Some assorted notes to kick off your Monday:
*** American Capital has quietly closed its Los Angeles office, almost exactly one year to the day after doing to same to its Palo Alto office. This leaves the business development company without a West Coast presence.
It appears that the entire 10-person team has been laid off effective at end of business today, including managing director Frank Do. The office’s portfolio companies will be transferred to other ACAS outposts, although no specifics have been provided. I left a message for the firm last night, but have not yet heard back.
*** There still do not appear to have been any arrests made or lawsuits filed in the Canopy Financial case, but an FBI spokeswoman is now on record as saying that the agency is investigating. I’m also hearing that Spectrum Equity Investors may have had term sheet competit! ion for its recent investment, which means that Canopy managed to pull the wool over the eyes of multiple firms.
*** Data Point: The fourth quarter still has a month to go, but it appears that VC firms raised more fund capital in Q4 than in any of the preceding three quarters. In fact, the Q4 tally is nearly as large as Q2 and Q3 combined. A big part of this, however, is $1.2 billion from Norwest Venture Partners – which raises money from a sole LP, rather than beating the endowment/foundation/pension bushes.
*** I avoided the Black Friday mobs, but did head into Best Buy yesterday to purchase a laptop for my mother-in-law. After 30 minutes of failing to get one of just two available Best Buy employee to help me (i.e., hop on the ladder and pull a box), I left. That was after about five other folks did the same. Just another example of how short-staffing is so often short-sighted.
*** The Dubai situation obviously raises lots of questions, including if it’s more foretelling of emerging market troubles or commercial real estate troubles. For our purposes, though, the most salient question seems to be the future of investments by Istithmar, including Barneys and Loehmann’s. No concrete answers yet – although today’s NY Post suggests Barneys could be owned by bondholders Perry Capital and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa.
*** CalPERS has responded to a recent PRA request of mine by sending over info that was 18 months out of date. It’s the sort of stubborn opaqueness that CalPERS would typically raise a ruckus over, if the actor were someone else.
Anheuser-Busch InBev reportedly has walked away from a €1.7 billion planned sale of its German beer brand Beck’s to Bain Capital. German magazine Wirtschaftswoche said that contracts were ready to sign and Bain had lined up financing.
Heliatek GmbH, a Dresden, Germany-based developer of organic solar cells,has raised $27 million in second-round funding. Wellington Partners led the round, and was joined by Bosch, RWE Innogy Ventures, BASF Venture Capital, the High-Tech-Gründerfonds, eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners, the Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen Start-up GmbH & Co. KG and GP Bullhound ! Sidecar.
Henry Schein Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC) has agreed to merge with Butler Animal Health Supply, a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners and The Ashkin Family Group. The combined animal health distribution company would be renamed Butler Schein Animal Health, and would have had around $850 million in revenue over the past 12 months. Henry Schlein will hold a 50.1% stake, with Butler owners holding the other 49.9 percent.
EndoGastric Solutions Inc., a Redmond, Wash.-based medical device company focused on endoluminal reconstructive gastric procedures, has raised $21.5 million in Series E funding from company insiders. This includes the conversion of a$9.5 million bridge round peHUB reported on earlier this fall, based on a regulatory filing.EndoGastric Solutions previously raised around $82 million, from firms like Advanced Technology Ventures, Chicago Growth Partners, DeNovo Ventures, Foundation Medical Partners, MPM Capital and Oakwood Medical Investors.
Working Equity Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of a financial services product that helps homeowners to lock in the equity value of their home, has raised $5 million in VC funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. ClearCreek Partners represented Working Equity on the deal.
Terapio Corp., an Austin, Texas-based developer of therapeutic applications based on a transport protein that helps move large molecules across the cell membrane, has raised $5 million in VC funding from Santé Ventures.
Elara Pharmaceuticals GmbH, a Heidelberg, Germany-based developer of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) antagonizing drugs for treating cancer, has raised €2.6 million in Series A funding led by EMBL Ventures. The round also triggered an additional€2 million investment from the BMBF GOBio and the Biotechnologie Rhein-Neckar (BioRN) Spitzencluster programs.
Polikum GmbH, a German operator of health clinics, has received an undisclosed amount of growth eq! uity funding from Palamon Capital Partners.
Barry Callebaut (Swiss: BARN), world’s largest chocolate maker, is hoping to sell its consumer business in 2010, according to comments from the company’s CEO.
Honiton Energy Group, a Beijing-based wind power developer, has retained Morgan Stanley to help it sell a minority ownership position. Reuters reports that the company already has received first-round bids from several private equity firms, which would value Honiton at between $200 million and $250 million.
Novera Energy (LSE: NOEN), a British renewable energy company, has accepted an improved takeover bid from Infinis Energy, a portfolio company of Terra Firma Capital Partners. The accepted offer values Novera at around £112 million, and represents a 76% premium to Novera’s share price on the day before Infinis made its initial bid.
IBM reportedly has agreed to acquire Guardium, an Israel-based provider of data security solutions, for $225 million. Guardium has raised $21 million in VC funding, from firms like Ascent Venture Partners, StageOne Ventures and Veritas and Cisco Systems.
Firms & Funds
Alpine Investors has held a third close on its fourth fund, raising $85.6 million, according to a regulatory filing. The San Francisco-based private equity firm entered the market in September 2008 with its fourth fund, seeking to raise $175 million target with a $205 million hard cap, a slight jump the firm’s third fund. Alpine Investors III closed in March 2007 with $125 million in commitments. www.alpine-investors.com
Cottonwood Technology Fund is targeting $25 million for its debut fund, according to VentureWire. The El Paso, Texas-based firm will focus on startups in the Southwestern U.S., and already has secured $8 million in capital commitments. The firm’s co-founding partners are David Blivin (formerly with Lighthouse Partners) and Beto Pellares (TransPecos/El Paso Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization) and www.cottonwoodtechnologyfund.com
The British government has pledged £150 million to a new VC fund-of-funds that will focus on UK-based IT venture firms.