Venture Briefing: August 23, 2017 Venture Briefing: August 23, 2017

Venture Briefing: August 23, 2017

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P.E. Firms Have $738.7B to Spend, Could Boost Company Prices
Private equity investors have more capital at their disposal than at any time in more than a decade, which could boost prices for companies seeking acquisitions. As of Aug. 1, private equity firms in North America and Europe had secured $212.6 billion in new commitments this year, on pace to eclipse the "already stellar" fundraising year they had in 2016, according to a new report and analysis from Seattle-based PitchBook.
(Source: xconomy, 2017-08-17) Read the full article
Unicorn Tech Startups Going Public at Fastest Pace in Three Years
Highly-valued tech startups are going public at a pace not seen in three years. Four so-called "unicorns," or private companies valued at $1 billion or higher, completed initial public offerings in the second quarter, double what was seen in the first quarter, and equal to the number of unicorn IPOs for the entire year in both 2015 and 2016, according to data compiled by Goldman Sachs.
(Source: Business Insider, 2017-08-15) Read the full article
Nearing Record, Venture Fundraising Could Reach Over $40B in 2017
Through July, $27.5 billion has been raised across 165 firms as venture fundraising is on pace to exceed $40 billion for the fourth consecutive year. It’s also approaching the record $51 billion raised last year.
(Source: GeekWire, 2017-08-16) Read the full article
ICOs Outpacing Venture Capital, Raising $1.25B So Far in 2017
The amount of money raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain start-ups via so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) has surpassed early stage venture capital funding for internet companies for the past two months. ICOs are a way for start-ups to raise money from users, similar to crowdfunding, by allowing them to buy a stake.
(Source: CNBC, 2017-08-09) Read the full article
New Case Tests Insider Trading Based on Friendship
The prosecution of five defendants is the first opportunity for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, the premier office for pursuing insider trading prosecutions, to test how far it can go in pursuing tippees based on friendship. Prosecutors will continue to embrace the gift theory of a benefit because it avoids having to prove there was something of value passed to the source.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-08-21) Read the full article
Chamber Asks SEC to Reject Auditor Disclosure Proposal
In a strongly worded letter, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to turn thumbs down on a proposal that would require auditors to disclose their biggest concerns in their audits of public companies. If the SEC approves the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's proposed standard revising auditor reporting, that "will lead to the disclosure of immaterial, confidential, and confusing information that will obfuscate disclosures for investors and make capital formation less efficient," David Hirschmann, the chief executive officer of the Chamber's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, wrote to the SEC.
(Source: CFO.com, 2017-08-16) Read the full article
Most Corporations Don't Pay Near 35 Percent Statutory Tax Rate
The statutory federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, and it has been since 1993. Any company that pays that rate should probably be looking for a new chief financial officer.
(Source: MSN Money, 2017-08-11) Read the full article
Women-Founded Start-Ups Still Struggle to Raise Venture Capital
Just four percent of funding from U.S.-based VC firms through July 13 of this year went to women-founded start-ups in their earliest stages, known as angel or seed funding, figures from PitchBook, a private capital data and research firm, show. Early-stage VC funding, the next level up, shows a similar pattern at three percent so far this year.
(Source: USA Today, 2017-08-17) Read the full article
60% of Surveyed Small Business Owners Don't Have Succession Plans
Succession planning should be a priority for small business owners, since a company's survival can depend on it, but it's often on the back burner. Sixty percent of owners in a survey released by insurer Nationwide said they didn't have a succession plan, and of those owners, nearly half said they didn’t think it was necessary.
(Source: Finance and Commerce, 2017-08-11) Read the full article
Study Finds Companies with Political Ties Face More SEC Scrutiny
Contrary to previous research supporting the belief that public companies with political ties get less scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission, well-connected outfits are probed more deeply, a new study finds. The political connections companies have "positively predict" reviews of comment letters "and substantive characteristics of such reviews, including the number of issues evaluated and the seniority of SEC staff involved," the study's authors contend.
(Source: CFO.com, 2017-08-07) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
The Internet of Things – A Tangled Web of Evidentiary Issues

Google Home, Amazon Echo, Fitbit—they’re the quintessential “must have” pieces of new technology. They record our fitness data, spout the weather forecast, and even order takeout. These virtual family members, ready at a moment’s notice with their encyclopedic knowledge and their helpfulness, have become necessary gadgets in a world increasingly filled with them. Read full article online.

 

By The Numbers

Private debt funds, the other name for non-bank lenders, distributed $58 billion in capital worldwide in the first half of 2016, according to financial data firm Preqin.
Source: Reuters - Funding squeeze hastens take-off of non-bank lending in Middle East

 

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Ice Miller has been one of the most active law firms in the private equity industry over the last decade, representing both entrepreneurs building great companies and the private equity firms and individuals that invest in them.  We have extensive experience with all types of funds (formations and operations); mezzanine and senior secured financing; leveraged buyouts, roll-ups, build-ups, and consolidations; divestitures and exits; and complex litigation on behalf of investors and privately financed companies.  In addition, over the past 10 years, Ice Miller has represented hundreds of emerging growth businesses in various industries on such matters as entity formation, capitalization, capital raising, alternative financing, intellectual property rights and protection, growth and exit strategies, corporate governance, tax matters, and many other legal issues that are critical to the growth and success of an emerging company.

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