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Stocks Live to See Another Day

PE payouts are plummeting, hedge funds are ditching US stocks, investors are ploughing into US farmland, China is scrutinizing quant funds, Japanese stocks hit an all-time high, Apple released a free new sports app, and Nvidia delivered on its earnings hype.

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Good Morning,

PE payouts are plummeting, hedge funds are ditching US stocks, investors are ploughing into US farmland, China is scrutinizing quant funds, Japanese stocks hit an all-time high, Apple released a free new sports app, and Nvidia delivered on its earnings hype.

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Let’s dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 2/21/2024 market close.


  • US stocks closed mixed yesterday as investors awaited Nvidia's blockbuster earnings and reacted to Fed minutes suggesting caution about lowering rates too quickly

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed past its all-time closing high, 34 years after bubble burst

  • Chinese stocks closed at their highest level in seven weeks


  • Nvidia shares rose ~9% after beating Q4 earnings and revenue estimates and forecasting better-than-expected Q1 sales, even against elevated expectations for growth (CNBC

  • Rivian shares plunged 15% after forecasting full-year EV production that widely missed estimates and announcing plans to cut 10% of its workforce (CNBC

  • What we're watching this week:  

    • Today: Block, Moderna, Carvana, Intuit

    • Friday: Warner Bros. Discovery 

  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • AI mania resumes, with Nvidia outlook saving broader market (BBG)

  • Fed minutes show unease over premature cuts (WSJ)

  • Fed officials to debate balance sheet reduction efforts at March FOMC (RT)

  • Hedge funds ditch US stocks as Wall Street slides (RT)

  • Global debt hit a record $313T high (RT)

  • Japan downgrades view of economy on sluggish consumer spending (RT)

  • US urged banks to manage risks from fintech partnerships (RT)

  • Investors plough record amounts into US farmland  (FT)

  • China bans institutional investors from selling stocks at opening and closing bells (FT)

  • PE payouts at major firms plummet 49% in two years (BBG)

  • Chinese banks to lend $17B as part of real estate liquidity effort (RT)

  • Disney leans on AI in latest class of startup investments (BBG)

  • Apple releases free new sports app for iPhone (CNBC)

  • Roblox game developers earned a record $741M last year (BBG)

  • Taiwan chip firms flock to Japan as decoupling accelerates (RT)

  • Walmart eases supplier delivery demands as stocking pressures recede (WSJ)

  • Boeing to replace head of its 737 Max program (CNBC)

  • Two top Goldman bankers threaten to quit after exclusion from operating committee (FT)

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Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • US energy firm Chord Energy will acquire Canada's Enerplus in a cash-and-stock deal that will create an $11B combined entity (RT

  • Tech-focused PE firm Thoma Bravo is exploring a potential ~$8B sale of J.D. Power (BBG

  • ESR Groups top shareholders are considering options for the $5B Asian warehouse developer, including a take-private deal (BBG

  • Manufacturer Cie. de Saint-Gobain offered to acquire Australia’s CSR for $2.8B as the building industry consolidates (BBG

  • Germany’s professional football league Deutsche Fußball Liga canceled a potential $1.1B media rights deal with PE firms including CVC (BBG

  • French software company Axway began potential discussions to acquire most of Sopra Banking Software activities from Sopra Steria in a $357M deal (RT

  • MCR Hotels will acquire The BT Tower, one of London’s most distinctive buildings, for $347M from BT Group (BBG

  • Online shopping service operator Commerce Media acquired BuzzFeed’s media unit Complex Networks for $108.6M (BBG)

  • Italy is considering selling up to a 10% stake in lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena to cut debt (BBG


  • Moonshot AI, a Chinese startup building large language models, raised a $1B Series B at a $2.5B valuation led by Alibaba and HongShan (TC)

  • Industrial automation startup Hadrian raised a $117M Series B from a variety of investors (TC)

  • MMI, a robotics company focused on increasing treatment options and improving clinical outcomes for patients with complex conditions, raised a $110M Series C led by Fidelity (BW)

  • Simetrik, a B2B financial solutions startup, raised a $55M Series B led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management (TC)

  • Napier AI, a London-based financial crime compliance RegTech startup, received a $56.5M investment from Crestline Investors (BW)

  • Kairos Aerospace, a startup building methane-detection tech for the energy industry, raised a $52M Series D led by BlackRock (FN)

  • Qloo, a startup using AI to predict favorite movies, TV shows and more, raised a $25M Series C led by AI Ventures (TC)

  • HealthSnap, a remote patient monitoring and chronic care management platform, raised a $25M Series B led by Sands Capital (PRN)

  • BRIA, a responsible visual generative AI platform, raised a $24M Series A led by GFT Ventures, Intel Capital, and Entree Capital (PRN)

