Firms & Funds

Archimedes Pharma Ltd. received European Commission marketing approval for PecFent, a nasal spray designed for the treatment of cancer pain in adults who are already receiving maintenance opioid therapy. The U.K.-based specialty pharmaceutical company is backed by Warburg Pincus LLC.

Athlon Energy, a newly formed independent oil and natural gas company, said it has partnered with Apollo Investment Fund VII LP to pursue the “acquisition and development” of long-lived oil and natural gas properties onshore in the United States.

Barclays Private Equity plans to raise at least €1.5 billion ($1.91 billion) for a new fund, as the firm prepares for a spinoff from its parent bank in a few months. Its parent will reportedly not contribute to the proposed Fund 4.

BC Partners

is offering investors of a planned €6 billion fund ($7.7 billion) an early-bird discount of 5 percent off its fees, the Financial Times said. BC Partners, which is marketing its ninth fund, made the offer in a placement memo to potential investors. The British private equity shop is also offering to reimburse all its transaction fees to investors, up from only 80 percent in its previous fund.

Black Pearl Capital closed its first private equity fund. The Cayman Islands-based specialist asset management and advisory firm obtained $50 million in capital commitments. It anticipates an investment period of two to three years, with exits in five to seven years.

Candover Investments plc plans to wind itself down after failing to sell the business. The private equity shop’s fall was a result of the credit crunch. The London-based firm will sell portfolio companies, including oil field services concern Expro, and return cash to shareholders and investors.

Bob Geldof, the rock star and philanthropist, and Mark Florman are working together to launch a buyout fund that seeks to raise $750 million, Financial News reported. The vehicle will make investments in Africa and will target agribusinesses, financial services and telecommunications companies, according to a statement from NL EVD International. Florman previously worked for U.K. buyout shop Doughty Hanson.

Dollar General Corp. posted improved second quarter earnings and sales. The Goodlettville, Tenn.-based retailer, which is majority-owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., saw profit increase about 60 percent from a year earlier. Sales rose 11 percent to $3.21 billion and same-store sales increased 5.1 percent.

Everstone Capital Management may raise up to $350 million, Bloomberg said. The fund will make investments in warehouses in India. The shop was co-founded by Atul Kapur and Sameer Sain, who both previously worked for Goldman Sachs.

H.I.G. Bayside Capital closed H.I.G. Bayside Loan Opportunity Fund II LP, a special situation loan fund focused on distressed transactions, with $1.1 billion in commitments. The target was $1 billion.

Pacific Capital Bancorp, the holding company of nationally chartered Pacific Capital Bank, announced the close of a previously disclosed $500 million investment by Ford Financial Fund, a private equity firm specializing in financial services companies.

Prospect Partners LLC

closed its third fund above the original hard cap of $185 million. Prospect Partners III LP picked up $200 million in commitments. The Chicago-based shop’s Fund II closed in 2004 at $165 million. It plans to use the latest fund to invest exclusively in small companies based in the U.S. across a range of specialty manufacturing, distribution and service industry segments.

The Virginia Retirement System reported a 14.1 percent return on its investment portfolio for the fiscal year 2010, ending the year with $47.7 billion in assets. The three-year annualized return was -4.9 percent and the five-year annualized return was 3.1 percent. Private equity returned 17.3 percent.