PE Week Wire: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Return greetings from the home office, where it’s good to be after a week of R&R in Costa Rica. Highlights were bungee jumping and a big Christmas Eve dinner with J’s extended family. Lowlight was finding out my Blackberry had a working signal. Sidelight was not really letting anyone know my Blackberry had a working signal.

No real column this morning, as I got back at 1am and haven’t yet had time to do any reporting. But my inbox contains plenty of tips to follow up on, so things should be back up and humming shortly. So for the 57 of you actually at the office, check back at peHUB throughout the day, and right back here tomorrow. For everyone else, happy vacationing…

Top Three

GMAC, the auto and mortgage finance company in which Cerberus Capital Management holds a 51% stake, will receive $5 billion in federal bailout funds. Under terms of the agreement, the U.S. Treasury Department would buy $5 billion in senior preferred equity with an 8 percent dividend from GMAC.

Odyssey Investment Partners has completed its take-private acquisition of SM&A, a Newport Beach, Calif.–based management consulting firm for procurement projects. The deal was valued at $119.6 million, or $6.25 per SM&A share. Caltius Mezzanine provided financing, while Wedbush Morgan Securities advised SM&A.

BroadSoft Inc., a Gaithersburg, Md.-based provider of VoIP application software to the telecom industry, has acquired Sylantro Systems Corp., a Campbell, Calif.-based provider of VoIP applications. No financial terms were disclosed. Broadsoft has raised around $76 million in total VC funding since 1998, from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Columbia Capital, Crescendo Ventures, Grotech Capital Group, RRE Ventures and Meritech Capital ! Partners. Sylantro has raised over $116 million since 1998, from firms like Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund, Scale Venture Partners, Summerhill Venture Partners, Vanguard Ventures and Telesystem-Argo Global Capital.

VC Deals

Novartis has agreed to license a Phase I vaccine for cytomegalovirus infections from AlphaVax Inc., a Durham, N.C.-based developer of vaccine products for infectious diseases, biodefense and cancer. The deal includes a $20 million upfront payment and the possibility of future equity investments based on clinical milestones. AlphaVax has raised around $41 million in private equity funding from undisclosed investors.

Buyout Deals

The Blackstone Group has acquired a minority stake in NSL Seeds, an India-based maker of cotton seeds, rice seeds, sunflower seeds and pearl millet seeds. No financial terms were disclosed.

DESA LLC, a Bowling Green, Ky.-based provider of heating products and power tools, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move comes around six years after H.I.G. Capital acquired DESA out of a prior bankruptcy protection.

Morgan, a French woman’s clothing company in which Apax Partners holds a 40% stake, has gone into administration. A company spokesman said that a sale is still possible, even though the process began at the beginning of 2008.

PE Exits

Energy Capital Partners has completed its sale of FirstLight Power Enterprises Inc. to SUEZ Energy North America for a reported $1.9 billion. FirstLight owns and operates 15 power generation plants, primarily storage and traditional hydro facilities in New England.

Simpler Networks, a Canadian provider of technology for the automation of copper distribution frames for local service providers, has been acquired by an undisclosed buyer. The news was announced by Hercules Technology Growth Capital, which had loaned Simpler approximately $5 million in senior secured notes. The only financial terms disclosed were that Hercules had received an initial repayment of $1.8 million, and expects an additional $1.1 million in Q1 2009. Simpler had raised over US$98 million in total VC funding since 2001, from firms like Fonds de Solidarite des Travaileurs du Quebec, H! ighland Capital Partners, Kodiak Venture Partners and Summerhill Venture Partners.

Firms & Funds

Huntington Capital has held a $78 million second close on its second fund, according to LBO Wire. The San Diego-based mezzanine firm is targeting a final close on $100 million for early next year.

Retro Venture Partners has secured $27.8 million in commitments for its debut fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm previously was named Retiro Venture Partners, and is being managed by Larry Mohr (formerly MDV) and Sal Gutierrez (Western Tech Investment).

Human Resources

Nava Swersky Sofer is stepping down as president and CEO of Yissum, the technology transfer company of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to taking over Yissum three years ago, Sofer was a partner with Sanderling Ventures.