Into the mines

Investors bet big on mining and metals

Happy Wednesday. Here’s what we’ve got today…

  • A look at the growing appetite for new mining and metals deals

  • The deal sheet, plus possible outcomes for the remaining Murdoch assets


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Elliott Management announced last week the firm has formed a new venture named Hyperion to lead investments in global mining assets with valuations above $1 billion. Sandeep Biswas, former chief executive of gold miner Newcrest, will head the initiative.

The lean-in to mining may seem unwise at first glance. Prolonged softness in commodity prices has hurt traditional miners like Rio Tinto and BHP, while continued macroeconomic uncertainty hasn’t helped fears that there’s more downside to come.

Even so, Hyperion is just one of many in a growing field of alternative investors now interested in aggressive moves into mining and metals.

Most of that interest is driven by so-called critical materials, such as lithium, nickel, graphite, and cobalt, which are essential to electric vehicle and renewable energy applications. Accelerating momentum for energy transition projects is expected to stretch their relatively limited supply of raw materials, backstopping prices and providing an attractive opportunity to investors willing to make an early bet.

Government-led green energy incentives may further shock the market. The U.S.’ Inflation Reduction Act has already directed billions of dollars toward new domestic clean energy projects, with similar policy agendas in play across major markets.

Private Equity’s Mining Moment

Notable launches in the sector include a new €2 billion critical materials fund from InfraVia Capital Partners, a French infrastructure investor. With a similar mandate to Hyperion, the firm is specifically betting on the energy transition and EV battery inputs.

Speaking at a Natixis event in late January, InfraVia CEO Vincent Levita made his position clear: “We are at the start of a super cycle similar to the one we saw during the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century.”

He added that “an estimated 50 to 60 billion euros in investment is needed to meet the demand for critical metals in the next ten years.”

Many other firms are queuing up to do just that.

Toronto-based Kinterra Capital debuted late last year with a $565 million fund targeting control stakes in energy transition materials projects or companies. Their thesis is much the same as InfraVia, and the firm’s founders may be even more bullish.

Co-managing partner Kamal Toor says that, even with the obvious opportunity size, many traditional miners are hesitant to commit meaningful dollars to new investments. Publicly traded companies, in particular, have “shied away in recent years,” he says.

“This is happening at a time in which we have probably the most significant secular, fundamental downstream demand for those minerals, and that’s really the thing that’s creating the compelling investment opportunity,” Toor said.

In October, Appian Capital Advisory closed on a $2 billion fund targeting new mining investments across both buyout and credit strategies. The London-based firm has historically focused on Latin American projects: “I think the medium-term trends in Latin America are really appealing, where you have a mining culture and a lot of high-grade critical minerals deposits, and it is effectively in very close proximity to the US and European markets, so you have a lot of things trending in the right direction,” says CEO Michael Scherb. “We're just seeing better opportunity there on a risk-reward basis relative to some other regions.”

Established natural resources funds are also pivoting toward energy transition-related investment themes. Resource Capital Funds (RCF), which has brought more than 25 mines into production, is gearing up for what it calls “immense upside.” Alongside lithium, nickel, and cobalt, its energy transition strategy also targets vanadium, a specialized metal used in long-duration energy storage projects that require more robust solutions than a typical lithium-ion battery.

Plenty of Pitfalls

Still, mining investments can present a unique set of challenges that investors accustomed to more traditional industries may shy away from. Assessing geopolitical instability and the prospect of unfavorable regulatory change are core parts of the diligence process. And, with deals happening across North America, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, maintaining an up-to-date view of fast-changing conditions isn’t easy.

Situations can rapidly move against you. Just ask Carlyle’s natural resources team, who had to navigate a Gabon military coup in its exit this month of former Shell oil assets in the region. In a U-turn from the prior regime, the new government exercised a last-minute preemptive right to wrest an agreed-upon deal away from another buyer.

Carlyle says the terms of the deal were “materially the same” as its August agreement with France’s Maurel & Prom, though it’s a safe bet that government overthrow wasn’t exactly part of the team’s upside case.

