PE Week Wire: Mon., April 7, 2008

It got real late real fast on me this morning, so I not-so-proudly present a copout column:

*** peHUB First Read, including video of a Charlie Rose interview with Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson. Plus, Lachlan Murdoch’s Consolidated Media buyout falls apart.

*** The Clintons released their 2002-2007 tax returns Friday, and no one was terribly surprised to learn they’ve made a boatload of money. But many political reporters are getting hot and bothered about the $15.4 from Yucapia Cos., the investment group run by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. Their interest isn’t about the check size, but about the fact that many of the annual amounts came in neat round numbers – indicating payment for services rather than investment returns. More specifically, it indicates payment of services at the exclusion of investment returns, which is an unusual arrangement.

Of course none of this would matter for a private citizen, but it sure does for the (very) First Husband. If Hillary remains in the race much longer, we might soon get some inside baseball on a very secretive firm.

*** Dow Jones has released Q1 fundraising data for private equity and venture capital. They don’t quite match up to what I have from Daddy Thomson (which I’ll post at peHUB later today), but the general message is “all systems go.”

Increases in VC, mezzanine, fund-of-funds and secondary fundraising. A slight decrease in LBO fundraising, but the figure is still a huge $27.72 billion. And it flips if you add in the $10.4 billion fund announced today by Advent International…

*** Roger McNamee isn’t the only VC guitar hero out there.

*** More on JPMorgan financial sponsors chief John Coyle leaving to join Permira.

*** As expected, the Clear Channel banks filed counterclaims on Friday. They claim their liabilities should be limited to $600 million.

*** Yahoo responds to Microsoft.

*** Heidi Moore wraps up the Tulane M&A Conference.

*** Gametime: We’re basically down to two players in our March Madness Extravaganza. If Memphis prevails, our big winner is Matt Coyne of Pathway Capital Management. If Kansas is on top, then it’s the still-mysterious Adam V. If Adam doesn’t identify himself, however, I’ll just move down the list to the next highest-total…

Top Three

TPG is planning to lead a $5 billion investment in Washington Mutual Inc. (NYSE: WM), according to The Wall Street Journal. The Seattle-based S&L has been hit hard by the subprime mortgage situation, having lost 74% of its value over the past year. It market cap was less than $9 billion as of market close Friday.

Austin Beutner is retiring as president, co-CEO and board member of Evercore Partners, effective May 1. Beutner co-founded the firm in 1996 with Roger Altman, but has been on medical leave since a bicycle accident in mid-December.

Advent International has closed its sixth global buyout fund with $10.4 billion in capital commitments. It had originally targeted $7.6 billion, and received over $15 billion in requested subscriptions. Limited partners include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, GIC Special Investments, AlpInvest Partners, Pantheon, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, SL Capital Partners, Universities Superannuation Scheme and Partners Group.

VC Deals

SiBeam Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of semiconductor systems solutions for wireless communications platforms, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round, and was joined by return backers Foundation Capital and U.S. Venture Partners. The company had previously raised around $31 million.

Fidelis Security Systems, a Bethesda, Md.-based provider of enterprise network security, announced that it has raised $22 million in Series B funding. peHUB first reported on the round last month. Tudor Ventures led the round, and was joined by Point Judith Capital and return backers like Ascent Venture Partners, Inflection Point Ventures and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Imperva Inc., a Foster City, Calif.-based provider of application data security solutions, has raised $20 million in Series D funding. Meritech Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, U.S. Venture Partners and Venrock Associates. The company had previously raised $34 million.

Imprivata Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based developer of identity management software, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. SAP Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers General Catalyst Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Polaris Venture Partners.

Senscient Inc., a Houston-based developer of laser diode spectroscopy solutions, has raised $5.6 million in Series B funding. Emerald Technology Ventures and Yellowstone Capital Partners co-led the round.

Intelliworks Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based provider of relationship management and marketing software for higher education, has raised $4 million in Series C funding. Return backers include RedShift Ventures, Novak Biddle and Columbia Capital.

Marketcetera Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of an open-source platform for automated trading, has raised $4 million in Series A funding, according to VentureWire. Shasta Ventures led the round, and was joined by existing angels like Clarium Capital’s Jack Selby.

Kenshoo, an Israel-based provider of search marketing automated solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Arts Alliance. It had previously raised VC from Sequoia Capital.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AVNR) has completed its previously-announced $40 million sale of common stock and warrants. ProQuest Investments led the PIPE, and was joined by Clarus Ventures, Vivo Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors.

Buyout Deals

Apax Partners and LBO France have acquired a majority equity stake in Maisons du Monde, a French home decoration and furniture retailer. Company management will retain a 20% equity stake, while the senior debt was provided by Calyon, CIC and Natixis. Euromezzanine provided mezzanine financing. No pricing terms were disclosed.

AXA Private Equity has agreed to acquire the Active Ingredients and Specialty Chemicals unit of Atrium Innovations (TSX: ATB), for US$155 million. Lazard is advising Atrium on the sale.

