(Reuters) Varo Energy, a joint venture between the world’s top oil trader Vitol and private equity firm Carlyle Group, is expanding its reach in Europe through a merger with Dutch-based storage and trading company Argos, the companies said on Thursday. The deal will give Vitol, which will control a third of the new group, access to a wider swathe of northwest Europe beyond Varo Energy’s current presence in Switzerland and Germany. It will combine Varo’s refinery holdings, including the 68,000 barrel per day (bpd) Cressier oil refinery, Switzerland’s last in operation, and a 45 percent stake in Germany’s Bayernoil refinery, with the storage operations of Argos, giving the group nearly 50 tank terminals in five northwest European countries. “The merger brings together two strong and complementary companies to create a major downstream business in northwest Europe,” Varo Energy Chief Executive Roger Brown, who will lead the new group, said in a statement. The new company will be called Varo Energy and will be divided equally between Vitol, Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), part of the Carlyle Group, and the shareholders of Argos – Marcel van Poecke’s AtlasInvest and private investment group Reggeborgh, which represents the interests of the Dutch Wessels family. Van Poecke, also CIEP managing director, has previously emphasised the importance of location and a distribution network in order to survive in the energy market. As European refineries come under increasing pressure from massive new units in the Middle East and Asia, many are looking to deepen their involvement in the distribution chain in order to protect profits. Argos has 21 tank terminals in Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as a network of service stations. It also has trading operations based in Rotterdam. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it will not include the LPG and sea bunkering businesses of Argos.
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Vitol and Carlyle’s Varo merge with Argos to create downstream powerhouse-Reuters
(Reuters) Australian infrastructure investor Macquarie (MQG.AX) has tapped Citi (C.N) to work on a potential sale of service station provider Moto in a deal that could be worth more than 1.1 billion pounds ($1.68 billion), three sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Moto, Britain’s largest motorway services company, had 2014 core earnings (EBITDA) of around 91 million pounds. The asset could appeal to both private equity groups and infrastructure funds. UK peer Roadchef was sold in a 153 million pound deal last year. That sale valued the business at around 12.5 times its earnings, one of the sources said. A similar valuation would put Moto at about 1.1 billion pounds. Citi and Macquarie declined to comment. Macquarie’s infrastructure arm purchased Moto from UK firm Compass as part of a consortium of investors in 2006. Compass also sold Upper Crust owner SSP (SSPG.L) at the same time. The travel food business was listed on the London Stock Exchange last year. Moto, which hosts companies such as Burger King [BKCBK.UL], Costa and WH Smith (SMWH.L), has 45 locations across the UK and around 6,000 staff. It had turnover of 803.4 million pounds in 2014. The firm raised a 445 million pound loan in March 2015 in conjunction with a 175 million pound high yield bond, to refinance existing debt, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. The loan, which comprises a 385 million pound term loan B, 50 million pound capital expenditure facility and 10 million pound revolving credit, was provided by Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, ING, Investec, Lloyds, Scotia and Societe Generale. The infrastructure-styled refinancing came with portability which means debt can remain in place under new ownership, one of the sources said. Usually when a business is sold, it triggers a change of control provision, which requires any existing debt to be repaid. The ability to keep debt in place is likely to be attractive to potential buyers, unburdened with finding a debt financing to back any acquisition. Service station assets can appeal both to buyout firms and to infrastructure funds, who are attracted by their relatively stable, cash-generative nature. Roadchef was snapped up by European fund Antin Infrastrcutre partners in September last year. And Guy Hands’ buyout house Terra Firma [TERA.UL] this year put German motorway service station Tank & Rast up for sale, hoping for a valuation of up to 15 times core earnings, in a deal potentially worth between 3 and 3.5 billion euros ($3.83 billion). First round bids for the asset have just gone in, with investors including Allianz, ADIA and PSP all expected to show interest.