Even if one manages to sidestep regulatory and governmental issues, there’s still the sticking point of ESG-related concerns. Compliance may not be cheap (or easy), particularly for projects without existing sustainable water and waste management operations.

ESG may also require a different set of skills than those found in the typical private equity investor’s toolkit. Appian’s Scherb says early community engagement is an important part of its ESG strategy: “[We] have to ensure all stakeholders feel that they have a part to play in the operation and a genuine voice.”

Picks and Shovels

For investors who prefer to avoid environmental and geopolitical risk altogether, early-stage technology bets can offer another avenue for mining exposure. Venture, in particular, has seen growing activity in the space.

Sector-specific fundraising in 2023 was up year-over-year, a notable signal in an otherwise difficult early-stage market. Highlights include…

  • S2G Ventures invested in TechMet, a startup developing methods to produce lithium from geothermal resources

  • Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ backed KoBold Metals, which uses machine learning to identify rare earth deposits

  • Natural Capital and Unless led a recent round for Aether, a startup developing more sustainable techniques for lithium extraction

For those on the fence, InfraVia’s Levita believes it’s still early days. Referencing his own firm’s entrance to the sector, he says, “Two billion looks like a drop in the ocean when we consider the strategic stakes and opportunities offered by the sector.”


Charter Communications is considering a bid for rival Altice USA, trading at an enterprise value above $26 billion.

New Mountain Capital submitted a $5.8 billion buyout offer for R1 RCM (NYSE: RCM), a provider of healthcare revenue cycle management services.

Ageas made a £3.1 billion offer for UK-based Direct Line.

Swisscom is in advanced talks to acquire Vodafone Group Plc's Italian business for €8 billion.

CVC Capital Partners is in talks to acquire Australian healthcare services provider APM for A$1.83 billion.

Cox Enterprises agreed to acquire OpenGov, a provider of cloud-based software for government, for $1.8 billion.

CDH Investments is in talks to buy a minority stake in grocery chain Bach Hoa Xanh from Vietnam retailer Mobile World at a $1.7 billion valuation.

BDT & MSD Partners is considering a sale of Marquette Transportation, a provider of marine transportation services, at a rumored valuation north of $1 billion.

CST Industries, a Solace Capital Partners portfolio company, acquired Ostee Tank Solutions GmbH, a manufacturer of industrial tank solutions, including aluminum domes and covers.

Veradigm Inc (Nasdaq: MDRX) acquired ScienceIO, a healthcare-focused artificial intelligence platform, for $140 million.

Elliott Management had a £757 million takeover offer rejected by UK-based electronics retailer Currys, which has also received takeover interest from

Global Infrastructure Partners, KKR, EQT, Antin, and Macquarie are considering bids for a stake in Cellnex Telecom's Polish unit, per Bloomberg.

Affinity Equity Partners is preparing to sell Island Hospital, a Malaysian healthcare provider, with a process expected to begin in April for the asset that could be worth more than $800 million.

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to merge its Indian operations with Viacom18.

Argosy Healthcare Partners acquired Command Medical Products, a manufacturer of custom procedure packs and trays.

kSARIA, a portfolio company of Behrman Capital, acquired Charles E. Gillman Co., a provider of aerospace and defense connectivity solutions.

Lightyear Capital acquired a stake in Prime Pensions, a New Jersey-based provider of retirement plan compliance and administration services, from Mill Point Capital.

• Crossplane Capital-backed Viking Fence acquired Acorn Waste Solutions, a provider of waste management services.

Advent International invested in Brazilian cosmetics and haircare brand Skala.

• Peterson Partners-owned Black Mountain Software acquired Cascade Software Systems, a strategy execution platform, from Valsoft Corporation.

Nordic Capital acquired ActiveViam, a provider of data analytics and optimization solutions.

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and Nordic Capital acquired Advanz Pharma, a generics manufacturer. Nordic is exiting a 2021 stake acquired via Nordic Capital X and will hold its new position in Nordic Capital XI.

