peHUB Wire: Monday, March 9, 2009

Every time the peHUB Wire adds another thousand subscribers, I like to remind you that these morning missives are but grains of sand in our vast editorial hourglass. We’ve got more detailed news and views over at peHUB, plus in our print pubs: Buyouts, Venture Capital Journal, PE Week and European Venture Capital Journal.

peHUB search archive subscriptions can be purchased online for just $124, while you can email Greg Winterton about obtaining print subs. Just use your corporate credit card (that’s why they gave you one).

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*** Speaking of advertising: We’re seeking an experienced online and print ad sales manager, for peHUB and some of our other products. A strong knowledge of venture capital and private equity is required. If you’re interested — or know someone who is — please have them get in touch with me.

*** Thanks for all your “walking dead” suggestions. I hope to have it up by Wednesday.

*** It’s been three months since Silicon Valley Bank threatened to take over fund-of-funds manager HRJ Capital, due to HRJ’s inability to repay a $68.9 million warehouse loan. No update in SVB’s latest 8-K filing. Similar opaqueness from an SVB spokeswoman. Persistent rumors are the SVB has had a change of heart (for a couple of reasons), but nothing solid yet. Could be a heck of an escape act by HRJ…

*** Quiz Time: Can you name the VC firm that has quietly raised a new fund in the past few months, which included a bump in its carried interest to 30%? Hint: West Coast.

Top Three

Proteon Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass.-based drug developer based in vascular and kidney disease, has raised $38 million in Series B funding. MPM Capital led the round, and was joined by Vectis Healthcare & Life Sciences Fund and return backers TVM Capital, Skyline Ventures, Prism VentureWorks and Intersouth Partners. It had previously raised $12 million. In other P! roteon news, the company has signed an acquisition option with Novartis, which is dependent on regulatory approvals and is valued at around $550 million.

Investcorp has put UK-based online payment company Moneybookers up for sale. The deal is expected to fetch up to €400 million, with JPMorgan managing the process.

The Carlyle Group has closed its first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) fund with $500 mill! ion in capital commitments. So far, the firm has made one MENA investment, acquiring a 50% stake in Turkish shipbuilder TVK Gemi Yapim Sanayi ve Ticaret.

VC Deals

Surface Logix Inc., a Brighton, Mass.-based developer of drug optimization programs, has raised around $15 million in fifth-round funding. Return backers include ARCH Venture Partners, HBM BioVentures, Healthcare Focus, Intel Capital, Saudi Venture Development Co., Unilever Technology Ventures and Venrock. The company also secured a $5 million venture loan from Silicon Valley Bank. Prior to this funding, Surface Logix had raised around $75 million in venture capital.

SynapSense Corp., a Folsom, Calif.-based provider of wireless energy efficiency solutions for data centers, has raised $7 million in third-round funding. Robert Bosch Venture Capital was joined by return backers Emerald Technology Ventures, Sequoia Capital, American River Ventures, Nth Power and DFJ Frontier. The company had previously raised around $13 million.

Global Value Commerce, a Raleigh, N.C.-based ecommerce company focused on the golf industry, has raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital from Southern Capitol Ventures.

Buyout Deals

Essent is expecting indicative bids for its waste management unit (Essent Milieu) to come in this Wednesday. The Dutch utility is hoping the deal fetches more than €1 billion, with ING running the process.

JJB Sports PLC, a UK-based sportswear retailer, said that it was considering multiple second-round offers for its fitness clubs business. A local newspaper report identified Rutland Partners as one of the bidders.

Marfin Investment Group, a Greek buyout firm, has agreed to acquire Olympic Airlines from the Greek government.

PE-Backed M&A

LDC has sponsored a £72 million merger of portfolio company Pro-Bel with Snell & Wilcox, a portfolio company of Advent Venture Partners. LDC will hold a 60% stake in the combined company, a provider of services to the UK broadcasting market.

Stardoll, a Sweden-based online entertainment site for young women, has merged with Piczo, a San Francisco-based social networking company focused on teenagers. No financial terms were disclosed. Stardoll has raised over $9 million in VC funding from firms like Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital, while Piczo had raised around $19 million from Catamount Ventures, Mangrove Capital Partners, Sierra Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

Wilks Broadcast Group LLC, a platform acquisition company of The Wicks Group of Cos., has acquired three Denver-area radio stations from CBS Corp. The deal was valued at $19.5 million in cash, and included KWLI-FM, KIMN-FM and KXKL-FM. In early 2007, Wilks Broadcast bought seven stations from CBS in Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio, for $138 million.

PE Exits

JS-Kit, a Burlingame, Calif.-based developer of website widgets for social interaction, has acquired SezWho, a Los Altos, Calif.-based provider of ratings and reputation services for online communities. No financial terms were disclosed. JS-Kit has raised over $4 million from firms like Altos Ventures and TEF3. SezWho had raised around $1.5 million from KPG Ventures, and acquired semantic intelligence company Tejit.

NXP Semiconductor has agreed to sell its wireless chip services business to French smart-card provider Gemalto. No financial terms were disclosed. NXP backers include KKR, Bain Capital, Apax Partners, AlpInvest Partners and Silver Lake Partners.

Babcock & Brown has retained Dresdner Kleinwort to sell PD Ports, a UK port operator, according to the Sunday Times of London. B&B is hoping the deal fetches at least £400 million. The same report said that Macquarie is seeking buyers for its UK infrastructure assets.

Firms & Funds

Element Partners has closed its second fund with $486 million in capital commitments. The cleantech-focused growth equity firm has offices in both Pennsylvania and Silicon Valley. Greenhill & Co. served as placement agent.

Human Resources

Robert Emmert has joined McCarthy Capital as a partner, and head of the Omaha-based firm’s Boston office. He previously was a general partner with Alta Communications.

Andrew Williams has stepped down as director and CEO of SVG Advisors, the fund arm of SVG Capital.

Lazard has named Antonio Weiss as global head of M&A, according to the Wall Street Journal. He is based in Paris, and had been the firm’s vice chairman of European investment banking since 2006.