Under the hood of Leon Black’s decision to step down

January 26, 2021, 3:52 PM UTC

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It was the big closer on Monday: After facing scrutiny for his business dealings with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Apollo Global Management’s Leon Black will step down as CEO in July.

An investigation started by Apollo’s Conflicts Committee found that the CEO paid some $158 million to the now deceased Epstein for financial advice and to his philanthropies between 2012 and 2017, the company announced late Monday. Black believed Epstein’s advice to be “creative” and “disruptive,” creating value of over $1 billion to $2 billion for himself, per the report. 

The payment number comes as a shock: The $158 million is significantly more than anyone thought. In October, the New York Times reported that the payments were at least $50 million in that same period, when Epstein had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution with a minor in 2008.

More notably, though, Black will remain Chairman of the company. Apollo separately said the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Black or by the company itself. Law firm Dechart, which carried out the investigation, also added, “Black stated that he was repulsed by the details of Epstein’s crimes that were published in late 2018 and regretted ever having worked with Epstein. Other witnesses agreed that Black was shocked when the allegations became public.” Apollo itself has long maintained that it has never retained Epstein’s services.

“It is important for me to stress again how deeply I regret having had any involvement with Mr. Epstein,” Black said in a statement.

While Marc Rowan, one of Black’s lieutenants, is set to replace him as CEO, it’s not such a clean change of the guards. Rowan and Black teamed up together against who they viewed as the wrong choice for the chief executive role—Joshua Harris—in a move that would help Black maintain some control, Bloomberg reported.

Rowan, though quiet in the media, has been known for making highly profitable bets including one on the insurer Athene. But no doubt investors will still look to Black too for a guiding force.

TESLA LOVES BIDEN: The election of President Joe Biden helped galvanize the clean tech industry. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he is excited about the new administration: In a lengthy phone interview with Fortune late Friday, the Tesla CEO and world’s richest man said he was delighted about the change in the White House, given that Joe Biden seems determined to rein in climate change—a jolting break from Donald Trump.

“I’m super fired up that the new administration is focused on climate,” Musk says, adding that he follows Biden on Twitter and is watching his moves carefully. Read more.

CLUBHOUSE ERROR: Yesterday’s Term Sheet said that Clubhouse has 200 million weekly active users, due to early-morning brain. That figure is 2 million.


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- Sidecar Health, a Los Angeles-based health insurance startup, raised $125 million in funding. Investors included Drive Capital, BOND, Tiger Global, and Menlo Ventures. Read more.

- Kardium, a Canadian heart device maker, raised $115 million. Fidelity Management & Research led the round and was joined by investors including T. Rowe Price

Fast, a San Francisco-based online checkout company, raised $102 million in Series B funding. Stripe and Addition led and were joined by investors including Index Ventures.

- Albert, a Culver City, Calif.-based financial software company, raised $100 million in Series C funding. General Atlantic led the round and was joined by investors including CapitalG.

- Rhino, a New York City-based insurtech focused on rent, raised $95 million in funding. Tiger Global Management led the round. The deal values the firm at about $500 million.

- Pilot, a San Francisco-based provider of back office services, raised $60 million in Series C funding. Sequoia Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Index Ventures and Stripe

- FreeWire Technologies, a San Leandro, Calif.-based electric vehicle chagrin company, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Riverstone Holdings led the round and was joined by investors including bp ventures, Energy Innovation Capital, TRIREC, and Alumni Ventures Group

- Ocient, a Chicago, Ill.-based data analytics company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. OCA Ventures and Greycroft led the round and were joined by investors including Valor Equity Partners, PSP Partners, Hyde Park Angels, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Gaingels, and the MIT and Northwestern University chapters of Alumni Venture Group.

- IMVU, a Redwood City, Calif.-based maker of a virtual social network, raised $35 million. Investors included Structural Capital and NetEase.

- Roostify, a San Francisco-based maker of home lending technology, raised $32 million in Series C funding. Ten Coves Capital led the round and was joined by investors including  principals at Stone Point Capital, Cota Capital, Mouro Capital, Colchis Capital, Point72 Ventures, and JPMorgan Chase. 

- Run:AI, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of orchestration and virtualization software for artificial intelligence, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including TLV Partners and S-Capital.

- Calibrate, a New York-based telemedicine metabolic health platform, raised $22.5 million in Series A funding. Emily Melton at Threshold Partners led the round and was joined by existing investors including Forerunner Ventures and Redesign Health.

