Neiman Marcus leaves IPO bankers hanging: Reuters

(Reuters) — Investment bankers put on their best business attire to pitch luxury department store operator Neiman Marcus Group Inc for underwriter roles in an initial public offering. Yet more than a month after their beauty parade, banks are still in the dark. At stake for bankers are not just tens of millions of dollars in underwriting fees, but assignments in what was expected to be one of this year’s biggest and most high-profile IPOs in the United States. “For a marquee name such as Neiman Marcus, it is not just the fees you generated, but the ability to leverage that name. Everybody knows the name Neiman Marcus, whether you shop there or not,” said Timothy Golomb, executive director at Dresner Corporate Services, an investor relations and IPO advisory firm. Neiman Marcus’ delay in handing out roles finds IPO bankers already on the edge, with many of their deals having frozen due to the stock market turmoil that started last month. Among other high-profile IPOs that are waiting in wings are Spanish language broadcaster Univision Holdings Inc and payments processor First Data Corp. While Neiman Marcus has not provided a reason for the holdup to banks, carrying out underwriter interviews without following up with appointments is rare in investmentbanking, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss the matter. “It’s like getting engaged without getting married,” one banking source said. Neiman Marcus, which also operates under the Bergdorf Goodman and MyTheresa brands, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 4 for an IPO, close to two years after private equity firm Ares Management LLC (ARES.N) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board acquired it for $6 billion. Earlier this month, Neiman Marcus reported that its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were $710.6 million in the 12 months to Aug. 1, slightly up from $698.4 million the year prior.

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Neiman Marcus leaves IPO bankers hanging: Reuters

LendingClub co-founder Soul Htite leads funding of Credible

San Francisco-based Credible, which operates a platform for borrowing and refinancing student loans, raised a $10 million Series A round of funding led by Soul Htite, founder and CEO of Dianrong.com and co-founder of LendingClub. Ron Suber, president of Prosper, also participated in the round, along with peer-to-peer lending investor Scott Langmack. The company previously raised $2.7 million in seed funding from multiple investors and individuals, including Carthona Capital, Redbus Group, Mark Goines and Bruce Gibney. PRESS RELEASE Credible Closes $10 Million in Series A Funding, Signaling a New Era of Transparency in Student Lending Credible answers the increasing demand for choice in online lending San Francisco, CA (September 29, 2015) – Credible (credible.com), the multi-lender student loan marketplace, allows borrowers to receive competitive loan offers from its vetted lending partners. Credible’s goal is to empower borrowers with more options to finance and refinance their student loans. The $10 million in Series A funding is led by Soul Htite, Founder & CEO of Dianrong.com and Co-founder of LendingClub, with participation from Ron Suber, President of Prosper, and online lending pioneer Scott Langmack. “We’re building Credible for the future of online lending – providing borrowers with choice, better information, and simplicity of process”, said Stephen Dash, Founder & CEO of Credible. “Simply put, we are making student loans more fair. In Soul, Ron and Scott, we have three of the most experienced individuals in online lending which will allow us to accelerate our growth.” As an independent, multi-lender marketplace that has been adopted by some of the most prestigious organizations in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and Georgia Tech Alumni Association, Credible provides borrowers with unbiased information and multiple offers from its lending partners. “The speed of innovation occurring in financial services has created a once in a generation opportunity” said Soul Htite. “Credible’s unique model is fundamentally changing the dynamics of the loan selection process. We see Credible as a core fixture of the next phase of online lending.” About Credible Credible’s founding principle is to provide borrowers the level of transparency they deserve. As a multi-lender marketplace that allows borrowers to receive competitive loan offers from its vetted lenders, Credible empowers consumers to take control of their student loans. Borrowers can fill out one form, then receive and compare personalized offers from numerous lenders and choose which best serves their individual needs. Credible is fiercely independent, committed to delivering fair and unbiased solutions in student lending. Existing investors include Mark Goines, Carthona Capital, Redbus Group, and Bruce Gibney.

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LendingClub co-founder Soul Htite leads funding of Credible

Yahoo to spin off Alibaba stake despite no U.S. tax ruling: Reuters

(Reuters) — Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) said on Monday it would proceed with the planned spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) even though the IRS has declined to rule on whether the transaction would be tax free. Yahoo’s shares rose 4 percent to $28.71 in extended trading. The Web search company said earlier this month the IRS had denied its request for a private letter ruling on whether the spinoff of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant would be considered tax free. The spin-off will remain subject to certain other conditions including the receipt of a legal opinion on the tax-free treatment of the deal under U.S. federal tax laws, Yahoo said in a regulatory filing. (1.usa.gov/1FxLxDD) Based on Alibaba’s Monday close of $59.24, Yahoo’s 384 million shares of Alibaba are worth $22.75 billion. The value of the stake is slightly less than Yahoo’s market capitalization of about $25.98 billion based on 941 million shares outstanding on July 31 and Monday’s close. Many analysts say Yahoo’s core business is worth close to nothing without its Asian assets. As of Monday’s close, Yahoo’s shares have declined a little more than 45 percent this year. Alibaba’s shares have fallen nearly 45 percent over the same period. Investors have closely followed plans for the spinoff, seeing it as a way to unlock value from the company. Yahoo paid $1 billion in 2005 for a 40 percent stake in Alibaba, in a deal credited to the U.S. company’s co-founder Jerry Yang. Yahoo, which expects to complete the deal in the forth quarter ending Dec. 31, has been trying to revive its core online advertising business by spending more to get users on its websites. Analysts and shareholders believe the company and its stake in Alibaba would be worth more separately, as long as the spinoff is not subject to tax incurred from selling the shares.

