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No, VF isn’t the death knell for Supreme

November 10, 2020, 3:20 PM UTC

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You know Supreme. It’s the streetwear brand that’s gained a cult following.

On Monday, 121-year-old apparel maker VF Corp. announced plans to acquire the business for $2.1 billion in cash—triggering questions about whether this was the start of the end for the brand. 

Founded in 1994 as a skateboard shop, Supreme is something of a marvel: It caught on to a wave of interest in streetwear, and managed to appeal to both mid-market and luxury shoppers by creating a sense of scarcity. Customers seeking its limited releases of sneakers or shirts are known for lining up around blocks at its 12 stores.

So can VF keep up or is this an ill-fated acquisition? Well, VF’s past track record has actually been pretty good, per my colleague Phil Wahba. VF’s portfolio also includes the likes of sneakers brand Vans as well as The North Face and Timberland.

“VF’s secret sauce with acquisitions has long been to keep brands’ management and identity separate from other labels in its portfolio rather than chase illusory synergies,” Phil writes. 

“In addition, at a time when many top brands are eschewing the wholesale channel in favor of their own stores and website, Supreme gets more than 60% of its revenue by selling directly to customers, a key M&A criteria for VF in recent years and something VF wants to see its other brands do more of too.”

Read more.

THE FUTURE OF STAY-AT-HOME COMPANIES: Yesterday, the markets turned on its head when Pfizer said its coronavirus vaccine was 90% effective based on early data. So-called stay-at-home stocks like Zoom and Snowflake took a dip as the possibility of returning to normal arose.

So what happens to companies that have raised large amounts amid a surge in the stay-at-home trend? The question really comes down to which trends have staying power.

Here’s a notable round announced Tuesday, meaning the deal likely came together before Pfizer’s announcement: Hopin, a virtual events provider (that Fortune also uses), raised $125 million in Series B funding. IVP led the round and was joined by investors including Tiger Global, Coatue, DFJ Growth, Accel, Northzone, Salesforce Ventures, and Seedcamp.

The company says it’s experienced massive growth since the start of the pandemic, going from 5,000 registered users to 3.5 million users in the past eight months.

While I am feeling the fatigue of virtual-only conferences, its investors are betting that events in a post-pandemic world will have a hybrid model.

“Virtual events are here to stay.  They often are better attended, have higher-quality speakers, and drive more efficient attendee networking,” says IVP General Partner Jules Maltz via email.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Nuro, a Mountainview, Calif.-based autonomous vehicle company, raised $500 million in funding. T. Rowe Price led the round and was joined by investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Baillie Gifford, SoftBank, and Greylock Partners. 

- TIER, a European scooter company, raised $250 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led and was joined by investors including Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator, and RTP Global.

- Better.com, a New York-based mortgage lender, raised $200 million in Series D funding. L Catterton led the round that values the firm at at $4 billion, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.

- Ambrx, a San Diego, Calif.-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing protein therapeutics, raised $200 million in crossover financing. Investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, BlackRock, Cormorant Asset Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Invus, Adage Capital Partners and Suvretta Capital Management.

- Prometheus Biosciences, a San Diego, Calif.-based biotechnology company focused on gastrointestinal issues, raised $130 million. Eventide Asset Management and RTW Investments led the round and was joined by investors including Perceptive Advisors, Cormorant Capital, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Point72 Asset Management and Irving Investors.

Scale AI, a San Francisco-based startup that helps train A.I. systems, has received investment offers from Tiger Global Management that could value it at above $3 billion valuation. Read more.

- Adagio Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of antibodies for COVID, raised $80 million in Series B funding. GV led the round and was joined by investors including Polaris Partners, Mithril Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and OrbiMed.

- Xpressbees, an India-based logistics firm, raised $110 million in Series E funding. Investors included Investcorp, Norwest Venture Partners and Gaja Capital. Read more.

- Decibel Therapeutics, a developer of treatments for hearing loss disorders, raised $82.2 million in Series D funding. OrbiMed led the round and was joined by investors including BlackRock Health Sciences, Janus Henderson, Casdin Capital and Surveyor Capital.

- JumpCloud, a Denver-based  cloud-based user management model, raised $75 million  in Series E funding. BlackRock led the round and was joined by investors including General Atlantic

- Venminder, an Elizabethtown, Ky.-based risk management solution, raised $33 million in Series C funding. Silversmith Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Bain Capital Ventures and MissionOG

- Cellwize Wireless Technologies, a Dallas-Texas-based mobile network automation and orchestration company, raised $32 million in Series B funding. Intel Capital and Qualcomm Ventures led the round and were joined by Verizon Ventures and Samsung Next.

- Falkbuilt, a Calgary, Canada-based maker of interior design tech, will raise as much as C$20 million ($15.3 million) in Series A funding, subject to hitting certain milestones. RET Ventures led the round.

