PE Week Wire: Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some of you get upset when I discuss politics in this space, so I won’t do so this morning. Instead, I’m going to ask for your opinion. That’s right, it’s time for our Presidential Preference Poll.

All readers are asked to participate in the survey, which will take just two minutes to complete. We did this prior to the 2004 election, and ended up with Bush just slightly ahead of Kerry. In other words, the private investment community was a fairly close mirror to the nation at large.

Click here to take the survey. We’ll have results for you tomorrow.

*** Oh, I lied about not discussing politics this morning:

John McCain is closing the fundraising gap with Barrack Obama, when it comes to contributions from private equity professionals.

The Arizona Senator raised $50,000 in the second quarter, according to a peHUB analysis of Federal Election Commission records. That trounces the $15,800 raised by Obama, who had bested McCain in all prior quarters. Moreover, a number of private equity pros helped raise Q2 money for McCain – with those figured not included in our calculations. One example of that was Steve Klinsky of New Mountain Capital, who helped raise an additional $28,500.

Overall it was the slowest quarter for private equity giving since the primary season began last year. Part of the problem may be that donors have already maxed out, while others might have been waiting until the Democratic race was over (which didn’t happen until late Q2). Expect another surge of contributions, particularly if McCain picks PE darling Mitt Romney as his running mate.

To date, Obama has raised $376,515 from private equity pros, while McCain has raised 231,071. You can get all the data here, including both aggregate fundraising numbers and individual Q2 contributions.

*** Wow, what a liar… Am I the only one who can’t understand the attention being paid to President Bush’s “Wall Street got drunk” comments? Isn’t it a vocalization of the obvious? Sure we could hope for some introspection – like a comment about who was helping to serve the drinks – but that would have been a legitimate news story.

*** We are going to do something at the Dutch Goose next week, and I’ll post details to peHUB later today. I’ll also put it in our peHUB Facebook page, which for some reason has over 750 members.

It will be just a mini-shindig, since the Goose’s back porch is small and I’m not soliciting sponsors. But have no fear Bay Area folks. The real deal is coming this September. Details soon…

Top Three

GT Solar International Inc., a Merrimack, N.H.-based provider of manufacturing equipment and solutions to the photovoltaic industry, has raised $500 million in its IPO. The company priced 30.3 million shares at $16.50 per share ($15.50-$17.50 range), for an initial market cap of approximately $2.35 billion. Credit Suisse and UBS served as co-lead underwriters. Shareholders include GFI Energy Ventures, Oaktree Capital Management and the RBC Global Energy Fund., a publicly-traded price comparison website based in Britain, has rejected a preliminary buyout approach from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Moneysupermarket shares rose 22% yesterday, to increase the company’s market cap to £419 million.

Cisco has agreed to acquire Pure Networks Inc., a Seattle-based provider of home networking management software. The deal is valued at approximately $120 million. Pure had raised around $30.5 million in VC funding since 2003, from Ignition Partners, Mayfield Fund, Intel Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.

VC Deals

NuPathe Inc., a Conshohocken, Penn.-based drug startup focused on neurological and psychiatric disorders, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Quaker BioVentures and S.R. One Ltd. co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Safeguard Scientifics, Bay City Capital/Birchmere Ventures, Battelle Ventures and BioAdvance Ventures.

iYogi Inc., an India-based provider of remote technical support services, has raised $9.5 million in Series B funding. SAP Ventures was joined by return backers Canaan Partners and SVB India Capital. It had previously raised $3.1 million.

AqueSys Inc., a Duluth, Ga.-based developer of a device to treat primary open-angle glaucoma, has raised $9 million in Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Return backers include AMV Partners, Carlyle Venture Partners and SV Life Sciences. It had previously raised $6.9 million.

Xenome Ltd., an Australian developer of peptide drugs for the treatment of pain and inflammation, has raised $6 million from GBS Venture Partners. GBS also committed an undisclosed amount of future funding. Xenome plans to go public next year.

Buyout Deals

H.I.G. Capital has agreed to acquire PMSI from AmerisourceBergen Corp. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close later this quarter. PMSI is a Tampa, Fla.-based provider of managed care services and products for workers’ compensation and catastrophically injured populations.

High Road Capital Partners and Charter Oak Equity have acquired Milwaukee Gear Co. and sister company Treat All Metals Inc. No financial terms were disclosed. Babson Capital Management and JPMorgan provided debt financing. No pricing terms were disclosed.

KKR reportedly is considering a buyout offer for Healthscope Ltd. (AX: HSP), an Australian private hospitals and diagnostics group.

Nmás1, a Spanish private equity firm, has sponsored a buyout of MBA Incorporado, a Spain-based maker of healthcare and surgical products. The deal is valued at €160 million, with Nmás1 taking a 77% ownership interest.

Pine Brook Road Partners announced a joint venture withoil and gas exploration company Comet Ridge Ltd. (ASX: COI), to develop the company’s U.S. assets. Pine Brook will provide up to $100 million in funding and hold a majority stake in the JV.

PE Exits

Arclight Capital Partners has completed its sale of Magnum Coal Co. to Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX) for nearly $709 million. The deal creates the second-largest coal producer in central Appalachia. ArcLight now holds 16% stake in Patriot Coal, which spun off from Peabody Energy Corp. late last year. Other Magnum shareholders hold a 15% stake.

PE-Backed M&A

TowerCo, a portfolio company of Tailwind Partners, has agreed to acquire approximately 3,300 wireless communication towers from Sprint Nextel for $670 million in cash. The two companies have also entered into a long-term leasing agreement whereby TowerCo will provide Sprint with towers to support its CDMA, iDEN and WiMAX networks. Equity for the acquisition is being provided by Tailwind, Soros Strategic Partners, Stone Tower Equity Partners and Vulcan Capital.

Traffic Control & Safety Corp., a portfolio company of Marwit Capital, has completed the acquisition of Traffic Solutions Inc., a Redding, Calif.-based provider of traffic control and safety services in Northern California. No financial terms were disclosed.

Firms and Funds

Kennet Partners has closed its third fund with over $315 million in capital commitments. The firm has offices in both London and Silicon Valley, and focuses on growth and later-stage tech investments.

Human Resources

Bill Li has joined Walden International as a managing director based in the firm’s Beijing office. The firm also has promoted vice presidents Yimin Zimmerer (Shanghai) and Hing Wong (Beijing) to managing director.

Mayfield Fund has hired three entrepreneurs-in-residence: Martin Eberhard, co-founder of NCD, NuvoMedia and Tesla Motors; Marc Tarpenning, co-founder of NuvoMedia and Tesla Motors; and James Phillips, founder of Akimbi Systems.

Paul Capital Partners has promoted Ken Macleod to partner. He is based in the firm’s London office, and focuses on European and Asian healthcare opportunities.

Shane Braunstein has joined GAIN Capital Group, a provider of foreign exchange services, as vice president of corporate development. He previously was with 3i Group.

Leslie Fenton has joined the Chicago office of KPMG Corporate Finance as a managing director and head of insurance I-banking. She previously was with Navigant Consulting.

Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association has promoted Aaron Norton as a senior portfolio manager for private equity. He replaces David Martus, who recently left to join Pegasus Capital Advisors.

Gary LaBranche has been named president and CEO of The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), effective September 1. He has spent the past five years as president and CEO of the Association Forum of Chicagoland.