LinkedIn: Investors Head for the Exits
LinkedIn’s early investors are looking to cash out their stakes in the professional-networking site, whose shares are up 74 percent since its IPO in May. The company’s secondary stock offering aims to sell as many as 9.2 million shares, three-quarters of which are from existing investors. Bain Capital Ventures, which led a $53 million round of funding in LinkedIn in June 2008, plans to sell off its entire 3.71 million share stake. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, CFO Steve Sordello, and director David Sze will each sell 10 percent of their personal holdings. LinkedIn reported a net loss of $1.6 million in the third quarter, driven by increased spending on research and development.
Google: A Music Store, at Last
Eight years after Apple opened its iTunes store, Google is launching a music market that lets users store songs online and listen to tracks on multiple devices. Google Music will sell tunes from several labels, including three of the four majors: Universal Music, Sony, and EMI Group. The new service will have exclusive content by artists like Busta Rhymes and the Rolling Stones. Self-published artists will be able to sell their songs over the service and keep 70 percent of sales.
Amgen: Making Investments to Replace R&D
While Amgen has cut research spending, the pharmaceutical company says its venture fund has invested in 26 companies since starting with $100 million in 2004. Use of corporate venture funds has been growing as increasing U.S. regulatory and marketing hurdles have driven traditional venture capitalists away from biotech startups. Amgen’s fund, which seeks treatments for illnesses including cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and blood diseases, typically spends $2 million to $3 million for its first investment in a company
Harvard University: Selling Private Equity Assets
Harvard University wants to sell about $1.5 billion of its holdings in private equity funds as it further cuts investments that contributed to record losses three years ago. Harvard Management, which oversees the school’s $32 billion endowment, is looking to sell U.S. buyout funds and energy investments, according to three people briefed on the plans. Harvard tried to sell the same amount of holdings in 2008 only to pull most of the stakes off the market as a flood of sellers pushed down prices.
TransCanada: New Route for the Keystone Pipeline
TransCanada plans to reroute the Keystone XL pipeline to avoid Nebraska’s Sandhills region. Concern that the pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar-sands crude through the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico, might harm a shallow aquifer in the Sandhills that provides the state’s water, has been a major hurdle for U.S. approval. On Nov. 10 the State Dept. delayed its decision on approval for Keystone until early 2013. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling had previously said changing the route would “seriously jeopardize” the project.