PE Week Wire: Fri,. Jan. 11, 2008

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*** Buyouts is now accepting nominations for its 8th annual Deals Of The Year Awards, which honor exceptional majority-stake transactions, LBO firms and other industry participants. This year, the focus will shift to exits rather than announced deals, and there also are two new categories: Best New Firm and Law Firm Of The Year.

Go here for full information on the categories and on how to make nominations.

Winners will be selected in 14 categories, and results will be published in a special yearbook to be distributed along with the March 17 edition of Buyouts. Awards will be announced prior to the distribution of the yearbook at the Buyouts Awards Dinner, part of the 20th annual Buyouts East conference.

*** A pair of new Vox Populi posts at peHUB: Bart Schachter of Blueprint Ventures checks in from CES, and notices that VCs don’t actually seem too interested in VC. Jess Bussgang of IDG Ventures Boston has some predictions for 2008.

*** Fred Alger & Co. has given us a riff on John Edwards’ “Two Americas” theme, with an argument that our economy has bifurcated into an iPhone Economy and Subprime Economy. Speaking of “subprime,” it’s been selected as the 2007 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society.

*** Have a great weekend, and Go Pats!

Top Three

Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a Bothell, Wash.-based developer of antibody therapeutics, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Delphi Ventures and TPG Biotech co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Sevin Rosen Funds, Ventures West, H.I.G. Ventures and WRF Capital. Alder had previously raised $27 million. Its lead product is currently in clinical trials for treating rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

Allied Capital has acquired CitiPostal Inc., a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based document storage and management company. The deal was valued at $79.5 million, with Allied providing both the debt and equity Allied also invested $20.8 million of subordinated notes in 10th Street LLC, an affiliated entity that owns the real estate leased by CitiPostal.

GenNx360 Capital Partners has closed its debut fund with more than $500 million in capital commitments. The New York-based firm plans to focus on underperforming B2B industrial companies with between $250 million and $1 billion in revenue. Its general partners are: Lloyd Trotter, who will retire next month as vice chairman of General Electric; Arthur Harper, former president and CEO of GE Equipment Services; and Ronald Blaylock, founder of Blaylock & Company.

VC Deals

ViOptix Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of diagnostic and monitoring instruments, has raised $12.2 million in Series D funding. Channel Medical Partners led the round, and was joined by Lincoln Funds International and return backers Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and Morningside Technology Ventures. The company has now raised around $28.7 million in total VC funding since its 1999 inception.

Oraya Therapeutics Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based ophthomology device startup, has raised $18 million in Series B funding, according to VentureWire. Synergy Life Science Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backer Essex Woodlands Health Ventures.

Engine Yard, a San Francisco-based provider of Ruby on Rails application deployment and support, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Benchmark Capital. Mitch Lasky and Peter Fenton of Benchmark will join the engine Yard board of directors.

Multistat Inc., a San Clemente, Calif.-based design optimization startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by Tech Coast Angels.

Ze-gen Inc., a Boston-based developer of gasification technology, has raised $2.5 million in venture debt from Pinnacle Ventures. Ze-Gen is attempting to convert municipal waste streams into synthetic gas and generate both low-emissions electricity and renewable energy credits. It had previously raised around $8 million in VC funding from Flagship Venturesand Vantagepoint Venture Partners.

Buyout Deals

Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners have received FCC approval for their planned $19.5 billion buyout of Clear Channel Communications.

Audax Group is in talks to sell its position in CIBT Global Holdings Inc. to American Capital Strategies, according to LBO Wire. No financial terms were reported. American Capital provided leveraged financing for audax’s 2006 buyout of CIBT, a McLean, Va.-based provider of expedited and business travel visas.

Freestone Capital Management, a Seattle-based wealth and asset management firm, has received a $40 million private equity infusion from The Sienna Group.

PE-Backed IPOs

Maxum Petroleum Holdings Inc., an Old Greenwich, Conn.-based energy logistics company, has set its IPO terms to 16.7 million common shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol MXP, with Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns and UBS serving as co-lead underwriters. The company was formed in October 2003 as an acquisition platform called SPI, by sponsors Northwest Capital Appreciation, Waud Capital Partners and RBC Capital Partners (through Cadent Energy Partners). It has since acquired such companies as Simons Petroleum, Trevco, Hartney Fuel Oil Co., Pecos and Canyon State Oil Company.

PE Exits

Invitrogen Corp. (Nasdaq: IVGN) has agreed to acquire CellzDirect Inc., a Durham, N.C.-based provider of hepatocyte-based cell products and related services used in the testing of new drugs. The deal is valued at $57 million in cash, and is expected to close later this quarter. CellzDirect generated around $18 million in 2007 revenue, and has raised around $13 million in VC funding since 2002 from firms like Technology Funding, Solstice Capital, Valley Ventures, Village Ventures and Grayhawk Venture Partners.

PE-Backed M&A

OneAccess, a France-based provider of enterprise access routers and IP services, has acquired, a provider of network transmission equipment, including high-speed Ethernet point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. OneAccess has raised over $25 million in VC funding from firms like AGF Private Equity, CIC Capital, T-Venture, VPSA, Innovacom, HarbourVest Partners and Tempo Capital Partners.

Tredegar Corp. (NYSE: TG) has agreed to sell its aluminum extrusions operations in Canada for $25 million to WXP Holdings Inc., an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital. Get more info.

Firms & Funds

TPG Capital plans to raise to hold a first closing on its sixth fund within the next 30 days, according to LBO Wire. The firm has not yet set a hard target or distributed offering documents, but the report cites a likely target of approximately $18 billion.

JS Group, a Pakistani financial services firm, has closed a $158 million private equity fund dedicated to investments in Pakistan, according to MarketWatch. Limited partners include CDC Group, IFC, Samba, Asian Development Bank, the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets and Proparco. The fund already has made two investments: A control deal for Optimus, the Hertz franchise in Pakistan, and a minority play in Engro Asahi Polymer & Chemicals, a maker of PVC resin.

Human Resources

Jim Lanzone is leaving his CEO post at, in order to become an entrepreneur-in-residence with Redpoint Ventures.

Mark Dickinson has joined Candover as a director. He had spent the past decade with 3i Group.