PE Week Wire: Thurs., April 3, 2008

It’s April, which means that a bunch of first-year MBA candidates are freaking out about not having summer internships lined up yet. But we’re here to help, with our annual Desperate Interns Drive.

This is a lot like the Internship Rodeo from last November, except that it’s later in the game for both employers and employees.

So if your firm is looking to hire summer interns from the current crop of first-year MBA candidates, please let me know via email (you can just hit reply to the Wire). All postings will be put into the password-protected MBA Forum section of, and can include as much or little information as you’d like to provide. Minimums are firm type (VC, LBO, I-Bank, etc.) and job location. If you’d like to keep your firm identity anonymous, just be sure to let me know.

There is no fee for this service. For context, MBA Forum currently has over 1,900 verified members.

Addendum #1: If you are among the desperate, please do not email me your CV, photograph or any other such information. When the postings are ready, I’ll be sure to let you know (probably early next week).

Addendum #2: The Desperate Interns Drive is only for summer internshuips. If you want to find fulltime employees, please use our Careers board. Postings cost just $99 each, and can be purchased online with a credit card.

Addendum #3: Most of these postings will be for investment-related jobs. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, check out a program being launched today by Highland Capital Partners. It allows selected teams to spend the summer at Highland’s office — either in Massachusetts or California – which includes access to Highland investment professionals and other relevant resources. In fact, two of last year’s teams ended up getting seed funding from Highland. Info on how to apply can be found here.

Around 300 of DoubleClick’s 1,200 employees yesterday either received pink slips or were placed in “transitional” roles. This comes just weeks after Google bought DoubleClick from two private equity firms, and raises a new question for labor activists: Should workers be more concerned about a PE firm buying a company, or a PE firm selling a company?

peHUB First Read, including news that a federal judge has kicked the Clear Channel case back to Texas (edge: plaintiffs).

The Canadian government is in the midst of selling off chunks of wireless spectrum, and the bidders include both venture capitalists and buyout firms. I’ve got some details here.

Answer Key: I recently asked if you name the private equity firm that is nearing a deal to write an equity check of between $800m-$900m, to sponsor Lachlan Murdoch’s proposed Au$3.3 billion buyout of Consolidated Media Holdings? The answer is Providence Equity Partners.

Where in the World? I’ll be in Orlando for part of next week for ACG InterGrowth, which is expecting more than 2,000 attendees. I’ll be part of a journalist panel that will discuss various PE issues, with CNBC’s Melissa Lee moderating. If you’re going to be down there and want to get together, let me know. All of this, of course, is dependent on me actually making hotel reservations in Orlando…

Top Three

Candover has called off its £2 billion buyout of Bourne Leisure Holdings, a UK-based holiday park operator. The deal had recently received EU approval, but both sides notified regulators that the transaction would not go forward. Certain reports cite credit concerns. Candover previously owned a 28% stake in Bourne together with Legal & General Group, but divested it in 2004.

Vlingo Corp., a Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of voice recognition for mobile applications, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Yahoo led the round, and was joined by return backers Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners.

Maax Corp., a portfolio company of J.W. Childs & Co., has put itself on the auction block. The Montreal-based maker of bathroom fixtures said that it had retained Alvarez & Marsal to manage the process, and also that it has restructured its existing debt agreements. The company was acquired four years ago for C$640 million by Childs, Borealis Private Equity and Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. It did a December 2004 recap in which the buyers recouped most of their initial equity investment.

VC Deals

Kleer Corp. (f.k.a. ENQ Semiconductor), a Cupertino, Calif.-based fabless maker of wireless audio ICs, has raised $28 million in Series B funding. peHUB had previously reported that it would be a $13 million round, based on a regulatory filing. BDC Venture Capital and return backer TL Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by U.S. Venture Partners and VenGrowth.

