Alucent Biomedical, a  Salt Lake City, Ut.-based medical technology company for vascular disease treatments, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Investors included Fresenius Medical Care Ventures.

- Your.MD, a London-based maker of a self-care app Healthily, raised $30 million in Series A funding. Reckitt Benckiser was the investor.

- ScriptDrop, a Columbus, Oh.-based IT solution connecting pharmacies, couriers, providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and patients, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Ohio Innovation Fund led the round and was joined by investors including North Coast Ventures, M25 and Rev1Ventures.  

- CoreView, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based Microsoft 365 management platform, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round.

- BSPK, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker of a platform connecting luxury brand shoppers with advisors, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Northern Light Venture Capital led the round. Read more.

- Engrain, a Denver-based interactive mapping technology and data visualization software maker, raised  $3.7 million in funding. RET Ventures led the round.

- Scener, a Seattle-based social video and movie platform, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Spun out of RealNetworks, investors include SeaChange, Glaser Investments, LAUNCH, and RiffTrax.

- Nu Quantum, a Cambridge, U.K.-based quantum photonics company, raised £2.1 million in seed funding. Amadeus Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Ahren Innovation Capital, IQ Capital, Cambridge Enterprise and Martlet Capital.

- Airly, a Palo Alto, Calif.- and Poland-based air quality monitoring service, raised $2 million. Giant Ventures led the round. Read more.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- GIC plans to invest $752 million while TPG plans to invest $250 million in Reliance Retail, the India-based arm of Reliance. 

- AEVEX Aerospace, backed by Madison Dearborn and CoVant Management, acquired IKHANA Aircraft Services and Geodetics Incorporated. IKHANA Aircraft Services, based in Murrieta, Calif., provides aircraft engineering, modification, and maintenance. Geodetics, based in San Diego, California, designs, develops, and manufactures commercial navigation products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Altamont Capital Partners invested in Cornerstone Advisors, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of advisory services to banking institutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Bain Capital is in talks with LV=, a U.K.-based insurance company. Read more.

- CC Capital and Motive Partners agreed to acquire Wilshire Associates, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based investment tech and advisory firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Kohlberg and Company agreed to acquire Parts Authority, a Lake Success, NY.-based provider of automotive aftermarket parts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Imaweb, backed by Providence Strategic Growth, acquired Evolutive, a Belgium-based provider of automotive software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TA Associates invested in Priority Software, a provider of enterprise resource planning software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Noble Energy (NASDAQ: NBL) shareholders approved the pending merger with Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), the U.S.-based oil provider. Read more.

- Global Payments (NYSE:GPN) is considering a sale of Netspend, its debit card unit, valuing it at over $2 billion, per Reuters. Read more.

- Tesla (Nasdaq: Nasdaq) agreed to acquire German ATW Automation, a company that assembles battery modules and packs for the auto industry. Read more.

- Kissner Group, controlled by Stone Canyon Industries Holdings, is in talks to acquire Morton Salt, the North America-based salt business, from K+S AG. Read more.

- Weir Group agreed to sell its oil and gas division to Caterpillar for $405 million. Read more.

EXITS

- NEC acquired Avaloq, a Swiss provider of cloud solutions for banks and wealth managers, for an enterprise value of about 2.05 billion Swiss Francs (US$2.2 billion).  Warburg Pincus backed the firm.

- Omnicell acquired Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, a Plano, Texas-based pharmacy benefits consulting firm, from Blue Wolf Capital for $225 million.

IPOs

- C3.ai, a Redwood City, Calif.-based predictive analytics company founded by Tom Siebel, is gearing up for an IPO next year that could value the firm at far higher than $3.3 billion, per Reuters citing sources. Current investors include BlackRock, TPG and Shell Ventures. Read more.

- Ascensus, a Dresher, Penn.-based servicer of savings plans, is preparing for an IPO next year that could value it at about $3 billion, per Reuters. Genstar and Aquiline Capital Partners back the firm. Read more.

- Deliveroo, the U.K.-based food delivery company, is planning an IPO in the U.K. that could value it at over 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion), per Sky News. Read more.

- Foghorn Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based preclinical biotech for hematologic cancers and solid tumors, filed to raise $100 million. Flagship Pioneering and Klarman Family Foundation back the firm. Read more.

- Biodesix, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of diagnostic tests and services for lung disease, filed for a $75 million IPO. It posted revenue of $24.6 million and a loss of $14.6 million in 2019.  Read more.

SPACS

- Romeo Systems, an electric battery company, plans to go public via merger with RMG Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: RMG), a SPAC. The combined company will be valued at about $1.3 billion.

- Danimer Scientific, a bioplastics company, plans to go public via merger with Live Oak Acquisition Corp (NYSE: LOAK), a SPAC in a deal that could value the firm at $890 million.

- Ecobee, a home automation startup, is in talks to go public via merger with Canaccord Genuity Growth II Corp., a SPAC, per Bloomberg. The Amazon Alexa Fund backs Ecobee. Read more.

- Global Knowledge Training and Skillsoft, two education tech companies, are in talks to go public via merger together with Churchill Capital Corp. II, a SPAC.Read more.

- Atlas Crest Investment Corp., a blank check company formed by Moelis & Company, filed to raise $500 million. Read more.

- Cerberus Telecom Acquisition, a SPAC formed by Cerberus Capital Management, filed to raise $400 million. Read more.

- DPCM Capital, a blank check-company formed by former Uber Technologies executive Emil Michael, plans to raise $250 million. Read more.

- Lefteris Acquisition, a blank check company seeking a fintech target, filed for a $225 million IPO. Vestigo Ventures General partner Mark Casady and former E*Trade CEO Karl Roessner formed the firm. Read more.

- Tastemaker Acquisition, a blank check company focused on a target in the services or hospitality sector, plans to raise $200 million. It was formed by a former CEO of Jamba Inc, Dave Pace, and co-founder of the Bartaco brand, Andy Pforzheimer. Read more.

- BCLS Acquisition, a blank check company formed targeting a healthcare business, filed to raise $125 million. Bain Capital backs the firm. Read more.

F+FS

- Ayala Corp., a Philippines-based conglomerate, raised $180 million for its venture capital fund. Read more