PE Week Wire: Thursday, November 13, 2008

Greetings from 50th Street in Manhattan, or at least the part of it shut down so that some VIPs can speed from the Waldorf Astoria to the UN. Too bad they’re not headed to LaGuardia, because then I could try to hitch a ride…

It was good seeing more than 300 of you last night for our peHUB Shindig, which raised over $3,700 for NYC Cares, an organization that mobilizes New Yorkers interested in community volunteerism. Tonight it’s onto Boston, for the tour finale. It sold out shortly after yesterday’s Wire was delivered, but I just opened up a handful of additional tickets (please don’t tell my event coordinator — it may cause her to panic). Get them here.

Special thanks to our regional sponsors Dechert LLP and Square 1 Bank, and also to local Boston sponsors Atlas Venture and Polachi & Co. When you have a drink at the open bar tonight (or win a door prize), make sure to thank them.

*** Apologies for the lack of column, but these tours suck the reporting hours out of the day. There is a bunch of scoopy stuff to discuss, however, and I’ll be back on the ball (and in the home office) tomorrow. Until then, here’s a bunch of peHUB links and the news…

Top Three

KarpReilly Capital Partners and HIG Capital have offered to buy women’s apparel retailer Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. (Nasdaq: CHIC), for between $9 and $9.50 per share (31%-35% premium to yesterday’s closing price). The deal could be worth upwards of $198.6 million. KarpReilly currently holds a 5.4% stake in Charlotte Russe.

Ladder Capital Finance has been formed as a specialty finance company focused on the commercial real estate industry. It has raised approximately $1 billion in equity and debt, co-led by Towerbrook Capital Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners.

Morgenthaler Ventures has closed its ninth fund with just over $400 million in capital commitments. This is the firm’s first dedicated VC fund, and will expand its focus from early-stage to include growth-stage (Series B and Series C rounds). Prior funds also invested in buyouts. In related news, Morgenthaler has hired Rebecca Lynn as a principal and Guido Appenzeller as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Lynn previously was VP of marketing for NextCard, while Appenzeller is co-founder of Morgenthaler portfolio company Voltage Security.

VC Deals

Flipswap, a Los Angeles-based company focused on mobile device trade-ins and incentivized electronics recycling, has raised $14 million in Series B funding from RRE Ventures and NGEN.

Transpera Inc., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of a platform to monetize Web video on mobile phones, has raised $8.25 million in Series B funding. first round funding. Flybridge Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers First Round Capital and Intel Capital. New investor Labrador Ventures also participated.

New Relic Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of Ruby on Rails application performance management solutions, has raised $6 million in Series B funding. Trinity Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Benchmark Capital.

Nanomas Technologies Inc., a Vestal, N.Y.-based maker of inks containing silver nanoparticals, has raised $3.2 million in first-round funding.BASF Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by Earthrise Capital Partners.

MoJiva, a New York-based mobile advertising platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.

ARYx Th erapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ARYX), a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of retro-metabolic drugs, has placed a $21.6 million IPO. New Enterprise Associates led the placement, and was joined by fellow existing shareholders MPM Capital and OrbiMed Advisors. ARYx had raised over $110 million in VC funding before going public last November.

Buyout Deals

Mineworkers Investment Co. of South Africa has raised its stake in local media company Primedia from 32% to 49%, for approximately $24 million. MIC sponsored a management buyout of Primedia 14 months ago.

Stone Point Capital has acquired a 50% stake in Real Estate Disposition Corp., the nation’s largest real estate auction company. No financial terms were disclosed.

Textron has completed! the sale of its Fluid & Power division for $1 billion to UK engineering group Clyde Bowers, which was sponsored on the deal by HarbourVest Partners and Pantheon Ventures. Leveraged financing was provided by Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and RBS.

TriWest Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Canadian trucking company Gardewine Group of Cos., according to LBO Wire. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gardewine.com

VMG Partners has acquired an undisclosed stake in Robert’s American Gourmet Foods, a maker of maker of natural gourmet snack lines marketed under the Pirate’s Booty, Smart Puffs and Tings brand names.

PE Exits

The Reader’s Digest Association, a portfolio company of Ripplewood Holdings, has agreed to sell certain assets of display marketing company Books are Fun to Imagine Nation Books, for approximately $17.5 million.

PE-Backed M&A

Affinia Group Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based provider of on-and-off highway replacement products and services, has acquired Chinese drum and rotor maker HMB Investment Ltd. Affinia is controlled by Cypress Group.

Marshal8e6 has been formed via the merger of UK-based Marshal, a provider of email and Web content security solutions, and 8e6 Technologies, an Orange, Calif.-based provider of Web filtering appliances. Updata Partners sponsored the merger via a $10 million investment, according to VentureWire. Other merged company shareholders includeKelso Place Asset Management, Darwin Group, CX Ventures and Vora Venture.

Mirapoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of secure messaging solutions, has acquired Intradyn, a provider of email archiving appliances. No financial terms were disclosed. Mirapoint has raised over $82 million in VC funding sin! ce 1998, from firms like Worldview Technology Partners, Franklin Templeton and Goldman Sachs.

Firms & Funds

Accel Partners has raised $60 million for a new fund focused on seed and early-stage opportunities in India.

KPG Ventures has closed its second fund with an undisclosed amount of capital commitments. The San Francisco-based firm focuses on seed-stage consumer Internet companies.

MKS Partners, a Japanese private equity firm formed in 1982, has decided to stop investment and sell its three existing portfolio companies.

Starfish Ventures of Australia has closed its second fund with A$185 million in capital commitments. It will invest in IT, life sciences and cleantech companies.

Human Resources

Miles Cresswell-Turner has joined Duke Street Capital as a partner, with a focus on financial services. He previously was a partner with Palamon Capital Partners.

Fons Lute has joined Dutch pension fund manager PGGM Investments as managing director of alternative strategies. He previously was CIO of Blue Sky Group.

Paul Woodley has joined UK private equity firm RJD Partners as a consulta! nt. He has been an independent turnaround specialist for the past seven years.