peHUB Wire: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Handful of items to kick off your Wednesday…

*** Mid-market buyout firm Wellspring Capital Management yesterday reported in a regulatory filing that it has secured $490 million in commitments for its fifth fund. My understanding, however, is that non-U.S. commitments bring the total to around $600 million.

The hard cap has dropped from $1.5 billion (per a filing last April) to $1.3 billion. Credit Suisse is serving as placement agent.

I wrote at peHUB yesterday that the firm has not announced a new deal since May 2008, when it and Blackstone took Performance Food Group private for $1.3 billion. Since then, however, I’ve learned that Wellspring invested nearly $160 million into three deals last year – but that neither the firm nor the companies wanted the investments publicized. Guess this is a continuation of the stealth PE trend, as I noted last month when discussing Elevation Partners.

Wellspring’s plan is to hold a final close around the end of Q3.

*** Blackstone’s quarterly earnings are tomorrow. I’ll reserve comment on the following statement by Tony James, during a recent board meeting of the San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association (via Dow Jones):

“The worst possible scenario from our fund would be to put up a dollar and get back $1.50. A [A 3.5x] would be the best scenario, and putting up a dollar and getting back $2.50 would be the expectation because that’s what we’ve returned over the last 23 years.”

*** Warner Bros. yesterday announced the acquisition of Turbine Inc., the Massachusetts-based gaming studio responsible for MMO offerings like The Lord of the Rings Online. The deal is worth approximately $160 million (as first reported by The Boston Globe), but some of that total is based on performance milestones. Pretty common for gaming deals…

It’s still a bit unclear as to how much venture capital Turbine raised. We know there was around $95 million in the bank through April 2008, but then there was a regulatory filing about a $50 million raise last August. My understanding is that most of that $50 million wasn’t actually called down, but am still awaiting confirmation.

Investors included Columbia Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Granite Global Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners and Tudor Ventures.

*** Internship Drive: Yes, I was supposed to have the listings posted by late last night. No, I didn’t get it done (got caught up on! a story, then the Celtics, then Lost, etc.). I’ve got a few interviews, and then it’s an afternoon of copying and pasting. If you are a member of MBA Forum, you’ll get an email alert when they’re ready to view. If you’re an MBA candidate and not a member of MBA Forum, you sadden me.

Top Three

Amonix, a Seal Beach, Calif.-based maker of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems, has raised $129.4 million in Series B funding. Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers led the round, and was joined by Adams Street Partners, Angeleno Group, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, Vedanta Capital, New Silk Route The Westly Group. Return backer MissionPoint Capital Partners also participated.

Golden Gate Capital has agreed to acquire a minority stake in jeweler Zale Corp. (NYSE: ZLC), according to Bloomberg. Zale had been seeking between $100 million and $150 million, and reportedly chose Golden Gate over Centerbridge Capital Partners and TPG Capital. (NYSE: CRM) has agreed to acquire Jigsaw, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of crowd-sourced business contact information. The deal is valued at $142 million in cash, plus the possibility of around another $14 million in earn-outs. Jigsaw has raised just over $20 million in VC funding, from Austin Ventures, El Dorado Ventures andNorwest Venture Partners.

VC Deals

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug startup focused on inflammatory and metabolic diseases, has raised $39.6 million in Series A funding. Backers include SV Life Sciences, Clarus Ventures,MedImmune Ventures andAdvanced Technology Ventures.

Gemin X Pharmaceuticals Inc., an oncology drug developer with offices in both Malvern, Pa. and Montreal, has raised $16 million in Series D funding. The deal also includes an investor option to invest an additional $4 million. Return backers Caxton Advantage Life Sciences Fund and Sanderling Venture Partners co-led the round. The company has now raised over $100 million., a Beijing-based ! online classified ad portal, has raised $15 million in second-round funding, according tonews service Sina. DCM was joined on the round by return backer Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund (SAIF).

Rheonix Inc., an Ithaca, N.Y.-based developer of a molecular diagnostic platform , has raised $12.6 million in Series A funding led by Cayuga Venture Fund.

HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, a Newton, Mass.-based developer of small-molecule therapeutics to treat serious blood disorders, has raised $12 million in SeriesB funding. Aberdare Ventures led the round, and was joined by returnbackers De Novo Ventures, Forward Ventures and Lilly Ventures. HemaQuest previously raised $20 million.

Imagi! ne Communications, a San Diego-based provider of digital video pla tforms, has raised $10 million in Series C funding. Return backers included Court Square Ventures, Columbia Capital and Carmel Ventures. The company previously raised just under $25 million.