  • DustPhotonics, a developer of silicon photonics technology used in data centers and AI applications, raised a $24M Series B from Sienna Venture Capital, Greenfield Partners, Atreides Management, and Exor Ventures (PRN)

  • Microservices orchestration platform Orkes raised a $20M Series A led by Nexus Venture Partners (TC)

  • Blackbird Health, a neuroscience-led technology-backed youth mental health provider, raised a $17M Series A led by Define Ventures (PRN)

  • Empowerly, a startup providing college counseling and career guidance services, raised $15M in funding from Conductive Ventures (TC)

  • AltLayer, a decentralized protocol empowering developers to create rollups from various software stacks, raised a $14.4M round led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC (PRN)

  • Faddom, an Israeli startup helping companies map IT infrastructure, raised a $12M Series A from Viola Ventures, NFX, and others (TC)

  • Loora, a startup using conversational AI to teach English, raised a $12M Series A led by QP Ventures (TC)

  • Insamo, a biotech developing membrane permeable and orally available cyclic peptides, raised a $12M seed round from Playground Global, venBio, and MRL Ventures Fund (BW)

  • Ventiva, a startup building active cooling solutions for electronic devices, raised a $10M Series C (BW)

  • BridgeCare, a startup providing a data and tech infrastructure platform for early care and education, raised $10M in funding from Avenue Growth Partners (FN)

  • End-to-end developer for carbon credits Varaha raised an $8.7M Series A led by RTP Global (TC)

  • Tagomics, a developer of a platform for disease insight and diagnosis, raised an $8.2M round led by Calculus Capital (FN)

  • Novity, a provider of predictive maintenance AI for process industry clients, raised $7.8M in financing led by WERU Investment (PRN)

  • Acoustic water detection startup Conservation Labs raised a $7.5M Series A led by RET Ventures (TC)

  • Direct air capture startup Clairity raised a $6.8M seed round led by Initialized Capital and Lowercarbon Capital (TC)

  • Ziplines Education, an education startup that delivers industry-focused certificate courses in partnership with universities, raised a $6.4M Series A led by Jackson Square Ventures (PRN)

  • Northwood Space, a satellite data startup founded by ex-Disney star Bridgit Mendler, raised $6M from Founders Fund, a16z, and Also Capital (CNBC)

  • Elektra Health, a digital health platform for women navigating the menopause journey, raised a $3.3M round led by UPMC Enterprises (PRN)

  • NodeShift, a startup providing a single API for access to excess compute, storage and graphics accelerators, raised a $3.2M seed round led by Inovo.vc (TC)

  • Citrea, Bitcoin’s first zk-rollup, raised a $2.7M seed round led by Galaxy (FN)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • First Quantum Minerals agreed to sell $1B in stock and raise $1.6B via a notes offering (BBG)

  • Reddit plans to reserve an undetermined number of shares for its 75k most loyal users when it IPOs next month (WSJ) 

  • Novelis, an American aluminum products maker owned by Hindalco Industries, selected Bank of America and Citigroup for its US IPO (BBG

  • Oman Investment Authority appointed Lazard to advise on a potential IPO of its state power utility Oman Electricity Transmission (BBG


  • Cunova, a manufacturer of copper alloy products, will merge with SDCL EDGE Acquisition Corp. in a ~$736M deal (BW


  • Cisco Systems is raising $13.5B through a seven-part bond issuance to partly finance its proposed $28B acquisition of Splunk (BBG

  • Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie is seeking to sell at least $13B of bonds to help fund its acquisitions of ImmunoGen and Cerevel Therapeutics (BBG)

Bankruptcy / Restructuring

  • Hornblower, a cruise operator backed by Crestview Partners, filed for bankruptcy; existing creditor Strategic Value Partners agreed to acquire majority ownership in a debt-for-equity swap (WSJ)

  • Fertilizer maker Unigel Participacoes reached an agreement with creditors led by PIMCO to begin an out-of-court restructuring (BBG


  • CVC Capital Partners raised $6.8B for its sixth Asian fund to make consumer and service sector investments (WSJ

  • Lower MM alternative investment manager Keystone Capital closed its Fund III at $630M (FN

  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management launched its first European private credit fund for wealthy individuals and has raised ~$600M so far; the fund will provide senior debt to mid-sized and large European businesses (BBG

  • Ex-Elliott PM Mark Wills will launch his new hedge fund Cisu Capital Partners in Q2 with $200M-$300M in capital (BBG

Crypto Corner

  • Winklevoss twins donated ~$5M to a crypto super PAC (CNBC)

  • Fort Worth-based crypto company Lejilex and lobbying group Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas sued the SEC for 'overreach' on digital assets (RT)

Exec’s Picks

  • In light of ex-Disney star Bridgit Mendler raising $6M from Founders Fund and a16z, CNBC explained how a college application error led her to tech ventures.

  • Check out WSJ’s investigation into the curious case of why the lifespans of large appliances are shrinking.

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