Aperto Networks Inc., a Milpitas, Calif.-based provider of WiMAX base stations and subscriber units, has raised $20 million in new VC funding. Quicksilver Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Gunn Allen Venture Partners, JK&B Capital, Canaan Partners, Alliance Ventures, Innovacom, JAFCO Ventures and Labrador Ventures. The company has now raised around $160 million in total VC funding since its 1998 inception.

iControl Networks Inc., a Palo Alto, Caif.-based provider of home security software solutions, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, and was joined by return backers Intel Capital and Charles River Ventures.

Fishbowl Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-based provider of on-demand marketing solutions for the restaurant industry, has raised $12 million in “Series A” funding. Valhalla Partners was joined by return backer Edison Venture Fund, which had led a $7.3 million round last year. RBC Capital Markets served as placement agent.

CoAxia Inc. a Maple Gove, Minn.-based developer of perfusion augmentation therapies to improve outcomes for patients with cerebral ischemia resulting from stroke, has raised $11.5 million in additional Series C funding. It had held an $11 million first close in late 2006. Canaan Partners and Prism VentureWorks co-led the round, and were joined by Baird Venture Partners, Affinity Capital Management, Johnson and Johnson Development Corp. and SVB Capital Partners.

Redux Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based online people discovery startup, has raised $6.5 million in Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Institutional backers include Alsop Louie Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company was co-founded by Darian Shirazi and David McIntosh, who previously worked together to create mobile photo sharing site Fotodunk (bought by iLike).

Synvascular Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based medical device startup, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and InterWest Partners. Company executives include Gordon Saul, an executive-in-residence with InterWest who also holds operating roles Diatos, Carbylan BioSurgery and RadioRx.

Illumitex Inc., an Austin, Texas-based provider of solid-state lighting solutions, has called down $5.25 million of a $10.5 million Series B round, according to a regulatory filing. New Enterprise Associates and Aweida Capital were joined by return backer DFJ Mercury.

Loomia, a San Francisco-based provider of the SeenThis? social recommendations application, has raised $5 million in Series A funding. Backers include Asset Management Company, Peacock Equity and Telefonica Capital SAU.

Moleac, a Singapore-based natural medicine developer, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding. Hunza Ventures led the round.

Alethia Biotherapeutics, a Montreal-based developer of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment and prevention of severe bone loss, ovarian cancer, and metastatic breast cancer, has raised C$2.4 million in VC funding from BDC Venture Capital and GO Capital Fund.

Fix8, a developer of an application that combines animated video creation with user-generated content, has raised $2 million in additional Series A funding from SK Telecom of Korea. It had previously raised $3 million in Series 1A funding from Vickers Financial Group of Singapore. Fix8 is a division of virt! ual communications company Mobinex.

Lattice Engines Inc., a Boston-based provider of business decision analytics software, has raised $1.7 million in Series A funding led by Battery Ventures, according to a regulatory filing.

Buyout Deals

Alpine Investors has acquired Lighting By Gregory, a New York-based retailer of high-end lighting products. No financial terms were disclosed.

Darby Overseas Investments has invested $25 million into Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Co., a Bangalore-based integrated coffee company.

Gala Coral, a UK gaming company, has raised £125 million in additional equity funding from existing shareholders Candover, Cinven and Permira. The new arrangement sees £82 million of senior debt being paid off and £42 million being placed on the balance sheet in return for an easing of covenants. Candover and Cinven have owned Gala since February 2003, when they backed a £1.24 billion buyout. In August 2005, Permira bought a 33% stake in the company ahead of its acquisition of Coral Eurobet.

Inflexion Private Equity has sponsored a management buyout of SMD, a UK–based maker of sub-sea vehicle systems. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which includes leveraged financing from Barclays and HSBC.

Pennington Allen Capital Partners has acquired Mathey Investments Inc., maker of various tools and equipment for the pipeline and welding industry. No financial terms were disclosed. Mathey is based in Tulsa, but also has a manufacturing facility in Milan, Italy.

