peHUB Wire: Thursday, February 4, 2010

This is Erin filling in for Dan. Thanks to everyone who came out to last night’s peHUB Shindig in New York City.

Top Three

3i is exploring selling Nordic care home operator Ambea or listing it on a stock market, Reuters reported. Possible bidders for the health care company include Advent International, BC Partners and Investor AB working alongside Goldman Sachs, according to two bankers. Smbea could fetch somewhere in the 700 million to 1 billion euro ($1.40 billion) range.

Istithmar, Dubai World’s investment arm, aims to sell port and shipping agent Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) for up to $700 million, and has drawn interest from private equity.

Terra Firma plans to ask its investors for 100 million pounds ($159.9 million) to cover a shortfall, saying its music company EMI will be unable to meet its loans from Citigroup this year, the Financial Times reported.

VC Deals

Factual Inc., a start-up co-founded by Gil Ebatz, has received $1 million in angel backing from Andreessen Horowitz, Idealab, Esther Dyson, Richard Rosenblatt, Danny Rimer, Marten Mickos, and Founder Collective.

EUCODIS Bioscience, a Vienna-based company providing customized enzymes to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and other industries, has received a cash injection of EUR 2 million ($2.76 million) from existing shareholders. That includes Pontis Capital, Wiener Wachstumsfonds, IBG, and ARAX.

Clean Filtration Technologies, Inc. (CFT) held a first closing of $1.5 million in a new round of financing led by The Dow Chemical Company through its Venture Capital group. An additional and final closing is anticipated in 2010 that will bring the total investment to $3 million.

Climate Change Capital Private Equity (“CPE”), a 200 million euro fund dedicated to investments in clean technology companies, has led a convertible bond issue in Metallkraft, a Norwegian developer of recycling processes for cutting solar silicon wafers. CPE subscribed for NOK85 million (10.3 million euros) of the NOK140 million (17.0 million euros) total convertible bond issue alongside existing shareholders and other investors.

Sistemic Ltd, a Scottish biotech company, closed a series A funding round with lead investors ChimeraBio and the Scottish Enterprise Scottish Co-Investment Fund. The company develops its drug discovery technology.

LensVector Inc., a maker of optical components for consumer electronics, today announced it has closed $30 million in a Series C financing round, bringing the total financial backing of the company to more than $50 million. Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) led the new funding and joins existing investors Menlo Ventures, Samsung, Silicon Valley Bank, Mitsui and Kodak.

Syndax Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $9 million in venture backing toward a goal of $16 million, according to an SEC filing. The company previously raised $40 million from Domain Associates and MPM Capital, with additional backing by Avalon Ventures, Forward Ventures and Pappas Ventures.

Buyouts Deals

Star Avenue Capital has purchased a majority interest in J Brand Jeans, a premium denim company. Star Avenue Capital is a Los Angeles-based consumer growth equity vehicle formed in partnership with buyout firm Irving Place Capital and entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Catterton Partners, has acquired Sun Water Systems, Inc., the maker of Aquasana, a home water filtration system. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. .

Taiwan’s economic minister said the National Development Fund has decided not to inject funds into a newly established PC chip company, which will instead seek funding from the private sector.

Interactive Data Corp, the financial market data provider controlled by Pearson PLC, is calling for first round bids in mid-February. Several private equity firms are expected to put in initial bids.

AXA Private Equity, a French private equity firm, has put its laundry and cleaning products maker Spotless on the block, according to the Financial Times. The firm seeks 600 million euros to 700 million euros.

Billionaire Len Blatavatnik placed a second-round bid for MGM, Bloomberg reported. Other reported bidders for the struggling Providence Equity and TPG-backed movie business include Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Time Warner Inc., Liberty Media Corp. and Elliott Management Corp., working with Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh. Lions Gate may partner with One Equity Partners, the buyout arm of JPMorgan.

PE-Backed IPOs

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in its IPO raised less than expected, but closed its first day of Nasdaq trading up 3.6 percent. The company is backed by Ridgeback Capital Investment, with a 13% stake, Venrock (11%), Polaris Venture Partners (8%) and Morgan Stanley (7%). Ironwood raised $323 million in venture funding between 1998 and 2009.

Imperial Capital Group Inc., a boutique investment bank, postponed its initial public offering, an underwriter said, citing market conditions. It planned to use net proceeds from the IPO to buy partnership units from ICGI Holdings.

PE Exits

FT Group purchased Medley Global Advisors, a provider of macroeconomic intelligence to hedge funds and banks. Boston Ventures Limited Partnership VI and Castanea Partners acquired Medley Global Advisors (MGA), in partnership with existing management, in 2005.

PE-Backed M&A

AerSale, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based provider of aftermarket aircraft, engines and components, has acquired a fleet of 44 Douglas DC8-71F/-73F series freighter aircraft. No financial terms were disclosed. AerSale recently raised $250 million from Leonard Green & Partners.


Spheris Inc, a provider of document services for hospitals, filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell its U.S. business to MedQuist Inc for $75.25 million. Spheris, which is based in Franklin, Tennessee, is owned by Warburg Pincus, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Community Health Systems Inc, according to court documents.

Firms & Funds

International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector lending arm is investing more than $2 billion in sub-Saharan Africa in the 2009/10 fiscal year as investment opportunities improve, the lender’s head said on Thursday.

The State of Connecticut could raise $1.3 billion for its new budget by securitizing various assets, including state charges on utility bills and lottery revenues, the treasurer said in a report issued on Wednesday.

Oaktree Capital Management is raising its third a new energy fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm is targeting $800 million with a hard cap of $1 billion. It’s the firm’s first energy-focused effort without its former partner, GFI Energy Ventures, which sold its franchise to Oaktree, according to LBO Wire.

MicroVest Capital Management, LLC closed MicroVest II, LP, a private equity fund targeting microfinance institutions worldwide. The fund, which closed with $60 million in commitments, will serve as a capital intermediary between investors and financial institutions that serve the working poor. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as a placement agent, and one of its affiliates was a lead investor. In addition to J.P. Morgan, lead investors include the International Finance Corporation, CARE USA, Kinnevick New Ventures AB, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Christian Super ! Pyt, Ltd, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) and Northleaf Capital Partners committed an additional $400 million to the Canadian private equity and venture capital market. The funds will be committed to a Canadian fund-of-funds program that will be managed by CPPIB’s longstanding investment partner Northleaf Capital Partners.

Human Resources

LMS Capital plc, a listed UK buyout firm, appointed Robert Rayne to succeed Jonathan Agnew as Chairman. Payne was previously a director at energy-focused buyout firm First Reserve.

Dave Asprey has joined Trinity Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence. He previously was VP of technology and corporate development with Blue Coat Systems.