- Weatherford Capital, a Tampa, Fla.-based investment firm, raised $22.5 million in Series A funding. SOMA Global led the round.

- Span, a San Francisco-based maker of an electrical panel, raised $20 million. Munich Re Ventures’ HSB Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Alexa Fund.

- Darwin Homes, an Austin-based real estate startup,  raised $15 million in Series A funding. Canvas Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Camber Creek, Khosla Ventures, Wave Capital, Pear Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.

- Oncue, an Oakland, Calif.-based maker of booking software for the moving industry, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Rethink Impact led the round and was joined by investors including Crosslink Capital and Bowery Capital.

- dYdX, a San Francisco-based maker of a decentralized exchange, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Three Arrows Capital and DeFiance Capital led the round and were joined by investors including Wintermute, Hashed, GSR, SCP, Scalar Capital, Spartan Group, RockTree Capital, a16z, Polychain Capital, Kindred Ventures, 1confirmation, Elad Gil, and Fred Ehrsam.

- Ringover, a Paris-based calling platform, raised €10 million ($12.2 million) in Series A funding. Expedition Growth Capital led the round.

- BlackCart, a Toronto-based e-commerce software company with a “try before you buy” program for merchants, raised $8.8 million in Series A funding. Origin Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners co-led the round and were joined by Citi Ventures, 500 Startups, and Struck Capital.

- Split Biosciences, a Seattle, Wash.-based provider of cell sequencing solutions, today raised $7 million in Series A funding. Bioeconomy Capital led the round.

- OFFOR Health, a Columbus, Oh.-based dental anesthetic services company operating under the name SmileMD Holdings, raised $5 million in Series A funding. SpringRock Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including LOUD Capital.

- Hurdle, a Washington, D.C.-based mental health startup, raised $5 million in seed funding. 406 Ventures and Seae Ventures co-led the round and were joined by F-Prime. 

- Sproud, a Sweden-based maker of plant-based milks, raised £4.8 million ($6.6 million) in funding. VGC Partners made the investment.  

- Preemadonna, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based maker of a manicure machine, raised $5.6 million in seed funding. Halogen Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Version One Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund.

- Preciate, a Dallas-based maker of a video socializing app, raised $4.6 million in seed funding round. - Inspiration Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Founders Capital Partners and the Santa Barbara Angel Alliance.

- Opal, a startup for blocking distractions, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Nicolas Wittenborn at Adjacent led the round. Read more.

- Joshu, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based insurtech for carriers to launch online, raised $3.7 million. Blumberg Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Engineering Capital, Correlation Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, and Sure Ventures.

- autoRetouch, a German maker of an automated image editing platform, raised €3.2 million ($3.9 million). Breuninger led the round.

- Loupe Tech, a Miami-based maker of a sports card app, raised $3 million in funding. Upfront Ventures led the round.

- S’More, a New York-based maker of a dating app, raised $2.1 million. Benson Oak Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Workplay Ventures (Mark Pincus), Gaingels, Loud Capital/Pride Fund, Kenny Harris (Plusgrade), Justen Stepka (Enterprise Fund), and Rafael Vivas (AppLovin).

- Stacker, a maker of software for companies to create tools and apps for their businesses, raised $1.7 million in funding. Initialized Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Y Combinator, Pioneer Fund, and Makerpad.


- Newlight Partners will invest up to $200 million in Upland Capital Group, a Dallas-based specialty insurance business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and Trilantic North America invested $127 million in Intersect Power, a San Francisco-based developer of renewable energy projects.

- Sixth Street Growth invested $150 million in Bloomreach, a Mountainview, Calif.-based maker of customer experience software.