RAG Stifung reportedly is in talks with four private equity firms about selling its 25% stake in German energy and chemicals group Evonik Industries. The stake is valued at around €2 billion, while the interested firms are Bain Capital, KKR, Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners. RAG Stiftung called off a planned IPO of Evonik earlier this week.

SK Capital Partners has acquired Aristech Acrylics, a Florence, Ky.-based supplier of acrylic sheets and solid surface products that are used in a variety of building and industrial applications. The seller was Mitsubishi Corp., while Wells Fargo Foothill provided leveraged financing. No pricing terms were disclosed. SK Capital is an affiliate of The Valence Group, a newly-formed merchant bank focused on the specialty chemicals and materials sectors.

Transom Capital Group has acquired Blue Microphones, a Westlake Village, Calif.-based provider of microphones for the professional audio and consumer markets. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, in which Blue’s co-founders will retain an equity position.

PE-Backed IPOs

Windsor Energy Resources Inc., an Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas discovery and development company, has withdrawn registration for a $175 million IPO. No explanation was provided. It had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with Credit Suisse and Johnson Rice& Co. serving as co-lead underwriters. Windsor is owned by Wexford Capital.

PE Exits

Audax Group has sold Silver State Materials LLC, a Las Vegas-based maker of ready-mixed concrete, to California Portland Cement Company. No financial terms were disclosed. Harris Williams and McColl Partners advised Silver State on the deal.

J.D. Power and Associates, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Cos., has acquired Umbria Inc., a Boulder, Colo.–based provider of social media and consumer-generated media research. No financial terms were disclosed. Umbria had raised $12.25 million in VC funding since 2005, from firms like ArrowPath Venture Capital, Sequel Venture Partners and Vista Ventures.

PE-Backed M&A

AmeriCast Technologies Inc., an Atchison, Kansas-based maker of complex steel castings, has acquired A.G. Anderson Ltd., a Canadian maker of castings for the energy industry. No financial terms were disclosed, except that the combined company will have revenue in excess of $335 million. Castle Harlan bought AmeriCast in late 2006 from KPS Special Situations Fund for $110 million.

Engauge, a marketing agency owned by Halyard Capital, has acquired SpunLogic, an Atlanta-based digital marketing group. No financial terms were disclosed.

EPAM Systems, a provider of software development outsourcing in Eastern Europe and Russia, has acquired B2Bits Corp., a provider of software and consulting services to capital markets organizations within the financial services sector. No financial terms were disclosed. There also is a report that EPAM has agreed to buy Kazakhstan-based software development firm Plusmicro in an all-stock deal. EPAM raised $25 million in funding from Siguler Guff & Co. in 2006.

Firms & Funds

Graham Partners has held a $450 million first close on its third fund, according to LBO Wire. The Newton Square, Pa.-based firm is targeting $650 million, and focuses on mid-market opportunities in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.

Lovell Minnick Partners is raising up to $350 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. Credit Suisse is serving as placement agent. Los Angeles-based Lovell Minnick closed its second fund in 2006 with $220 million, and focuses on mid-market buyout opportunities.

Human Resources

Gary Malhotra has joined Sadis & Goldberg LLP as a partner in the firm’s corporate and financial services practice, with a focus on PIPE transactions. He previously ran his own boutique firm focused on PIPEs and, before that, was a senior associate in the private equity group of Proskauer Rose.

Steven Marton has joined Pegasus Capital Advisors as an operating advisor. He most recently was with Newell Rubbermaid as group president of office products.

Pekka Vartiainen has joined Nordic venture capital firm Sunstone Capital as a venture partner. He previously was head of Nokia mobile phones in the United States.

Frank Campanale has joined Advanced Equities Financial Corp. as chairman and CEO of the firm’s wealth management division. He previously ran his own consulting firm and, before that, was president and CEO of Smith Barney’s consulting unit.