peHUB Wire: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wachovia Capital Partners declared its independence from Wells Fargo yesterday, spinning off into a new firm called Pamlico Capital. I spent some time on the phone with managing partner Scott Perper, and here are some highlights in notes form (because I’m running too short on time to write a cogent narrative).

* The spin-off is unrelated to the proposed Volcker Rule, whereby banks would be required to divest in-house private equity groups. Perper says discussions over what to do with WCP began shortly after the Wells Fargo acquisition in late 2008. He also said that there were never discussions about merging WCP with Norwest Equity Partners, which receives all of its fund capital from Wells Fargo.

* Perper: “Our conversations with Wells Fargo were about what was the right longterm strategy for our group going forward. If you look at the cast majority of our transactions, we found that the vast ! majority had come from our network, rather than from the bank platform. So it made a lot of sense for us to become independent going forward.”

* In 2007, WCP raised $1.8 billion for a new fund that include commitments from both Wachovia and third parties. As part of the spin-off from Wells Fargo, the firm has reduced the fund’s size to $1.1 billion, with around $600 million remaining in dry powder. Perper declined to say whether Wells Fargo was the only LP to reduce its stake, although did stress that the bank still had unfunded commitments that it plans to honor.

* The Pamlico Capital team has been together for 22 years. Before being known as Wachovia Capital, it was First Union Capital Partners.

* The entire WCP team has moved over to Pamlico Capital. No stragglers remaining with Wells Fargo.

* The new firm name, Pamlico Capital, is named after the Paml! ico Sound in North Carolina, which is the nation’s second-largest estuary.

*** Many of you ask about my biz travel plans, so I’ve opened an account with PlanCast.

*** Shutterbug: I’m in search of a Boston-area photog for next Wednesday night’s shindig. If anybody knows of a good one, please let me know or ask them to email me.

Top Three

3i Group has raised €1.2 billion for a growth equity fund that will invest throughout Europe, Asia and North America. It includes around €400 million from third-party investors, and around €800 million from its own balance sheet. The firm also announced the fund’s first deal: The acquisition of a 20% stake in European fruit juice producer Refresco for €84 million.

Connexus Corp., operator of ad network and social media platform Traffic Marketplac! e, has agreed to merge with Epic Advertising, a New York-based performance network and search marketing company. no financial terms were disclosed. Connexus shareholders include Insight Venture Partners, Idealab, Oak Investment Partners and Trilogy Capital Partners. Epic Advertising backers include TA Associates.

New Mountain Capital has completed its acquisition of RedPrairie Holding Inc., a Waukesha, Wisc.-based provider of inventory, warehouse, transportation and workforce management systems. The seller was Francisco Partners, which held an 89.7% equity position, based on a 2005 buyout. RedPrairie is in registration for a $172.5 million IPO, although it is expected to withdraw the filing.

VC Deals

C$ cMoney Inc., a Houston-based mobile payment startup, has raised $15 million in funding from Kodiak Capital Group.

Genomatica, a San Diego-based sustainable chemicals company, has raised $15 million in a first close of its Series C funding round. TPG Biotech led the round, and was joined by return backers Mohr Davidow Ventures, Alloy Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company previously raised around $20 million.

Minicom Advanced Systems of Jerusalem has spun out its digital signage division via a $6 million VC funding round. Jerusalem Venture Partners led the transaction, and was joined by Aviv Ventures.

Allocade Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of patient flow logistics software for hospitals, has raised $5 million in VC funding from VantagePoint Venture Partners.

Avatar Reality, a Honolulu-based maker of the MMO virtual world platform Blue Mars, has raised $4.2 million in new VC funding from backers like Henk Rogers and Kolohala Ventures. The company now has raised $13 million in total VC funding.

The Trade Desk, a Ventura, Calif.-based online advertising exchange, has raised $2.5 million in a VC fundinground co-led byFounders Collective and IA Venture Strategies.

On Deck Capital Inc., a ! New York-based provider of financing for small businesses that wouldn’ t typically qualify for bank loans, has added $35 million in lending capacity from “a large New York-based investment group with over $30B in assets under management.” It previously secured a $100 million debt facility from Silar Advisors, and VC funding from RRE Ventures, Village Ventures, First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures and Contour Venture Partners.

Buyouts Deals

Caltius Equity Partners has acquired a control stake in Diversified Human Resources Inc., an outsourced provider of HR, insurance brokerage, payroll processing and temporary staffing solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.

