PE Week Wire: Tues., Oct. 2, 2007

No column today, as I need to hop a plane for Jackson Hole, Wyoming (by way of Chicago). But I’ll be back rambling away tomorrow morning, albeit from a more scenic locale than the spacious cubicle in South Boston.

Top Three

Coates Hire Ltd. (AX: COA), an Australian equipment rental company, has accepted a Au$1.7 billion buyout offer from The Carlyle Group and National Hire Group Ltd. (AX: NHR). The Au$6.59 per share offer represents Carlyle and National Hire’s third bid for Coates, and would rise to Au$6.70 per share once a final dividend is included.

Vector Capital has agreed to acquire Printronix Inc. (Nasdaq: PTNX), an Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer of integrated enterprise printing solutions for the supply chain. The total deal is valued at $108 million, with Printronix stockholders to receive $16 per share (18.3% premium to yesterday’s closing price). Printronix CEO Robert Kleist and other members of senior management are expected to hold a 9.9% ownership position, post-transaction. Printronix was advised by Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital.

Raman Khanna and David Lane, co-founding partners of Diamondhead Ventures, have joined Onset Ventures as managing directors. The pair launched Menlo Park-based Diamondhead in 2000 with a $140 million fund, and invested in 21 different IT companies. The move to Onset signals that there will not be a second Diamondhead fund, as the firm’s venture advisors also will become involved with Onset Ventures.

VC Deals

Vital Therapies Inc. of San Diego has raised $28.1 million in Series C funding. Versant Ventures led the deal, and was joined by Delphi Ventures, HBM BioMed China, DFJ DragonFund China and return backers MedVenture Associates, Valley Ventures, Toucan Capital and Heights Capital. Vital Therapies is developing a human liver cell-based system which provides important metabolic support for patients with severe liver failure. It has raised around $40 million in total VC funding.

Aviir Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of diagnostic tests for cardiovascular disease, has called down $11.45 million of a $25 million Series B round. Backers include Bay City Capital, Aberdare Ventures and New Leaf Ventures.

Sipera Systems Inc., a Richardson, Texas-based provider of security for VoIP, mobile and multimedia communications, today announced that it has raised $10 million in Series C funding. The news was earlier reported by PE Week Wire, based on a regulatory filing. Duchossois Technology Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backers Sequoia Capital, Austin Ventures and Star Ventures. Sipera has now raised nearly $30 million in total VC funding since 2005.

Zilker Labs Inc., an Austin, Texas-based maker of power conversion ICs, has raised $10 million in fourth-round funding. Return backers include Sevin Rosen Funds, North Bridge Venture Partners and H.I.G. Ventures. Zilker has now raised around $33 million in total VC funding since 2003.

VIVCO, a North Vietnam-based maker of uniforms for European government agencies, has raised $5.4 million in funding from Mekong Capital.

DeltaDot Ltd., a London-based developer of molecular imaging technologies and products, has called down the final £3 million of its £6 million Series B round. FF&P Private Equity led the round, and was joined by Imperial Innovations, NPI Ventures, Sitka Health Fund VCT and London Technology Fund.

Agent Video Intelligence Inc., a New York–based developer of video intelligence and video content analysis technology, has raised $3 million in Series B funding from 21Ventures. 21Ventures has now invested a total of $13 million in the company.

Wikinvest Inc., a San Francisco-based operator of a wiki-style website for the investment community, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by DCM.

The Practice PLC, a UK-based manager of surgeries on behalf of general practitioners, has raised £1.4 million in second-round funding from return backer MMC Ventures.

Nordic Windpower Ltd., a San Rafael, Calif.-based wind turbine maker, has received a “significant investment” from Goldman Sachs. Nordic Windpower was formed by combining operations in Sweden, the UK and the U.S., and has received prior funding from the Swedish government and the European Union.

Top Up TV Holdings Ltd., a UK operator of a pay TV service on the Freeview platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Balderton Capital. Tim Bunting of Baldteron will joined the Top Up TV board of directors.

Buyout Deals

Caxton-Iseman Capital has acquired Conney Safety Products LLC from K+K America Corp. for approximately $48 million. Founded in 1946, Conney is a Madison, Wis.-based marketer of personal protective equipment, safety equipment and first aid supplies. GMAC Commercial Finance and BlackRock Kelso Capital provided financing for the transaction, while K+K America was advised by Robert W. Baird & Co.

Goodrich Inc. (NYSE: GR) has agreed to sell its airframe heavy maintenance business, Goodrich Aviation Technical Services, to Macquarie Bank Ltd. No financial terms were disclosed. ATS has over 1,200 employees at its 950,000- facility in Everett, Washington.

Hellman & Friedman has completed its $1.7 billion acquisition of Catalina Marketing Corp., with Catalina delisting from the NYSE. Catalina stockholders received $32.50 per share, while Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley provided leveraged financing. Catalina was advised by Goldman Sachs.

PE Exits

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) has completed its acquisition of CompBenefits Corp., a Roswell, Ga.-based provider of dental and vision benefit plans, for $360 million in cash. CompBenefits had filed for a $150 million IPO last December, and listed shareholders TA Associates (24.05%), GTCR (19.25%), Nautic Partners (11.49%) and Wolverine Investment (10.42%).

