Deal Briefs

Affinity Equity Partners of Hong Kong has increased its offer for Australian shoe and clothing retailer Colorado Group Ltd. to Au$450 million, or Au$4.70 per share. The Colorado board has approved the new offer, after having rejected a previous Au$4.50 per-share bid as too low.

Allied Capital has acquired a majority stake in Coverall North America Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.–based commercial cleaning franchise organization. Allied paid $56 million worth of senior secured notes, subordinated notes and common equity, while senior company management also provided equity.

Apax Partners and Bain Capital have agreed to join the private equity consortium that is acquiring an 80.1% stake in the Semiconductor division of RoyalPhilips Electronics (NYSE: PHG). The group already had included Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., Silver Lake Partners and AlpInvest.

Apax Partners and KKR have abandoned their efforts to buy U.K.-based specialty jewelry retailer Signet Group PLC (NYSE: SIG). The two firms had been considering a £2.3 billion bid, but were facing stiff shareholder opposition. Signet shares had jumped on the original buyout talk, but dropped on news that the firms had pulled out.

Apax Partners has agreed to acquire a 49.7% stake in Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. for approximately $190 million in cash from Ronald Lauder, the company’s non-executive chairman. CME operates television networks in six Central and Eastern European countries.

Apollo Management has made it to the final round of bidding for Bertelsmann’s BMG music publishing group, according to The Telegraph of London. The deal is expected to be worth up to $2 billion, with other bidders including GS Capital Partners, GTCR, KKR (teamed up with EMI), Universal and Sony.

Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group have joined the consortium bidding Au$16.5 billion for Australian retailer Coles Myer Ltd. KKR is leading the group, which reportedly already included The Carlyle Group and CVC Asia Pacific. Bain and Blackstone previously had been considering a rival offer.

BCE Inc. is planning a $1 billion IPO for its Telesat Canada commercial satellite unit, according to The Globe & Mail. BCE had been trying to sell the unit to a private equity consortium that included Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, but talks reportedly broke down over both price and future Telesat Canada management.

The Blackstone Group has completed its $4.3 billion buyout of Cendant Corp.’s (NYSE: CD) travel distribution services unit (Travelport). In related news, Blackstone has agreed to subsequently sell 14% of the newly-independent company to Technology Crossover Ventures.

CAI Capital Partners has agreed to acquire GLM Tanks & Equipment Ltd. from Tanglewood Companies. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close on August 31. GLM is an Edmonton, Alberta-based maker of steel tanks, vessels and process equipment for the oil and gas, mining, food processing, chemical and pulp and paper industries.

Cinven is one of three remaining bidders for eight Belgian cable networks, according to reports. The total transaction would be valued at more than €475 million, but has been repeatedly delayed due to legal challenges.

CITIC Capital Partners is sponsoring a management buyout of Narumi China Corp., a Japanese provider of tableware and heat-resistant glass tops for IH and gas stoves. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close in September.

Comm-Works Holdings LLC, a Minneapolis-based provider of enterprise voice, data and technology solutions, has acquired Intelex Inc., a Carmel, Ind.-based installer of voice, data and technology systems – with particular expertise in large, multi-location roll-outs for sizeable retail organizations. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, except that the combined company anticipates $75 million in 2006 revenue. M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank led the transaction financing, with NorthStar Mezzanine Partners also participating. Comm-Works is a portfolio company of Morgenthaler Partners.

Concorde Career Colleges Inc. (Nasdaq: CCDC) shareholders have approved a $19.80 per share buyout offer from Liberty Partners. The total deal is valued at around $114.5 million, with sellers to include Camden Partners. Concorde Colleges is a Mission, Kansas-based owner and operator of 12 post-secondary institutions whose vocational and training programs are primarily in the allied health field.

Demand Media Inc. of Santa Monica, Calif. has acquired Hillclimb Media Inc., a Seattle-based host of travel, outdoors and sports websites like Trails.com and GolfLink.com. No financial terms were disclosed. Demand Media was formed earlier this year with the backing of Generation Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Spectrum Equity Investors.

