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Datto sets initial IPO price range, indicating a valuation of around $4B

It was just a few weeks ago that Datto, what TechCrunch called a “backup and disaster recovery firm,” filed to go public. This week the firm set an initial range for its debut.

The Vista Equity Partners -backed company was picked up by the private equity firm back in 2017. Vista is back in the news lately for several reasons, some stemming from executive shenanigans — read: tax evasion and huge penalties — but at least what’s coming from Datto’s camp is good tidings.

How so? Vista bought Datto for around $1.5 billion, and is set to make billions on its exit, based on the company’s expected IPO pricing.

Per the data firm’s latest S-1 filing, Datto is targeting a $24 to $27 per share price range. Here’s the math:

  • Total shares outstanding after IPO, sans underwriters’ allotment: 157,548,740 shares
  • Total shares outstanding after IPO, with underwriters’ allotment: 160,848,740
  • Max valuation at current prices, sans underwriters’ allotment: $4.25 billion
  • Max valuation at current prices, with underwriters’ allotment: $4.34 billion

Those two final numbers are dramatically bigger than the $1.5 billion that Vista is said to have paid for Datto.

How has Datto managed to generate so much value in the last few years? In financial terms, the company grew to a run rate of around $500 million, based on its Q1 and Q2 2020 revenue results. That gives the company a revenue multiple of less than 10x at its current IPO price maximum.

And that price makes sense. Datto is not growing very quickly, just 16% from H1 2019 to H1 2020, for example. The company did recently become profitable, however, which helps its valuation case. But more importantly, between 2017 and 2020 we have seen revenue multiples for software companies expand. That, plus Datto’s growth since 2017, have repriced it far above its sale price.

For Vista, it’s good news. Provided that they don’t get into tax issues over this particular set of returns. More on Datto as it prices and debuts.

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KKR to invest $1.5 billion in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Platforms has agreed to sell 2.32% stake to U.S. equity firm KKR in what is the fifth major deal the top Indian telecom operator has secured in just as many weeks.

On Friday, KKR announced it will invest $1.5 billion in the top Indian telecom operator, a subsidiary of India’s most valued firm (Reliance Industries), joining fellow American investors Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, and General Atlantic that have made similar bets on Jio Platforms.

The investment from KKR, which has written checks to about 20 tech companies including ByteDance and GoJek in the past four decades, values Reliance Jio Platforms at $65 billion.

The announcement today further shows the appeal of Jio Platforms, which has raised $10.35 billion in the past month by selling about 17% of its stake, to foreign investors that are looking for a slice of the world’s second-largest internet market.

Ambani, the chairman and managing director of oil-to-telecoms giant Reliance Industries that has poured over $30 billion to build Jio Platforms, said the company was looking forward to leverage “KKR’s global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio.”

In recent years, India has emerged as one of the biggest global battlegrounds for Silicon Valley and Chinese firms that are looking to win the nation’s 1.3 billion people, most of whom remain without a smartphone and internet connection.

Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Xiaomi, and TikTok-parent firm ByteDance among several others already count India as one of their most important overseas markets. In the past decade, nearly half a billion Indians came online for the first time, thanks in large part to Reliance Jio, which has amassed over 388 million subscribers.

An advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan for Reliance Jio (Image: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Launched in the second half of 2016, Reliance Jio upended India’s telecommunications industry with cut-rate data plans and free voice calls, forcing incumbents such as Airtel and Vodafone to significantly revise their prices to sustain customers and many to consolidate and exit the market.

Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, operates the telecom venture, called Jio Infocomm, that has become the top telecom operator in India.

Reliance Jio Platforms also owns a bevy of digital apps and services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which it says it will take public), on-demand live television service and payments service, as well as smartphones, and broadband business.

“Few companies have the potential to transform a country’s digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. Jio Platforms is a true homegrown next generation technology leader in India that is unmatched in its ability to deliver technology solutions and services to a country that is experiencing a digital revolution,” Henry Kravis, co-founder and co-chief executive of KKR, said in a statement.

“We are investing behind Jio Platforms’ impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR’s commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific,” he added. This is the single-largest investment (in equity terms) made from KKR’s Asia private equity business to date.

The new capital should also help Ambani, India’s richest man, further solidify his last year’s commitment to investors when he pledged to cut Reliance’s net debt of about $21 billion to zero by early 2021 — in part because of the investments it has made to build Jio Platforms. Its core business — oil refining and petrochemicals — has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Its net profit in the quarter that ended on March 31 fell by 37%.

