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  • Ever been called a 'banking junkie' before?

Ever been called a 'banking junkie' before?

Jeff Leerink has, and he's ready for round two with Leerink Partners

Last week, biotech and buyside clients started getting emails from a name they hadn’t seen in a while — capital markets updates and deal announcements from SVB Securities, the investment banking arm of Silicon Valley Bank, have now been replaced by memos from Leerink Partners.

What happened: The SVB Securities management team, with backing from Baupost Group, won court approval to buy the investment banking division out of its parent company’s bankruptcy for $55 million in cash, plus a small contingent consideration.

How we got here: it’s full circle for Jeff Leerink, having founded the bank back in 1995 (initially named Leerink Swann). Not always a leading healthcare investment banking franchise, the firm started out in a cramped Boston office, sharing a singular Bloomberg terminal with another boutique bank down the hall.


Picture of Leerink Swann's website from the firm's launch back in the late 1990s

Rapid strides in both transaction volume and web design since 1995

Over the years, he managed to grow Leerink into a biotech capital markets powerhouse, routinely executing IPOs and follow-ons for Cambridge’s Kendall Square startups.

That led to a 2019 exit to SVB for $280 million, after which he remained CEO of the division.

Now, just shy of 60, Jeff Leerink is ready for his third act. It’s as expected, according to Ben Howe of Boston investment banking firm AGC Partners:

“Jeff Leerink is a banking junkie. It is both his hobby and his work,” Howe said. “What I know of him — he’d be ecstatic to spin it out and keep it going.”

Said another way, and based on what I’ve heard, Leerink is a real force and there’s a reason he’s gotten this far. Don’t bet against him.

What happens next: it looks like the new Leerink Partners has weathered the initial storm. Banker defections are a critical concern in any change of control, but Leerink claims they’ve retained nearly all key talent.

Jeff Leerink’s near-term goal is a build-out of the firm’s M&A capabilities, to complement its capital markets strength. To make that happen, Leerink says he’s on the hunt for new rainmakers — a rare bright spot in an otherwise dismal investment banking labor market.

🍾 Deals, Deals, Deals | The week's most interesting transactions

1. Looks like another great exit secured for Francisco Partners, and they’re not done yet.

• FP sold off the cybersecurity unit of portfolio company Forcepoint to TPG for $2.5 billion.

• That means early proceeds for FP, which bought the business from Raytheon in 2021 for $1.1 billion — it pencils out to a realized IRR of more than 65% (very conservatively assuming 50/50 debt-to-equity, no cash generation, and full debt paydown with proceeds).

• Plus, it’s (hopefully) only up from here, with FP still holding the rest of the Forcepoint business. Can’t really do much better than this.

2. Carlyle is struggling to refinance PortCo Praesidiad and is nearing a deal to hand over the keys to creditors.

Praesidiad, a provider of physical security systems, is running out of options to deal with a €290 million term loan due in October 2024.

Carlyle, advised by Houlihan Lokey, is said to be leaning toward handing over the business to a Moelis-advised creditor group including Alcentra, Bain Capital Credit, Capital Four, and Cheyne.

Increased raw materials costs and a European construction slowdown hampered the business — the resulting decline in EBITDA, plus a less robust credit environment, has made a full refinancing untenable.

It’s a situation that will probably happen with increasing frequency over the coming months as more PE-backed businesses come to terms with a markedly changed macro backdrop.

3. Exxon says it can capture both carbon and profits in a big bet on green tech.

ExxonMobil agreed to an all-stock acquisition of Denbury, a Texas-based carbon capture and management company, for $4.9 billion.

• It’s a step toward Exxon’s 2050 net-zero commitment that also locks up specialized and hard-to-replicate infrastructure, including the US’ largest CO2 pipeline network.

• Key to the strategy is an 80% jump in carbon tax credits thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act — doesn’t take long to get companies to go green when it’s highly profitable.

• It’s a big time turnaround for Denbury, which went bankrupt in 2020 when COVID tanked oil prices, cratering demand for its core oil recovery offering. Post-bankruptcy, the business is more diversified and loving life at $80 a barrel.