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Macquarie taps Citi for possible $1.7 billion Moto service station exit, say sources-Reuters
InsideSales.com is planning on buying San Mateo, California-based C9 Inc, a provider of predictive analytics. No financial terms were disclosed. C9’s backers include Mayfield Fund, InterWest Partners and Leapfrog Ventures. PRESS RELEASE SILICON SLOPES, UT, May 28, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — InsideSales.com, the leading cloud-based sales acceleration platform, is acquiring C9 Inc. (C9), a company that helps sales teams improve pipeline visibility and forecasting accuracy with predictive analytics. Through this acquisition, InsideSales.com will expand its reach across the sales organization and into the enterprise, becoming the first company to aggregate actionable data for the entire sales funnel. The power of nearly 80B sales data points gives InsideSales.com the most comprehensive predictive cloud for sales platform in the industry, which will provide accurate, actionable analytics for the complete sales lifecycle from lead to close. “There could not be a more synergistic pairing than InsideSales.com and C9,” said Dave Elkington, CEO & founder of InsideSales.com. “We’ve long led the inside sales market, and now we’re going into the field to solve one of big data’s biggest blind spots: how to turn big sales data into measurable business results and increased revenue.” With the acquisition of San Mateo, CA-based C9, InsideSales.com expands its presence into Silicon Valley, where the company plans to expand its team of data scientists. InsideSales.com recently opened its first office in London and will continue to build its global footprint with C9’s presence and customers in Europe. The acquisition closely follows InsideSales.com’s strategic $60M fund raise led by Salesforce.com with participation from Microsoft. InsideSales.com will continue to seek opportunities for growth and expansion both domestically and abroad. Together the two companies provide the sales industry’s first complete picture of the entire sales process, opening up limitless opportunity for sales acceleration that runs the length of the sales funnel. The incorporation of C9’s unique contextual and temporal data creates smarter and more comprehensive tools than sales teams have ever had access to before. Customers will achieve greater efficiency and accuracy when predictive and prescriptive analytics are applied to both the top (InsideSales.com) and bottom (C9) of the sales funnel. Together, these platforms will not only outline step by step instructions for sales teams, including which prospects to call and when, how much to forecast and the anticipated gap versus budget, they will exponentially increase revenue and become more than the sum of their parts. “From the inside sales organization all the way up to the C-suite, the game has changed and InsideSales.com has led this transformation. This acquisition is a beautiful marriage of shared vision, expertise, solutions and last but not least, people,” said Michael Howard, CEO of C9. “We have always looked upon InsideSales as a brother in arms in not only empowering and accelerating sales, but unlocking human potential to change the very nature in the way people work together. I’m honored and proud to be part of this team, all the more so as it propels both our employees and our customers to reach new levels of success and breakthroughs.” By incorporating the C9 Forecast, C9 Pipeline and C9 Sales Advisor solutions into InsideSales.com’s sales predictive cloud platform, businesses will be able to tap into the power of InsideSales.com’s Neuralytics(R) platform to make sales teams more effective at planning and executing their sales strategies than ever before. InsideSales.com will continue to offer C9’s forecasting solutions to the company’s established roster of marquee enterprise customers including LinkedIn, ZenDesk and Yahoo! and will expand services to all InsideSales.com customers in the coming months. “Marketo’s teams use sales acceleration solutions from both C9 and InsideSales.com that have improved our effectiveness at the top and bottom of the funnel,” said Jeff Serlin, vice president of sales operations, Marketo, Inc. MKTO, +0.30% “We look forward to even greater impact for our business as they become integrated across the entire funnel.” For information on available positions with InsideSales.com, please visit www.InsideSales.com/careers. About InsideSales.com InsideSales.com offers the industry’s leading sales acceleration platform built on Neuralytics, a predictive and prescriptive self-learning engine that drives revenue growth by delivering an optimized experience for both salesperson and buyer. The platform fuels sales rep performance and provides buyer personalization with breakthrough innovations in predictive sales communications, gamification and hiring. InsideSales.com has received numerous accolades for its technology and has been named as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. InsideSales.com enterprise customers include Microsoft, Groupon and Marketo.
