PE Week Wire: Tues., May 13, 2008

“When are you hosting a peHUB Shindig in my city?”

I’ve gotten that question a lot since our event in Philly, where over 150 of you braved the snow to eat, drink and network. But I rarely replied, because I couldn’t decide on which city to do next. So I recently gave up, and decided to do as many as possible.

This morning I’m pleased to announce peHUB Across America: Five peHUB Shindigs on five consecutive nights in five different cities. I’ll be at each one, and I’m hope you’ll join me.

No content. Just cocktails and conversation.

We begin on Monday June 9 in Los Angeles, and then move on to Chicago (June 10), Washington DC (June 11), New York City (June 12) and Boston (June 13). That last one is at Fenway Park, which makes me kinda giddy.

Space at each event is limited, and tickets cost $10 each. You can purchase them online, with all the proceeds going to charity. Specifically, we’ll ask each attendee to write a charity on the back of his/her biz card, and then drop it in a bowl. We’ll fish one out at each event, and make out a check.

Special thanks to our national sponsor Dechert LLP, and to our local sponsors Grant Thornton, Atlas Venture, New York Private Placement Exchange and Polachi & Co. We also have local sponsorships left for certain sites, so please email me if your firm is interested. Here is all the info:

• Los Angeles

Monday, June 9

The Redwood Bar

• Chicago

Tuesday, June 10


• Washington DC

Wednesday, June 11

Grillfish DC

• New York City

Thursday, June 12

The Galway Hooker

• Boston

Friday, June 13

Fenway Park

Hope to see you there…


We’ll return to regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow. If you need an immediate fix, head over to

Top Three

Bain Capital and THL Capital are nearing an agreement that will allow them to complete their buyout of Clear Channel Communications. The firms are in the midst of negotiations with the deal’s lenders over a proposal that would lower the share sale price from $39.20 to $36. A trial had been scheduled to begin yesterday, but was delayed. As of last check, a source described the situation as “fluid.”

Baring Private Equity Asia has raised nearly $1.52 billion for its fourth fund, which will focus on mid-market growth opportunities throughout Asia. Approximately 30% of the fund has already been invested.

Greenhill & Co. has formed a private equity fund placement group. It will be run by Christopher Kirsten, who previously ran the private fund marketing group at Lehman Brothers. Also joining are Lehman vets Patrick Dunleavy, Neil Banta, Dave Brown and Meghan Kelly.

VC Deals

Celtro Ltd., an Israel-based provider of switching solutions for the mobile backhaul market, has raised $20 million in new VC funding. Rho Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Genesis Partners and Cedar Fund.

Gevo Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based developer of advanced biofuels like butanol, has raised $17 million in Series C funding. Burrill & Co. and Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund were joined by return backers Khosla Ventures and Virgin Green Fund. The company has raised over $30 million since the beginning of 2007.

Expresso Fitness, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of interactive cardio fitness systems, has raised $12 million in Series C-2 funding. Physic Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Sierra Ventures and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital. It had raised a $9.3 million Series C-1 round last year. Read more…

Qosmos, a French provider of information extraction solutions based on deep packet inspection technology, has raised €7 million in third-round funding. Backers include Sofinnova Partners, Alven Capital and GfK AG.

iMove, a Portland, Ore.-based maker of video surveillance equipment, has raised $4.25 million in second-round funding. Oxantium Ventures led the round. The company had previously raised around $16.5 million since 2002 from firms like The Grosnevor Funds, SmartForest Ventures and In-Q-Tel.

Mozes Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of a mobile service that allows users to create and share content, has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Maveronwas joined by return backersNorwest Venture Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Veran Medical Technologies, a developer of image-guided medical devices for minimally-invasive delivery of interventional oncology therapies, has raised $4.75 million in first-round funding. Prolog Ventures led the round, and was joined by Advantage Capital Partners and individual angels. The company also announced that it has relocated its headquarters from Nashville to St. Louis .

Aria Networks, a UK-based provider of planning and optimization solutions for next-generation networks, has raised £2 million from Seraphim Capital.

CitizenHawk Inc., an Aliso Viejo, Calif.–based provider of technology that helps protect brands from cybersquatters, has raised $3 million in Series B funding led by seed backer Maveron.

Buyout Deals

Navigation Capital Partners and VVS Capital have acquired Southeastern freight carrier James Brown Contracting Inc., and its subsidiaries Brown Trucking Company and JBT Brokerage Inc. No pricing terms were disclosed. Debt was provided by Wells Fargo and John Hancock Life Insurance Co.

Royal Bank of Scotland says that it has received buy-side interest in its insurance business, and will soon issue a sales memorandum and begin an auction process. The business includes the Direct Line and Churchill brands, and could garner bids in the area of £8 billion ($15.7b).

