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January 21, 2022

I’ve never been one for a soap opera, but it’s rather hard to peel my eyes away from the near-implausible chaos ensuing Apollo Global Management’s former execs.


Leon Black—the ex-Apollo CEO who resigned after a third-party law firm inquiry found he had made $158 million in financial advice and other payments to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein—is accusing one of the private equity firm’s co-founders of attempting a “coup and smear campaign” against him.


It’s the latest revelation in an ongoing lawsuit against Black. His ex-mistress, former Russian model Guzel Ganieva, filed claims of rape and sexual assault against Black with the Supreme Court of New York. That was a few months after Black had resigned as CEO and chairman of Apollo in late March 2021.


That legal spat has, perhaps unsurprisingly, turned rather ugly. Black filed a subsequent lawsuit against Ganieva in October, accusing her of trying to extort him and claiming that a handful of unidentified individuals were supporting her in an effort to ruin his reputation. 


Both lawsuits have thrown one of Black’s personal relationships into the public for all to see. Now, an alleged quibble between him and Josh Harris, one of Apollo’s four co-founders, is on full display.


In the latest 23-page filing within the original lawsuit (produced in an attempt by Black’s legal teams to procure Ganieva’s AT&T phone records), Black turned attention to Harris, effectively accusing him of running an aggressive behind-the-scenes effort to steal his chief executive position.


Reading the filing is reminiscent of a script for a new drama:


…Mr. Harris forged ahead with a malicious campaign to take Mr. Black down. Mr. Harris convened a team of media experts—including, prominently, Mr. Rubenstein [Steven Rubenstein is a senior public relations professional who was then on retainer with Apollo]—not only to manage his own reputation but also to impugn, and indeed attempt to destroy, Mr. Black. At a certain point in their discussions, Mr. Harris’ team deliberately and explicitly removed their communications with Mr. Harris off of email in favor of another format—one that would not be so easily traceable.


But, as February turned into March, it seemed like the die was cast. Mr. Rowan would become CEO in July, and Mr. Harris was shunted aside—as media stories characterized him, the jilted loser in the ‘succession battle.’ And that is precisely when Ms. Ganieva resurfaced from her long silence, with a series of sensational, utterly invented, social media accusations against Mr. Black.”


You can’t make this sort of thing up. 


A spokesperson for Harris told the Financial Times Black’s allegations were “baseless, untrue, and—frankly—unhinged,” and Rubenstein’s attorney said the claims were “packed with false information” and that Rubenstein has no relationship with Black’s former mistress.


Harris had resigned from Apollo in May 2021. This was not too long after co-founder Marc Rowan dumped his retirement to re-join Apollo as its chief executive after Black’s earlier-than-expected departure.


Whatever really happened behind the scenes, I think we can all agree this is not a great look for Apollo. Stay tuned for Season 2.


CVC Capital Partners, a storied European private equity firm, has reportedly hired bankers and is weighing an IPO in London, per Bloomberg. This comes, quite shortly, after private equity firm TPG’s public debut. A deal could value CVC at more than $20 billion.


Enjoy your weekend!


Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com


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VENTURE DEALS


- Handshake, a San Francisco-based early career network, raised $200 million in Series F funding led by Coatue Management and Valiant Peregrine Fund and was joined by investors including Base10's Advancement Initiative.


- Factorial Energy, a Woburn, Mass.-based nano-engineered battery manufacturer for electric vehicles, raised $200 million in Series D funding led by Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis.


- 6sense, a San Francisco-based predictive intelligence platform for B2B organizations to generate revenue growth, raised $200 million in Series E funding co-led by Blue Owl and MSD Partners and was joined by investors including SoftBank, Franklin Templeton, Harmony Partners, Insight Partners, Tiger Global, D1 Capital Partners, and Sapphire Ventures.


- ImmPACT Bio, a Camarillo, Calif.-based clinical-stage company developing transformative logic-gate based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for treating cancer, raised $111 million in Series B funding led by venBio Partners, Foresite Capital, and Decheng Capital and was joined by Surveyor Capital, OrbiMed, Novartis Venture Fund, RM Global Partners, and Bukwang Pharmaceutical. 


- Pixis, a Burlingame, Calif.-based AI-based cloud marketing platform, raised $100 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank and was joined by investors including General Atlantic, Celesta Capital, Premji Invest, and Chiratae Ventures.


