PE Week Wire: Thurs., Oct. 18, 2007

Top Three

Kellwood Co. (NYSE: KWD), a marketer of apparel and consumer soft goods, has rejected a $544 million buyout offer from Sun Capital Partners. Kellwood said that the $21 per share offer would not provide adequate value to stockholders.

LiveScribe, an Oakland, Calif.-based developer of smart pen systems that help bridge the electronic-paper divide, has raised $22 million in Series A funding led by VantagePoint Venture Partners. peHUB has more details.

Apollo Management and TPG yesterday received New Jersey casino regulator approval of their proposed buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment (NYSE: HET). The $31 billion deal includes around $17.1 billion of equity, and is expected to close late this year or early next year. Read the full story.

VC Deals

GridPoint Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based provider of energy management products, has raised $16.5 million in additional Series D funding. The round total is now $48.5 million, with Goldman Sachs and Susquehanna Private Equity Investments serving as co-lead investors. Other participants included New Enterprise Associates, Perella Weinberg Partners and Robeco. GridPoint has now raised $88 million in totalequity

Revionics Inc., a Sacramento, Calif.-based provider of price optimization software for retailers, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Sierra Ventures.

TrustedID Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.–based provider of identity protection solutions, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Opus Capital led the round, which closed in July. Return backers include Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Draper Richards.

InfoNow Corp., a Denver-based provider of SaaS-based channel data services, has raised $6 million in Series A funding. Sequel Venture Partners and Sevin Rosen Funds co-led the round, with Tim Connor of Sequel and Ram Veldi of SRF joining the InfoNow board of directors.

SocialMedia Networks, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based provider of social platform services, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding. Charles River Ventures led the deal, and was joined by Marc Andreessen and Jeff Clavier. SocialMedia offers a suite of tools and services for developers building applications that run on open social platforms, including Facebook and MySpace.

SynapSense Corp., a Folsom, Calif.-based provider of wireless instrumentation solutions, has closed its Series B round with $11 million. The company previously had announced a $10 million close, but now says that Sequoia Capital has joined the round. Other participants include Emerald Technology Ventures, American River Ventures, Nth Power and DFJ Frontier.

Buyout Deals

Ryerson Inc. (NYSE: RYI) stockholders have approved a $34.50 per share buyout offer from Platinum Equity. The total deal is valued at approximately $2 billion. Ryerson is a Chicago-based metals processor, and is being advised by UBS.

Manor Care Inc. (NYSE: HCR) stockholders have approved a $67 per share buyout offer from The Carlyle Group. The total deal is valued at approximately $6.3 billion. Manor Care is a Toledo, Ohio-based nursing home operator.

Marlin Equity Partners has closed on its acquisition of Hanover Accessories Inc., a designer and marketer of jewelry, hair accessories, pet accessories and seasonal novelty products for the child, teen and pet markets. No financial terms were disclosed. Hanover will be integrated into Ultra*Pro, an existing Marlin portfolio

PE-Backed IPOs

China Nepstar Chain Drugstore Ltd., the largest retail drugstore chain in China, has filed for a $250 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol NPD, with Goldman Sachs (Asia) serving as lead underwriter. Goldman Sachs holds a 30.3% pre-IPO position.

Forum Oilfield Technologies Inc., a Houston-based maker of drilling and flow control products for oil and natural gas drilling and production applications, has filed for a $345 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol FOT, with Credit Suisse and JPMorgan serving as co-lead underwriters. SCF Partners helped form the company in 2005, and holds a majority ownership position.

Nanosphere Inc., a Northbrook, Ill.-based molecular diagnostics company with a nanotech-based platform to enable earlier disease detection and treatment, has set its IPO terms to seven million common shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $343 million, if it prices at the high end of its range. Nanosphere plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NSPH, with Credit Suisse serving as lead underwriter. Nanosphere has raised around $80 million in VC funding since 2000, from firms like Brookside Capital Partners, Lurie Investments Bain Capital Ventures and Allen & Company.

Lumber Liquidators Inc., a Toano, Va.-based direct retailer of hardwood flooring, has set its IPO terms to 11.5 million common shares being offered at between $12 and $14 per share. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol LL, with Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch serving as co-lead underwriters. TA Associates holds a 34.6% pre-IPO position, based on a $35 million private equity infusion in December 2004.

PE Exits

Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN) has completed its $370 million cash acquisition of Esprit Pharma Inc., an East Brunswick, N.J.–based drug company focused on the genitourinary (GU) and women’s healthcare markets. Merrill Lynch advised Esprit, with Cowen & co. serving as co-advisor. Esprit had raised over $220 million in VC funding since 2002, from Domain Associates, New Enterprise Associates, Apax Partners, Montagu Newhall Global Partners, Oak Investment Partners and clients advised by Performance Equity Management.

DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV) has agreed to acquire Advanced Academics Inc., an Oklahoma City–based provider of online education, for $27.5 million in cash. Advanced Academics has raised around $19 million in VC funding from firms like Chisholm Private Capital Partners and Chrysalis Ventures.

Key Principal Partners has sold its investment in Big Rock Sports to senior company executives and Bison Capital Asset Management. Big Rock is a Newport, N.C.-based distributor of hunting, fishing, shooting, marine and camping equipment and supplies. It received $13.1 million in common stock and subordinated debt in 2000 from KPP, as part of a recapitalization led by JPMorgan Partners. JPMorgan has also exited its investment.

PE-Backed M&A

Prometheus Partners has recapitalized Porta-Jon of the Piedmont Inc., and combined it with existing portfolio company Spanky’s Portable Services Inc. No financial terms were disclosed. The combined company will be called Portable Facilities Holdings Inc., and will provide portable rest rooms throughout the Carolinas and Southern California. McColl Partners advised Porta-Jon on the transaction.

Human Resources

Ed Hamilton has joined Stage1 Ventures as chief financial officer. He previously has served as a general partner of Dover Medical Ventures and as CFO of North Bridge Venture Partners.