Jacob Holdings is preparing to sell Cognita, a global private schools group, with BDT & MSD Capital Partners and Sofina also holding stakes in the business.

UniCredit is in talks with Warburg Pincus over a deal for portfolio company Vodeno, a Polish fintech and banking platform.

Roche is considering a sale of its lung disease drug Esbriet, with preliminary interest received from potential buyers.

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has agreed to acquire Mindcurv, a German cloud-native digital experience and data analytics company.

KKR is considering a sale of its stake in Indian pharmaceutical company JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals.

Vinci Highways agreed to acquire Northwest Parkway, a toll road in Denver, from Northleaf Capital Partners.


Klarna, a Swedish BNPL startup, is considering a potential $20 billion U.S. IPO as soon as Q3.

Webull, a consumer trading and brokerage app backed by Coatue, General Atlantic, and Lightspeed, agreed to go public at an implied $7.3 billion valuation via SPAC SK Growth Opportunities Corp.


Tech, Vertical SaaS, & Misc. Enterprise

Glean, a company offering AI-enabled enterprise search, raised $200 million at a $2.2 billion valuation. Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed led, with participation from Sequoia Capital, Adams Street, Coatue, Iconiq, IVP, Latitude Capital, Citi Ventures, Databricks Ventures, Workday Ventures, and General Catalyst.

Unseenlabs, a French provider of spatial intelligence solutions for maritime surveillance, raised €85M in new funding led by Supernova Invest, with participation from Isalt and Unexo.

Exodigo, a 3D imaging and mapping platform for underground infrastructure, raised $105 million in Series A funding led by Greenfield Partners and Zeev Ventures, with participation from SquarePeg, 10D VC, JIBE, and National Grid Partners.

Shadowfax, an Indian logistics tech company, raised $100 million of Series E funding. TPG NewQuest led, with participation from Mirae Asset Venture Investments, Flipkart, IFC, Nokia Growth Partners, Qualcomm, and Eight Roads Ventures.

Mistral, a Paris-based AI startup focused on large language models, raised $16.3 million from Microsoft as part of a strategic partnership.

Elevated Signals, a developer of manufacturing software, raised C$7.9 million, per Axios. Yaletown Partners led, with participation from Third Kind Venture Capital, WGD Capital, Colin Harris, Raiven Capital and Pareto Holdings.

mTab, an enterprise market insights platform, raised $15 million in growth credit funding from Kayne Anderson Growth Capital.

Prowler, a provider of cloud security monitoring and compliance solutions, raised $6 million in seed funding led by Decibel VC.

NLX, a developer of a platform for deploying and managing AI-driven customer experiences, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Cercano led, with participation from Thayer Ventures and HL Ventures and earlier backers IAG Capital Partners, JetBlue Ventures, and Tech Square’s Engage.


Helcim, a developer of payment processing and business management solutions for SMBs, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Headline led, with participation from Clocktower Ventures, Vesey Ventures, SilverCircle, Information Venture Partners, and Aquiline Technology Growth.

Embat, a developer of treasury management systems and real-time accounting platforms, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Creandum, with participation from Samaipata, 4Founders, and Venture Friends.

Superfluid, an asset streaming protocol for decentralized organizations, raised $5.1 million in strategic funding. Fabric Ventures led, with participation from Multicoin Capital, Circle Ventures, Safe Foundation, The LAO, Taavet+Sten, and others.

MoneyHash, a cloud-based payments infrastructure provider, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. COTU Ventures and Sukna Ventures co-led, with participation from RZM Investment, and Dubai Future District Fund.

Slice Global, an employee stock options management platform, raised $7 million in seed funding led by TLV Partners, with participation from R-Squared Ventures, Jibe Ventures, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Initia, a startup focused on multichain app chain infrastructure, raised $7.5 million in seed funding led by Delphi Ventures and Hack VC, with participation from Nascent, Figment Capital, Big Brain, and A.Capital.

