peHUB Wire: Friday, August 13, 2010

Some quick hits to kick off your Friday the 13th…

*** Following yesterday’s column on ILPA principle adoption, I got a call from the head of alternative investing at a state pension fund. He suggested that future studies — i.e., ones that only look at funds that came to market after the principles were adopted – will show even stronger adoption of things like 100% fee-sharing and standardized communications.

He noted that all PE funds to receive commitments from his pension since last September have had 100% of fees accrued to the LP, and also that almost all existing GPs have begun to follow uniform standards for communicating with LPs. He acknowledges that fundraising conditions may have impacted the former, but believes the latter is a structural change that will withstand future market cycles.

*** Yesterday we reported at peHUB that Richard Kauffman had resigned as president and CEO of Good Energies, a global investment firm focused on the renewable energy sector. He gave no specific reason for his decision in an email to friends and colleagues (read it here), nor did he mention the prior day’s resignation by Good Energies chief operating officer Hugh Frater (who is becoming CEO of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage).

It’s unclear if the two moves are related, although a source close to Good Energies says that neither man will be replaced. Instead, Good Energies will restructure into three different investment practices: Global venture capital, North American development equity and European development equity. The VC practice will be led by existing managing director George Coelho, a former Benchmark Capital and Intel Capital pro.

*** Speaking of senior personnel moves, Dan Akerson yesterday agreed to become the new CEO of General Motors, where he presumably will oversee the company’s return to the public markets. He currently serves as a managing director and global head of buyouts for The Carlyle Group, which he joined in 2003 from Forstmann Little.

A Carlyle spokesman says that firm co-founder Bill Conway will succeed Akerson as head of global buyouts, a role that he has previously held. This means that Conway will oversee Carlyle’s largest business unit, which includes more than 220 investment professionals.

Akerson also is expected to be replaced on his two Carlyle board seats: Booz Allen Hamilton (in registration for an IPO) and Freescale Semiconductor (expected to file this year for an IPO).

A bunch of people yesterday asked me about why GM would pull from the private equity ranks for its new CEO, particularly given “private equity’s inability to turn Chrysler around.” Well, the first thing is that Carlyle had nothing to do with Chrysler. Second, Ackerson has been on the GM board since last July, and the company just reported its highest quarterly profit in six years.

Finally, GM has no reason to be scared off by a guy whose past executive experience has been in telecom (MCI, Nextel, XO Communications). After all, departing CEO Ed Whitacre previously ran telecom giant AT&T, and did I mention those profits?

*** Bob Metcalfe, a general partner with Polaris Venture Partners, recently tweeted the following: “All 5 of my Polaris-backed enertech start-ups are raising rounds, in August. Today, 1 received an offer to buy the company, in August.”

According to the Polaris website, Bob currently serves on seven boards. One of those, however, is already out of business (Greenfuel). Another, Mintera, has agreed to be acquired by Oracle (and wasn’t enertech). That would seem to mean the following five companies are in the market for new funding: 1366, Ember, Infinite Power Solutions, SiCortex and SiOnyx. And one has an offer on the table…

*** Fund note: Kayne Anderson Mezzanine Partners recently held an interim close on $375 million. Target remains $500 million, with a final close slated for the end of September.

*** Still trying to work through my thoughts about last month’s $20 million VC round for Foursquare, which includes a few million dollars in cash for the company’s co-founders. On the one hand, there seems to be something profoundly screwy about making millions from a company that just began making a small amount of revenue. On the other hand, such “investment” can help dissuade entrepreneurs from advocating for premature sales (since they’ve already got financial stability)… Interested in your take on how to best align interests in such situations…

Top Three

The Blackstone Group has agreed to buy power producer Dynegy Inc. (NYSE: DYN). The $4.50 per share deal represents a 62% premium to yesterday’s closing price. The entire transaction is valued at around $4.7 billion, including $543 million in cash and the assumption of more than $4 billion in debt. As part of the deal, Blackstone will sell four of Dynegy’s power plants to NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) for around $1.36 billion in cash.

Telstra Corp. (AX: TLS) has agreed to sell its 51% stake in SouFun, the second-largest real estate website in China, for $400 million. The buyers are existing SouFun shareholders Apax Partners and General Atlantic. SouFun is expected to go public later this year.

Gevo Inc., an Englewood, Colo.-based developer of advanced biofuels like butanol, has filed for a $150 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq, with UBS Investment Bank and Goldman Sachs serving as co-lead underwriter. The company reports a $7.86 million net loss for the year ending March 31, on $330,000 in revenue. Gevo has raised over $40 million in VC funding, from Khosla Ventures (40.6% pre-IPO stake), Virgin Green Fund (15.2%), Total Energy Ventures (12.7%), Burrill & Co. (10.3%) and Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund (9.1%)

VC Deals

CeNeRx BioPharma Inc., a Cary, N.C.-based developer of CNS drugs, has raised $13 million in new Series C funding (including $3m in debt). Return backers include Aisling Capital, L Capital Partners and Pappas Ventures.

WePay, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based payment startup that helps groups collect and manage money online, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding. Highland Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer August Capital. The company previously raised $1.65 million.

Buyouts Deals

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) is considering a sale of its chemicals and plastics business, which generated $73 million in EBITDA for the year ending June 30. Bank of America will manage the process.

Citic Capital reportedly has acquired a majority stake in Tokyo-based cardboard maker Tri-Wall KK. No financial terms were disclosed.

CVC Capital Partners reportedly has asked lenders to portfolio company Univar, a global chemical distributor, to approve a new $300 million loan and extend existing debt. The moves would come as CVC prepares to sell a 49% stake in the company, most likely via a secondary buyout.

Francisco Partners has completed its take-private acquisition of EF Johnson Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: EFJI), an Irving, Texas-based provider of secure communications solutions to organizations that protect and save lives. Thedeal valued EF Johnson at nearly $40 million, or$1.50 per share.

Irving Place Capital has agreed to acquire amajority stake in pet products retailer Pet Supplies Plus. No pricing terms were disclosed, although LBO Wirepreviously reported thatthe deal would include around $80 million in equity (including $18m from management). Debt financing was committed by BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and KeyBanc Capital Markets.

PE-Backed M&A

Schafer Corp., a portfolio company of Metalmark Capital, has acquired Asynchrony SolutionsInc., a Saint Louis-based provider of software development, enterprise architecture and systems integration services. No financial terms were disclosed.

Firms & Funds

Western Technology Investment has closed its thirteenth venture debt fund with $294 million in capital commitments.

Human Resources

Deborah Hylton has joined restructuring firm Verto Partners as a managing director. She previously served as counsel with GE Capital.