In the company’s earnings call last month, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying stakes in Jio Platforms in the wake of the deal with Facebook. Recent investments also pave the way for an initial public offering of Jio, which could happen within five years.

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General Atlantic to invest $870M in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms has agreed to sell its 1.34% stake to General Atlantic, the latest in a series of deals the top Indian telecom operator has secured in recent weeks.

On Sunday, New York-headquartered private equity firm General Atlantic said it would invest $870 million in the Indian telecom operator, a subsidiary of India’s most valued firm (Reliance Industries), joining fellow American investors Facebook, Silver Lake, and Vista Equity Partners that have also made sizeable bets on the three-and-a-half-year old Indian firm.

General Atlantic’s investment values Jio Platforms at $65 billion — the same valuation implied by the Silver Lake and Vista deals and a 12.5% premium over Facebook’s deal, the Indian firm said.

Sunday’s announcement further illustrates the growing appeal of Jio Platforms, which has raised $8.85 billion in the past one month by selling about 14.7% of its stake, to foreign investors that are looking for a slice of the fast-growing world’s second largest internet market.

General Atlantic, a high profile investor in consumer tech space that has invested in dozens of firms such as Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Box, ByteDance, Facebook, Slack, Snapchat, and Uber, has been a key investor in India for more than a decade though it has avoided bets in consumer tech space in the country.

It has cut checks to several Indian startups including NoBroker, a Bangalore-based startup that helps those looking to rent or buy an apartment connect directly with property owners, edtech giants Unacademy and Byju’s, payments processor BillDesk, and National Stock Exchange of India. The PE firm, which has invested about $3 billion in India, said last week that it was looking to invest an additional $1.5 billion in Indian firms by next year — this time focusing on the players operating in consumer tech category.

Reliance Industries chairman Ambani, who has poured more than $30 billion to build Jio Platforms, said the telecom network would “leverage General Atlantic’s proven global expertise and strategic insights across 40 years of technology investing.”

“General Atlantic shares our vision of a digital society for India and strongly believes in the transformative power of digitization in enriching the lives of 1.3 billion Indians,” he added.

Prepaid SIM cards of Reliance Jio at a retail store. (Photo: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Launched in the second half of 2016, Reliance Jio upended India’s telecommunications industry with cut-rate data plans and free voice calls. Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, operates the telecom venture, called Jio Infocomm, that has amassed 388 million subscribers since its launch to become the nation’s top telecom operator.

Reliance Jio Platforms also owns a suite of services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which it says it will take public), smartphones, broadband business, on-demand live television service and payments service.

“In just three and a half years, Jio has had a transformational impact in democratizing data and digital services, propelling India to be positioned as a leading global digital economy,” said Sandeep Naik, MD and Head of India & Southeast Asia at General Atlantic, in a statement.

The new capital would help Ambani, India’s richest man, further solidify his last year’s commitment to investors when he said he aimed to cut Reliance’s net debt of about $21 billion to zero by early 2021. Its core business — oil refining and petrochemicals — has been hard hit amid the coronavirus outbreak. Its net profit in the quarter that ended on March 31 fell by 37%.

In the company’s earnings call last month, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying stakes in Jio Platforms in the wake of the deal with Facebook . Bloomberg reported last week that Saudi Wealth Fund was also in talks with Ambani for a stake in Jio Platforms.

Facebook said that other than offering capital to Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the firm, it would work with the Indian giant on a number of areas starting with e-commerce. Days later, JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India with over 400 million active users in the country.

29-year-old Akash Ambani, the oldest son of Mukesh, said in a statement, “Jio is committed to make a digitally inclusive India that will provide immense opportunities to every Indian citizen especially to our highly talented youth.”

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Vista Partners founder calls for a fintech revolution to help pandemic-hit, minority-owned small businesses

The head of what is arguably private equity’s most successful technology investment firm — Vista Equity Partners — made a rare appearance on Meet The Press to discuss the steps that the country needs to take to help minority-owned businesses recover from the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Robert F. Smith is one of the worlds wealthiest private equity investors, a noted philanthropist, and the richest African American in the U.S.  Days after announcing a $1.5 billion investment into the Indian telecommunications technology developer Jio Platforms, Smith turned his attention to the U.S. and the growing economic crisis that’s devastating minority businesses and financial institutions even as the COVID-19 epidemic ravages the health of minority communities.

