Blackstone Group and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have agreed to acquire Ascend Learning LLC, a Burlington, Massachusetts-based provider of educational content, software and analytics solutions. No financial terms were disclosed; however, Reuters earlier reported the deal is valued at more than $2 billion, including debt. The sellers are Providence Equity Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Software lifecycle integration platform Tasktop has raised about $11.3 million in a follow-on financing. The round was led by U.S. venture capital firm AVX Partners. AVX was joined by Austin Ventures and Yaletown Partners, which also invested in the Vancouver company’s $11 million Series A round in 2014. Founded in 2007 by CEO Mik Kersten and Chief Scientist Gail Murphy, Tasktop has designed integration technology to improve software development and delivery. The company reported 75 percent growth in revenue in fiscal 2016. Tasktop plans to use the funds raised for go-to-market development, marketing and sales activities.
French food company Cérélia Group has acquired English Bay Batter Inc, a Vancouver-based bakery business that makes cookies, muffins, brownies and other pastries sold across North America. No financial terms were released. Cérélia said the deal creates a global business with an enlarged range of product offerings distributed via retail, in-store bakery and food-service channels. Founded in 1983 by CEO Jack Seguin, English Bay was acquired by Canadian investment holding company Kilmer Van Nostrand in 2014. Manulife Capital and BMO Capital Partners also invested. Cérélia has been backed by European private equity firm IK Investment Partners since 2015.
Vancouver-based biotherapeutics company Zymeworks Inc has filed for a U.S. and Canadian IPO. The IPO, which will give the company a listing on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ZYME”, has not been officially priced; however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission notes a proposed offering size of as much as $75 million. Zymeworks’ backers include BDC Capital and Lumira Capital.
Beijing BDStar Navigation Co Ltd has agreed to acquire Rx Networks Inc, a Vancouver-based mobile positioning technology company, according to a Reuters report.
Montréal software startup Kaloom Inc has raised about $10.7 million in Series A financing. The round, closed in December, was led by Canadian private equity and venture capital firm Fonds de solidarité FTQ and joined by Somel Investments, MBUZZ Investments, Griffin Capital and other investors. Launched in 2014, Kaloom is building a software networking solution aimed at helping data center deliver services and applications with higher performance and lower cost. The company, led by Co-founder and CEO Simon Williams, is currently growing its team in Montréal, where most R&D is undertaken, and in Silicon Valley.
Canadian private equity firm Clairvest Group has agreed to sell its interest in Lyophilization Services of New England Inc, a contract manufacturing organization that provides lyophilization services to the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Clairvest, which in 2008 acquired a minority stake in Manchester, New Hampshire-based LSNE, said it expects to realize sales proceeds of about $80 million. That compares against the $48.9 million value estimated for the company in December. LSNE will be bought by an affiliate of European private equity firm Permira. The deal is expected to close before the end of June.
FarmLead has raised $6.5 million in Series A financing. The round was led by Monsanto Growth Ventures, the investment arm of Monsanto Co, and joined by Avrio Ventures, MaRS Innovation and Serra Ventures. With the deal, Kiersten Stead of MGV and Aki Georgacacos of Avrio will join the board. Ottawa-based FarmLead operates a digital marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals. The company has since 2013 grown to serve over 4,000 farms. Led by CEO Brennan Turner, it will use the funds raised to expand into the U.S. market and open an office in Chicago.
Montréal virtual health and wellness solution Dialogue has raised C$4 million in seed-stage financing. The announcement confirms news previously shared by one of the startup’s Canadian investors, Diagram, which launched a $25 million debut fund in January. Diagram led the round and was joined by BDC Capital and Hacking Health Accelerator, among others. Founded last year, Dialogue offers employers a virtual platform that provides a range of employee-focused healthcare services and benefits. Led by Co-Founder and CEO Cherif Habib, the company will use the funds raised to build on its Québec launch and continue expansion in Ontario.
Toronto financial technology company Sensibill Inc has raised $17.3 million in a Series A financing. Canadian venture capital firms Information Venture Partners and OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund led the round and were joined by Operative Capital, Mistral Venture Partners and Impression Ventures. As a result, Information VP’s David Unsworth and OTEAF’s Tony van Marken will join the board. Founded in 2013 by CEO Corey Gross and CTO Jamie Alexander, Sensibill is a software platform that allows banking customers to manage line-item receipts directly from desktop and mobile applications. The funds raised will support scaling of its solution.