- Lightico, a London-based customer experience platform, raised $12.6 million. Oxx led the round and was joined by investors including Capital One Ventures and Harmony Partners.

- Tailscale, a Toronto-based corporate VPN for remote teams, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Accel led the round and was joined by investors including Heavybit and Uncork Capital.

- KINETIC, a maker of wearable technology for safety in industrial workforces, raised $11.3 million in Series A funding. Primary Ventures and Crosslink Capital led the round.

- Maestro, a New York-based private equity tech platform, raised $7.2 million in Series A funding by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

- Local Logic, a Montreal-based location intelligence platform for for homebuyers, real estate professionals, and developers, raised about C$7 million ($5.4 million) in funding. GroundBreak Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Shadow Ventures, BDC Capital, Jones Boys Ventures, Cycle Capital, and Desjardins Capital.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- TPG and TA Associates are in advanced talks to acquire Planview, an Austin-based software maker, from Thoma Bravo for more than $1.5 billion including debt, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- TPG Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board agreed to invest $500 million more in Viking Cruises, a Los Angeles-based provider cruises.

- Bain Capital Tech Opportunities acquired and merged HST Pathways and Casetabs, two Lafayette, Calif., and Boston, Mass.-based providers of cloud-based practice management software for ambulatory surgery centers. Nexxus Holdings also invested. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Battery Ventures made a majority investment in  StoneEagle F&I, a Richardson, Texas-based provider in the automotive industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.                                                                                                                                 

- Cinven and GIC agreed to acquire Miller, an U.K.-based insurer, from Willis Towers Watson. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Discovery Life Sciences, backed by Water Street, acquired East West Biopharma, a Ukraine-based human biospecimen contract research organization. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Eurazeo Brands invested €56 million to become a majority shareholder in Axel Arigato, a Swedish premium sneaker, ready-to-wear and accessories brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- insightsoftware, backed by TA Associates, Genstar Capital and ST6 Partners, agreed to acquire IDL Group, a Germany-based financial close and consolidation software maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Periscope Equity invested in MobiChord, a Salt Lake City, Ut.-based software platform automating the management of technology expenses, assets, and services with digital workflows. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Vance Street Capital acquired Wytech Industries, a Rahway, N.J.-based manufacturer of specialty core wires and related components for the interventional medical markets. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Varsity Healthcare Partners invested in Partners First Cardiology, an Austin-based cardiology and cardiovascular physician practice management company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Web.com Group, backed by Siris Capital, acquired Freeparking, a New Zealand-based domain name registrar and web hosting provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- SoftBank Group is in talks to sell Boston Dynamics, the robotics company, to Hyundai Motor, per Bloomberg citing sources. A deal could value the firm at $1 billion. Read more.

- Adobe (Nasdaq: ABDE) agreed to acquire Workfront, a Lehi, Ut.-based work management platform for marketers, for $1.5 billion. 

- 3i Group agreed to acquire MPM Products, a U.K.-based provider of natural pet food, from ECI Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Blackstone has agreed to acquire Therma, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of energy efficiency services, from Gemspring Capital. Blackstone also acquired RE Tech Advisors, an energy and sustainability consulting firm, to be combined with Therma. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- NextEra Energy, the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy, offered to acquire Evergy, a U.S.-based utility company, for  $15 billion in stock, per Reuters. Read more.

- 40 North offered to takeover W.R. Grace & Co., a Columbia, Md.-based supplier of catalysts to refineries, for $4 billion. 40 North is already its largest shareholder. Read more.

- Lowe's Cos (NYSE: LOW) says it is not in talks to acquire HD Supply Holdings (Nasdaq: HDS), a construction materials supplier, denying reports from Bloomberg. Read more.

- Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP), a provider of information technology services, is weighing a potential sale, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Orange (PA:ORAN) agreed to buy a 54% stake in Telekom Romania Communications, a telecom provider in Romania, from Deutsche Telekom's OTE, valuing the firm at €497 million. Read more.

- Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM) acquired QL Gaming Group, a sports data and iGaming affiliate platform, for $32 million. Karlani Capital and Boston Seed Capital back QL, per PitchBook.

IPO

- Enthusiast Gaming Holdings, a Toronto-based e-sports firm, plans to list on the Nasdaq.

SPAC

- CBRE Acquisition Holdings, founded by commercial real estate company CBRE, filed to raise $400 million in an initial public offering. 

- TS Innovation Acquisitions, formed by Tishman Speyer, raised $300 million.

F+FS

- Sumeru Equity Partners closed Sumeru Equity Partners Fund III with $720 million in total capital commitments.

- Red Dot Capital Partners, raised nearly $200 million, per Bloomberg. Read more.