Next season’s best-selling drama film might just be about MoviePass.
The collapse of the first rendition of the movie-enthusiast subscription service—which had, during its prime, enabled some 3 million customers to see one movie a day in theaters for merely $9.95 a month—had seemed a dramatic enough tale when mounting losses ultimately spun MoviePass’s parent company into bankruptcy.
Then last week, two of MoviePass’s former executives, the ex-Chairman Ted Farnsworth and ex-CEO Mitch Lowe (who is a Netflix co-founding executive), were criminally charged by the Department of Justice, alleging the executives engaged in a scheme to artificially inflate the share price of MoviePass’s parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, in order to attract new investors.
Fortune learned, this past Friday, that Farnsworth was arrested in Washington, D.C., according to court records. An arrest warrant is still out for Lowe, per the records, though he doesn’t appear to have been arrested yet and was unable to be reached for comment through his personal website or his public speaking agency.
Farnsworth and Lowe allegedly made false claims to investors regarding MoviePass’s “unlimited” plan, saying that MoviePass could break even or achieve profitability via subscription fees alone, according to the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, Farnsworth and Lowe allegedly knew the $9.95 plan was a “temporary marketing gimmick” used to grow the subscriber base and was used to artificially inflate MoviePass’s parent company’s stock price. The former MoviePass executives are being prosecuted by the Department of Justice, and the FBI New York Field Office is investigating the case. That’s in addition to charges from the SEC for allegedly making materially false or misleading statements concerning key aspects of MoviePass’s business model.
In the meantime, Farnsworth has hired George Terwilliger III, who was nominated as Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice during the George H. W. Bush Administration, as his attorney, according to the court filings. It’s unclear yet who is representing Lowe, or whether he has hired an attorney.
At this point, these claims are merely charges. The Department of Justice presumes all defendants innocent until proven guilty in court.
But it’s still a total mess. And I assume it’s not the best news for MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes, who had re-purchased MoviePass’s assets and is currently embarking on an attempt to relaunch the service from the ashes. (To be clear, Spikes has not been named in any of the charges. A MoviePass spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
Spikes has said he was pushed out of MoviePass after he recommended raising the prices for the service. Raising those prices may not have been such a bad idea.
Please note…Yesterday’s Q&A indicated that Xos had filed for bankruptcy. It has not, and I regret the error.
See you tomorrow,
Submit a deal for the Term Sheet newsletter here.
Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
- Aspen Power Partners, a Dallas-based decarbonization platform, raised $350 million from funds managed by Carlyle.
- Hopper, a Montreal, Canada-based travel booking app, raised $96 million in funding from Capital One.
- AutoLeadStar, a Miami-based digital customer data and experience platform for the automotive industry, raised $40 million in funding led by Riverwood Capital.
- Dataloop, a Herzliya, Israel-based A.I. data management and annotation platform, raised $33 million in Series B funding. NGP Capital and Alpha Wave Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Amiti Ventures, F2 Venture Capital, Eyal Gura, and OurCrowd.
- Ernesta, a New York-based D2C custom rug company, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Addition led the round and was joined by investors including True Ventures and others.
- EdgeDB, a San Francisco-based open source database developer, raised $15 million in Series A funding co-led by Nava Ventures and Accel.
- Alethea, a Washington D.C.-based disinformation, misinformation, and social media manipulation detection company, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Ballistic Ventures’ Ted Schlein and Kevin Mandia.
- Archy, a San Francisco-based payments and management platform for dental practices, raised $10 million in funding. Bessemer Venture Partners and CRV co-led the round and were joined by investors including Alven, Nurzhas Makishev, Adapt Ventures, 2.12 Angels, Diagram Collective, and others.
- StretchSense, an Auckland-based motion capture technology company for the gaming and animation sectors, raised $7.6 million in Series A funding. Par Equity led the round and was joined by investors including GD1 and Scottish Enterprise.
- Teamraderie, a Los Altos, Calif.-based team-building software company, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Founders Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Heroic Ventures, DashAngels, Moving Capital, and Overtime.vc.
- 5Mins AI, a London, U.K.-based gamified learning platform, raised $5.7 million in seed funding. AlbionVC led the round and was joined by investors including Chalfen Ventures, Portfolio Ventures, Blue Lion Global, and Edenred Capital Partners.
- Return, a San Francisco-based blockchain climate platform, raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding. Cherry Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Blue Bear Capital, Possible Ventures, Slow Ventures, Allegory, Not Boring Capital, Climate Capital, Eniac Ventures, and other angels.
- WorkTorch, a Wichita, Kan.-based service industry career platform, raised $2.2 million in seed funding led by Tenzing Capital.
- Reynolda Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in Unified Health Services, a Memphis-based revenue cycle management solutions provider for workers' comp claims. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Seaga Manufacturing, a portfolio company of Dominus Capital, acquired Automated Merchandising Systems, a Kearneysville, W.Va.-based automated retail vending machines and inventory cost and control vending systems manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- VillageMD, backed by Walgreens, agreed to acquire Summit Health-CityMD, a New York-based primary, specialty and urgent care provider, from Warburg Pincus. A deal is valued at approximately $8.9 billion.
- Aspen Power Partners acquired Safari Energy, a New York-based solar energy provider, from PPL Corporation. FInancial terms were not disclosed.
- Masonite International Corporation agreed to acquire Endura Products, a Colfax, N.C.-based manufacturer of door frames and door system components, for approximately $375 million.
- Klaviyo acquired Napkin.io, a New York-based platform for browser-based code writing and deployment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Ouster, a San Francisco-based digital lidar, and Velodyne, a San Jose-based lidar sensors and solutions company, agreed to a merger.
- OutSystems acquired Ionic, a Madison, Wis.-based mobile and desktop applications builder. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Clean Energy Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm, hired Yi Jean Chow as investment principal and Victoria Martins as community manager. Formerly, Chow was with Future Energy Ventures and Martins was with Project Bread.
- Glasswing Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm, hired Hunter Hartwell as partner, Jessica Mullins Camburn as CFO, and Ted Julian as venture partner. Formerly, Hartwell was with Forte Ventures and Mullins Camburn was with Aduro Advisors.
- New Holland Capital, a New York-based alternative investments manager, hired Eric Smyth as director of business development. Formerly, he was with Admiral Capital Partners.
This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.