PE Week Wire: Friday, June 6, 2008

This is my final day in the home office for a while, as next week I’ll be on the road for peHUB Across America. Our original goal was to get 1,000 attendees, and you’ve far surpassed that with more than 1,150 tickets taken as of this morning. That includes sellouts in all cities except for Washington DC, which has just 10 tickets remaining (get ‘em fast).

If you would like to attend next week’s events in Los Angeles (Monday), Chicago (Tuesday) or Boston (Friday), but do not have tickets, please send me an email asking to be put on the waiting list. We do hope to add a few additional spots at each site (particularly for our Fenway finale). The New York waitlist is now closed, as there are more than 150 of you on it.

Also, if you have a ticket to any event but will be unable to attend, please let me know. For everyone who is coming, I can’t wait to see you. I’ll probably be the guy in the Celtics cap (yeah, even in LA).

*** Overheard during a recent dinner with mid-market bankers: It’s better to be selling a company today than this time last year, because it’s easier to stand out in a void than in a crowd.

*** Yesterday I suggested that the notion of a “newly-independent” Bear Stearns Merchant Banking seemed redundant. This was confirmed after a subsequent conversation with BSMB managing partner Gwyn Ketterer, who acknowledged that the only real changes will be name, office space and a few back-office additions. They’ve already got a lease on their new digs, but are still struggling with the moniker. “Someone suggested we should just ask our kids to come up with it, because we’re having such a hard time,” she said.

*** Vinod Khosla is finally moving beyond his own pockets for investment capital. He has entered into negotiations with CalPERS for a commitment of approximately $640 million, which would be used to help finance the large-scale biofuel deals he likes so much.

Guess this means former CalPERS CIO Russ Read won’t be joining Khosla, as some had speculated. Instead, he’s said to be raising a “big money” cleantech fund of his own, which could become a Khosla competitor. If that fails, there always seem to be extra partner slots available at Kleiner…

*** On Monday we reported that Tony Trousset had quietly left Lehman Brothers, where he was global co-head of software investment banking. Lehman declined to comment, and Trousset didn’t reply to my email, voicemail or Facebook message (can’t say I’m not multimedia persistent).

But apparently the item itself had some impact, as Trousset has since emailed to say that he plans to spend the summer with his family (including a trip to Italy – insert jealousy here), and then do one of two things: (1) Start his own firm, (2) Ask Frank Quattrone for a job with Qatalyst Group.

Trousset did not explain his reason for leaving Lehman. I gave it a shot by suggesting it was because Lehman has recently shrunk its Menlo Park-based tech banking group (mostly on the junior level) and grown its New York-based tech banking group (again, junior level). Trousset – who had been based in Menlo Park — didn’t take the bait. Smart guy…

*** The UK private equity industry has become more transparent as a result of the publication of the Walker Report, but not necessarily better understood. That’s the finding of a new survey by Grant Thornton. Robert Venes has more.

*** Foomojo’s Strange Juju

Top Three

Naguib Sawiris of Egypt has sold a 10% stake in Weather Investments, a holding company formed in 2006 to buy Italian mobile operator Wind from Enel SpA. The buyers were Apax Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and TA Associates. The deal was valued at around €1.1 billion.

NextG Networks Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of wireless infrastructure solutions, has filed for a $150 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NXTG, with Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers serving as co-lead underwriters. The company has raised over $64 million in VC funding, from firms like Oak Investment Partners (26.9%) and Gabriel Venture Partners (14.5%).

Fred Kindle has joined Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as a partner. He is the former CEO of Swiss engineering group ABB.

VC Deals

Creabilis Therapeutics SpA, an Ivrea, Italy-based dermatological drug startup, has raised €20 million in Series A funding. Sofinnova Partners led the round, and was joined by NeoMed Management.

Inuk Networks, a Wales, UK-based provider of IPTV services, has raised £9.5 million in second-round funding. Broadcaster S4C led the deal, and was joined by Wesley Clover.

Infopia Inc., a Salt Lake City-based provider of a SaaS ecommerce platform, has raised $12 million in Series C funding. UV Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Trident Capital, and TransPacific Capital Partners.

Sonico, a Buenos Aires-based operator of a social network for Latin America, has raised $4.3 million in Series A funding. DN Capital led the round, and was joined by individual angels Fabrice Grinda, Martín Varsavsky and Alec Oxenford.

Buyout Deals

3M has completed its sale of HighJump Software, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of global supply chain solutions, to Battery Ventures. The deal was valued at approximately $85 million, including leverage.

Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. has acquired Sterling Healthcare from Resurgence Asset Management. No financial terms were disclosed. Sterling is a Jacksonville, Fla.-based provider of clinical contract management services.

The Carlyle Group and National Hire Group Ltd. have agreed to amend the terms of an A$2.26 billion senior loan being used to finance the buyout of Australian equipment leasing company Coates Hire Ltd.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved the $6.1 billion buyout of Penn National Gaming by Fortress Investment and Centerbridge Partners. The deal still needs additional approvals that it is unlikely to receive by an upcoming deadline.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has won the auction to buy Singapore-based disk drive component maker Unisteel Technology, according to Reuters. Losing bidders include Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group. No financial terms have been reported, although Unisteel has a market cap of around $520 million.

PE-Backed IPOs

Acclarent Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of surgical devices for treating ear, nose and throat ailments, has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on either the Nasdaq or NYSE Arca, with JPMorgan and Piper Jaffray serving as co-lead underwriters. The company has raised around $63 million in VC funding, from firms like New Enterprise Associates (44.2% pre-IPO stake) and Versant Ventures (15.3%). Meritech Capital Partners (8.3%) and Delphi Ventures.

PE Exits

Galen Partners has sold Specialized Health Product International Inc. to C.R. Bard Inc. for $68.4 million in cash. SHPI is a provider of disposable medical products for clinician and patient safety. SA, a listed publisher of online shopping guides in France, has acquired social shopping guide Dooyoo for an undisclosed amount. DooYoo had raised over $30 million in VC funding from firms like 3i, CNET, Earlybird Venture Capital and Syntek Capital.

PE-Backed M&A

Merced Systems, a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based provider of sales and service performance management software, has acquired Practique Associates, a UK-based provider of incentive compensation management solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Merced has raised around $2.5 million from firms like Sutter Hill Ventures and Western Technology Investment.

ProSiebenSat. 1 Media AG of Germany has acquired Feeem Media, a Munich-based company developing an online women’s content network called No financial terms were disclosed. KKR and Permira acquired a controlling stake in ProSieben last year.

Firms & Funds

The Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Trust (PRIM) has approved the following fund commitments: Onex Partners III ($150m), Tenaska Power Fund II ($100m), Quantum Energy Partners V ($100m), TCW Crescent Mezzanine Partners V ($100m), Avenue Europe Special Situations ($100m), American Securities Fund V ($75m) and Thoma Bravo IX ($50m).

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has opened an office in Beijing, it’s third in Asia.

Human Resources

Gary Weinstein has joined Providence Equity Partners as chief operating officer. He previously was with Lehman Brothers, as a managing director and global chief administration officer of investment banking.

Kirtland Capital Partners has promoted Bob Fines and Corrie Menary to managing partner and vice president, respectively. Fines joined in 2005 as an operating partner, and leads Kirtland’s operations resource team. Menary joined in 2004 as an intern, and became an associate in 2005.