Twin Lakes Capital has acquired MacKenzie-Childs, an Aurora, N.Y.-based maker and retailer of hand-painted ceramics, home decor and accessories. No financial terms were disclosed. MacKenzie-Childs was advised on the deal by Gruppo, Levey & Co.

PE-Backed IPOs

Open Link Financial Inc., a Uniondale, N.Y.-based provider of cross-asset trading, risk management and portfolio management software, has filed for a $200 million IPO. Credit Suisse and Citi are serving as co-lead underwriters. TA Associates acquired majority control of the company in February 2006, via a recapitalization. It currently has a 77.5% position.

Emphasys Medical Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based medical device company focused on emphysema, has withdrawn its IPO registration due to “public market conditions.” It had planned to raise $86.25 million, with Morgan Stanley serving as lead underwriter. The company has raised around $80 million in VC funding since 2000, from firms like Advanced Technology Ventures (17.8%), Morgenthaler Ventures (13.8%), St. Paul Venture Capital (11.5%) OrbiMed Advisors (13.7%), ABS Ventures (10%), Morgan Stanley Venture Partners (7.4%), Cargill Ventures (6.1%) and Neww Enterprise Associates.

Milestone AV Technologies Inc. (f.k.a. CSAV Holding Corp.), a Savage, Minn.-based maker of audio-visual mounting equipment and display solutions, has withdrawn its IPO filing. The company had originally filed to sell 12 million shares at between $14 and $16 per share, but later lowered the range to between $12 and $14 per share. Wachovia Securities and Piper Jaffray were serving as co-lead underwriters. Friedman Fleischer& Lowe led a 2003 buyout of Milestone, and currently stands as majority owner. Other shareholders include Fulham Investors and Performance Equity Management.

PE Exits

Compass Diversified Holdings has agreed to sell coating systems maker Silvue Technologies Group Inc. to Mitsui Chemicals Inc. The deal values Silvue at approximately $95 million, with Compass to receive around $70 million.

Permira said that it does not plan to sell of de-list German fashion house Hugo Boss, despite reported comments to that effect by Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi. The firm says that Sassi was misquoted. Permira also owns Valentino.

Pe-Backed M&A

GlobalLogic Inc., a Vienna, Va.–based provider of outsourced software product engineering services, has acquired Dalian 3CIS, a China-based software development company. No financial terms were disclosed. GlobalLogic has raised nearly $50 million in VC funding from firms like Sequoia Capital India, New Atlantic Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

SOA Software Inc., a Los Angeles-based provider of SOA and Web services management, security and governance solutions, has acquired LogicLibrary, a Pittsburgh-based SOA repository and governance vendor. No financial terms were disclosed. SOA has raised over $40 million in VC funding since 1998, from firms like Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Redpoint Ventures, Mellon Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Goldman Sachs and Palisades Ventures. LogicLibrary has raised around $15 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners, The Future Fund, Birchmere Ventures, US Trust Private Equity and Court Square Ventures.

Firms & Funds

The Blackstone Group announced the formation of Blackstone Altius Advisors, an event-driven strategy focused on opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. It will be led by Aaron Nieman, who previously was with S.A.C. Capital Management as a managing director in the Canvas Capital Management division. The deal also includes chief operating officer Christopher Pesce, who previously was global head of prime brokerage at Bank of America.

DBG Eastern Europe has re-branded itself as Arx Equity Partners, as it raises a new fund independent from former parent Deutsche Bank.

Knight Vinke again called on HSBC to sell its U.S. business, and accused HSBC management of misleading the market by not writing down some of its mortgage-backed securities.

Legatum and Omidyar Network have each committed $20 million to Unitus Equity Fund II, a nonprofit microfinance fund focused on the poor in developing nations.

Merlin Nexus has held a $40 million first close for its third fund, which is being marketed with a $125 million target. The New York-based firm focuses on late-stage and PIPE opportunities in the life sciences space. Limited Partners include Permal Capital Management and Capital E Group.

Human Resources

Norman Pearlstine is leaving The Carlyle Group, where he has served as a senior advisor to the firm’s telecom and media practice since late 2006. He will join Bloomberg as chief content officer, a new position.

Geoffrey Cockrell, Mark Kromkowski and Michael Lusk have joined McGuireWoods LLP as Chicago-based partners in the firm’s private equity practice. All three previously were with Wildman Harrold.

Mike Kingston has joined law firm Covington & Burling as head of its European corporate practice. He previously was with Herbert Smith.

Matt Schumacher has been named a vice president with Boxwood Partners, a Richmond, Va.-based mid-market investment bank. He previously was an associate with Harris Williams & Co.