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Someone’s going to hurt from the streaming wars. Blackstone’s plan? Bet on said wars.

August 3, 2021, 2:55 PM UTC

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Despite a boom in streaming services during the pandemic, most still agree that the battle between the cornucopia of Netflixes, Hulus, Amazon Prime Videos, and Disneys—will end with a handful of winners.

In March, Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar for example predicted households will subscribe to less than six to seven services in coming years—a call that coincidentally came as streaming titan Netflix and Disney+ both signaled a slowdown in subscription growth amid the Spring vaccine rollouts.

Meaning beyond the collapse of short-form video startup Quibi, more bloodletting will come. But New York-based alternative investor Blackstone is making a bet that looks to take advantage of the scramble for content among the streaming companies as they seek to gain market share.

On Monday, Hello Sunshine, a media company behind programs such as “Big Little Lies,” confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it would sell a majority stake of itself to a business backed by Blackstone. Created by actress Reese Witherspoon with a focus on telling female stories, Hello Sunshine will be valued at about $900 million, per the Journal, as the Blackstone-backed business, helmed by former Walt Disney Co. executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, snap up shares from existing investors including AT&T and Emerson Collective. 

The company does not appear to be competing directly with the streaming services itself. Instead, as the Disneys of the world battle it out for content, the Blackstone-backed shop is seeing an opportunity to license its content to any network or streaming service—fueling that battle.

This bet on the broader streaming industry too is mirrored in its real estate portfolio. Prior to the streaming days, film and TV studios rented out sound stages and offices as needed per production, businesses like Netflix found it could achieve big savings by taking long-term leases and cycling crews through the same stages (Disney and Amazon also follow the same strategy, per my colleague, Shawn Tully). Betting that those changes to the industry will stick, Blackstone spent $1.65 billion to acquire a 49% stake in an L.A. complex that is now home to Netflix’s headquarters there, and also claims Disney as an anchor tenant.

As it so happened, also on Monday, Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties announced a near $1 billion deal to build a major film and TV production complex north of London.

Still, while Blackstone does not appear to be competing directly then with the streaming services themselves for now, it does seem to be competing with the film studios backed by said services. Mayer’s comments in the Journal highlight this tension: “The big guys aren’t licensing their content outside of their own closed walled gardens… And that’s where a scaled, independent entity like ours can really have an advantage in the marketplace.”

So while streaming services may be redefining the industry, Blackstone, Mayer, and Staggs at least see a lucrative path where The Disneys and Netflixes are not the all-powerful overlords, at least, of the production business.

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

Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Bolt, a European ride-hailing and delivery company, raised €600 million euros ($713 million). The deal values the company at $4.8 billion. Sequoia and Tekne and Ghisallo invested along with G Squared, D1 Capital, and Naya.

- Banking Circle, a business-to-business fintech, is looking to raise about $500 million at a €5 billion ($5.9 billion) valuation, per Bloomberg.

- Rapyd, a London-based fintech company, raised $300 million in Series E funding. Target Global. Investors included Fidelity Management and Research Company, Altimeter Capital, Whale Rock Capital, BlackRock Funds, Dragoneer, General Catalyst, Latitude, Durable Capital Partners, Tal Capital, Avid Ventures, and Spark Capital. 

- InterVenn Biosciences, a South San Francisco-based oncology-focused biotech, raised $201 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Group, Heritage Provider Network, Irving Investors, Highside Capital Management, Amplify Partners, Anzu Partners, Genoa Ventures, and True Ventures back the firm.

- Movile, a Brazilian tech business, raised about $200 million (BRL$1 billion) from Prosus.

- Infra.Market, an Indian tech startup, will raise $125 million from Tiger Global, per Bloomberg. The deal values the company at about $2.5 billion.

- T-knife Therapeutics, a Berlin-based company developing therapies for solid tumor patients, raised $110 million in Series B funding. Fidelity Management & Research Company led the round and was joined by investors including LSP, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Casdin Capital, Sixty Degree Capital, and CaaS Capital.

- Nozomi Networks, a cybersecurity business for industrial control systems, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Triangle Peak Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Forward Investments, Honeywell Ventures, Keysight Technologies, Porsche Digital, Telefónica Ventures, and In-Q-Tel.

- Palta, a London-based health and wellness company, raised $100 million in Series B funding. Per Brillioth at VNV Global led the round and was joined by investors including Target Global.

- Rakuten Medical, a San Mateo, Calif.-based-based biotech focused on oncology products, $75 million. General Catalyst led the round and was joined by investors including Rakuten Group and SBI Group.

- Kuda Bank, a London-based banking services startup focused on Nigeria, raised $55 million in Series B funding, per TechCrunch. Valar Ventures and Target Global led the round.

- Merqueo, a Mexico City-based grocery delivery company, raised $50 million in a Series C funding. IDC Ventures, Digital Bridge, and IDB Invest. 

- Finite State, a Columbus, Oh.-based connected device security startup, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Energize Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Schneider Electric Ventures and Merlin Ventures.

- Ahana, a San Mateo, Calif.-based data analytics startup, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Third Point Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Leslie Ventures, and Lux Capital. 

- Plant Prefab, a Rialto, Calif.-based prefabricated custom home builder, raised $20 million in equity. Asahi Kasei Corporation and Paris Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including  Amazon Alexa Fund, Ferguson Ventures, and Obvious Ventures.

