Investments

Unicorns Remain (IPO) Shy

Unicorns get a new member

Amid stock volatility, some unicorns pull back from previous IPO plans. Could there be cannibalization amid mergers and acquisitions, too?

The unicorn is a fickle animal. The unicorn can be a shy animal and may shy away from public … investors, that is.

Actifio, which focuses on copy data virtualization, has walked away from previous plans to go public. The company’s CEO told the financial trade press that he would take a cue from Uber, which has remained private yet been valued at huge sums. Neither customers nor investors are demanding the firm go public, said the executive.

Likewise, actress Jessica Alba’s startup, The Honest Co., is looking to go public, eventually and slowly. Investors at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a company backer, have been vocal about not being in a rush to tap into an IPO.

In a management shift, Matthias Knecht, former head of Funding Circle’s European operations, has left the company in the wake of what the German financial press termed a dispute with leadership of the firm based in the U.K. The firm itself said that Brexit did not play a role in the resignation.

In one bit of news that presages possible merger and acquisition activity, hyperconverged tech firm Nutanix is rumored to be interested in buying PernixData, a hypervisor firm. The firms have released no comment thus far.

Zenefits — the saga continues. In the wake of a layoff mandate that saw a sizable percentage of staff depart as the company looks to rightsize its strategy, the firm voluntarily cut its valuation in half.

Talk about a down round. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the firm ironed out a deal with its biggest investors, with the structure essentially giving the investors who participated in the latest $50 million funding round additional equity. So, instead of owning 11 percent of the firm, now they own 25 percent, and the valuation has effectively gone from $4.5 billion to $2 billion with the stroke of a pen. Zenefits, in turn, gets released from potential legal claims.

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