First Reserve Corp. has invested an undisclosed amount in Kenersys, a wind energy company recently formed by Indian industrial conglomerate Kalyani Group.

GS Capital Partners and Myers Industries Inc. (NYSE: MYE) have officially terminated their $1.07 billion buyout. The move was expected. Myers is an Akron, Ohio-based manufacturer of polymer products for industrial, agricultural, automotive, commercial and consumer markets.

Iceni Capital has acquired Mentor IMC Ltd., a London-based provider of human resources to the oil and gas industry. RBS provided leveraged financing for the transaction, while Mentor management will continue to hold a minority ownership position. No financial terms were disclosed.

Industri Kapital has agreed to acquire Flabeg, a German supplier of components to the automotive and renewable energy (solar) industries, from EquiVest/CBR. No financial terms were disclosed. Flabeg is expecting 2008 sales of approximately €150 million.

JC Flowers & Co. has asked for talks with UK insurer Friends Provident PLC about its £3.48 billion buyout approach. Flowers said it requested ‘direct engagement’ with Friends and that it needed access to confidential information to carry out due diligence on the company, which rejected the proposal last week.

Lovell Minnick Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Mercer Advisors Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.–based provider of financial planning, asset management and practice management consulting services to dental and medical professionals. No financial terms were disclosed. Cambridge International Partners is advising Mercer on the deal.

PE-Backed IPOs

ANDA Networks Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of carrier-class Ethernet solutions, has withdrawn registration for an $86.25 million IPO, due to “unfavorable market conditions.” The company had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with Thomas Weisel Partners and RBC Capital Markets serving as co-lead underwriters. ANDA has raised nearly $118 million in total VC funding since 1998, from firms like Venrock, Highland Capital Partners, Crimson Investments, Saints Venture Capital, Cascade Capital and Fuhwa Venture Capital.

Morph Labs, a Cebu City, Philippine-based SaaS enabler, has registered for an P500 million (US$12.06 million) IPO on the Philippine Stock Exchange. It recently raised $1.5 million from CSK Venture Capital Co. (Japan) and AO Capital Partners (Philippines).

PE Exits

Acrongenomics Inc. (OTC BB: AGNM) has canceled its proposed acquisition of Molecular Vision Ltd., a UK-based handheld diagnostic device company that had raised Gbp500,000 in seed funding from Imperial Innovations Group PLC. No explanation was provided. The two companies will continue to work on a joint development agreement, while Acrongenomics will retain a 10.9% ownership position in Molecular Vision that it recently acquired.

Entropic Communications Inc. has acquired the assets of Vativ Technologies, a San Diego-based fabless maker of advanced digital signal processing solutions. The deal is valued at $5.9 million in cash, with Entropic hiring 17 Vativ employees. Vativ had raised $37 million in VC funding since 2001, from firms like Forrest Binkley & Brown, InnoCal Venture Capital, Intel Capital, Mission Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.
PE-Backed M&A

Buzznet Inc., a Los Angeles-based social media community focused on music and pop culture, has acquired music blog Stereogum. No financial terms were reported. Buzzznet also recently acquired social media company Qloud, and reportedly raised $25 million in new VC funding from Interscope Records, Redpoint Ventures and Anthem Venture Partners.

Firms & Funds

The Carlyle Group has raised $1.35 billion for its second distressed debt and corporate opportunities fund. It can make investments in bank loans, public debt, public equity and private equity. Carlyle’s first “Strategic Partners” fund closed last year with around $652 million in capital commitments.

Foundation Capital has closed its sixth fund with $750 million in capital commitments. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm will allocate approximately $250 million of the fund toward cleantech opportunities, while the rest will focus on early-stage technology companies. Foundation also announced the addition of Ashmeet Sidana as a general partner. He previously was with VMWare, with responsibilities for products like the ESX Server.

SJ Berwin has held informal merger discussions with Goodwin Procter, according to Financial News Online. SJ Berwin has 132 private equity-focused attorneys in the UK, while Goodwin has one of the largest U.S. practices.

Permavest Investment has raised $63 million for a fund-of-funds focused on Chinese venture capital and private equity partnerships.

Human Resources

Aluri Srinivasa Rao has left India-based ICICI Ventures, where he was a director of life sciences investments. In an email, he said that he will be accepting a new position on May 1, but did not provide additional details.

Bruce Peacock has joined been named CEO of Alba Therapeutics Corp., a Baltimore-based drug company focused on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He previously was a venture partner with SV Life Sciences Advisors.

Roger Ferguson has been named president and CEO of TIAA-CREF. He succeeds the retiring Herbert Allison, who will become chairman of the TIAA-CREF board. Ferguson previously was head of financial services for Swiss Re.

Danny Rimer has joined the board of British Sky Broadcasting as a non-executive director. He is a general partner with VC firm Index Ventures.

InterWest Partners has named three new members to its advisory committee: Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau; serial biotech entrepreneur Leroy Hood and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan.