From: FORTUNE Term Sheet - Wednesday Sep 11, 2019 01:59 pm
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September 11, 2019

There have been talks of a Saudi Aramco initial public offering for years now. It appears that it might actually happen.

The world’s largest oil company is hoping to land a $2 trillion valuation, though analysts peg it at closer to $1.5 trillion. Saudi Arabia is planning a two-part listing of Aramco on its domestic stock market to ensure that the exchange can absorb what would be the kingdom’s largest initial public offering, according to The Wall Street Journal.

On Tuesday, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told reporters that the IPO is coming “very soon,” and that the company is close to lining up the banks to help bring it public. The frontrunners for lead underwriters are reportedly JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and National Commercial Bank.

Over the weekend, King Salman tapped his son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as the country’s new energy minister. Analysts read into the palace intrigue that the royal family wants a steady hand in that post who can jump-start the stalled Aramco IPO.

It’s still unclear where the company will list its shares. Remember when President Donald Trump pitched Aramco via Twitter to list on the New York Stock Exchange? He tweeted: “Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!” That looks unlikely as it’s believed the disclosure requirements would be too stringent for the Saudis’ liking. 


SETTING TERMS: Peloton, the exercise equipment maker, announced a proposed price range of $26 to $29 per share in an amended S-1 filing. This would allow the company to raise as much as $1.2 billion in its upcoming IPO, valuing the company at $8.06 billion at the high end of the range. The company plans to commence its roadshow as early as today. 

HAPPY DEALS: McDonald’s is turning its attention toward Silicon Valley. Yesterday, the fast food chain added a third venture-backed startup to its portfolio this year. It purchased Apprente, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of intelligent conversational agents designed for customer service applications. It had raised approximately $4.8 million in funding from investors including Greylock, Point72, and AME Cloud Ventures. Apprente’s employees will be the founding members of a group called McD Tech Labs, which will be housed within McDonald’s global technology team. 

The company wants to grow its presence in Silicon Valley by hiring more people from the tech world, including engineers and data scientists. Earlier this year, McDonald’s also acquired Dynamic Yield, a personalization and decision logic technology, and made a minority investment in Plexure, a CRM platform. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The things that are going on behind the scenes are [that] all the private investors don’t want a markdown, but the public market doesn’t want to lose money—so there’s that tug and pull, and I think in this case, the public investors are going to prevail.” — Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, on WeWork’s tug & pull over valuation

REMEMBERING 9/11: My all-time favorite piece of writing is Colson Whitehead’s essay, Lost and Found, which was published two months after the September 11 attacks. The article is a moving tribute to New York City and the Twin Towers, but it’s also about how our identities are shaped by our own, personalized memories of the places we live. “Our streets are calendars containing who we were and who we will be next,” he writes. “One day the city we built will be gone, and when it goes, we go. When the buildings fall, we topple, too.”

Below is an excerpt: 

“The twin towers still stand because we saw them, moved in and out of their long shadows, were lucky enough to know them for a time. They are a part of the city we carry around. It is hard to imagine that something will take their place, but at this very moment the people with the right credentials are considering how to fill the crater. The cement trucks will roll up and spin their bellies, the jackhammers will rattle, and after a while the postcards of the new skyline will be available for purchase. Naturally we will cast a wary eye toward those new kids on the block, but let’s be patient and not judge too quickly. We were new here, too, once.”

Read it here.




- Rivian, a Plymouth, Mich.-based manufacturer of electric SUVs and pickup trucks, raised $350 million from Cox Automotive.

- JobTeaser, a Paris-based  recruitment and career guidance platform, raised $55 million in funding. Highland Europe led the round, and was joined by investors including Alven, Idinvest Partners, Seventure Partners and Korelya Capital.          

- Atlas Obscura, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based experiences and media company, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Airbnb led the round, and was joined by investors including A+E Networks and New Atlantic Ventures. 

