Chinese Coffee Shop Unicorn Raises $200 Million, Cirque de Soleil Acquires VStar, France Outlasts Belgium and 7-11 Turns 91

Good Wednesday Morning,

Daylight – Starbucks had more or less propped its feet up on China, numbers so huge it almost made US a small player, but now the first Chinese coffee shop unicorn raised $200 million to take on Starbucks. Luckin Coffee’s funding round adds to the war chest as it aims sights on a dominant brand.

Live Rounds – His CFO was not really for it but Tesla Founder Elon Musk signed an agreement yesterday to build a Tesla gigafactory in Shanghai. Big question: Tesla is already struggling to ramp up production in Fremont, CA, so how will it manage setting up shop in another country at the same time his management team was asking?

M&A – Cirque du Soleil will acquire VStar Entertainment Group, a live entertainment and event promotions company, from AUA Private Equity Partners.

Brynwood Partners acquired Pillsbury and other J.M. Smucker brands for $375 million.

Aveanna Healthcare completed its acquisition of Premier Healthcare Services, a pediatric services provider with operation in Colorado and Texas.

AdvancedMD acquired NueMD, an SaaS model platform for managing health practices.

Bacharach acquired Neutronics, a refrigerant and gas analyzer maker.

Cadence Aerospace acquired Perfekta, a provider of hard metal and aluminum components, and complex machined forgings for the aerospace, defense and space industries.

Carolina Color acquired Chroma Corporation, a maker of colors for bottles, electronics and more.

Mobile Communications America acquired Myrtle Beach Communications, a provider of two-way radio communications, video surveillance and fleet upfitting.

Style – Donald Trump touched down in Brussels last night in time for the climax of the World Cup semi-final between Belgium and France, but the real fireworks were when he broadsided Chancellor Merkel calling Germany a “Captive of Russia” because they just signed an energy agreement with Putin. Sorry, Ms. Angela, crossfire, that was meant for CNN who calls Trump a puppet of Putin.

The US president is due to start his day at NATO’s gleaming new headquarters and end it at a dinner tonight and then fly to link up with Putin for a private meeting.

France edges closer to World Cup success. The French will make their third World Cup Final appearance in 20 years on Sunday, after defeating Belgium, 1-0. France will face the winner of today’s Croatia-England match.

Buzzard’s Roost – This is frankly a shocker – Uber’s head of human resources, Liane Hornsey announced she quit in an email to staff on Tuesday, following an investigation into how she dealt with racial discrimination complaints. She had been one of the ride-hailing app’s main spokespeople on diversity during her 18 months on the job. Just know we are all in the game with five fouls.

Hot – Scientists have now saved dying organs by collecting billions of mitochondria – the power-center of the cell, and injecting a billion of them back into damaged cells. The mighty mitochondria “moved like magnets to the proper places in the cells and began supplying energy,” reported researchers. Instead of liver transplants, you have liver rejuvenations. Huge breakthrough.  

Spotlight – From the Oxford Machine, Member Greg Johnson took the top job at Sponsor Pulse Center Technologies yesterday. Founders Paul and Tessa Webb built the company to a market leader position and now are ready to roll to $100 million. By the way, the former Spanx CFO came off the market two days after we placed it in MR. Strike Fast. Top talent coming to us in big numbers to place them in the next winning company – otherwise, they are rolling the dice too.

Economics – Pfizer said it would roll back its recently announced drug-price increases following “an extensive discussion with President Trump” and said it would defer the company’s price increases that were effective on July 1 “to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients.” Trump is earning some of those bragging rights but probably will bank it for the 2020 election.

Culture – 7-Eleven, which is celebrating its 91st anniversary, estimated it will give away about nine million Slurpees by the end of the day. The pioneer of convenience store in 1946 changed its name from “totem” to 7 to 11 to reflect its new hours of operation. Name change that made sense but killing the Icee machine did not.  

Investment Banking – L Catterton Asia and JD.com invested $175 million in Secoo, an e-commerce platform.

Better Capital failed to sell airplane parts firm Northern Aerospace to a Chinese buyer after regulators blocked the deal on national security concerns.

Hedge Funds – Arable Capital Partners acquired Lodi Pump and Irrigation, an irrigation systems maker.

Branford Castle Partners acquired a controlling stake in Titan Production Equipment, a maker of oil and gas production equipment.

IPO – AFG Holdings, an oil and gas pressure drilling firm, now says it plans to raise $300 million in an IPO of 18.2 million shares priced between $15 to $18.

Bloom Energy, a power cell maker, plans to raise $252 million in an IPO of 18 million shares priced between $13 to $15.

Rubius Therapeutics, a biotech creating therapies based on red blood cells, plans to raise $200 million in an offering of 9.53 million shares priced between of $20 to $22.

Allakos, an allergy antibodies developer, said it plans to raise $96 million in an offering of 6 million shares priced between $15 to $17.

Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical firm plans to raise $80 million in an offering of 5 million shares at a priced between $15 to $17.

Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a epigenetics cancer therapies maker, said it plans to $80 million in an offering 5.3 million shares priced between $14 to $16.

Venture Capital – Toast, the restaurant management platform, raised $115 million.

Virtudent, a firm dental care, raised $8 million.

Elixirgen Therapeutics, a stem cell therapies maker developing treatments for Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s, raised $4 million.

Cell-Ed, a mobile learning platform for low-skilled workers, raised $1.5 million.

And that’s what’s ahead, Cliff

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