- Skill-Lync, an India-based edtech startup, raised $17.5 million from investors including Iron Pillar, Y Combinator, and Better Capital.

- TrustToken, a San Francisco-based crypto fintech, raised $12.5 million. Blocktower led the round and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Alameda Research.

- Banyan, a New York City-based receipt-focused API provider, raised $10 million in funding. Fin VC led the round and was joined by investors including TTV Capital, Motivate Ventures, and Manifold.

- ZenLedger, a Seattle-based cryptocurrency tax software and blockchain analytics startup, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Bloccelerate VC led the round and was joined by investors including Mark Cuban’s Radical Ventures, G1 VC, Borderless Capital, 4RC, Centrality, BIGG Digital Assets, and CoinGecko.

- Nektar.ai, a Singapore-based sales platform startup, raised $6 million in seed funding. B Capital Group led the round and was joined by investors including 3One4 Capital and Nexus Venture Partners.

- Clinify Health, a Chicago-based digital health firm, raised $3.1 million. Seae Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Better Ventures, Impact Engine, Acumen America and the California Health Care Foundation. 

- Connectd, a London-based platform connecting startups, investors and advisors, raised $1 million in seed funding. Saracens owner Nigel Wray led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- PAI Partners will acquire some of PepsiCo.’s (NASDAQ: PEP) juice brands including Tropicana and Naked for about $3.3 billion. Pepsi will retain a 39% stake in the ensuing company.

- TA Associates agreed to acquire Smiths Group, a British engineering and technology company, for $2.3 billion including debt.

- Bridgestone Americas will acquire Azuga Holdings, a Fremont, Calif.-based fleet management platform, for $391 million. Sumeru Equity Partners backs Azuga.

Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe launched and invested $300 million in Valtruis, a company that will invest in healthcare companies. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Area Wide Protective, backed by Kohlberg, agreed to acquire Statewide Safety Systems, an Irvine, Calif.-based traffic control services provider. It also agreed to buy the traffic safety divisions of Trafficade Service Companies, a traffic safety business in Phoenix, Ariz. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- CIVC Partners agreed to invest in YOUNG & Associates, a Henderson, Nev.-based property damage consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Gridiron Capital invested in Erie, a maker of fiberglass and metal re-roofing solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Inveniam Capital Partners acquired Factom, an Austin-based blockchain company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Ivanti, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, acquired RiskSense, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based cybersecurity management company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- New Mountain Capital invested in Bounteous, a Chicago-based digital consultancy. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Thoma Bravo and JMI Equity invested in Condeco Software, a London-based workspace scheduling company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sole Source Capital acquired I.D. Images, a Brunswick, Oh.-based labelling company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TowerBrook Capital Partners invested in EisnerAmper, a New York City-based business consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- WestView Capital Partners recapitalized Kymanox, a Morrisville, N.C.-based engineering, development, and compliance support provider to the gene and cell therapy space. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXIT

- BDT Capital Partners agreed to acquire Culligan International, a water cleaning solution, from Advent International and Centerbridge Partners.  Advent has reinvested in Culligan. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- MSCI agreed to acquire Real Capital Analytics, a New York City-based real estate consultant, for $950 million in cash. 

- High Bluff Capital Partners agreed to acquire Church's Chicken, a fried chicken restaurant chain, from FFL Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW) acquired Sweaty Betty, a fitness and lifestyle brand, from L Catterton. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- PAI Partners agreed to acquire Scrigno, an Italian maker of doors and other products for entrances, from a fund managed by Clessidra Private Equity. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Cornerstone Building Brands agreed to acquire Cascade Windows, a portfolio company of CenterOak Partners, for $245 million. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHER

- Danfoss acquired Eaton’s hydraulics business for $3.3 billion.

- News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) agreed to acquire S&P Global (NYSE: SPI) and IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO)’s fuel data arm for $1.15 billion.

- Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) agreed to acquire Eurostar, a footwear store operator on the U.S. West Coast for $750 million. It will also acquire Text Trading, a Japanese shoe seller, for $360 million.

IPO

- Li Auto Inc., a Beijing-based electric car manufacturer, is planning an IPO in Hong Kong, according to Reuters. 

SPAC

- FinAccel Pte, which is the parent company of Indonesian payment lending platform Kredivo, plans to go public in the U.S. via a merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings II, a SPAC, per Bloomberg.

- Traveloka, an Indonesian online travel booking company, plans to go public in the U.S. via a merger with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd., a SPAC backed by billionaire investors Richard Li and Peter Thiel, according to Bloomberg.

F+FS

- Element Ventures, a London-based enterprise fintech investor, raised $130 million.

- Newtopia VC, a Miami-based early-stage investor, launched with $50 million to invest in Latin America-based startups.

PEOPLE

- Bessemer Venture Partners, a San Francisco, Calif.-based venture investor, promoted Naama Schlamm and Hansae Catlett to vice president.

- Felicis Ventures, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture investor, named Jake Storm as a vice president.

- TA Associates, a Boston-based growth private equity firm, hired Kevin Schuler and John Triebsch as vice presidents in Boston and Menlo Park. It also named Ritika Chandra and Gregory Majno as vice presidents in Boston, and Eric Zagorski as a vice president in Menlo Park.

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