Qualtré Inc., a Marlborough, Mass.-based developer of solid-state motion sensors for consumer electronics applications, has raised $8 million in Series B funding from Matrix Partners and Pilot House Ventures. The company previously raised $5 million.

Red Spider Ltd., a UK-based provider of remote open close technology for the global oil and gas market, has raised £7.5 million in growth equity funding from Energy Ventures and Simmons Parallel Energy Fund.

Velsys, a London-based provider of e-FX trading software the financial services clients, has secured the first tranche of a £2.4 million funding round co-led by Pentech Ventures and TL Ventures. ICON Corporate Finance advised Velsys on the deal.

Currensee, a Boston-based operator of a community site for Forex traders to track their relative performance, has raised $800,000 in new Series B funding from Vernon & Park Capital. This is on top of $8 million in Series B funding previously secured fromNorth Bridge Venture Partners and Egan-Managed Capital. The company has now raised around $14.4 million in total VC funding., an Atlanta-based provider of user-genera! ted rental property information and search services, has secured a “mu ltimillion dollar investment” from Antares Capital Corp.

Zerista, a Denver-based developer of mobile social software, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Kickstart Venture Fund and undisclosed angel investors.

Quidsi Inc., the Montclair, N.J.-based parent company of, has raised $20 million in mezzanine debt funding led by Pinnacle Ventures. The company last October raised a $30 million in Series Eround led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation byreturn backers Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and MentorTech Ventures.

Buyouts Deals

Hunan Taizinai, a Chinese dairy, has sit a snag in its planned liquidation, due to opposition from the company’s chairman. Company backers include Actis Capital, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

RBS has selected five bidders to move onto the second round of the auction for payment processing business WorldPay, which is expected to fetch between €2.5 billion and €3 billion. The bidders include CVC Capital Partners, TPG, Warburg Pincus, Canadian card processor Moneris Solutions and a joint offer from Advent International and Bain Capital.

Volksbanken, an Austrian bank, said it is in talks with potential financial partners. This could include a sale of its Investkredit unit or Europoli property arm.

PE-Backed IPOs

NuCO2 Inc., a Stuart, Fla.-basedprovider of beverage-grade carbon dioxide, has filed for a $200 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol NUCO, with UBS Investment Bank serving as lead underwriter. Aurora Capital Group took NuCO2 private in May 2008 for $487 million, and is majority shareholder. Northwestern Mutual Capital Mezzanine Fund also holds an ownership position.

PE-Backed M&A

Clear2Pay NV, a Brussels-based provider of payment solutions for financial institutions, has acquired Jware Technologies, aFrench provider of e-commerce and mobile payment solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Clear2Pay has raised over€90 million in private equity funding, including a €50 million infusion last December from Aquiline Capital Partners, AGF Management, IRIS Capital, Big Bang Ventures, GIMV and Trust Capital. JWare raised nearly $4 million in VC funding from I-Source Gestion and UFG Private Equity.

Zipcar Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based car sharing service, has acquired UK car-sharing club Streetcar. No financial terms were disclosed. ZipCar has raised over $38 million in VC funding, from firms likeGreylock Partners, Benchmark Capital and ! Globespan Capital Partners.

PE Exits

Lake Capital Partners has agreed to sell Suffern, N.Y.-based energy marketing company Hudson Energy Services to Just Energy Income Fund (TSX: JE.UN) for US$304.2 million in cash.

SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) has agreed to acquire TechniData AG, a German provider of end-to-end solutions for the environment, health and safetysectors. No financial terms were disclosed. Technidata raised funding in 1999 from Dresdner Kleinwort Capital.

Firms & Funds

The Riverside Co. has opened an office in Melbourne, Australia. It will be led by existing Riverside partner Simon Feiglin.

Human Resources

Eric Lint has joined boutique I-bank Jordan, Edmiston Group as a managing director. He previously was a senior VP with The Dun & Bradstreet Corp.

Simon Lund has joined HarbourVest Partners as head of sales and marketing for Europe and MENA. He previously was with SVG Advisors.

Christian Meissner has joined Bank of America as head of European investment banking. He previously was with Nomura.

Peter Washington has joined CapX Partners as a senior associate. He previously wa! s with Northern Trust Company.

Andrew Belá Jánszky has agreed to join law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP as managing partner of a proposed new office in São Paulo, Brazil< /st1:country-region>. He previously led Shearman & Sterling’s Latin American practice. Tobias Stirnberg, formerly a senior associate with Shearman & Sterling, also will join Milbank Tweed as a partner.