PE Week Wire, Nov. 6, 2006

Back in January, software investor Jeff Clavier wrote the following on his website:

Open Letter to Dan Primack: blog already

Dear Dan,

Like tens of thousands of your readers (my guess), I enjoy your daily column – both as a source of scoops and analysis regarding the venture capital industry. Over the past year, we have seen you link to a number of bloggers – and God knows you send us a ton of traffic when you do – and we heard you through a podcast interview on’s John Furrier. Great? Only sort of – because we want more: a blog – a real one, with comments, trackbacks, permalinks for news, analysis, or snippets of information, an RSS feed, etc. Nothing less.

What if I give you something more? And, yeah, it’s about time…

Today I am pleased to announced the launch of, a public forum for the private equity community. This is the “big new project” I’ve been teasing for weeks, and includes all of the blogging doodads – comments, voting, Digging, etc. – that you would expect. In addition, includes:

Vox Populi: An invited roster of guest bloggers from throughout the private equity spectrum. You can see the initial lineup here (more to be added this week), and go to the homepage to read Day One posts from Alexis Lakes (RWI Ventures), Ian Charles (Landmark Partners) and Jeffrey Walker (CCMP Capital).

Careers Section: Where you can find a private equity job, or advertise for one. It soon also will include employment advice.

Search Archive: A searchable archive of all peHub content, plus all PE Week Wire content since its inception. For just $124 per year, you can have an instant keyword access to every VC deal, LBO deal, fund formation, personnel move and PE-backed IPO since mid-2000. All peHub content will be generally-available for the first five days, after which it moves into the Archives.

NewsWire: Today’s news briefs, updated throughout the day.

Event Calendar: A comprehensive listing of all PE-related events. Over 200 in the system so far. Events are free to post, and for just $99 you can post a “Premium Event Listing” that will make your shindig stand out from all the rest.

MBA Corner: A message-board for current MBA candidates interested in private equity. School-specific access codes will be sent out to many of you shortly, via your PE/VC Club Heads and/or faculty advisors.

Please be clear that the launch of does not mean the impending demise of these morning missives. Instead, consider these the beginning of a conversation we will continue at throughout the day. So take a look, make some comments, drop me an anonymous news tip (you know how I love those) and let me know what you think…

As always, my job is to help you do yours better.

Top Three

Linde AG has agreed to sell forklift division KION Group to KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for Euro 4 billion (including Euro 400 million of assumed liabilities).

Bain Capital Partners and Catterton Partners have agreed to acquire OSI Restaurant Partners Inc. (NYSE: OSI), a restaurant operator whose brands include Outback Steakhouse, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Roy’s and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. The deal is for $40 per share, or approximately $3.2 billion (including assumed debt). It is expected to close by next April, with OSI founders Chris Sullivan, Robert Basham and J. Timothy Gannon also participating. Wachovia Securities served as financial advisor to OSI.

Alien Technology Corp., a Morgan Hill, Calif.–based RFID tagging company, has secured around $15 million of a $50 million-targered Series I round, according to a regulatory filing. In addition, the filing indicates that Alien will sell $93.75 million of convertible securities (the $50m is preferred stock). Backers include Advanced Equities, CMEA Ventures, Rho Ventures and SunBridge Partners. Alien has raised nearly $250 million in total VC funding, and earlier this year withdrew registration for a $138 million IPO.

VC Deals

CardioMEMS Inc., an Atlanta–based developer of wireless medical pressure sensors, has raised $22.6 million in Series D funding. Arcapita led the deal, and was joined by Easton Capital Partners and return backers Boston Millennia Partners, Foundation Medical Partners, Medtronic, Inc. and Johnson and Johnson Development Corp.

Netsize SA, a France-based provider of mobile messaging and content billing solutions, has raised Euro13.2 million in fourth-round funding. 123 Venture was joined by return backers GRP, Partech International, GemVentures, Rothschild Gestion and company founders., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based operator of online news communities, has raised $15 million in second-round funding. Return backers include Gannett Co., The McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co. The deal had a $72 million pre-money valuation, according to VentureWire.

BridgePort Networks Inc., a Chicago–based provider of mobile VoIP network convergence solutions, has raised $13 million in fourth-round funding. Return backers include TD Capital Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners and BCE Capital. The company has raised $51 million in total VC funding.

Powerset Inc., a San Francisco-based developer of a natural language search engine, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. Foundation Capital and The Founders Fund co-led the deal, and were joined by undisclosed angel backers.

Boston-Power Inc., a Westborough, Mass.-based developer of lithium-ion batteries, has raised $8 million in first-round funding. Venrock Associates and Gabriel Venture Partners co-led the deal.

EgTran Corp., a Taipai, Taiwan-based communications hardware manufacturer, has secured nearly $6 million of a $7.81 million Series 1 round, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Redwood Ventures and Edelson Ventures.

World of Good Inc., a Berkley, Calif.-based provider of “fair trade” globally-sourced goods, has raised $4 million in Series B funding. Backers include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Omidyar Network and Cliff Higgerson.

Stockholm Interactive, a Sweden-based provider of print ad and packaging services, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Atlas Venture, according to a regulatory filing.

Wupima Inc., a Reston, Va.-based mobile content startup, has secured around $2.72 million of a $3 million Series A round, according to a regulatory filing. IDG-Accel China Growth Fund led the deal.

IntegraGen, a France-based developer of genetic tests for complex diseases, has raised Euro 2 million in funding from DSM Venturing, the corporate venturing arm of Royal DSM NV.