Roadmunk, a roadmap visualization software platform, has secured $1.5 million in a seed-stage financing. The round was led by Canadian venture capital firm Golden Venture Partners and joined by Felicis Ventures and Garage Capital. Founded in 2012 by CEO Latif Nanji and CTO Tomas Benda, Toronto-based Roadmunk has built a web application that allows enterprises to create and share visual strategy roadmaps. With additional offices in Waterloo and London, United Kingdom, the startup has grown to serve more that 25,000 product managers in organizations worldwide. Roadmunk has previously received funding from BDC Capital.
Canadian enterprise DNS solutions provider BlueCat Networks has agreed to be acquired by U.S. private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which will see BlueCat’s existing management team remain in place and retain an equity ownership position. The deal will also provide an exit for the company’s existing backers, Trident Capital and Northleaf Capital Partners. Toronto-based BlueCat was founded in 2001 by Michael Hyatt and Richard Hyatt, and is led by CEO Michael Harris. It said the partnership with Madison Dearborn will help accelerate growth through product development and marketing. The acquisition is expected to close in Q2 2017.
Montréal-based luxury vacation rental company Luxury Retreats has been acquired by Airbnb, a U.S. online hospitality business. No financial terms were released, however, the Globe and Mail reported Airbnb paid between $200 million and $300 million in cash and stock. Luxury Retreats will continue to operate as a standalone entity in the short term, with Founder and CEO Joe Poulin joining Airbnb as a luxury specialist. Airbnb said it will invest in Luxury Retreats, which offers over 4,000 homes in 100 destinations worldwide. Luxury Retreats raised about $20 million from Canadian venture capital firm iNovia Capital and other investors, including 2015’s $11 million Series B round.
Canada Goose Inc, a Toronto designer and maker of outdoor luxury apparel, has filed for an initial public offering of its subordinate voting shares on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a report by Reuters. The company has priced the offering at US$100 million, Reuters said, citing an Securities Exchange Commission filing. Established in 1957, Canada Goose was acquired by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital in December 2013. The IPO will include a secondary sale by Bain, according to the company’s preliminary prospectus, that will leave it with majority control.
Specialty finance firm Wellington Financial has invested $6 million in Electric Cloud, a San Jose, California-based DevOps release automation platform. Electric Cloud, whose technology solutions help organizations to deliver software faster by automating and accelerating build, deployment and release processes, also secured $5 million from Bridge Bank. The company said the funds raised will support operational expansion and further product development. Electric Cloud is backed by Rembrandt Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, RRE Ventures and Siemens Venture Capital.
Fengate Real Asset Investments has closed its acquisition of three operating, fully-contracted solar assets from Canadian Solar Inc for an undisclosed amount. The acquired assets are solar farms located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with a combined capacity of 59.8 MWac. Fengate, a Toronto investment firm focused on infrastructure, real estate and private equity opportunities, said the deal represents its largest power investment to date. The firm has a renewable energy portfolio that includes solar, wind, hydro and biomass projects in North America and the United Kingdom.
Jamieson Laboratories Ltd has acquired Body Plus, a Toronto maker and marketer of natural health and sports nutrition supplements across Canada. No financial terms were disclosed. Jamieson, a Windsor, Ontario-based vitamins maker, said the deal strengthens its product portfolio and expands its reach into sports nutrition and specialty retail channels. Jamieson has since 2014 been a portfolio company of U.S. private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors. Last May, Reuters reported CCMP was planning to sell the business for between US$600 million and US$700 million.
Hayfin Capital Management LLP, a European private debt investment firm, has agreed to be acquired by British Columbia Investment Management Corp (bcIMC). No financial terms were disclosed, however, Sky News reported the deal’s value to be about £215 million (US$268 million). The Canadian pension fund bought a majority stake in Hayfin from the company’s founding shareholders: TowerBrook Capital Partners, PSP Investments, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and Future Fund. London-based Hayfin, established in 2009, said bcIMC will commit “significant capital” to its managed funds and support its long-term growth.