More and more financial investors are getting into Icon

While there are still two weeks before any indicative offers arrive for cancer care provider Icon Group, there are early signs that it could turn into the hottest private equity shootout in the world. ‘year.

Street Talk brought down a bunch of serious suitors – Morrison & Co, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, EQT Infrastructure, QIC Ltd Infrastructure Team, Stonepeak Infrastructure – and now we can add a few more to the list.

Icon Group owns 45 cancer care centers around the world and makes 80% of its profits in Australa, according to a pitch to potential buyers. AFR

There’s Baring Private Equity Asia, which is supposed to be working on the briefing memorandum, as well as Singapore’s Keppel, which is scratching a lot of Australian assets.

There are also a bunch of national pension funds that have discussed co-investment with their third-party infrastructure and PE managers.

As we said, it is still early days. Auctioneers Goldman Sachs and Jefferies are calling for first-round bids on September 7.

Goldman Sachs and Jefferies are leading the auction on behalf of the majority owners of Icon, including the Goldman Sachs core investment team, QIC’s private equity unit, and Chinese firm Pagoda Investments. Other investors include the company’s doctors and co-founders Cathie Reid and Stuart Giles.

A sales flyer sent to potential buyers earlier indicated that Icon has over 30 years of private cancer care experience, owns 45 centers around the world, and operates with an EBITDA margin of over 20%. The flyer said eighty percent of the group’s business was in Australia, in terms of revenue, while cancer care made up half of its revenue and the rest was split between membership (30 percent) and the pharmacy (20 percent).


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Fair Financial investors claim SoftBank drove startup into the ground so they could take full control of bankruptcy

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
  • SoftBank and its Vision fund have invested more than $ 300 million in Fair Financial, a car rental startup.
  • Fair is considering filing for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported this week.
  • Some Fair investors blame SoftBank and say the Japanese giant is trying to take control.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Investors in Fair Financial Corp., a struggling car rental startup once valued at over $ 1 billion, are exploring legal options to tackle SoftBank, which they say has deliberately pushed the company in the ground so that it can take full control and eliminate other shareholders.

“There was a calculated effort to drive the company into insolvency so that it could take over the business completely,” an investor told Insider. “SoftBank is guilty of putting the company in a difficult position.” Investors have asked not to be identified to discuss sensitive private matters. The current CEO of Fair and someone familiar with the matter disputed this description of Fair’s problems.

The startup was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Scott Painter with the ambition to disrupt the $ 120 billion used car industry. SoftBank and its giant Vision fund have invested at least $ 300 million in the company, while other investors have invested around $ 170 million.

The company is now considering a bankruptcy filing that would eliminate shareholders, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

SoftBank has built up a significant position in Fair’s debt in recent years, in part by purchasing assets from lender Greensill, investors said. Greensill, also backed by SoftBank, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

SoftBank now hopes to use its senior credit position to come out of a bankruptcy reorganization of Fair as the startup’s new equity owner, investors said. They spoke to Insider in an attempt to thwart this plan by arguing that SoftBank is not looking after Fair’s best interests and is acting more like a lender seeking control rather than a typical shareholder.

Fair had around $ 800 million in assets on the books in 2019, mostly from the more than 50,000 vehicles he owned. In late 2019, investors said SoftBank had started selling those assets and using the cash to run the business and pay off some of the debt it held.

Investors also said that in 2019, SoftBank kicked Painter out and replaced him with its own executive, Adam Hieber. SoftBank also kicked out Painter’s brother, Tyler Painter, and cut 40% of Fair’s staff.

Under SoftBank’s new leadership, Fair appeared to abandon growing the business, investors said. The startup has increased the upfront fees it charged, which is similar to down payments. Those start-up costs went from several hundred dollars to several thousand, and new customers evaporated. Fair also ended its insurance coverage, which infuriated existing customers and led to a wave of vehicle returns, according to investors.

Now, with most of Fair’s vehicles sold, its assets have fallen far below its debt, most of which is owned by SoftBank, investors said.

“SoftBank had a clear objective: to liquidate the fleet to generate revenue,” said one of the investors.

SoftBank declined to comment, but someone familiar with the matter said Painter was responsible for Fair’s mismanagement. Employees told Insider in 2019 that Fair’s unconstrained growth was its downfall, and some criticized Painter’s leadership.

“The Vision Fund does not control its businesses; this is not their model, ”said the person familiar with the matter. “In fact, Scott had total control. He spent recklessly thinking that the Vision Fund would always be there to bail him out. Eventually it became clear that he needed to be replaced, just as he was in his old business. Painter, who is still the chairman of Fair, declined to comment.

