peHUB Wire: Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This is Erin filling in for Dan for the rest of the week. Direct press releases, etc here.

No column today.

Top Three

A board member of CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has agreed to pay $12,500 to settle a campaign contribution dispute related to placement agents, an official with California’s political watchdog agency said on Monday.

Carlyle Group has agreed to share 80% of fee income on its fifth fund with investors, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported. The split is an increase from its current 65% split.

Steve Miller, former chairman and CEO of Delphi Corp., has been named chairman of mid-market private equity firm MidOcean Partners. Mark Angelson, who was named firm chairman in December 2007, will remain on the MidOcean executive committee, but will devote most of his time to serving as chairman and CEO of publicly-held World Color Press.

VC Deals

Groupon, a Chicago-based social commerce business helping consumers save money, has raised $30 million in funding from Accel Partners.

Seeking Alpha, a financial blog, raised a $7M series B funding round, led by new investor DAG Ventures with full participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital & Accel Partners.

Square, a payment service start-up, has launched with $10 million in venture backing from Khosla Ventures and a team of angel investors, Techcrunch reported. The company is already valued at $40 million.

Aravo, a supplier information management business, closed a $27 million Series D financing round with Cisco as a new strategic investor and the largest participant in the round. The $27 million Series D financing brings Aravo’s total investment to $50 million. The Cisco strategic investment represents Aravo’s first institutional investment, with all prior financing provided by individuals. Previous investors include Charles Schwab/Big Sky Partners and Stephen Friedman.

Vizu Corporation, a San Francisco-based online ad platform provider, raised a $6.75M round of financing co-lead by iNovia Captial and Greycroft Partners with participation from existing investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Esther Dyson.

gWallet, a San Francisco-based monetization platform for social media, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Adams Street Partners and Trinity Ventures led the round, which brings gWallet’s total funding to $12.5 million.

Bizo, a business-to-business advertising platform based in San Francisco, has raised $6 million in venture financing in a round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors Vulcan Capital and Ascent Equity also participated.

Xirrus, Inc., a Wi-Fi device maker based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has secured an additional $20 million in a financing round led by InterWest Partners. This financing round brings the total investment in the company to $80 million. The financing is anticipated to be the last round of private funding Xirrus will require, the company said.

Ansca Mobile, Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of an iPhone apps creation software has received $1 million in backing from Merus Capital, a venture capital fund founded by ex-Google and ex-Microsoft executives., an online seller of promotional items, received an additional $5 million in venture funding. The company has raised $46 million in venture capital to date and is profitable. The found comes from Menlo Ventures, DCM, Venture Strategy Partners (VSP) and Altos Ventures, all of whom are returning investors.

Aquantia, a developer of silicon products for high-speed connectivity, has completed a Series D financing of $35 million immediately with up to $44 million over time. New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led the round, with participation from Aquantia’s existing investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Pinnacle Ventures, and Venture Tech Alliance.

Networks in Motion, a Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based provider of wireless navigation products for cell phones, has agreed to sell itself to TeleCommunication Systems Inc for $170 million. Mission Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures have previously invested in the company.

Buyouts Deals

GTCR Golder Rauner has agreed to buy BIT Systems Inc., a company that designs software for the government intelligence agencies, Buyouts magazine reported.

China International Capital Corp has shortlisted bidders for its auction of Morgan Stanley’s its stake in the company to five U.S. private-equity firms and Taiwan’s Fubon Financial Holding Co Ltd. The group includes Bain Capital LLC, Carlyle Group, General Atlantic LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Robert and TPG Capital

Informa Plc, the British media group, ended talks to buy Springer Science + Business Media, saying it could not do a deal in the time frame required by the debt-laden firm’s private equity owners. The withdrawal of the Lloyd’s List publisher, days after it confirmed it was considering a takeover of Springer, clears the way for Swedish private equity firm EQT, which senior bankers have said is lining up a billion-pound-plus loan to fund a deal.

Willis Stein has invested $20 million growth capital from CompuPay, a Chicago-based investment firm. Willis Stein acquired the company in 2004, building it with 13 add-on deals.