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InsideSales.com to acquire VC-backed C9
JAC Capital has agreed to buy NXP Semiconductors‘ RF power business for $1.8 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed within the second half of this year. PRESS RELEASE Eindhoven, Netherlands, May 28, 2015 – NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) today announced an agreement that will facilitate the sale of its RF Power business to Jianguang Asset Management Co. Ltd (“JAC Capital”). Under the terms of the agreement JAC Capital will pay $1.8 billion for the business. The NXP RF Power business is one of the market leaders in high performance RF power amplifiers primarily focused on the cellular basestation market, but with potential future growth applications in the areas of industrial lighting, next generation cooking and automotive electronic ignition systems. “The creation of a new company focused on the RF power amplifier market is a ground breaking transaction for JAC Capital and a great deal for our customers. Although we would have expected a higher valuation in a regular disposal, JAC Capital’s ability to support continued growth and development of the business and its ability to sign and close a transaction rapidly was a key factor in enabling the best outcome for our customers and shareholders, as well as supporting the closure of the merger with Freescale Semiconductor,” said Richard Clemmer, NXP Chief Executive Officer. “We are happy to reach an agreement to acquire the RF Power business from NXP with its strong team and established technology. We will keep on increasing investment in R&D, manufacturing and customer service of the new company to strengthen its market position. JAC Capital and its shareholders will also help the new company to maintain fast and stable growth through our network of worldwide financial institutions, industrial leaders and JAC Capital’s management team with many years of experience in the semiconductor and telecom industry,” said Brighten Li, Chairman of JAC Capital Investment Evaluation Committee. Under the agreement, the entire scope of the NXP RF Power business and approximately 2,000 NXP employees who are primarily engaged globally in the RF Power business, including its entire management team, are to be transferred to an independent company incorporated in the Netherlands, which will be 100% acquired by JAC Capital upon closing of the transaction. Additionally, all relevant patents and intellectual property associated with the RF Power business will be transferred in the sale, as well the NXP back-end manufacturing operation in the Philippines that is focused on advanced package, test and assembly of RF Power products. The transaction, including the entry into and the terms of the definitive agreements and the approval of JAC Capital as the acquirer are subject to review and approval by the US Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, MOFCOM and other agencies in connection with their review of NXP’s proposed acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. (NYSE: FSL). NXP and JAC Capital expect the sale to close within the second half of 2015, pending required regulatory approval and employee representative consultations. NXP anticipates the sale of its RF Power business to be dilutive to earnings on a stand-alone basis in the fourth quarter 2015 and 2016. Proceeds from the sale of the RF Power business will be used to partly fund the previously announced acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. About NXP Semiconductors NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) creates solutions that enable secure connections for a smarter world. Building on its expertise in high-performance mixed-signal electronics, NXP is driving innovation in the areas of connected cars, cyber security, portables & wearables, and the Internet of Things. NXP has operations in more than 25 countries, and posted revenue of $5.65 billion in 2014. Find out more at www.nxp.com About Jianguang Asset Management Co. Ltd. (JAC Capital) Beijing Jianguang Asset Management Co., LTD. (“JAC Capital”) is a subsidiary of JIC Capital which is a state-owned investment company. JAC Capital was established for the purpose of investing in the high tech industry including semiconductor, information technology, networking, data service, cloud computing and telecommunications. By taking advantage of the abundant resources of its shareholders in the international financial market, JAC Capital partners with industrial leaders in various sectors make investments in the focused high tech industry and the global semiconductors market to support its continuous development.
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JAC Capital to acquire NXP’s RF power business for $1.8 bln
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Pronutria Biosiences, a developer of treatments to mediate amino acid biology, has closed $39 million in Series C funding. Fidelity Management & Research Company led the round with participation from other investors that included Flagship Ventures. PRESS RELEASE CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pronutria Biosciences, a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering a new class of therapeutics to mediate amino acid biology, today announced the successful completion of a $39 million Series C financing led by new investor Fidelity Management & Research Company and joined by founding investor Flagship Ventures, among others. “We are delighted to welcome Fidelity as a new investor in Pronutria. Fidelity’s support, as well as the continued participation of our existing investors, signals a strong belief in our company’s revolutionary approach and the vast application of our technology, as well as our ability to execute on an ambitious plan and pipeline due to the highly experienced team we have assembled,” said Robert Connelly, President and Chief Executive Officer at Pronutria. “We have amassed a significant amount of promising preclinical and clinical data from a pipeline of candidates spanning multiple conditions. With these funds, we are now in a position to aggressively advance multiple programs in areas of high unmet nutritional and medical need.” Pronutria is at the forefront of developing a novel class of amino acid-based products for patients facing serious conditions who currently have few or no options. Leveraging its advanced knowledge of amino acid imbalances, Pronutria is rapidly advancing research and development programs in several nutritional and therapeutic areas including muscle, metabolic, neurological and liver disorders. “Pronutria has made impressive strides in building the platform, generating promising human data and assembling a team capable of shaping this exciting, emerging area of medicine,” said Noubar Afeyan, Chairman and Co-founder of Pronutria Biosciences. “We have long known the fundamental role of amino acids in human health, and continue to gain new insights into the important link between amino acid imbalance and numerous conditions. Pronutria is ideally positioned to turn these insights into new therapies.” About Pronutria Biosciences Amino acid biology is fundamental to life, regulating biological pathways critical to health. A variety of conditions occur when amino acid pathways become dysregulated. Pronutria Biosciences is developing first-in-class solutions to these conditions with a focus on amino acid biology. Using insights from a clinically validated body of evidence, we are pioneering new nutritional and therapeutic modalities: amino acid biologics. This novel approach allows us to precisely target biology that was previously inaccessible, providing a unique opportunity to address a variety of serious nutritional and medical conditions, such as muscle, metabolic, neurological, liver disorders and inborn errors of metabolism. Founded by Flagship VentureLabs, privately-held Pronutria Biosciences is based in Cambridge MA. For more information, please visit www.pronutriabio.com.
