PE Week Wire: Monday, September 8, 2008

I slacked off a bit on original reporting over the past month, and told you it was because I was working on a pair of non-editorial endeavors. The first was peHUB Across America II, which has already sold more than 450 tickets (not including all you folks on the SF waiting list – don’t worry, you haven’t been forgotten). Today, I’m pleased to announce the second:

peHUB.com, the public forum for private equity, has been re-launched with new functionality and a new design.

The site’s traffic is more than double what it was this time last year – thanks in large part to having dedicated reporters other than just me — but there have been some nagging issues we wanted to address. First and foremost was the site’s speed, which was slower than today’s Tom Brady (too soon? I’m trying to smile through the pain). A close second was that the site’s homepage was very crowded, so we’ve cut back from four columns to two. We’ve also added a pair of verticals: Venture Capital and Buyouts. This means that all peHUB blog content will remain on the homepage, but you can filter out the stuff you’re probably not interested in.

We’ve also done a better job integrating news items into the blog feeds, which means that you can more easily check the site throughout the day for the latest news. Major stories will sit on the homepage, while every VC and buyout item will appear in the VC/Buyout verticals, respectively. In addition, all Vox Populi posts – the ones written by industry professionals – are now in front of the paid firewall (all other content will continue to go there after five days, but you can get a yearly subscription for just $124).

Finally, we’ve completely revamped the backend so that we’ll have much better flexibility when it comes to things like multimedia content (more on that coming soon). So go to the site and check it out. As always, I’m eager to hear your feedback.

Top Three

MyHeritage, an Israel-based company that combines social networking with family trees, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. Index Ventures was joined by return backer Accel Partners.

Oaktree Capital Management and Calypso Acquisition Corp. have agreed to buy Nevada Chemicals Inc. (Nasdaq: NCEM) for approximately $94 million in cash. The $13.37 per share deal represents a 36% premium to Friday’s closing price. Nevada Chemicals is a Salt Lake City-based provider of liquid sodium cyanide to mining companies in the Western U.S.

David Zwiener, a managing director with The Carlyle Group, is the leading candidate to become CFO of Wachovia Corp., according to The Wall Street Journal.

VC Deals

Miniweb, a UK-based provider of Web-style advertising and interactivity on TV, has raised $32 million in new VC funding. Meritage Funds and DeGeorge Holdings III co-led the round.

Tableau Software, a Seattle-based provider of analytics and visualization software, has raised $10 million in Series B funding from New Enterprise Associates. Tableau had previously raised $5 million from NEA in 2004.

Niagara Dispensing Technologies Inc., a Buffalo, N.Y.-based maker of draft beer dispensing systems, has raised $3.5 million in VC funding. Rand Capital led the round, and was joined by Regional Development Corp. and the Empire State Development Small Business Technology Investment Fund.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Bridgewater, N.J.-based drug company focused on cardiovascular and metabolic disease, has raised an undisclosed amount of third-round VC funding. No additional details were disclosed. The company is currently in registration for an IPO, and previously raised around $40 million from Alta Partners, Advent International, Index Ventures, MVM Life Science Partners, Red Abbey Venture Partners and Scheer & Co.

Buyout Deals

CVC has invested €1.6 billion for a minority stake in German conglomerate Evonik. The equity infusion will be supplemented by a €1.2 billion leveraged loan.

High Street Capital has acquired an undisclosed stake in Wagner Electric Company Inc., a South Bend, Ind.-based provider of electric motor repair services.

Pine Creek Partners has agreed to acquire Lydall Transport Ltd. from Lydall Inc. (NYSE: LDL) for an undisclosed amount. Lydall Transport provides time-sensitive shipment and warehouse management services to the paper and printing industries.

Platte River Ventures has acquired Hetsco Inc., a Greenwood, Ind.–based provider of repair and maintenance services for brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in partnership with company management.

PE-Backed IPOs

Fluidigm Corp., a South San Francisco-based provider of integrated fluidic circuits for the life sciences market, has set its IPO terms to 5.3 million common shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $372 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. Fluidigm plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol FLDM, with Morgan Stanley serving as lead underwriter. It has raised nearly $200 million in total VC funding since 1999, from firms like Bio*One Capital, Versant Ventures, EuclidSR Partners, InterWest Partners, Alloy Ventures, InterWest Venture Partners and Lilly Ventures. www.fluidigm.com

XDx Inc., a South San Francisco-based molecular diagnostics company that develops tests for the monitoring of transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases, has withdrawn its registration for an $86.25 million IPO. No reason was given. The company had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley serving as co-lead underwriters. XDx has raised over $86 million in VC funding, from firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG Ventures, Sprout Group, Burrill & Co., DAG Ventures, Integral Capital Partners and Intel Capital. www.xdx.com

PE Exits

Charterhouse has received two unsolicited bids for UK portfolio company Lucite, which makes acrylic-based products. The offers are believed to value the business at around $2 billion, and come from a Japanese strategic and Saudi consortium.

PE-Backed M&A

iSkoot Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of mobile VoIP solutions, has acquired Social.im, a social network IM client. No financial terms were disclosed. iSkoot has raised around $15 million in VC funding from firms like Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures and ZG Ventures. Social.im had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Felicis Ventures and individual angels.

Firms & Funds

Stonebridge Partners has closed its fourth fund with $325 million in capital commitments, although it may increase the size at a later date, according to LBO Wire. The White Plains, N.Y.-based firm focuses on management buyouts of middle market companies. www.stonebridgepartners.com

Human Resources

Charles Allen, former chief executive officer of ITV, has joined Goldman Sachs Capital Partners as a senior advisor, according to the FT. He will focus on deals in the media sector, and join the board of Dutch television producer Endemol. www.gs.com

Richard Guay has been named president and CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. He has been serving as interim CEO since May, and had spent the previous two years as the organization’s chief investment officer.

KKR has hired Yoshiharu Fukuhara as a senior advisor in Japan. He currently is honorary chairman of luxury cosmetics company Shiseido Co., where he used to be a senior executive.

Om Malik, the namesake of technology blog GigaOm, has joined True Ventures as a venture partner. He will continue writing for GigaOm, although he has hired both a CEO and managing editor. True Ventures invested in GigaOm last year. www.trueventures.com

William Reeve has joined DFJ Esprit as a venture partner. He previously was COO with DFJ Esprit portfolio company LoveFilm International.

Austin Ventures has promoted Craig Milius to general partner. He joined the firm as a senior associate in 2000, and was promoted to partner in 2006.

Alan Fishman has been named CEO of Washington Mutual Inc. (NYSE: WM), after the embattled Karry Killinger agreed to retire. TPG Capital led a $7.2 billion capital infusion for WaMu earlier this year.