- Q-CTRL, an Australia-based quantum computing start-up, has completed a US$15million Series A round. Square Peg Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including  Sierra Ventures.

- Caper, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based AI-powered shopping cart, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Lux Capital led the round.

- Voxpopme, a U.K.-based video feedback and analytics company, raised $9 million in Series A1 equity financing. Origin Ventures led the round.

- Hawthorne, a North Charleston, S.C.-based tailored personal care brand for men, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Imaginary Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Comcast Ventures, Founder Collective, Shana Fisher, Yael Alflalo, and Tom Chapman. 

- Realized, an Austin, Texas-based technology-enabled platform that provides wealth management solutions for investment properties, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Calibrate Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Rice Park Capital.

- New Culture, a San Francisco-based maker of animal-free dairy cheese, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Evolv Ventures led the round.

Cyware Labs, a New York City-based threat intelligence sharing and cyber fusion product-based security company, raised $3 million in seed funding. Emerald Development Managers led the round.

-, a Miami Beach, Fla.-based platform that provides enterprise and consumer - wellness solutions, raised $3 million in funding from SoftBank Capital NY.  

- Moodify, an Israel-based company that is developing scent solutions for improved performance and well-being, raised $1.6 million in funding. Next Gear Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Toyota AI Ventures.


- SGI-DNA, a La Jolla, Calif.-based developer of synthetic genomics technologies and DNA data storage solutions, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Northpond Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Oxford Finance and BroadOak Capital Partners.



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- KKR acquired a majority stake in Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston-based real-time labor market data source. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Full In Partners agreed to acquire a “significant” stake in ServiceCore, a Tinton Falls, N.J.-based provider of business management software for the liquid waste and roll-off rental industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- SSB, which is backed by Strattam Capital, acquired HEPdata, a Leesburg, Va.-based matching gift solution and employment data provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Shermco Industries Inc, which is backed by Gryphon Investors, acquired NextGen Technologies Ltd, a North Vancouver, British Columbia-based electrical testing services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Cimarron Healthcare Capital recapitalized Infusion Management. A Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based provider of infusion treatment services to patients. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Cerberus Capital Management LP agreed to buy Axsesstoday Ltd. (ASX:AXL). Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Luminate Capital Partners made an investment in MSI Data, a Mequon, Wisc.-based provider of field service management software.

- Arcline Investment Management acquired a majority interest in Akron Biotechnology LLC, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based manufacturer and supplier of cell culture and cell biology products. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Prosus, a company housing the internet assets of South African media firm Naspers, is worth around $136 billion in early trading in Amsterdam. Read more.

- Shanghai Henlius Biotech, launched its Hong Kong IPO to raise up to $477 million, Reuters reports citing the term sheet. Fosun International backs the firm, and plans to raise up between $3 billion to $3.5 billion in the offering. Read more.

- CloudFlare, a San Francisco-based web performance and security company, plans to raise $455 million in an IPO of 35 million shares priced between $13 to $14, up from a previous $10 to $12. The firm posted revenue of $192.7 million in 2018 and a loss of $87.2 million. Fidelity, Venrock, NEA, and Pelion Ventures back the firm. It plans to list on the NYSE as “NET.” Read more.


- Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE:BAX) agreed to acquire portfolio company Cheetah Medical, for $190 million up front cash consideration, with potential for an additional $40 million based on clinical and commercial milestones. The seller was HighCape Capital LP.

- Carousel Capital sold Joe Hudson’s Collision Center, a Montgomery, Ala.-based automotive collision repair services company, to TSG Consumer Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Mallinckrodt agreed to sell BioVectra Inc, a Canada-based contract development and manufacturing company, to H.I.G. Capital for about $250 million. 


- Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners, an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm, raised $2 billion for its fourth fund. 



- Americana Partners named Michael Mithoff as a managing director and head of private equity. 

- Digital Bridge named Geneviève Maltais-Boisvert as a principal to its investment team.

- Alex Arfaei joined Pappas Capital as a partner.

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