Calling the COVID-19 “a pandemic on top of a series of epidemics”, Smith said that the next round of stimulus needs to support the small businesses that still remain underserved by traditional financial institutions — and that new financial technology software and services can help.

“We need to continue to rally as Americans to come with real, lasting, scalable solutions to enable the communities that are getting hit first, hardest, and probably will take the longest to recover with solutions that will help these communities thrive again,” Smith told NBC’s Chuck Todd.

Smith called for an infusion of cash into community development financial institutions and for a new wave of technology tools to support transparency and facilitate operations among these urban rural communities that aren’t served by large banking institutions. 

In all, the first round of the Congressional stimulus package poured $6 trillion into the U.S. economy through authorizations for the Treasury to issue $4 trillion in credit and $2 billion in cash payouts to various industries. The average size of those initial loans was just under $240,000, according to a post-mortem assessment of the Payroll Protection Program written by Lendio chief executive Brock Blake for Forbes

Blake’s assessment of the shortcomings of the PPP echoes Smith’s own criticism of the program. “Many of these small communities — urban, rural — aren’t being banked by the large institutions,” Smith said. Instead they’re working with community development financial institutions that in many instances weren’t approved lenders under the Small Business Administration and so were not able to distribute PPP money and make loans to their customers.

“We have to take this opportunity to reinvest in our business infrastructure in these small to medium businesses. In our banking infrastructure so that we can actually emerge out of this even stronger,” Smith said. “We have to invest in technology and software so that these ‘capillary banking systems’ are more efficient and they have more access to capital so they can engage with these businesses that are underbanked.”

In many instances this would amount to the construction of an entirely new financial infrastructure to support the small businesses that were only just beginning to emerge in minority communities after the 2008 recession.

“We need to get this average loan size to $25,000 and $15,000,” said Smith. To do that, community banks and development finance institutions are going to need to be able to access new fintech solutions that accelerate their ability to assess the creditworthiness of their customers and think differently about how to allocate capital and make loans. 

In some ways, Smith is echoing the call that fintech executives have been making since the PPP stimulus first started making its way through the financial system and banks began issuing loans.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t take a significant portion of capital to reinvest in the infrastructure of delivering capital back into those businesses and frankly reinvest in those businesses and give them technology and capability so there’s more transparency and visibility so there’s an opportunity to grow [and] scale,” said Smith. “I don’t want to see us go back to the same position where we were so we have these banking deserts.”

The head of Vista Equity Partners has even tasked his own portfolio companies to come up with solutions. As Barron’s reported last week, Smith told the Vista Equity portfolio company Finastra to develop technology that could help small lenders process Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses in underserved communities.

“In the process, it became apparent how unbanked these most vulnerable communities are, and we felt it was imperative to help build out permanent infrastructure in those banks so that they can build long-term relationships with the U.S. Small Business Administration beyond PPP,” Smith told Barrons.

As of last week, 800 lenders had processed 75,000 loans using the software that London-based Finastra developed for U.S. small lenders. Those loans generated $2.2 million in processing fees for the fintech company, proving that there’s money to be made in the small ticket lending market. And even as Finastra is reaping the rewards of its push into small business lending services, Vista Equity and Smith are donating the same amount to local food banks, according to a spokeswoman for the private equity firm, Barron’s reported.

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Vista Equity Partners to invest $1.5B in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners said on Friday it will invest $1.5 billion in Reliance Jio Platforms, joining social conglomerate Facebook and private equity firm Silver Lake that have also made bets on the Indian telecom giant in recent weeks.

The planned announcement, which would give U.S.-headquartered software-focused buyout firm Vista Equity Partners a 2.32% stake in Reliance Jio Platforms, values India’s top telecom operator at $65 billion (equity valuation) — the same valuation implied by the Silver Lake investment and a 12.5% premium over Facebook’s deal, the Indian firm said.

In the last three weeks, Reliance Jio Platforms has announced plans to sell about 13.4% stake in the firm to Facebook, Silver Lake, and Vista Equity Partners for about $8 billion.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which began its commercial operation in the second half of 2016, upended the local telecom market by offering bulk of 4G data and voice calls at cut-rate prices. A subsidiary of Reliance Industries (India’s most valuable firm by market value), Jio Platforms has amassed 388 million subscribers since its launch to become the nation’s top telecom operator.

Reliance Industries said on Friday that it aims to make Jio Platforms, in which it has poured more than $30 billion over the years, “a global technology leader and among the leading digital economies in the world.”