4. A portfolio of movie stars and Bottega Veneta.

• French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, leading shareholder of luxury house Kering SA (home to Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Balenciaga), is in talks to buy Creative Artists Agency from TPG for more than $7 billion.

• It could be a solid outcome for TPG, who initially acquired a 35% stake in CAA in 2010, and later took majority control in 2014 at a $1.1 billion valuation.

• For Pinault, it’s more diversification away from the fashion business that minted his fortune — CAA could join Christie’s auction house and a number of top-tier vineyards already in the family portfolio.

• There could be one sticking point: the potential deal comes just as the Screen Actors Guild kicks off a strike, unable to reach an agreement with producers. We’ll see how it all plays out.

This week’s other big dog deals…

Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed a willingness to sell off TV assets, such as ABC (though still plans on keeping ESPN).

Eli Lilly agreed to buy Versanis Bio, a developer of obesity and cardiometabolic therapies, for up to $1.9 billion.

• Blackstone, Veritas, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Textron are all reportedly interested in Ball Corp.’s divestiture of its aerospace unit, which could be worth more than $5 billion.

Silver Lake is getting ready to launch a sale process for Superstruct Entertainment, a live events business that could be worth more than £1 billion.

Bain Capital and Carlyle remain interested in the acquisition of a majority stake in Adani Capital, the financial arm of India’s Adani Group.

Francisco Partners picked up Macrobond, a Sweden-based macroeconomic data provider, from Nordic Capital for nearly €700 million.

• Vista Equity Partners and Elliott Management are offloading portfolio company Citrix’s workplace management offering, known as Wrike, to Symphony Technology Group.

Shell is reportedly considering a sale process for a minority stake in its renewable energy business.

• Carlyle and Trustar Capital are in discussions with GIC and Mubadala over a $4 billion sale of a portion of their stake in McDonald’s China operations.

• BlackRock and KKR are said to be nearing a $4 billion sale of their 40% stake in Adnoc Oil Pipelines to ADQ.

Cinven is considering an early 2024 exit of its stake in wealth management firm True Potential, which it acquired just last year.

• Premier League club Sheffield United is for sale, with Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musaid Al Saud reportedly looking for an exit that could fetch £170 million.

Avantax, a publicly-traded provider of wealth management software with a $970 million market cap, is considering strategic options, including a sale of the business.

Monzo, a mobile-first bank last valued at $4.6 billion, is evaluating a merger with rival Lunar Group, a Denmark-based firm last valued at $2.1 billion.

Oklo, a designer of nuclear fission power plants chaired by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, agreed to go public at an implied $850 million pre-money valuation via AltC Acquisition Corp., a SPAC led by Altman and Churchill Capital.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy agreed to buy Dominion Energy’s majority stake in a Maryland LNG project for $3.3 billion, with Brookfield Infrastructure holding the remainder.

Siemens handed BNP Paribas a mandate to sell Innomotics, a motors and engines business that could be worth up to €3 billion.

Coloplast agreed to buy Kerecis for $1.3 billion, acquiring emerging wound care tech based on fish-skin dressings. Kerecis had raised $140 million from LSV Capital, Emerson Collective, Novator Partners, and Vatryggingafelag Islands.

Septerna, a biotech focused on G protein-coupled receptors, raised a $150 million Series B with participation from RA, Deep Track, GSAM, Vertex Ventures, Mirae, Driehaus, Woodline, Soleus, Third Rock, Samsara, Invus, Catalio, BVF Partners, Casdin, and Logos.

Crossbow Therapeutics, a biotech focused on antibody-based oncology therapies, raised an $80 million Series A with participation from MPM BioImpact, Pfizer Ventures, Polaris, BVF Partners, Eli Lilly, and Mirae.

Apogee Therapeutics, a developer of therapies for inflammatory and immune diseases, set IPO terms that would equate to a $735 million market value, should it price in the middle of the range. Backers include Fairmount Funds, Venrock, Deep Track Capital, Fidelity and RTW Investments.