Driftwood Dairy Inc., an El Monte, Calif.-based independent dairy processor, has raised $9 million from Marwit Capital Partners, at a 4x EBITDA multiple.

Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL) has retained Evercore Partners to advise “on a range of matters.” That range is expected to include a possible sale, as first disclosed in May when Women’s Wear Daily reported that the retailer was being circled by such private equity firms as KKR, Apollo, Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

H.I.G. Capital has acquired majority interests in two scrapbooking companies: Die Cuts With a View of Provo, Utah and Pressed Petals of Richfield, Utah. No financial terms were disclosed.

Healthpoint Capital has acquired BioHorizons Implant Systems Inc., a Birmingham, Ala.-based provider of oral reconstructive devices like dental implants and tissue regeneration products. No financial terms were disclosed. First Albany Capital advised BioHorizons on the sale. Healthpoint Capital also acquired DTI Dental Technologies Inc., a Vancouver-based provider of restorative and cosmetic dentistry products, in the same week. No financial terms were disclosed.

ITV PLC has agreed to sell its stake 45% in Irish broadcaster TV3 to Doughty Hanson for around €70 million.

Journal Register Co. (NYSE: JRC) said that it will explore a sale of its New England newspapers, which includes 26 daily and weekly publications in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It has retained Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, which also advised Herald Media on its community newspaper sale earlier this year to GateHouse Media.

Lloyds Development Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland have sponsored a £30 million management buyout of Trustmarque Solutions, a U.K.-based software reseller.

Lone Star Funds has agreed to acquire Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Inc. (Nasdaq: STAR) for $27.10 per share (15% premium to Thursday’s closing price). The total deal is valued at over $600 million, and is expected to close in Q4. North Point Advisors and Thomas Weisel Partners are serving as financial advisors to Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, while Piper Jaffray & Co. is serving as financial advisor to Lone Star Funds.

Mason Wells, a Milwaukee-based private equity firm, has agreed to acquire The Oilgear Co. (Nasdaq: OLGR) for $15.25 per share. Oilgear is a Milwaukee–based provider of technology in the design and production of fluid power components and electronic controls. Once the deal closes, former ABB Inc. and Invensys PLC executive Richard Armbrust will be named president of Oilgear.

MCG Global has acquired Novations Group Inc., a Boston-based provider of consulting and training services, from Meitec and Drake Beam Morin-Japan. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in concert with senior company management.

MultiPlan Inc. of New York has agreed to acquire Waltham Mass.-based Private Healthcare Systems Inc., in order to create a comprehensive medical cost management provider. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close next quarter. MultiPlan is controlled by The Carlyle Group.

Oak Hill Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Partners are the two remaining bidders for the David’s Bridal unit of Federated Department Stores (NYSE: FD), according to The New York Post. A sale is expected to be worth between $750 million and $800 million, with earlier bidders having included KKR, Apollo Management and Lee Equity Partners.

Ovation, a cable television network focused on the arts, has been acquired for $55 million by a group that includes Hubbard Media Group, Weinstein Co., Perry Capital, Arcadia Investment Partners and a Lehman Brothers affiliate. The company will be run by The Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon (who will focus most of his time on The Tennis Channel).

Permira has agreed to buy the European Frozen Foods business of Unilever for €1.73 billion. The deal includes Igo and Birds Eye brand foods in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and the U.K. Unilever will retain its ice cream products.

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. (Nasdaq: PETC) is close to being acquired by Leonard Green & Partners and Texas Pacific Group for $29 per share, or $1.8 billion including assumed debt. But now it appears that Petco also had been in talks for a $33 per share takeover by rival PetSmart, according to a Petco regulatory filing.

