PE Week Wire: Monday, January 19, 2009

Two weeks ago, my ad sales manager asked if I’d be publishing on MLK Day. I answered affirmatively, based on the inexplicable – and incorrect – belief that it was not a market holiday. So just a few quick notes for those of you not fortunate enough to be at home…

*** Forty-three U.S.-based venture capital funds raised $3.4 billion in Q4 2008, according to data released this morning by Thomson Reuters and the NVCA. That’s a massive drop from both the previous quarter ($8.4b) and the same quarter in 2007 ($11.7b). It also means that 2008 venture fund-raising came in at just $28 billion, which is down 21.4% from the 2007 totals. You can download the full release here.

*** As for venture capital investment, Dow Jones is reporting that VCs disbursed just $5.5 billion to 554 U.S.-based companies in Q4. That would bring the full-year total to $28.8 billion, which is down 8% from the $31.4 billion disbursed in 2007, but just above the $28.2 billion disbursed in 2006. You can read the full release here.

Official MoneyTree data on 2008 VC investment is expected to hit this coming weekend.

*** Thing I learned in New Orleans #1: Charbroiled oysters are divine.

*** Thing I learned in New Orleans #2: Students at the Walter L. Cohen High School are going to be pleasantly surprised when they arrive tomorrow morning. At least a dozen murals are being painted in hallways, all the rooms will (finally) have visible numbers and more. Great job by the corps members of City Year Louisiana…

*** Where in the World? I’ll be moderating a panel at the Columbia Private Equity Conference, on January 30 in New York City. The topic: “Does the VC Model Need Fixing.” Get more info here.

Top Three

Onex Corp. announced that it has closed its third large-cap private equity fund with US$3 billion in third-party capital commitments. The firm also announced, however, that it would temporarily reduce its own commitment to the fund from $1 billion to $500 million.

Bridgepoint has offered to buy Terveystalo Healthcare Oyi, a listed Finnish healthcare provider, for €162 million. Under terms of the agreement, Terveystalo stockholders would receive €2 per share, or a 203% premium to last Friday’s closing price.

Golden Gate Capital has entered into a partnership agreement with Kevin O’Meara, former president and COO of Builders FirstSource Inc., to explore strategic investments in the building products industry. No financial terms were disclosed for the effort, which will focus on opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

VC Deals

Cardio3 BioSciences, a Belgian developer of cell-based therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, has raised €7.2 million in Series B funding. Backers include Hunza Ventures, Life Science Research Partners and Grifols. In conjunction with the Series B funding, Cardio3 also secured €6.5 million in new cash advances from the Walloon Region General Directorate for Economy, Employment & Research.

UnboundID Corp., an Austin, Texas-based provider of identity management software for consumer-facing architectures, has raised $2 million in Series A funding led by Silverton Partners.

Buffet Crampon, a French maker of woodwind instruments, has raised €1 million from Argos Soditic. www.buffetcrampon.fr

Buyout Deals

American Hardwood Industries Inc., a portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, has defaulted on an interest payment to Fifth Street Finance Corp., according to a Fifth Street filing with the SEC. www.rossiwood.com

Banexi Capital and Cerea Capital have offered to acquire the French frozen patisserie business of Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) for 50 million.

CVC Capital Partners is planning to bid for a stake in UK postal operator Royal Mail, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

TAV, the Turkish airport operator, is looking to sell a 30% stake in ground-handling subsidiary Havas. The deal reportedly would value Havas at between €275 million and €350 million.

PE Exits

Argos Soditic has sold Jaybeam Wireless, a UK–based maker of cellular antennas, to Amphenol (NYSE: APH). No financial terms were disclosed. Argos Soditic acquired Jaybeam in June 2007, as part of its sponsorship of a management buyout of Financière Harlé Bickford & Co. www.jaybeamwireless.com

Firms & Funds

Allegis Capital, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based early-stage venture firm, has begun raising its sixth fund with a target of between $150 million and $200 million, according to PE Week. www.allegiscapital.com

Anglo Irish Bank has been nationalized by the Irish government.

The Blackstone Group plans to launch a South Korea unit this month, according to The Maeil Business Newspaper.

Citigroup plans to sell its Japanese retail brokerage unit, Nikko Cordial, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Drum Capital Management this month expects to hold a $150 million first close for its third distressed debt and turnaround fund-of-funds, according to Buyouts Magazine. The firm began fund-raising last quarter with a $500 million target. www.drumcapital.com