- ONI, an Oxford, U.K.-based high-resolution microscope developer for biological research work, raised $75 million in Series B funding led by ARCH Venture Partners and Casdin Capital and was joined by investors including Section 32, ARTIS Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners, Axon Ventures, Paul Conley, and Oxford Science Enterprises. 


- Lummo (formerly Bukukas), a Jakarta, Indonesia-based SaaS startup for starting online stores,raised $80 million in funding from Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, and CapitalG. 


- Atom Computing, a Berkeley, Calif.-based quantum computer developer, today announced closure of a $60 million in Series B funding led by Third Point Ventures and joined by investors including Primer Movers Lab, Innovation Endeavors, Venrock, and Prelude Ventures. 


- Virtru, a Washington, D.C.-based data protection platform, raised $60 million in funding co-led by ICONIQ Growth and Foundry Capital and was joined by investors including Tiger Global, MC2, Bessemer Venture Partners, and NEA.


- M2P Fintech, a Chennai, India-based payment-as-a-service platform, raised $56 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by investors including MUFG Innovation Partners, Tiger Global, and Better Capital.  


- 64x Bio, a San Francisco-based genome engineering platform developer, raised $55 million in Series A funding led by Lifeforce Capital and was joined by investors including Northpond Ventures, former Aldevron CEO Michael Chambers, Future Ventures, and First Round Capital. 


- StrongArm Technologies, a New York-based company using data and wearables to protect industrial workers, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Drive Capital.


- HugePOD, a New York-based print-on-demand apparel design and manufacturing company, raised $40 million in Series B funding from Joyy and was joined by investors including Engage Capital, Source Code Capital, and ZhenFund.


- Exergyn, a Dublin-based solid-state technology developer for waste heat recovery, heating, and cooling, raised €30 million ($35 million) in Series A funding led by Mercuria and Lacerta Partners and was joined by McWin.


- StockGro, a Bangalore, India-based social investment platform, raised $32 million in Series A funding led by BITKRAFT Ventures and was joined by investors including General Catalyst, Lightricks co-founder Itai Tsiddon, and Roots Ventures.


- Cana, a Redwood City, Calif.-based molecular beverage printer startup, raised $30 million in seed funding from The Production Board.


- Xcell Biosciences, a San Francisco-based cell control platform developer designed to aid cell therapy production and development, raised $27.5 million in Series B funding led by Casdin Capital and was joined by investors including Dynamk Capital, Formic Ventures, Labcorp, HBM Genomics, and Viking Global Investors. 


- Prophecy, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based low-code data engineering platform, raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by investors including SignalFire, Berkeley Skydeck, and Dig Ventures.


- Turing Labs, a New York-based SaaS platform using AI tools for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) formulations, raised $16.5 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by investors including Moment Ventures, Y Combinator, and Medallia CEO Borge Hald.


- Zuper, a Sammamish, Wash.-based productivity suite for intelligent field service management and customer engagement provider, raised $13 million in Series A funding led by FUSE and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital India, Prime Venture Partners, and HubSpot Ventures. 


- CodeSee, a San Francisco-based cloud-based data visualization software platform, raised $7 million in funding led by Wellington Access Ventures, Plexo Capital and was joined by investors including former CEO of Heroku Adam Gross and former Chief Security Officer of Square Window Snyder. 


​​-SOMA Finance, a decentralized marketplace for digital assets, compliant digital securities, and NFTs, raised $6.5 million in seed funding led by Animoca Brands and was joined by investors including Kenetic Capital, Griffin Gaming Partners, GSR, Token Bay Capital, Mind Fund, UNKNOWN VC, FOMOcraft, BCW Group, Tai Ping Shan Capital, Gate Ventures, and 0x Ventures.


- Coalesce, a San Francisco-based data management software developer, raised $5.9 million in seed funding led by 11.2 Capital and GreatPoint Ventures.


- Aigen, a Kirkland, Wash.-based solar-powered robotics platform for soil regeneration, raised $4 million in seed funding led by NEA.


- Supercritical Solutions, a Berkshire, U.K.-based electrolyzer developer for producing low-cost hydrogen, raised $3.6 million in seed funding led by Jericho Energy Ventures and was joined by investors including Lowercarbon Capital and New Energy Technology.


PRIVATE EQUITY


- Vista Equity Partners invested $150 million in OfficeSpace Software, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based SaaS-based platform for managing corporate workplaces; and $100 million in BigTime Software, a Chicago-based cloud-based software provider for professional services firms.


-  Arsenal Capital Partners led a recapitalization for Headwall Photonics, a Bolton, Mass.-based hyperspectral imaging systems, spectral instrumentation, and optical components designer and manufacturer, and is now a majority owner. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- billwerk Group, backed by PSG, acquired Sofacto, a Montpellier, France-based Salesforce technology-based subscription management and recurring billing application provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Century Park Capital Partners recapitalized NCP Coatings, a Niles, Mich.-based performance coatings solutions manufacturer for the military, industrial, commercial, and forestry end markets. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Garnett Station Partners acquired VIVE Collision, a collision repair multi-site operator. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Kidd & Company acquired BRH Garver Construction, a Houston, Tex.-based specialty construction services firm focused on micro-tunneling. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Permira and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority agreed to acquire Kedrion, a Tuscany, Italy-based plasma derivatives collection and distribution company for treating rare and chronic conditions, and merge it with BPL. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Prometheus Group, backed by Genstar Capital, acquired RiskPoynt, a Denver, Colo.-based risk management software provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- RMA Group of Companies, an OceanSound Partners portfolio company, acquired Western Technologies and Enviro-Drill. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- SkyKnight Capital acquired a minority stake in New Republic Partners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based next generation wealth management and investing firm.


- Sky Island Capital acquired a majority stake in SkyMark Refuelers, a Kansas City, Ka.-based custom work trucks manufacturer, and Valley Forge Flag Company, a Wyomissing, Penn.-based flag manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.


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OTHER


- Singapore Telecommunications acquired a 16.3% stake in PT Bank Fama International for $34.9 million.


- Cloudastructure agreed to acquire IPG, a Buellton, Calif.-based IoT cybersecurity company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Mercedes-Benz acquired a minority stake in Luminar Technologies, an autonomous vehicle sensor and software company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Plaid acquired Cognito, a Walnut, Calif.-based identity verification and compliance company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- PlantPlus Foods acquired Sol Cuisine, a Mississauga, Canada-based plant-based protein company. Financial terms were not disclosed.


IPOS 


- Tianqi Lithium, a Chinese supplier of battery materials, chose banks for a mid-2022 IPO in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg.


SPAC


- PetSmart, the pet supply retailer backed by BC Partners, is weighing a public offering via a merger with KKR Acquisition Holdings I Corp., a SPAC backed by KKR, per Bloomberg. A deal could value the company at approximately $14 billion.


FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS


- Summa Equity, a Stockholm, Sweden-based private equity firm focused on ESG, raised $2.6 billion for its third fund.


- Foundation Capital, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm, raised $500 million for its tenth fund, which will invest in early-stage companies in fintech, enterprise and frontier tech. 


- Cherry Ventures, a Berlin-based venture capital firm, raised €300 million ($340.3 million) for a new fund focused on pre-seed and seed stages in technology companies. 


PEOPLE


- Adams Street Partners, a Chicago-based investment manager, promoted Brian Dudley, Matt Autrey, Chris Cho, Alex Kessel, Mike Taylor, Ben Wallwork, and Scott White to partners.


- AURELIUS Group, a Grünwald, Germany-based growth equity firm, promoted Peter Wood to managing director as well as Andrew Roth and Philip Stoner to principals. It also hired Euan Phillips as investment manager. Phillips was formerly with Hilco Capital.


- Energize Ventures, a Chicago-based venture capital firm, hired Lauren Densham as head of impact and ESG. She was formerly with KPMG.


- Foundation Capital, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm, promoted Rodolfo Gonzalez and Angus Davis to general partners. 


- HCAP Partners, a California-based private equity firm, promoted Christopher Fallone to senior associate.


- Littlejohn & Co., a Greenwich, Conn.-based middle-market private equity firm, promoted Thomas Bennet, Charles Leung, and William McDavid to principals.


- Partners Capital, a London-based asset manager, hired John Biel as head of private equity and real estate. He was previously at the University of California Investment Office. The firm also promoted Adam Watson, Elizabeth Trotta, and Adam Spence to partners; and Ryan Handler and Dominik Burckgard to managing director. 


- Susquehanna Growth Equity, a Bala Cynwyd, Penn.-based growth equity firm, promoted  Samuel Major, Shalin Mehta, Samara Freschman, and Dmitri Vaisberg to vice presidents.


- ​​White Star Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm, promoted Eddie Lee to partner; Karolina Mrozkova to principal; and Spencer Henry to associate.


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