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Yahoo to spin off Alibaba stake despite no U.S. tax ruling: Reuters

Alibaba, Ant Financial invest in Paytm

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Ant Financial Services Group have invested in Paytm. Financial terms weren’t announced. Paytm, of New Delhi NCR, is a mobile payment & commerce platform in India. Ant Financial previously invested in Paytm in February. Citi provided financial advice to Paytm. PRESS RELEASE September 29, 2015 02:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time HANGZHOU, China & NEW DELHI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA), Ant Financial Services Group and One97 Communications, the parent company of Paytm, India’s largest mobile payment & commerce platform, announced today an agreement under which Alibaba and Ant Financial have agreed to make a strategic investment in Paytm. Ant Financial made its initial investment in Paytm in February 2015 while Alibaba will become a new investor in Paytm after the completion of the transaction. The fresh capital infusion will allow Paytm to achieve scale and develop its vibrant mobile commerce and payment ecosystem in India and invest in marketing, technology and talent. Investing in Paytm will enhance the ability of Alibaba and Ant Financial to tap opportunities in India’s fast-growing mobile e-commerce marketplace and digital finance industry. Ant Financial has been developing synergies with Paytm since its initial investment in February of this year. Ant Financial’s further investment in Paytm with this transaction demonstrates the company’s confidence in India’s digital payment sector. Ant Financial and Paytm will continue to capitalize on opportunities in mobile wallet to offer Indian consumers comprehensive products and services and to tap the significant potential of the India mobile payment market. This transaction further demonstrates the commitment of Alibaba, the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume, to continue to internationalize its e-commerce business. Eric Jing, President of Ant Financial Services Group said, “Ant Financial has worked seamlessly with Paytm in the past few months and our technical teams have developed significant improvements on the user experience for Indian consumers. Ant Financial and Paytm will collaborate to capture mobile payment opportunities in India. We believe that Paytm, as a leader in this field, is best equipped to build a mobile payment ecosystem in the country.” Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group said, “India is an important emerging market with strong e-commerce potential, and we look forward to partnering with Paytm to deliver innovative products and services to consumers. Supporting the success of local homegrown entrepreneurial companies has long been an important part of Alibaba Group’s globalization strategy. This investment will further expand Alibaba Group’s global footprint to India’s thriving mobile commerce market.” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Paytm said, “Paytm is building India’s most dominant mobile payment and commerce ecosystem. With the Alibaba and Ant Financial partnerships, we look to bring half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy and help millions of small businesses leverage this large m-commerce opportunity. This investment by Alibaba and Ant Financial is a reaffirmation of their belief and commitment to the long term Paytm opportunity.” Citi acted as exclusive financial advisor to Paytm on this transaction. Paytm’s business has grown rapidly and robustly since Ant Financial initially invested in Paytm in February 2015. Ant Financial has also been offering strategic and technical support to the company. Paytm has recently crossed 100 million Paytm Wallet users who carry out over 75 million transactions every month. With this major achievement, Paytm has inched closer towards its larger vision of bringing half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy. About Alibaba Group Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company is the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume. Founded in 1999, the company provides the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help businesses leverage the power of the Internet to establish an online presence and conduct commerce with hundreds of millions of consumers and other businesses. Alibaba Group’s major businesses include: • Taobao Marketplace (www.taobao.com), China’s largest online shopping destination • Tmall.com (www.tmall.com), China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers • Juhuasuan (www.juhuasuan.com), China’s most popular online group buying marketplace • Alitrip (www.alitrip.com), a leading online travel booking platform • AliExpress (www.aliexpress.com), a global online marketplace for consumers to buy directly from China • Alibaba.com (www.alibaba.com), China’s largest global online wholesale platform for small businesses • 1688.com (www.1688.com), a leading online wholesale marketplace in China • Aliyun (www.aliyun.com), a provider of cloud computing services to businesses and entrepreneurs About Ant Financial Services Group Ant Financial Services Group is focused on serving small and micro enterprises as well as consumers. With the vision “to turn trust into wealth,” Ant Financial is dedicated to building an open ecosystem of Internet thinking and technologies while working with other financial institutions to support the future financial needs of society. Businesses operated by Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Yu’e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Micro Loan, Sesame Credit and MYbank. For more information on Ant Financial, please visit our website at www.antgroup.com; or follow us on Twitter @AntFinancial About Paytm Paytm is India’s largest mobile payment & commerce platform. With current user base of more than 100 million, Paytm is on mission to bring half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy using mobile payment, commerce and soon to be launched payment banking services. The consumer brand of India’s leading mobile internet company One97 Communications, Paytm is head-quartered in New Delhi NCR. The company’s investors include Ant Financial (Alipay), SAIF Partners, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank.

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Alibaba, Ant Financial invest in Paytm

Ares Management and Harvest Partners buy Valet Waste

Ares Management LP and Harvest Partners LP have acquired Tampa-based Valet Waste, a provider of amenity services for the multifamily housing sector. The seller was New Mountain Capital LLC. No financial terms were disclosed. Robert W. Baird & Co. acted as financial advisor to Valet Waste on the transaction. PRESS RELEASE LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Private Equity Group of Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE:ARES) and Harvest Partners, LP announced today that funds managed by each have acquired Valet Waste from investment funds affiliated with New Mountain Capital, LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Based in Tampa, Valet Waste is a leading national provider of value-added amenity services to the multifamily housing industry. Valet Waste provides five nights-per-week doorstep waste and recycling collection for more than 400 management companies and owner groups servicing more than 665,000 units across 34 states. The company also offers complementary maintenance services to the multifamily housing industry including nightly maintenance, apartment cleaning, apartment turns and porter services through its Maintenance Plus offering, which launched in 2014. “Valet Waste is a leader in its industry, with a longstanding track record of delivering high-quality service to its customers and providing a top-rated amenity to residents. We are excited to partner with the Valet Waste management team and look forward to supporting the company in its next phase of growth.” said Matt Cwiertnia, Partner in the Private Equity Group of Ares Management. “We are delighted to join Ares and the senior management team as long-term investors in the company,” said Michael DeFlorio, Senior Managing Director of Harvest Partners. “Shawn and his team have built a truly unique business that provides exceptional value to customers and residents. We are excited to invest alongside this first class team to build upon Valet Waste’s leadership position in the market and expand services more broadly across the multifamily housing industry.” “New Mountain Capital has played a vital role in growing Valet Waste during its ownership period – and we thank them for a very successful partnership,” said Shawn Handrahan, President and CEO of Valet Waste. “With the growth opportunities in front of us, this is an opportunity to take the next step and further our position as a market leader in amenity and maintenance services to the multifamily housing industry. We look forward to working with our new partners at Ares and Harvest as they share our vision for long-term growth.” “It was a pleasure to work with the Valet Waste management team as they defined the market, built their business and achieved significant sustainable growth,” said Bert Notini, Managing Director of New Mountain Capital. “We wish Valet Waste continued success in its next stage of expansion.” Proskauer Rose LLP acted as legal advisor to Ares Management and Harvest Partners. White & Case LLP acted as legal counsel to Harvest Partners. Robert W. Baird & Co. acted as a financial advisor and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP acted as legal advisor to Valet Waste. About Valet Waste: Since 1995, Valet Waste has been the Multifamily Housing Industry’s leading provider of five-nights-per-week doorstep trash and recycling collection. It currently services over 440 management companies and owner groups throughout the multifamily housing industry that represent over 3.4 million units nationwide. Valet Waste offers the most requested resident amenities and services along with unparalleled and proven customer satisfaction. Its fully insured and uniformed professional valets collect waste and recyclables from residents’ doorsteps and manage multifamily communities’ on-site trash issues by streamlining waste from the doorstep to the dumpster with our proven systems. About Ares Management, L.P. Ares is a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager with approximately $88 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2015 and more than 15 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Since its inception in 1997, Ares has adhered to a disciplined investment philosophy that focuses on delivering strong risk-adjusted investment returns throughout market cycles. Ares believes each of its four distinct but complementary investment groups in Tradable Credit, Direct Lending, Private Equity and Real Estate is a market leader based on assets under management and investment performance. Ares was built upon the fundamental principle that each group benefits from being part of the greater whole. Visit www.aresmgmt.com for more information. About Harvest Partners, LP Founded in 1981, Harvest Partners, LP (www.harvestpartners.com) is a leading New York-based private equity investment firm pursuing management buyouts and recapitalizations of middle market companies in North America. Harvest focuses on acquiring profitable companies in the business services and consumer, healthcare services, industrial services, and manufacturing and distribution sectors. This strategy leverages Harvest Partners’ 35 years of experience in financing organic and acquisition-oriented growth companies. For more information, please visit www.harvestpartners.com. About New Mountain Capital, LLC New Mountain Capital is a New York-based alternative investment firm that emphasizes business building and growth, rather than debt, as it pursues long-term capital appreciation. The firm currently manages private equity, public equity, and credit funds with over $15 billion in aggregate capital commitments. New Mountain seeks out what it believes to be the highest quality growth leaders in carefully selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies. For more information on New Mountain Capital, please visit www.newmountaincapital.com.

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Ares Management and Harvest Partners buy Valet Waste