PE Week Wire, Dec. 7, 2006

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Top Three

Eurazeo is in exclusive talks to sell its 55% stake in France-based truck leasing company Fraikin Groupe SA to CVC Capital, for an enterprise value of Euro 1.35 billion. Eurazeo also has canceled a planned Euro 520 million IPO for Fraikin, whose minority shareholders include Rhone Group, Pragma Capital and WestLB. The move comes one month after a La Tribune report that Terra Firma Capital Partners, CVC Capital and Cinven had offered to buy Fraikin for around Euro 1.5 billion.

TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on branded consumer companies, has closed its fifth fund with $875 million in capital commitments.

Luis Téllez has joined the cabinet of Mexican President Felipe Calderon as Secretary of Communications and Transportation. He most recently served as a Mexico City-based managing director for The Carlyle Group, and before that was CEO of industrial conglomerate Desc SA de CV. From 1997 to 2000, Téllez served as Mexico’s Secretary of Energy.

VC Deals

Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Towson, Md.-based drug company focused on cardiovascular disease, has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding. The Aurora Funds and New Enterprise Associates co-led the deal.

Atrua Technologies Inc., a Campbell, Calif.-based provider of intelligent touch controls for mobile devices, has raised $9 million in fourth-round funding. BlueRun Ventures led the deal, and was joined by fellow return backers Ericsson Venture Partners, Neocarta Ventures and Osprey Ventures. New shareholders include Hua Hong Group (China) and Mosen Company Ltd. (South Korea). The company has now raised over $33 million in total VC funding since 2002.

Pinger, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of voice messaging services, has raised around $8 million in second-round funding, according to GigaOm. DAG Ventures was joined by return backer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

AirSage Inc., an Atlanta-based provider of real-time traffic data from mobile operators, has raised $6 million in new VC funding led by Constellation Partners of Switzerland.

Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based operator of a movie review website for families, has raised $4.25 million from Omidyar Network.

Wikia Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.–based wiki site operator, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from It had raised $4 million in Series A funding earlier this year from Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and angels like Mitch Kapor and Ron Conway.

Juice Wireless, a New York-based provider of mobile content and data services, next week plans to close on $3.5 million in new funding, according to GigaOm. No word on participants, save for existing backer 21Ventures.

AccuDraft Inc., a Lake Mary, Fla.-based provider of contract lifecycle management solutions, has raised $650,000 in VC funding from Smith-Hoffman Capital of Atlanta.

Buyout Deals

International Coal Group (NYSE: ICG) yesterday denied that it is considering going private. In a press release, the company said: “While it normally does not comment on rumors, and it intends to continue this policy, the company has become aware of specific newswire reports of rumors of a management leveraged buyout. International Coal Group denies these rumors.”

South Korean prosecutors claim to have found illegal aspects of Lone Star Funds’ 2003 acquisition of Korea Exchange Bank. Dallas-based Lone Star issued a fresh denial of the allegations.

InterMedia Partners has agreed to purchase the hunting, fishing and shooting titles operated as part of the Outdoor Group of Primedia Inc. (NYSE: PRM) for $170 million in cash. The businesses will be renamed InterMedia Outdoors, and include such titles as Fly Fisherman, Game & Fish, Florida Sportsman, In-Fisherman and Guns & Ammo.

MidOcean Partners has acquired a majority stake in various companies that comprise the Europackaging Group, a UK-based manufacturer, distributor and consolidator of packaging products and other goods not for resale. No financial terms were disclosed. Following completion of the transaction, Bill Ronald, formerly UK managing director of Mars Confectionery and CEO of Uniq PLC will join Europackaging as chairman, and Attila Balogh, who previously ran the international businesses of Tchibo, will become CEO.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) confirmed that it has been approached by a private equity firm about a possible buyout offer, but adds that management does not expect such a deal to happen.

Rank Group PLC has agreed to sell the Hard Rock Café restaurant chain to the Seminole tribe of Florida for $965 million. Merrill Lynch is providing financing. Numerous buyout firms had been interested in the deal.

Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific Group may make bids to acquire the Indian wireless assets of Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. (NYSE: HTX), according to The Wall Street Journal. A sale could be valued at $8 billion, including assumed debt.

Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. has completed its buyout of restaurant chain Logan’s Roadhouse Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Other members of the buyout consortium included Canyon Capital Advisors and Black Canyon Capital and company management. Logan’s had been in registration for a $350 million IPO, but formally withdrew the filing earlier this week.

McClatchy Newspapers Inc. (NYSE: MNI) has no plans to go private, according to a speech given yesterday by company CEO Gary Pruitt at the Media Week conference in New York.

GO Ethanol has raised $145 million in combined equity and debt financing. Paladin Capital Group’s Homeland Security Fund led the equity tranche, while the debt syndication was led by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. The funding will be used to complete construction and provide operations and maintenance funding for its 54 million gallon ethanol production facility in Lima, Ohio, to be operated by GOE Lima.

PE Exits

Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) has agreed to repurchase around 10.39 million shares of common stock from Silver Lake Partners for $200 million, at $19.25 per share. The deal means that Silver Lake’s ownership stake will drop from 20.7% to 12.7%, with 103.8 million shares remaining.

Galapagos NV (Euronext & AIM: GLPG) has agreed to acquire Inpharmatica Ltd., a UK-based provider of genome-scale predictive products and services for drug discovery research. The total deal is valued at up to Euro 19.1 million, including a Euro 6.5 million upfront cash payment. Inpharmatica has raised around $75 million in VC funding since 1998, from firms like 3i Group, Abingworth Management, Advent Venture Partners, August Equity, GIMV, Gilde, Reed Elsevier Ventures, Unibio Ltd., Genentech and Vertex Management.

PE-Backed M&A

Pay by Touch, a San Francisco-based provider of biometric authentication solutions, has acquired S&H Solutions and its parent company S&H Greenpoints for more than $100 million in cash and stock. S&H Solutions is a provider of customer-based loyalty marketing and retail solutions.Pay By Touch shareholders include Och-Ziff Capital Management, Farallon Capital Management, Getty Trusts, Ron Burkle and Rembrandt Ventures.

TelePacific Communications, a Los Angeles–based competitive local exchange carrier, has agreed to acquire Arrival Communications, a Bakersfield, Calif.-based CLEC that provides voice and data communications services to businesses throughout Central California. No financial terms have been disclosed. TelePacific has raised over $250 million from firms like Arena Capital Partners, Clarity Partners, GE Equity, Hillman Co. and Investcorp. Arrival has raised around $52 million in VC funding from firms like Alta Communications and Housatonic Partners.

MediaWhiz, a New York-based provider of performance-based online marketing services, has acquired Online Media Promotions LLC (a.k.a. Monetizeit), an Atlanta-based provider of online lead generation. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was partially financed by existing MediaWhiz shareholder Lake Capital.

Firms & Funds

Cantor Fitzgerald has formed a merchant banking initiative called Cantor Capital Partners. It will be led by new managing director F. Burke Dempsey, who previously was a managing director with Presidio Financial Partners.

Human Resources

William Kirsch has joined the Chicago office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP as a partner and chair of the firm’s global private equity practice. He has spent the past 23 years with Kirkland & Ellis.

Anton Gueth has joined Burrill & Co. as a managing director of merchant banking. He previously founded his own consulting firm and, before that, was with Eli Lilly.

Varun Kapur, a former managing director with Intel Capital, has joined Texas Pacific Group to run its Indian investment operation, according to VentureWire.