Vista, which began investing in software firms 20 years ago and has cut checks to more than three dozen companies, said it would explore ways to expand the reach of its portfolio companies’ products and services in India. Some of its portfolio firms already have significant presence in India, the world’s second largest internet market, said Vista.

“We are excited to leverage the professional expertise and multi-level support that Vista has been offering to its investments globally for the benefit of Jio,” said Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, in a statement.

The new commitment would help Ambani, India’s richest man, further cement his last year’s commitment to investors when he said he aimed to cut Reliance’s net debt of about $21 billion to zero by early 2021. Its core business, oil refining and petrochemicals, has been hard hit amid the coronavirus outbreak. Its net profit in the quarter that ended on March 31 fell by 37%.

In the company’s earnings call last month, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying stakes in Jio Platforms in the wake of the deal with Facebook.

Facebook said that other than offering capital to Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the firm, it would work with the Indian giant on a number of areas starting with e-commerce. Days later, JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India with over 400 million active users in the world’s second largest internet market.

In a statement, Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista, said, “We believe in the potential of the Digital Society that Jio is building for India. Mukesh’s vision as a global pioneer, alongside Jio’s world-class leadership team, have built a platform to scale and advance the data revolution it started.”

Reliance Jio Platforms also owns a suite of services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which it plans to take public), smartphones, broadband business, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payments service JioPay.

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M&A wrap: Audax, Vista, Robert F. Smith, Sumeru, Stifel, Piper Jaffray, Stifel, SoFi, Clearlake, M&A Mid-Market Awards

Audax, Vista, Sumeru, Stifel and Piper Jaffray win M&A Mid-Market Awards. SoFi buys payments firm Galileo. Clearlake and Levine Leichtman make deals.

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M&A wrap: M&A Mid-Market Award winners, Robert F. Smith, Vista Equity, Audax, Stifel Ford, GE, Airon, Coronavirus, MJH Life, Insight Partners, TSG, Pine Island, Bain

In the challenging times we face now, it’s more important than ever to come together as a community and recognize the people and companies that excel and lead. We invite you to join us in honoring the 2019 winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Awards. In contrast with the …

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5 years of M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Piper Jaffray, Robert F. Smith, Audax and Twin Brook among this year’s honorees

Honors an individual who made a significant impact on M&A. The award goes to an individual. All dealmakers are eligible.

2019: Robert F. Smith 2018: Hollie Haynes, Luminate Capital Partners2017: Randy Jacops, Idera2016: Greg Sandfort, Tractor Supply2015: David Brackett, John Martin, Anatares

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Vista Equity founder Robert F. Smith earns Dealmaker of the Year for breaking fundraising records

Technology proCEO and founder Robert F. Smith led Vista Equity Partners to a stellar year in 2019. The firm broke records in fundraising, completed several $1 billion deals and took a portfolio company public for the first time. Smith made headlines when he gave a generous donation to pay off student loans, …

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Post-holiday M&A wrap: Mergers & Acquisitions names Most Influential Women; investment bankers share forecasts for 2020; and more

Andrew Jessen, head of M&A, William Blair

In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of special reports Mergers & Acquisitions published over the holidays, including our 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A; an in-depth look at technologies transforming the retail sector; a fresh look at giving back; and 8 Q&As with M&A advisors, including William Blair’s Andrew Jessen, about what to expect in the year ahead.

If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. “Many companies will insulate themselves from this uncertainty by seeking to complete deals in the first half of 2020, before the Democratic National Convention in July,” explains Andrew Jessen, head of M&A, William Blair. “The biggest source of uncertainty is driven by who will win the Democratic nomination. If a more moderate candidate wins the nomination, volatility headed into November’s election should be relatively muted. But if a more progressive candidate wins the nomination, investors and business owners will be monitoring the campaigns very closely to see how the Democratic and Republican candidates’ proposed policies could affect specific sectors.” Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors.

Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners’ Kate Faust, William Blair’s Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners’ Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual.

The holiday shopping season shines a spotlight on the retail sector, which is undergoing huge transformational changes. Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change
Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald’s, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

The holidays provide a good opportunity for us to explore the philanthropic and volunteer initiatives underway in the private equity industry. In 2018, we published The Big Give, an in-depth look at how private equity firms are contributing. Efforts have continued to flourish, fueled by younger Millennials seeking to build a better future and by mature partners considering the legacy they will leave behind. Read our 2019 coverage: Private equity gives back: Vista’s Robert F. Smith, Clearlake’s José E. Feliciano, Riverside employees.

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