Lindlab International of Sweden reportedly has acquired Dublin-based ventilation company Aervent for nearly €7.5 million. Aervent shareholders included ACT Venture Capital.

Mason Wells has sold Creative Forming Inc. to Spartech Corp. for $61 million. Spartech is a Clayton, Mo.-based maker of engineered thermoplastic sheet materials, polymeric compounds and concentrates and engineered product solutions. It was advised on the sale by P&M Corporate Finance.

PE-Backed M&A

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has bought the assets of Marine Terminals Inc. for approximately $100 million. Marine Terminals primarily handles and stores steel and alloys. It has two facilities in Blytheville, Ark., and individual terminals in Decatur, Ala., Hertford, N.C., and Berkley, S.C. The five facilities handled approximately 13.4 million tons of steel products in 2006. Kinder Morgan is owned by Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the Carlyle Group, AIG and Riverstone Holdings.

CM Equity Partners is backing a new acquisition platform called Laguna Ventures, which will buy companies that serve the U.S. intelligence community and U.S. Department of Defense. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which also includes CM’s commitment to assist in acquisition structuring and financing. McLean, Va.-based Laguna Ventures is led by William Senich, a former partner with IBM’s Global Business Services National Intelligence practice.

Advanced Lighting Technologies Inc., a lighting manufacturer owned by Saratoga Partners, has acquired Auer Lighting GmbH, the German lighting components business of Schott AG. No financial terms were disclosed. Auer Lighting has annual revenue of around $74 million, and employs 500 people.

AFS Technologies Inc., a Phoenix–based provider of enterprise software for the food and beverage industry, has raised $5.2 million in private funding. The deal includes $3.7 million in equity from Ticonderoga Capital, and an additional $1.5 million in mezzanine notes from Merion Investment Partners. The capital will be used, in part, to acquire Sales Partner Systems Inc., a Daytona Beach, Fla.-based provider of sales force automation software and database management services. Argentum Group advised AFS on the financing, while Madison Park Group advised on the acquisition.

CVI Melles Griot, a portfolio company of Norwest Equity Partners, has acquired Coherent Imaging Optics Ltd., a maker of optical components critical to the performance of thermal imaging systems. No financial terms were disclosed.

Not Your Average Joe’s Inc., a Dartmouth, Mass.-based operator of casual dining restaurants in Massachusetts and Virginia, has raised $6.2 million in private equity funding. Grace Restaurant Partners provided $3.2 million, while the rest came from existing and new individuals.

Thule Inc., a manufacturer of car rack products, has acquired United Welding Services Inc., a manufacturer of truck toolboxes and other pick-up truck accessories. No financial terms were disclosed. Thule is a portfolio company of Nordic Capital. United Welding was advised on the deal by Citi Capital Strategies.

Firms & Funds

Wasatch Venture Fund is targeting $150 million for its fourth early-stage fund, with a first close expected soon. The Salt Lake City-based firm is a DFJ affiliate, and focuses on opportunities in the IT and life sciences sectors. The firm closed its last early-stage fund back in 2001, and since has raised a small, dedicated New Mexico fund.

Ignition Partners has closed its fourth venture capital fund with $400 million in capital commitments. It also has raised $275 million for its first growth equity fund.

Morgan Stanley has raised $1.5 billion for its third Asia-focused private equity fund.

Evercore Partners is planning to raise between $800 million and $1 billion for its third buyout fund, according to LBO Wire. The New York-based firm closed its second fund in 2003 with $663 million.

Citigroup has agreed to acquire the rest of Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial for stock worth about $4.6 billion. Citigroup currently holds a 68% position.

Human Resources

Joseph Shepard has been named director of the Small Business Administration’s investment office. He previously was a managing director of Archway Capital Management and, before that, was a vice president of Banc One Capital Markets and its SBIC fund.

Karen Katen has joined Essex Woodlands Health Ventures as a senior advisor. She previously was corporate vice chairman and president of Pfizer Human Health, Pfizer’s principal operating group. She will work out of New York City.

Kimberly Davis King and Jason Sanders have joined Hercules Technology Growth Capital as managing directors in the firm’s technology group. King was previously a general partner with IDG Ventures West Coast, while Sanders is a former Advent International and Crosslink Capital pro who most recently was president of Fifteen Asset Management.

Nancy Chang and Jonathan Wang have joined OrbiMed Advisors as managing directors focused on the Asia life sciences market (particularly China and India). Chang is the former co-founder and CEO of Tanox Inc., while Wang was previously with Burrill & Co.’s greater china group as a general manager.

Nigel Beer has been named chairman of Hotbed, a UK private equity and real estate investment house. He previously was head of corporate finance for London at KPMG.

Laura Garner and Steven Johnson have joined merchant bank Grail Partners as partners. Garner previously was a consultant with ClearBrook Advisors, Concept Capital LLC and Juniper Capital LLC. Johnson was a partner with DLB Capital.