Bunchball Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of online multi-player gaming, has raised around $2 million in Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Adobe Systems and Granite Ventures.

Buyout Deals

Videndi SA invited KKR to discuss a possible $50 billion buyout of the media conglomerate, but the talks ultimately fell apart, according to the NY Times. Hurdles to such a deal would include potential tax liabilities and French regulations that prevent foreign firms like KKR from holding majority stakes in broadcasters like Vivendi unit Canal Plus.

Four Seasons Hotels Inc. (NYSE: FS) has received an $82 per share buyout offer from company Cascade Investment (backed by Bill Gates), Kingdom Hotels International (backed by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud) and Four Seasons chairman and CEO Isadore Sharp. The total deal would value Four Seasons at approximately $3.7 billion.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is in talks to acquire the U.S. Foodservice group of Royal Ahold NV for approximately $5 billion, according to The Financial Times.

Austin Ventures has sponsored a recapitalization of, an online destination for consumers to search, compare, and apply for credit cards. No financial terms were disclosed. In related news, former Bankrate CEO Elisabeth DeMarse was named company CEO. American Capital Strategies and founder Dan Smith also participated in the recap.

Diamond Castle Holdings has agreed to acquire customer relationship services company PRC LLC from IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI). No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in partnership with PRC management.

The Blackstone Group has completed its $6.55 per share buyout of Encore Medical Corp. (Nasdaq: WNMC). The total deal is valued at approximately $887 million.

Resilience Capital Partners of Cleveland has completed its acquisition of SpecialtyChem Products Corp., a Marinette, Wis.-based chemical company that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 12. No financial terms were disclosed.

PE-Backed IPOs

Ellora Energy Inc., a Boulder, Colo.-based oil and gas company, has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol LORA, with AG Edwards serving as lead underwriter. Ellora is a portfolio company of Yorktown Energy Partners.

Sonda AS, a Chilean IT services company, on Friday priced a $215 million IPO on the Santiago Stock Exchange. Shareholders include Intel Capital.

Stallion Oilfield Services Inc., a Houston, Texas-based provider of well-site support, construction and logistics services to oil exploration and production companies, has withdrawn registration for a $287.5 million IPO. No reason was given, except that the company “believes the withdrawal to be consistent with the public interest and the protection of investors.” Lehman Brothers, UBS and Credit Suisse had been serving as co-lead underwriters. Stallion is controlled by the Carlyle/Riversone Global Energy and Power Fund II.

PE-Backed M&A

SBS Broadcasting, a Luxembourg-based broadcasting company controlled by Permira and KKR, has completed its acquisition of the Radio Express network in Bulgaria. No financial terms were disclosed.

InfrastruX Group, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of utility infrastructure construction and maintenance services, has acquired Hawkeye LLC, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based provider of construction services to the utility industry and state and local municipalities. The transaction was financed through a $430 million recapitalization of InfrastruX Group, which is owned by Tenaska Power Fund.

Paintearth Energy Services Inc., a manufacturer of production enhancement equipment for North American oil and gas producers, has acquired two business units of Integrated Production Services, a division of Complete Production Services Inc. The acquisition was financed via a Cnd$8.2 million equity and subordinated note investment led by VenGrowth Private Equity Partners. Existing shareholder Canadian Medical Protective Association also participated.

PE Exits

Harvest Partners has completed its sale of Communications Supply Corp. to Wesco International Inc. (NYSE: WCC). No financial terms were disclosed. Communications Supply Corp. is a Carol Stream Ill.-based distributor of low voltage network infrastructure and industrial wire and cable products.

One2Com AB has agreed to acquire Norwegian mobile services provider Mobyson Holding AS, from shareholders like Agder Energi, Televenture Management, Vital Forsikring, Fram Management, Sundt AS and OG A. Wilhelmsen Capital. The deal values Mobyson at approximately $36 million.

Firm & Fund News

Voyager Capital has closed on over $93 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. The Seattle-based venture capital firm is targeting $200 million. Limited partners include Procific, Meyer Memorial Trust, Vanderbilt University and the Oregon Investment Fund.

Merrill Lynch Private Equity is the latest private equity firm known to have received a request for information from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to The Wall Street Journal. The inquiry is believed to be about possible anti-competitive behavior.

Human Resources

Peter Rip has joined Crosslink Capital as a general partner. He previously was a managing director with Leapfrog Ventures, where he will remain a venture partner.

Olivier Sichel has joined Sofinnova Partners as a partner. He is the former chairman and CEO of Wanadoo, a France Telecom group.

Foundation Capital has promoted Charles Moldow to general partner. He joined the firm as a venture partner in 2005, before which he was an executive with Tellme Networks.

Jonathan Leinmuller and François Garcin have joined the London office of Probitas Partners as a director and associate, respectively. Leinmuller previously was a founding partner of Matrix Private Funds Group, while Garcin had been an associate with Carta Diem Private Equity.

Quincy Smith is joining CBS Corp. as president of a newly-formed division called CBS Interactive. He previously was a Silicon Valley I-banker with Allen & Co. and, before that, was co-founded of VC firm The Barksdale Group.

Patrick Chiang, Andrew Chung and John Vrionis have joined Lightspeed Venture Partners as senior associates. Chiang previously was CFO of mobile communications technology company Aliph. Chung previously worked at both Bain Capital and TL Ventures. Vrionis most recently was in product management at software security startup Determina.

Katsuyoshi Tanaka has joined Steel Partners as a Tokyo-based managing director. He has spent the past 18 years with Mitsubishi Corp., most recently serving as business development manager of the company’s energy business development unit.