Validation Cloud, a Web 3 infrastructure company, raised $5.8 million. Cadenza Ventures led, with participation from Blockchain Founders Fund, Bloccelerate, Blockwall, Side Door Ventures, Metamatic, GS Futures, and AP Capital.

Media & Consumer

Montage International, operator of luxury hotels and resort chains, raised $250 million in new funding from Luxor Capital Group, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and BlackRock.

Photoroom, a developer of AI photo-editing software, raised $43 million in Series B funding led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Aglaé and YCombinator.

Inkitt, a self-publishing app and community dedicated to personalized writing, raised $37 million in Series C funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from NEA, Kleiner Perkins, and Redalpine.

Lapse, developer of a photo-sharing app focused on authentic social engagement, raised $30 million in Series A funding. Greylock and DST Global co-led, with participation from GV, Octopus Ventures, and Speedinvest.

Healthcare & Life Sciences

Alamar Biosciences, a precision proteomics biotech developing proprietary immunoassay technology, raised $128 million in Series C funding led by Sands Capital.

Mainstay Medical, a developer of an implantable restorative neurostimulation system for chronic low back pain, raised $125 million from Gilde Healthcare and Viking Global Investors, with participation from Ally Bridge Group, Sofinnova Partners, Fountain Healthcare Partners, and Perceptive Advisors.

Curve Therapeutics, a biotech developing a cancer-focused drug discovery platform, raised $40.5 million in Series A funding led by Pfizer Ventures, with participation from Columbus Venture Partners, British Patient Capital, Advent Life Sciences, and Epidarex Capital.

b.well Connected Health, a patient-facing health management platform that provides unified personal health records, raised $40 million of Series C funding led by Leavitt Equity Partners, with participation from Samsung.

Matter Neuroscience, a mental wellness biotech aiming to uncover biomarkers for happiness, raised $26 million in Series A funding. ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, and Exor Ventures co-led, with participation from Collaborative Fund.

Pelage Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotech developing treatments for hair loss issues, raised $16.75 million in Series A funding. GV led, with participation from Main Street Advisors, Visionary Ventures, and YK BioVentures.

FamilyWell, a provider of specialized mental health services for OB/GYN practices, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. .406 Ventures led, with participation from GreyMatter Capital and Mother Ventures.

Industrials, Greentech, & Other

Oishii, a US-based vertical farming startup focused on high-value berries and tomatoes, raised $134 million in Series B funding. NTT led the round, with participation from Bloom8, McWin Capital Partners, Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi Shokuhin Co., the Japan Green Investment Corporation for Carbon Neutrality, and Yaskawa Electric Corporation.

RobCo, an industrial robotics company providing automation solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises, raised $42.5 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Sequoia Capital, Kindred Capital, and Promus Ventures.

Tsubame BHB, a Japanese developer of electride catalyst technology for ammonia production, raised ¥5.3 billion (approx. $47.4 million) in Series C funding led by Heraeus Group and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.

Parspec, a construction materials supply chain company, raised $11.5 million in seed funding led by Innovation Endeavors, with participation from Building Ventures, Heartland Ventures, and Hometeam Ventures.


EQT raised €22 billion for its 10th flagship buyout fund, hitting its hard cap.

Qatar Investment Authority is forming a new $1 billion venture capital fund-of-funds.

Ocean Avenue Capital Partners raised $600 million for its fifth lower middle market buyout fund.

Renovus Capital Partners raised $325 million for a multi-asset continuation fund.

COTU Ventures raised $54 million for its debut fund.

BFG Partners raised $125 million for its latest consumer-focused venture fund.

Zacuna Ventures raised $56 million for its debut construction-tech fund.


1. What’s in store for the remaining Murdoch assets?

• Puck’s William Cohan examines the media M&A environment and what that may mean for what’s left of the Murdoch empire. — Puck

(Side note that reports this week say Warner Bros. and Paramount have called off negotiations over a potential deal.)


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