CCMP Capital has agreed to acquire a 37% stake in Oklahoma City-based oil and gas producer Chaparral Energy, for $345 million.

Centerbridge Partners ha! s agreed to acquire American Renal Holdings, a national provider of kidney dialysis services, from Pamlico Capital (fka Wachovia Capital Partners). No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close next month.

Energy Investors Funds has sold the Glen Park Hydroelectric Project to Fort Chicago Energy Partners for $80.1 million. Glen Park is a 33-megawatt hydroelectric generation facility near Watertown, New York.

Extended Stay America creditors may try to block a buyout proposal submitted by Starwood Capital, TPG Capital and Five Mile Capital.

Nelson Peltz reportedly will not bid for CKE Restaurants Inc., which already has agreed to sell itself to THL Partners. Peltz already owns Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc., via Trian Fund Management.

Silver Lake Partners has a! cquired a minority stake in Spreadtrum Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: SPRD), a Shanghai-based chipmaker. No financial terms were disclosed. Spreadtrum’s current market cap is approximately $277 million.

Stripes Group has acquired a minority stake in Sandata LLC, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based provider of IT solutions to the home healthcare market. No financial terms were disclosed, except that TD Bank provided new senior debt financing.

PE-Backed IPOs

Higher One Holdings Inc., a New Haven, Conn.-based provider of technology and payment services to the higher education industry, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq, with Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriter. Lightyear Capital holds a 32% pre-IPO ownership position.

PE-Backed M&A

Advantedge Healthcare Solutions, a Warren, N.J.-based provider of medical billing services to physician groups, has acquired AHP Billing Services Inc. (AHP), a former division of Anodyne Health. Advantedge Healthcare has raised over $22 million from Founders Equity and Safeguard Scientifics.

Vibes Media LLC, a Chicago-based mobile marketing company, has acquired Zeep Mobile, a self-service mobile advertising company. No financial terms were disclosed. Vibes Media has raised $15 million from Volition Capital (fka Fidelity Ventures).

Zayo Group, a Louisville, Colo.-based regional provider of fiber-based network services, has agreed to buy AGL Networks, a provider of bandwidth infra! structure services in Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina, fromAGL Resources (NYSE: AGL). No financial terms were disclosed. Zayo has raised over $350 million in private funding from firms that includeBattery Ventures, Centennial Ventures, Charlesbank Capital Partners, Columbia Capital, M/C Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley AIP and Oak Investment Partners.

PE Exits

Astorg Partners has agreed to sell French drilling analysis firm Geoservices for just over $1 billion, to oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB).

Deutsche Telekom has acquired all remaining shares in ClickandBuy, a European digital payments platform and e-payments system.Deutsche Telekomalready held a 20.2% stake via its venture capital subsidiary. Other ClickandBuy investors included Intel Capital.

Firms & Funds

The Apax Foundation, a nonprofit arm of Apax Partners, has acquired a 20% stake in Finance in Motion GmbH, advisor to the world’s largest microfinance investment fund.

Wachovia Capital Partners has become independent from Wells Fargo, and has renamed itself Pamlico Capital. It will continue to manage legacy WCP portfolio companies, including unfunded commitments.

Human Resources

P. Jayendra Nayak has joined Morgan Stanley as head of Indian operations. He had spent the past eight months as an operating partner with private equity firmAdvent International,and before that waschairman and CEO of Axis Bank.

Andrew Parker is stepping down as an associate with Union Square Ventures, which he first joined in 2006.

Chris Pietersen has joined First Reserve Corp., an energy-focused private equity firm, as a vice president of investor relations and co-investments. He will work out of the firm’s London office, and previously was with placement agent C.P. Eaton.

Brad Steele has joined MMV Financial as a senior vice president, focused on origination and marketing out of the Toronto-based firm’s Boston and New York offices. He previously was a managing director and senior VP with Square 1 Bank.

Larry Furlong and Adam Harrington have joined Financial Technology Partners as a managing director and vice president, respectively. Furlong previously was a senior ! banker in Goldman Sachs’ financial sponsors group, while Harrington wa s a VP in the tech banking group of Banc of America Securities. FT Partners also announced two promotions: Miguel Uria to director and Tim Wolfe to vice president.

Yang Shih-chien, Taiwan’s former deputy economics minister, has become chairman of private equity firm China Prosper Investment and Management.