Vista Equity Partners has agreed to purchase Intuit Real Estate Solutions, a real estate software provider formerly known as Management Reports for approximately $128 million in cash.

Resilience Capital Partners announced the acquisition of Victor Oolitic Stone Company, a Bloomington, Ind.-based limestone provider. This transaction marks the first acquisition under Resilience’s previously announced industrial minerals platform, North Coast Minerals. Deal terms were not disclosed.

PE-Backed IPOs

New Look, a UK fashion retailer, has picked JP Morgan Cazenove, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse to handle a possible initial public offering next year. The company is backed by Permira and Apax and could IPO with a valuation of 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion).

Amadeus, a travel reservations giant, is asking lenders to amend its 5.21 billion-euro ($7.83 billion) loan as it prepares for an initial public share offer, Reuters reported. The Madrid-headquartered company — which hired Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley in October for the share offer — is asking lenders to modify its loans’ “change of control” agreements and allow greater flexibility as it prepares to go public.

PE-Backed M&A

Tarpon Towers, an acquirer and developer of wireless communications sites backed by ABS Capital Partners, has completed the acquisition of 37 tower sites, bringing its total to more than 75 towers. The company received additional capital for the deal from ABS Capital Partners and an additional debt commitment from its bank. Terms were not disclosed.

PE Exits

Hellman & Friedman seeks to take a $115 million dividend recap from Goodman Global, an air conditioner maker, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile Carlyle Group also seeks to take a dividend recap of its company Booz Allen Hamilton, a government consulting company, the wire service reported. The recap will be part of a $350 million term loan, returning $550 million to the firm.

RoundTable Healthcare Partners, a healthcare-focused buyout firm based in based in Lakeforest, Ill., has agreed to sell portfolio company Ascent Healthcare, a medical device company, to Stryker Corporation for $525 million in cash. Prior to closing, Ascent will distribute $35 million of cash from its balance sheet to its shareholders, taking the total proceeds from the sale to approximately $560 million.

Artromick Mobile Solutions Group, a maker of computing carts for the healthcare industry, has sold to Capsa Solutions. The company was backed by Sterling Partners, a Chicago and Baltimore-based private equity firm.

Expresso Fitness, a bankrupt stationary bike maker, has agreed to sell its assets to Interactive Fitness Holdings. The company had received at least $44 million in venture backing from Sierra Ventures, Enterprise Partners and Physic Ventures.

Firms & Funds

AI Capital, a Tokyo-based investment firm majority owned by Mitsubishi, has plans to raise a third private equity fund of funds next year, Bloomberg reported. The firm has committed $634 million to buyout firms since 2002.

American Capital has reached an agreement with 95% of its lenders on its plan to restructure $2.4 billion of its unsecured debt through an out-of-court debt exchange.

Human Resources

BMO Capital Markets, the investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial Group, announced it has hired of a team of four healthcare investment bankers in New York and Boston. They include: Michael Neuberger, Managing Director, formerly of Jefferies & Co., who will lead the Healthcare Group; Annette Grimaldi, Managing Director, who will lead the life sciences practice, Vice President Kristen Morse and Analyst Lee Incandela.

Bessemer Venture Partners has hired Jason Putorti, formerly lead designer at, in its Menlo Park office as a Designer-in-Residence. Putorti will design websites for the firm’s portfolio companies.

Monroe Credit Advisors has established an office in Boston and is adding two directors to its Chicago-based staff. The Boston office is headed by Linda Crothers and Katherine Brand. Brand was senior vice president in the Specialized Finance Group covering transportation accounts. Crothers was president of a bank subsidiary, Bank of America Public Capital Corp. The firm also hired Brent Krambeck and Michael Meyer to its Chicago office. Krambeck was president of GE Capital’s $3.6 billion Unitranche Fund. Meyer worked at a hedge fund performing equity buy-side analysis, and before that was a vice president with Merrill Lynch Capital.

John C. Cushman, III, Chairman of the Board of commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, has been named Chairman of Rock Creek Capital. Rock Creek Capital is an alternative asset management firm which invests in unique, resource-rich land.