Sagimet Biosciences, focused on oncology and liver disease set IPO terms that would equate to a $345 million market value should it price in the middle of the range. Backers include Baker Brothers, NEA and Kleiner Perkins.

💰 Fundraising | The firms stacking it up across buyout, growth, and venture

A busy week for fundraising, but still signs of difficulty for certain managers. The latest setback comes from Cinven’s targeted €12 billion flagship fund, which elected to extend its final close deadline from this week to January.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners set a €12 billion target for its latest renewable energy fund, with €5.6 billion closed to date.

Audax Private Equity raised $5.3 billion for its seventh flagship buyout fund and $774 million for its first lower middle market fund.

Welsh Carson raised more than $5 billion for its 14th flagship buyout fund.

Alpine Investors raised $4.5 billion for its ninth fund.

Antares Capital raised $6 billion for a second senior loan fund.

EQT raised €4.9 billion for its sixth industrial real estate fund.

Arctos Partners is raising a first fund outside of its core professional sports focus, looking to secure $4 billion to provide flexible capital solutions to private equity firms.

EnCap Investments is targeting $4 billion for its 12th flagship fund, a 40% decline from its prior fund.

Carlyle has raised $591 million, out of a $2 billion hard cap, for its second renewables and sustainable energy fund.

WindRose Health Investors raised $1.4 billion for its sixth fund.

Morgenthaler Private Equity raised $633 million for a fourth fund.

North Branch Capital raised $213 million for its second fund.

SineWave Ventures raised $160 million for its third fund.

Spring Lane Capital raised $290 million for a second fund focused on sustainable infrastructure.

Albion River raised $400 million for a fund focused on building a defense supply business.

Cordillera raised $443 million for its third fund.

May River Capital raised $500 million for its third buyout fund.

Kanbrick has raised more than $200m for its $250 million-target debut fund.

Sheridan Capital Partners raised $575 million for a third lower middle market buyout fund.

Long Ridge Equity Partners raised $730 million for its fourth fund.

The Riverside Company raised $350 million for its latest lower middle market fund.

Shore Capital Partners raised $208 million for its first industrial-focused buyout fund and $436 million for its fifth healthcare fund.

Wing VC raised $600 million for an AI-focused fund.

📜 Bullpen Reading Roundup | Get quick with the ALT + Tab

1. Crowdstreet platform facilitates $63 million commercial real estate swindle.

Nightingale Properties used the crowdfunding platform to syndicate a deal for office buildings in Atlanta and Miami

• The only problem: the deals never actually closed, a bunch of money was wired to Nightingale’s CEO, and the rest has vanished. (Check it out: The Real Deal)

2. This time, crypto only a little bit violated securities law.

A judge ruled that the sale of cryptocurrency XRP on public exchanges complied with securities law, a blow to the SEC’s suit against XRP backer Ripple.

But, that same ruling found that XRP’s sale to hedge funds and institutional investors did violate securities law — can’t win them all. (Check it out: NYT)

3. A civil securities suit is pretty chill compared to wire fraud.

Alex Mashinsky, founder of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network, was arrested last week after federal prosecutors unveiled a 46-page indictment accusing him of using client deposits for high-risk trading activities.

• Prosecutors also charged him with securities fraud and market manipulation related to artificial inflation of Celsius’ own crypto token (using client money without their knowledge).

But, to really round it out, there’s also an SEC lawsuit here too (plus another from the CFTC and a settlement with the FTC). (Check it out: Axios)

4. You may have messed up at work before, but you’ve probably never been tricked out of $1 billion.

Stability AI co-founder says CEO Emad Mostaque conned him into selling his 15% stake in the business for $100 — the company went on to develop stable diffusion and is raising at a $4 billion valuation.

I have zero insight to offer on contract law, but there’s presumably some merit here as Paul Hastings has elected to take on the case. (Check it out: Semafor)

Thanks for reading, catch you guys next week. Drop a line with any feedback or scoops (just reply here; kept anonymous).

— Sam