Brad Stewart, the current CEO of Fair who joined the company last year after a career in private equity, said any suggestion that SoftBank sabotaged the company is false.

“I saw them working really hard to save and keep the business going even though it cost them substantial capital that they didn’t have to invest,” said Stewart. “The point is, the company had an extremely negative unity economy and poorly developed risk controls that were hidden from the board and investors. These missteps led to a series of credit defaults starting in mid-2019 that forced someone to step in and save the business. “

The aggrieved investors said Stewart was a puppet of SoftBank and, exceptionally, had no capital in the startup he was hired for.

Stewart told Insider he was initially given shares when he took over as CEO, but the board blocked him from getting shares. In any case, he said the shares would have been worthless.

“It doesn’t really matter because the company’s debt was greater than its enterprise value when I started, so any grant was worth zero,” said Stewart.


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How the UN Goals Guide New ESG Blockchain Investment Vehicles

Demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments is accelerating and several key trends are emerging, from climate change to social unrest. The coronavirus pandemic, in particular, appears to have intensified discussions about the interdependence of sustainability and the financial system.

Blockchain has become a powerful and transformative technology in the 4th industrial revolution and is used in an ever-widening range of industries, but its energy footprint has been deemed unsustainable at the current rate. As a result, many ESG-focused investors are still reluctant to participate in this new technology, despite the potential benefits.

2021 is the year ESG investing propelled the biggest shift in capital allocation, and ESG considerations are guiding business decisions in ways that have never been seen. The company’s one-stop bottom line, profit at all costs, is becoming a “triple bottom line” focused on people, planet and profit.

“When investors arrive, they look for an opportunity to invest in an ESG-compliant company before they allocate funds to a specific proposal, project, opportunity, company or business,” said Stefan Rust, CEO and co-founder of Sonic Capital and HydrogenX. , in an interview with Forkast.News.

According to the latest Bloomberg Intelligence ESG Mid-year 2021 outlook report, ESG assets are on track to exceed $ 53 trillion by 2025, which represents more than a third of the $ 140.5 trillion in global assets under management forecast. Bloomberg Intelligence also reported that the S&P 500 ESG Index has outperformed the S&P 500 Index since the start of the year by around 15%.

Despite the bad press, blockchain-based technology and business solutions show significant potential to positively impact society and the environment, and products are hitting the market for the ESG-focused investor.

Blockchain for the planet

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address the most pressing global challenges. Climate action is one of them, and the UN target demands a strict reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as well as climate adaptation action or take steps to prepare for the effects of climate change and expected impacts in the future.

Together with Zurich-based Tavis Digital, Sonic Capital launched Sphere, a new investment product that uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework as a guide while applying ESG investment criteria.

According to Rust of Sonic Capital, a green blockchain industry is evolving. While the market is still nascent, Sphere sees an endless capacity for growth. Its potential is becoming increasingly evident with the rise of blue chip companies entering the space and their desire for a more fluid, efficient and transparent market.

“We break down ESG into three compartments: energy, carbon and other, and if you combine all of these ESG activities, you see a significant movement of companies and businesses into these categories, from all the big tech companies to the multinationals, as well. than local governments trying to move this forward and align this with the 17 SDG goals that the UN has stipulated, ”said Rust.

In Asia in particular, Rust sees sustainable investing largely driven by government support and an effort to foster greater inclusion of groups traditionally under-represented in markets.

“In China, it’s a big mandate. It’s huge. In Korea, the premium for being ESG or SDG compliant is very high, higher than anywhere in the world, ”said Rust. “The more developed markets are very optimistic about this and are taking proactive steps in this direction.”

Through Sphere, investors can capitalize on growing opportunities in the sustainable economy and technology sector by identifying blockchain protocols with positive environmental impact.

“We truly believe in the potential and future of blockchain technology applications impacting impact and their ability to generate positive impact on society and the environment,” said Christian Speckhardt, Partner at Tavis Digital and veteran of impact investing in an email to Forkast.News.

Blockchain is poorly understood

Bitcoin’s blockchain carbon footprint has become a growing concern for environmentally conscious investors. In fact, the recent crypto market crash began in mid-May, when Elon Musk suddenly said Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as a form of payment due to environmental concerns.

Blockchains like Bitcoin operate on proof of work algorithms, which must be solved by computers through cryptographic calculations in order to mine BTC tokens. The energy required by miners for these calculations results in high energy consumption.

However, Sphere will focus on investing in the proof of stake blockchain. Staking is estimated to use 99.9% less energy than existing proof-of-work systems. This allows investors to profit while helping the industry move towards greener solutions.

Despite the emphasis on proof of stake, Rust argued that there was actually a lot of misconception in the industry regarding proof of work.