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Pronutria Biosciences pulls in $39 mln Series C
Advertising platform GumGum has raised $26 million in Series C funding. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital led the round with participation from other investors that included New Enterprise Associates, Upfront Ventures and First Round Capital. PRESS RELEASE SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 28, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — GumGum, the in-image advertising pioneer for publishers and brands, announced today it has closed $26 million in Series C financing led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital with participation from the company’s existing investors, including NEA, Upfront Ventures and First Round Capital. The new growth round of funding will enable GumGum to: Accelerate its expansion into international markets; Strengthen R&D resources across image recognition and computer vision; and Continue its native, programmatic and social product development. “GumGum’s mission is to add value to every connected image. This commitment from one of the world’s foremost growth investment funds is a testament to having made meaningful headway in pursuit of this mission,” said GumGum founder and CEO Ophir Tanz. “But we’ve still only scratched the surface. The additional resources will accelerate our ability to expand R&D efforts, introduce new products to market and expand globally.” Founded in 2007, GumGum is a scalable media platform best known for inventing the highly effective in-image advertising format which places ads over contextually relevant photos. The company has since expanded its product offerings to include other high-impact display, mobile and video ad solutions which collectively give brands access to more than 400 million unique visitors per month worldwide. “We have followed GumGum with great interest and have been impressed by their growth, deep image recognition technology, and programmatic ability to deliver superior performance to their business partners,” said Robert Bassman, Executive Director of Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. “GumGum’s ability to help brands increase engagement with strong viewability while delivering a relevant consumer experience has solidified their position as a digital advertising leader. We are very excited to be a part of their next phase of growth.” This is GumGum’s first new round of funding since it raised $7 million in Series B funding in 2011 which was led by NEA. ABOUT GUMGUM GumGum is a new kind of advertising platform, dedicated to creating brand engagement in line with premium editorial content where it’s guaranteed to be seen. Known for creating the in-image advertising category, GumGum continues to introduce disruptive products based on its patented image recognition technology, including expansion into programmatic, native and social analytics software solutions. Reaching 400 million visitors as they view images and content across more than 2,000 premium publishers, GumGum ads yield 20 percent higher viewability and 10 times the engagement of traditional display options, resulting in superior brand lift for marketers and increased revenue for publishers. The company works with more than half of AdAge’s top 100 US advertising spenders, including Disney, L’Oreal, Toyota and Samsung, among others. GumGum is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with five additional offices in the US. Its investors include Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, NEA, Upfront Ventures, First Round Capital and Crosscut Ventures. www.gumgum.com. ABOUT MORGAN STANLEY EXPANSION CAPITAL Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital is a private equity platform targeting later-stage investments in technology, healthcare, consumer, digital media and other high-growth sectors. For nearly three decades, Morgan Stanley has successfully pursued growth investment opportunities. Expansion Capital’s experienced investment team combines extensive growth equity and franchise experience to pursue a value-creation strategy focused on operational and financial measures. The team works closely with its investor base of successful entrepreneurs and business professionals to assist in building proprietary advantage for its portfolio companies. Expansion Capital also leverages the brand and unparalleled global network of Morgan Stanley to source investment intelligence and opportunities. Expansion Capital is part of Merchant Banking & Real Estate Investing, the Firm’s direct private investing group that invests capital for a diverse client base worldwide, employing a consistent, proven value-creation approach across a full range of strategies and providing deep resources for best-in-class reporting, operations and risk management.
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GumGum rakes in $26 mln Series C