PE HUB Wire Highlights, 9.10.19


Photo of Luisa Beltran, PE HUB Senior Editor, courtesy of Buyouts Insider.

Landmark loses long-time partner Ian Charles; CapVest Partners weighs options for Curium Pharma; Aquila sues Vista-backed Solera

It’s the age of the insurtechs.

Yesterday, Root Insurance raised $350 million in a Series E round of funding. DST Global and Coatue led the round with participation from Drive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Scale Venture Partners and Tiger Global ManagementThe round raises the company’s valuation to $3.65 billion. Root provides an online car insurance platform that aims to make buying auto insurance fairer for consumers.

Root’s funding comes less a week since Assurance IQ agreed to sell to Prudential Financial for $2.35 billion. Assurance, of Bellevue, Washington, uses data science and machine learning to sell life, health, Medigap and auto policies online to customers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Assurance is a continuation of the trend that sees insurers buying up smaller companies, while Root is trying to change the auto insurance market. I’m still waiting for one of these game-changing insurtechs to get bought out by private equity. Or has it already happened?

More importantly, how do you spell it. Is it insurtech or insuretech?

Behaving badly. Sometimes in private equity people fight. Sometimes, they sue each other, which allows us to witness their arguments. Anthony (Tony) Aquila has sued Solera Global Holding Corp and Solera Holdings Inc for allegedly refusing to honor its obligations to pay Aquila, Solera’s founder and former CEO, for his vested stock options worth in excess of $100 million. Vista Equity Partners acquired Solera in 2015 for roughly $6.5 billion. See our brief here.

Solera refused to pay Aquila the compensation on the grounds that a separate company he owns employed a mechanic, Guy Dibble, to restore classic cars, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing the lawsuit. Solera claimed this arrangement violated Aquila’s agreement not to hire Solera employees after leaving the company, the WSJ said. Vista isn’t named as a defendant but the PE firm is unhappy that Aquila left and that’s why they’re not paying, the story said.

There’s been lots of press about the WeWork IPO, which is reportedly thinking about reducing the amount it would seek in a public offering below the $20 billion figure previously reported. Now SoftBank, its biggest outside investor, wants WeWork to shelve the IPO after it received a cool reception from investors, the Financial Times is reporting.

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