Phoenix Exploration Company LP of Houston has agreed to acquire all of the Gulf of Mexico and south Louisiana assets currently owned by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. for $340 million. The deal is expected to close in late September. Phoenix was formed by Carlyle/Riverstone this past April with a $250 million capital commitment. Last month, Phoenix received an additional $100 million private equity commitment from Soros Strategic Partners and HNBridge LP, while J.P. Morgan Securities arranged and led a $300 million credit facility.

PlattForm Holdings Inc., an Olathe, Kansas–based provider of enrollment solutions to the post-secondary education market, has acquired PFP Advertising Inc., an Internet lead generation company.No financial terms were disclosed. PlattForm is a portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners.

Prospect Partners has sponsored a recapitalization of Summit Fire Protection Co., a Lino Lakes, Minn.-based provider of fire suppression and plumbing systems. No financial terms were disclosed. Counsel Funding Partners of Minneapolis advised Summit Fire on the deal.

QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI), a Vancouver-based drug company, has rebuffed a buyout offer, according to The Globe and Mail of Toronto. The article says that current QLT shareholder Rodney O’Connor had led the offer, and that he was backed by undisclosed private equity firms. QLT is currently valued at around US$669 million.

R.R. Donnelley & Co. (NYSE: RRD), according to a Crain’s Chicago Business report, reportedly cannot agree on price with two potential buyout consortiums. One of the groups includes Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific Group, while the other includes The Carlyle Group, Madison Dearborn Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Reservoir Exploration Technology (NOTC: RXT/RXTB), Norway-based marine seismic contractor, has agreed to purchase their third VectorSeis Ocean system from Input/Output Inc. (NYSE: IO) for approximately $29 million. RXT shareholders include 3i Group and Lime Rock Partners.

Roark Capital Group has acquired PSC Info Group, an Oaks, Pa.-based provider of outsourced billing and transaction processing solutions for accounts receivable management, financial services and healthcare companies. No financial terms were disclosed.

TNT NV, a Dutch postal and express mail company, is close to an agreement to sell its logistics division to Apollo Management for €1.48 billion. Approximately €15 million of the deal is in the form of equity in the new company. Apollo beat out PAI Partners for the deal.

Tourneau, a privately-held luxury watchmaker, has retained Duff & Phelps to find a buyer, according to the New York Post. The deal could be worth between $300 million and $400 million, and comes after failed takeover talks with J.H. Whitney & Co.

Tower Records has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and will seek to sell its assets via a court-supervised sale next month. It said that revenue for its most recent fiscal year (ending July 31) was $430 million.

TPG Newbridge has agreed to acquire a 24.99% stake in BankThai for approximately $186 million.

Vector Capital has agreed to co-invest equally in Francisco Partners’ $151 million public-to-private buyout of WatchGuard Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: WGRD). Vector already controls 9.4% of WatchGuard shares, and had tried to buy out the company before Francisco stepped in. As part of the agreement, Vector will vote its shares in favor of the transaction.

Vista Equity Partners has agreed to buy Who’s Calling Inc. for around $55 million, according to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Who’s Calling is a Kirkland, Wash.-based provider of marketing call measurement and monitoring technology.

Walton Street Capital has acquired the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Warburg Pincus reportedly is among the bidders for a major stake in Chinese retailer Beijing Wangfujing Department Store. The deal could be valued at more than $180 million, according to Reuters.

Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY) shares rose after a Deutsche Bank analyst report suggested that it could be the target of an unsolicited buyout offer. Shortly following the company announced that it will spin off its fine-paper business into a new public company, in partnership with Canadian paper company Domtar.

Wind Point Partners has agreed to acquire the Specialty Plastics business of Ferro Corp. (NYSE: FOE) for an undisclosed amount.

WL Ross & Co. is merging portfolio companies International Textile Group and Safety Components International (OTC BB: SAFY), into a single company focused on automotive safety components like air-bag cushions. The combined company would have recorded nearly $1 billion in 2005 sales, and $444 million for the six months ending on June 30, 2006.