IPOs Readying for Takeoff and a Tell-All with Crash Landing’s Liz Hoffman

Is the thaw here? That’s what CNBC’s Scott Wapner asked his colleague Michael Santoli this week after The Information’s Cory Weinberg broke the news that SeatGeek had confidentially filed for an IPO. “I would expect some venture-backed, even some private equity owned businesses to kind of break that logjam perhaps. Once one gets through, others will try it,” said Santoli. Could SeatGeek be the one?


The company’s IPO plans emerge following a scrapped SPAC merger last year forcing the company to raise $238 million in Series E funding at a $1 billion valuation. Also on the IPO beat, Bloomberg reports that chipmaker Changxin Memory is considering a Shanghai listing at some point this year. Amid a quieter deal market, with predictions from investment banks like Morgan Stanley projecting deal activity to remain slow until at least later this year or early next year, IPO activity would be a welcome kickstart in the market for several other hopefuls such as Instacart and Reddit.


Following this week’s historic $787.5 million defamation settlement between Fox and Dominion, Reuters columnist Alison Frankel reported that investors are exploring potential legal avenues against the company for breach of fiduciary oversight. Elsewhere in the corporate governance landscape, Nordstrom made headlines this week for adding former Nike executive Eric Splunk to its board following pressure from activist Ryan Cohen. It wasn’t clear whether Cohen was involved in Splunk’s appointment; however, the company revealed in its proxy filing that it had received notice of a shareholder who intended to nominate two individuals to the Board, which was later withdrawn. Activist heat also continues to plague HSBC leading up to its annual meeting, but the company shot back at its largest investor Ping An in defense of its Asia operations this week following frequent engagement with the investor.


The highlight of our week at GPP was hosting Semafor reporter and newly published author Liz Hoffman at our office (image above) to discuss her book “Crash Landing” over lunch. It was fascinating to travel back in time to the eeriness of March 2020 and hear more about Liz’s process and how the book took shape. Liz interviewed some of the biggest leaders and investors in corporate America about how they either acted quickly to get ahead of the crisis before it came to their businesses, or scrambled to secure everything and keep their companies afloat. She came away optimistic about how executives handled it all. Don’t miss Liz and our very own Lauren Odell, GPP partner, on a Berkeley Law panel later today at 1PM eastern about The State of Shareholder Activism.


Have a great weekend,

GPP Team 


The Information: SeatGeek Files Confidentially for IPO 

After SeatGeek’s failed SPAC merger last year, the ticketing platform has filed its intention to publicly list on a U.S. exchange. Read More

Bloomberg: Chinese Chip Rival to Samsung Seeks IPO at $14.5 Billion Value

Changxin Memory, a state-affiliated manufacturer of DRAM chips, is seeking an IPO in Shanghai . As the international race for semiconductor and other technological manufacturing ramps up, the company’s offering may help to bolster China’s standing in the industry. Read More

Reuters: Fox Shareholders Are Circling Rupert Murdoch

Fox shareholders are gearing up to sue the company’s leadership after it reached a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems Corp for $787.5m this week over its defamation claims. Read More

CNBC: Nordstrom Adds Former Nike Executive to Board as Activist Battle Continues

Melissa Repko reports that former Nike COO Eric Sprunk has been added to Nordstrom’s board as the company continues to engage with activist investor Ryan Cohen. Read More

Financial Times: Morgan Stanley Chief Warns Investment Banking May Not Recover Until Next Year

Joshua Franklin reports that, though the M&A market continues to be slow, the latter half of 2023 and into 2024 may see an uptick in deal activity. Read More


Financial Times: Glencore Says It is Willing to Improve $23bn Bid for Teck Resources

Doubling down on their intentions to purchase the Canadian miner Teck Resources, Glencore CEO Gary Nagle emphasized the company could be planning a more favorable offer, claiming the current bid was not the “best and final.” Read More

Reuters: GSK bets $2bln on Bellus Cough Drug to Soothe Pipeline Fears

Pharmaceutical giant GSK plans to purchase Bellus, which manufactures medications for respiratory illnesses. The acquisition comes as a number of GSK’s existing patents are edging towards expiration. Read More

TechCrunch: Sega to Acquire Angry Birds-Maker Rovio 

The deal for Helsinki listed company Rovio, valued at $775 million, comes as fervor surrounding mobile games has slowed in recent years impacting Rovio’s share price. Sega’s CEO still sees high potential in the expanding mobile gaming marketplace. Read More

Bloomberg: Merger Monday Renews Hope of M&A Turning Point

After the weakest January for dealmaking in two decades, Fareed Sahloul and Dinesh Nair speculate whether the latest Merger Monday has provided another spark of hope that the M&A market may return in the latter half of 2023. Read More

The Wall Street Journal: Merck to Acquire Prometheus Biosciences

Set to close in the third quarter of this year, Laura Cooper, Lauren Thomas and Jared S. Hopkins report that Merck has agreed to buy Prometheus Biosciences for $10.8b. Read More


Axios: M&A Lag Hits U.S. Shareholder Activism

Although international shareholder activists have launched a record number of campaigns this proxy season, Mike Flaherty details how U.S.-based raiders’ activity has tapered off after a blistering start. Read More

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: What the First Universal Proxy Card Contests Say About the Future of Activism

Attorneys from Sidley Austin discuss what 2023’s activist-rich proxy season has revealed about the impact of the universal proxy, and suggest that so far, contests have shifted in large-part to “candidate-based voting,” which scrutinizes the merit of dissident directors, and disregards the larger strategy of the assailing party. Read More


Freakonomics Radio: Why Does One Tiny State Set the Rules for Everyone?

In this edition of his show, Stephen J. Dubner discusses why corporations are overwhelmingly incorporated in Delaware, and the legal idiosyncrasies that draw companies to the state. Listen Here

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: Proxy Season 2023: Increased Expectations and Unintended Consequences 

Peter Reali and Anthony Garcia of Nuveen Asset Management dissect a number of preliminary takeaways from 2023’s proxy season. Perhaps most notable is their assertion that “thematic” proposals and campaigns are likely to fail if market and industry factors are left unconsidered. Read More


GPPers learned a new interview style (not recommended) in season four of HBO’s Barry (highly recommended) – which is just as whimsically dark as ever. In the latest episode, acting coach Gene Cousineau (played by The Fonz himself Henry Wrinkler) spoke to a Vanity Fair journalist “on-background” by way of a one-man acting show. Fortunately for our reporter friends, GPPers don't plan on adopting the new style in our briefings anytime soon.


If you are looking for an activity at 6AM on Sunday, the Jersey City Marathon is for you. GPPers Layton Lassiter and Chris Perry will be lacing up their shoes for their first-ever marathon, as the rest of the firm places their bets. Stay tuned for next week’s edition for photo evidence of the event! 


  • After nine years, Meg Tirell has left CNBC. Read More

  • Daniel Thomas will become the new media editor at Financial Times. Read More

  • Maria Heeter has switched beats at The Information and will cover M&A and shareholder activism. Read More

  • Mark Gerstein, former co-chair of M&A at Latham & Watkins, has joined investment bank PJT Partners as a senior advisor. Read More 

  • Citi’s co-head of global M&A Mark Shafir has announced his plans to retire. Read More
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