PE Week Wire: Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Three

Fiat of Italy has acquired a 35% stake in Chrysler, in a deal that did not involve cash. Chrysler will continue to be majority-owned by Cerberus Capital Management, while former owner Daimler will retain its 20% stake.

Ardian Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of a medical device to treat congestive heart failure, has secured $30 million of a $60 million venture round, according to a regulatory filing. Listed shareholders include return backers Advanced Technology Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures and St. Paul Venture Capital. It had previously raised over $18 million.

Cerberus Capital Management may cut 10% of its global workforce, as first reported by Financial News.

VC Deals

Maskless Lithography Inc. of San Jose, California has raised around $29.5 million in Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include TL Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners. The company does not yet have a working website.

Potbelly Corp., a Chicago-based quick-service sandwich shop chain, has secured $10.6 million of a $20 million Series F round, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Benchmark Capital, Maveron LLC and Oak Investment Partners. The company previously raised around $116 million since 2001.

Fliqz Inc., an Emeryville, Calif.-based provider of plug-and-play video solutions, has raised $6 million in Series C funding. Triangle Peak Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Zoopla, a UK-based provider of residential property value data, has raised £3.75 million in second-round funding. Octopus Ventures was joined by return backer Atlas Venture.

Return Path Inc., a New York-based provider of email management solutions, has raised nearly $6 million in Series E-2 funding, according to a regulatory filing. Listed backers include Union Square Ventures, Mobius Venture Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Western Technology Investments. The company previously raised around $40 million.

Geni Inc., a West Hollywood, Calif.-based tool for understanding and staying in touch with your family, has raised $5 million in Series C funding, according to a regulatory filing. Return backers include Charles River Ventures and Founders Fund. It had previously raised around $11.5 million.

GoodGuide Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of products and companies, has raised $3.73 million in Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Draper Fisher Jurvetson and New Enterprise Associates.

HomeSphere Inc., a Lakewood, Colo.-based provider of supply chain software and services to the homebuilding industry, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Greenhill SAVP. The company had previously raised over $8 million from firms like Sequel Venture Partners.

WL Ross & Co. has agreed to buy more than a 68% stake in First Bank & Trust Co., an Indiantown, Fla.-based community bank with $83 million in assets, from the widow of the bank’s former chairman.

Millennium Private Equity has invested AED 92 million (US$25m) into Kuwait Energy Co., an independent exploration and production company.

Simmons Bedding Co., a portfolio company of THL Partners, last week missed a $7.9 million interest payment on its $200 million 7.875% senior subordinated notes.

PE-Backed M&A

Zune Industries LLC, a water management subsidiary of Rexnord LLC, has agreed to acquire Fontaine-Alliance Inc. for C$30 million. Rexnord is a portfolio company of Apollo Management.

Firms & Funds

Sun Hung Kai Financial (HK: 0086) said that it is launching a $100 million fund that will partner with Paulson & Co., and its distressed asset investment fund that focuses on financial companies.

HgCapital has reduced the management fees for its sixth fund from 2% to 1.75%, according to LBO Wire. The UK-based firm made the move in exchange for doubling the fund’s target to £2 billion.

Human Resources

Ian Jackson has joined The Carlyle Group as a London-based director with Carlyle Strategic Partners, the firm’s global distressed and corporate opportunities arm. He previously was with Deutsche Bank as a senior analyst in the European Distressed Products Group.

Keith Jones, former CEO of Morley Fund Management, has joined Permira as a senior advisor to the firm’s newly-formed financial services team.

Mason Wells Buyout Funds has promoted Asim Khan, Jay Radtke and Ben Holbrook to director. It also has promoted John Martin to associate.

Tom Krasnewich has joined BMO Capital Markets as a Chicago-based managing director of the firm’s U.S. Industrials group. He previously served in a similar capacity with Deutsche Bank Securities.

John Orem has joined Miller Buckfire & Co. as a senior advisor, focused on business development efforts in the global gaming market. He had spent the past 20 years with Morgan Stanley.