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Will the world’s biggest IPO face a valuation ding after its delay?

November 4, 2020, 3:33 PM UTC

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Senator Mark Rubio didn’t need to seek help from the U.S. to pause Ant Financial’s IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai—regulators in China have done it themselves.

On Tuesday, Chinese regulators in Shanghai suspended the Alibaba unit’s estimated $37 billion IPO, citing “changes in the financial technology regulatory environment and other major issues.” Concerns that Ant Financial was too lightly regulated have been long-standing.

So what may have tipped the scales just on the eve of an IPO? Well, per my colleague Robert Hackett, Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma spoke out against the incumbent banking system in a recent speech, “comparing its institutions to stingy pawnshops,” which apparently didn’t land so well with Chinese authorities. And, well, Ant Financial poses a potential threat to the government’s control and dominance.

The delay could also force Ant Financial to reshuffle some of its business operations and face a ding to its expected $300 billion-plus valuation. Chinese financial regulators drafted rules earlier this week cracking down on the micro-lending market that could hit the profits of companies like Ant Financial.

Oh. There’s also this: The rival to Alibaba’s food delivery business, Meituan, which is now worth $238 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is reportedly weighing a secondary listing in China as soon as next year. The company, whose shares have more than tripled in the last year alone, is backed by Alibaba competitor Tencent. Alibaba and Tencent have adopted walled gardens in their ecosystems as they battle for dominance in China, with Meituan removing the former’s Alipay from its payment options. Don’t forget: Alibaba used to also be an investor in Meituan.

THE RED AND BLUE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: While U.S. presidential and Senate races remain unclear, some initiatives impacting the venture and tech industries have results in. 

Most notably, companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and Instacart won a vote in California that would allow them to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than as employees. The latter classification would have resulted in more comprehensive benefits to gig-economy workers and forced the companies to reconsider their business models. The companies fought hard against it: Dubbed Prop 22, the campaign was the most expensive among ballot measures in the state’s history, with gig-economy companies paying some $200 million to help pass the initiative. The win has implications beyond California: States such as New York and Illinois have also considered laws classifying gig economy workers as employees. 

Oregon, meanwhile, became the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine whilst also legalizing psychedelics such as magic mushrooms for those 21 and over. Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota have voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. And Mississippi voted to legalize marijuana for medical use.

VENTURE DEALS

- Bukalapak, an Indonesian e-commerce firm, raised $100 million from Microsoft, GIC, and Emtek Group, valuing it between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Human API, a San Mateo, Calif.-based company for sharing health data with companies, raised $20 million in Series C funding. Backers included Samsung Ventures, CNO Financial Group, Allianz Life Ventures, and Moneta VC.

- Reflektion, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of a customer engagement platform, raised $13.5 million from investors including London Technology Club, Clear Ventures, Intel Capital, Battery Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures.

- Math Global Foundation, a Singapore based firm behind a public blockchain company MathWallet, raised $7.8 million in extended Series A funding. Alameda Research led the round and was joined by investors including Multicoin Capital.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Macquarie Capital and GCM Grosvenor agreed to acquire Alaska Communications, a provider of broadband, for about $300 million. 

- Waterous Energy Fund plans to acquire a 40% additional stake in Osum Oil Sands, a Canadian energy company of which it already owns 45%, in a deal valued at C$126 million ($96 million). Read more.

- Battery Ventures agreed to acquire Cimatron and its subsidiaries, which operate Cimatron and GibbsCAMsoftware businesses, from 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD) for $65 million.

- AE Industrial Partners acquired and combined Linkware, a provider of software solutions and consulting services to federal government organizations, and PRE, a security and travel consulting services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- A consortium of investors led by Cerberus Capital Management plan to acquire and take private Dorel Industries (TSX: DII.B), a Montreal-based maker of car seats and bikes, for about $500 million.

- Benestar Brands, a portfolio company of Highlander Partners, acquired Miller Baking Company, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based manufacturer of Pretzilla branded soft pretzel bites and buns. financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Clearview Capital recapitalized Revo Brand Group, a Plymouth, Mn.-based designer of outdoor accessories that will operate in partnership with Vertikal Brands, a holding company established by Clearview Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TorQuest Partners and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec acquired a majority stake in Barrette Outdoor Living, an Ohio-based manufacturer of fences, railings, decking and other outdoor products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Intel acquired Cnvrg.io, an Israel-based operator of platform for running machine learning models. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.

- Warburg Pincus agreed to acquire Sweeping Corp of America, a Cleveland-based power sweeping company, from Soundcore Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Frontenac Company acquired Newterra Group, a water treatment company, from shareholders including XPV Water Partners and Angeleno Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Crown Holdings, a Yardley, Pa.-based designer and manufacturer of packaging products, is weighing a sale of its food can business that could fetch $2 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Itau Unibanco Holding, the Brazilian lender, is considering spinning off a majority of its 46% stake in and taking public XP, a Brazil-based financial services valued at about $23 billion. Read more.

- Stryker Corp (NYSE:SYK) won U.S. antitrust approval for its $4 billion deal to acquire Wright Medical Group (Nasdaq: WGMI), a Netherlands-based medical devices company, as long as it sells certain assets. Read more.

IPO

- Ozon Holdings, a Russian e-commerce firm, plans to raise $100 million in an IPO in the U.S. Sistema Venture Fund, Baring Vostok, and Index Ventures back the firm. Read more.

 

SPAC

- Reinvent Technology Partners Z, the second blank check company formed by Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman, filed to raise $200 million for its IPO.

F+FS

- Peak Rock Capital plans to raise $1.3 billion for its third fund. Read more.

- Satori Capital raised over $102 million in commitments for its third fund. Read more.

- The Westly Group, a venture firm, plans to raise $250 million for a fourth fund. Read more.

PEOPLE

- Gridiron Capital added Rachel Eichelberger, Brynn Jackel, and Ryan Shearmire as associates.

- Steadfast Financial, a New York-based investment advisor, hired Karan Mehandru as managing director and Head of Venture Capital to build out and lead the firm’s venture practice. Mehandru previously served as a general partner at Trinity Ventures.

- 2040 Ventures added Neha Khera as a partner.