“About 60-70% of the electricity consumed by proof-of-work networks actually comes from renewable energy sources or even wasted electricity that won’t be pumped into the grid,” Rust said. “Essentially, Proof of Work is a lot more environmentally friendly than a lot of people think. “

Sphere is an actively managed certificate (AMC), which are bank securities that can be purchased through a Swiss International Securities Identification Number (ISIN). Investors will be able to participate in impact-related blockchain technologies through their respective crypto assets, which offers the potential for price appreciation in addition to stake rewards, according to Sonic Capital.

The AMC also removes the intricacies of the crypto world for new investors and provides a fixed ramp. By providing the bank with Sphere’s ISIN, investors can subscribe directly through an existing bank account, which is comparable to buying traditional stocks.


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Fair Financial investors claim SoftBank drove startup into the ground so they could take full control of bankruptcy

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
  • SoftBank and its Vision fund have invested more than $ 300 million in Fair Financial, a car rental startup.
  • Fair is considering filing for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported this week.
  • Some Fair investors blame SoftBank and say the Japanese giant is trying to take control.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Investors in Fair Financial Corp., a struggling car rental startup once valued at over $ 1 billion, are exploring legal options to tackle SoftBank, which they say has deliberately pushed the company in the ground so that it can take full control and eliminate other shareholders.

“There was a calculated effort to drive the company into insolvency so that it could take over the business completely,” an investor told Insider. “SoftBank is guilty of putting the company in a difficult position.” Investors have asked not to be identified to discuss sensitive private matters. The current CEO of Fair and someone familiar with the matter disputed this description of Fair’s problems.

The startup was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Scott Painter with the ambition to disrupt the $ 120 billion used car industry. SoftBank and its giant Vision fund have invested at least $ 300 million in the company, while other investors have invested around $ 170 million.

The company is now considering a bankruptcy filing that would eliminate shareholders, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

SoftBank has built up a significant position in Fair’s debt in recent years, in part by purchasing assets from lender Greensill, investors said. Greensill, also backed by SoftBank, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

SoftBank now hopes to use its senior credit position to come out of a bankruptcy reorganization of Fair as the startup’s new equity owner, investors said. They spoke to Insider in an attempt to thwart this plan by arguing that SoftBank is not looking after Fair’s best interests and is acting more like a lender seeking control rather than a typical shareholder.

Fair had around $ 800 million in assets on the books in 2019, mostly from the more than 50,000 vehicles he owned. In late 2019, investors said SoftBank had started selling those assets and using the cash to run the business and pay off some of the debt it held.

Investors also said that in 2019, SoftBank kicked Painter out and replaced him with its own executive, Adam Hieber. SoftBank also kicked out Painter’s brother, Tyler Painter, and cut 40% of Fair’s staff.

Under SoftBank’s new leadership, Fair appeared to abandon growing the business, investors said. The startup has increased the upfront fees it charged, which is similar to down payments. Those start-up costs went from several hundred dollars to several thousand, and new customers evaporated. Fair also ended its insurance coverage, which infuriated existing customers and led to a wave of vehicle returns, according to investors.

Now, with most of Fair’s vehicles sold, its assets have fallen far below its debt, most of which is owned by SoftBank, investors said.

“SoftBank had a clear objective: to liquidate the fleet to generate revenue,” said one of the investors.

SoftBank declined to comment, but someone familiar with the matter said Painter was responsible for Fair’s mismanagement. Employees told Insider in 2019 that Fair’s unconstrained growth was its downfall, and some criticized Painter’s leadership.

“The Vision Fund does not control its businesses; this is not their model, ”said the person familiar with the matter. “In fact, Scott had total control. He spent recklessly thinking that the Vision Fund would always be there to bail him out. Eventually it became clear that he needed to be replaced, just as he was in his old business. Painter, who is still the chairman of Fair, declined to comment.

Brad Stewart, the current CEO of Fair who joined the company last year after a career in private equity, said any suggestion that SoftBank sabotaged the company is false.

“I saw them working really hard to save and keep the business going even though it cost them substantial capital that they didn’t have to invest,” said Stewart. “The point is, the company had an extremely negative unity economy and poorly developed risk controls that were hidden from the board and investors. These missteps led to a series of credit defaults starting in mid-2019 that forced someone to step in and save the business. “

The aggrieved investors said Stewart was a puppet of SoftBank and, exceptionally, had no capital in the startup he was hired for.

Stewart told Insider he was initially given shares when he took over as CEO, but the board blocked him from getting shares. In any case, he said the shares would have been worthless.

“It doesn’t really matter because the company’s debt was greater than its enterprise value when I started, so any grant was worth zero,” said Stewart.


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