- JMI Equity invested $60 million in TimelyMD, a Fort Worth, Texas-based telehealth provider solely focused on colleges and universities. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- 42 North Dental, a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, acquired Wellesley Dental Group, The Pediatric Dental Care and Orthodontics, Windham and Groton Dental Group, Restorative & Aesthetic Dental Associates, and JD Howard, dental care providers across the east coast. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Atlantic Southern Paving and Sealcoating, backed by Harbor Beach Capital, acquired Emerald Paving Company, a Westminster, Calif.-based paving services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- BOMI Group, backed by Archimed, acquired Deco Pharm Servicios Logisticos, a Spanish logistics provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- The Carlyle Group acquired Jagex, a Cambridge, U.K.-based developer and publisher of video games. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Envest Capital Partners acquired Bell & Williams Associates, a Windham, N.H.-based provider of repossession, collection, remarketing, and skip tracing services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- General Atlantic invested in Equality Health, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based provider of technology for healthcare providers. Existing investor Endeavour Capital will remain a minority shareholder, and Town Hall Ventures will also invest. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Kingston Light + Air agreed to acquire the skylights division of SMAC, a French provider of waterproofing for buildings. OpenGate Capital backs SMAC. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Mill Rock Capital invested in DRT Holdings, a New York-based manufacturer of specialized components, precision tools and container systems. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Mercer Global Advisors, backed by Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital, acquired Marrs Wealth Management, an Ames, Ia.-based wealth management firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Praesidian Capital acquired a controlling stake in Round 2, a  South Bend, In.-based collectibles company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sphere, backed by Waud Capital, acquired Health iPASS, an Oak Brook, Ill.-based provider of patient engagement software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Ivanti, backed by  Clearlake Capital Group and TA Associates, acquired Cherwell Software, a Colorado Springs, Co.-based provider of IT service management. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- SAP is in talks to acquire Signavio, a German software company, for about $1.2 billion, per Bloomberg. Apax Partners backs Signavio. Read More.

- Vimeo, a video company backed  by IAC (NASDAQ: IAC), raised $300 million from T. Rowe Price and Oberndorf Enterprises valuing it at over $5 billion. IAC is planning to spin Vimeo off into its own separately traded company.

- Franchise Group will acquire Pet Supplies Plus, a Livonia, Mich.-based pet specialty chain, from Sentinel Capital Partners. The deal is valued at $700 million.

- Royal Dutch Shell agreed to acquire Ubitricity, a Berlin-based electric vehicle charging startup. Investors in Ubitricity have included Honda, Siemens, and Earlybird Venture Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- NCR is in talks to acquire Cardtronics (NASDAQ: CATM), a Houston-based ATM operator, for $1.7 billion, outbidding Apollo, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.

- Sonoco Products is bidding for Crown Holdings Inc.’s cans unit, joining others in the running including KPS Capital Partners, Lone Star Funds, Onex Corp., per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Asos is in talks to acquire some retail brands of Arcadia Group, including Topshop. Read more.

- Boohoo acquired the intellectual property assets of Debenhams Retail Limited, a U.K. fashion retailer, for £55 million ($75.2 million).

- Tencent acquired a majority interest in Klei Entertainment, a Canada-based video game studio. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Bally's agreed to acquire Monkey Knife Fight, a San Francisco-based daily fantasy sports company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Kuaishou Technology, a Chinese short-form video app,  is aiming to raise $5 billion to $5.4 billion in a Hong Kong-based IPO. Read more.

- AUTO1, the German car-trading company, plans to raise at least €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) via IPO in the country. Read more.

- Qualtrics International, a Provo, Ut.-based experience software company spinning out of SAP, raised its IPO range. The company says it plans to raise about $1.4 billion at the midpoint of an offering of 50.4 million shares priced between price range of $27 to $29. Read more.

- Telus International, the Canadian affiliate of wireless carrier Telus Corp., now aims to raise as much as $833 million. Baring Private Equity also backs the firm. Read more.

- Atotech, a U.K.-based specialty chemicals company, plans to raise as much as $751.2 million. Carlyle backs the firm. Read more.

- ON24, a San Francisco, Calif.-based webinar and virtual event platform, plans to raise up to $430 million in an IPO.  U.S. Venture Partners, Canaan Equity, and Goldman Sachs backs the firm. Read more.


- Lazard Growth Acquisition Corp. I, a SPAC  formed by Lazard, filed to raise $500 million to invest in a high-growth company. Read more.

- Northern Star Investment II, a SPAC, raised $350 million. Read more.

- Social Leverage Acquisition I, a SPAC formed by a co-founder of Social Leverage, filed to raise $300 million with the goal of investing in a tech company. Read more.

- Bridgetown 2 Holdings, a SPAC from Pacific Century and Thiel Capital targeting companies in Southeast Asia, raised $260 million. Read more.

- D and Z Media Acquisition Corp., a media-focused SPAC, raised $250 million. Read more.

- Tribe Capital Growth I, a SPAC by Tribe Capital and Arrow Capital targeting the tech businesses, filed to raise $200 million.

- The parent company of the Boston Red Sox ended talks to sell a minority stake to RedBall Acquisition Corp, a SPAC, per Axios citing sources. Read more.


- Thrive Capital, the New York-based venture firm backed by Joshua Kushner, plans to raise about $2 billion for a new early-stage fund and a growth vehicle, per the Wall Street Journal. Read more.


- Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, promoted  Cathy Gao and Laura Thompson to partners.

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