peHUB Wire: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Greetings from 30,000 feet, as I’m aboard a Virgin America flight from Boston to Los Angeles. This in-flight WiFi thing is a godsend for regular biz travelers like yours truly, and may well eliminate airport newsstands within a few years.

The reason for my trip is to attend the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference, which begins later today in Pasadena. My minor role will be to facilitate a “lunch lab” about the role technology can play in building a better healthcare system. Our mission is to formulate a 90-second “solution.” A bit daunting, but it’s going to be a pretty smart group of folks. Maybe we’ll tackle world peace if we have a few extra minutes…

I’ve spent some time chatting with healthcare and healthcare techies about this subject over the past few days, but more ideas are always welcome via email. If you’ve got a 90-second “solution,” send it on over.

*** CalPERS ye! sterday reported that the value of its private equity portfolio fell 31.4% between Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. We’ll have to wait at least another month for the underlying data (i.e., fund-by-fund), however, as it first needs to be approved at an Investment Committee meeting scheduled for August 17.

*** Today’s Blackstone Group fun fact is about Extended Stay America, the budget hotel chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.

Blackstone invested around $352 million of equity to acquire the company in May 2004, and then sold it last June to Lightstone Group for $8 billion. The sale included $1.22 billion in cash return for Blackstone (i.e., $869m profit) and a 120.4% IRR. Today, that equity is worth squat. Perhaps the best-timed exit I’ve ever seen….

*** Some of your fellow readers apparently believe Bono can do no wrong, and that it’s heresy to even make the suggestion…

Top Three

Yahoo has put both HotJobs and Yahoo Small Business up for sale, as first reported yesterday by peHUB. Financial buyers have expressed interest for both assets, but sources say that Yahoo would prefer strategic buyers.

MatlinPatterson has submitted a $725 million bid for the wireless technology assets of bankrupt Nortel Networks. MatlinPatterson is a Nortel creditor. Last month, Nokia Siemens made a $650 million “stalking horse” bid for the assets, and will have the opportunity to increase its offer.

In Sik Rhee has joined Rembrandt Venture Partners as a general partner. The Opsware co-founder had spent the past two years as a venture partner with Accel Partners.

VC Deals

eMeter Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of smart grid management software, has raised $32 million in new VC funding. Sequoia Capital led the round, and was joined by return backer Foundation Capital.

Profectus BioSciences Inc., a Baltimore-based developer of vaccines for chronic viral infections, has raised $5 million in Series C funding. Return backer Cross Atlantic Capital Partners led the round, which brings the company’s total venture capitalization to $19 million.

Signostics Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of ultrasound devices, has raised $4 million in new VC funding from Australian VC firms Brandon Capital Partners, Playford Capital and Terra Rossa Capital. The company had previously raised $9 million.

Advanced Telemetry, a San Diego-based provider of a smart energy and resource management system, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding. The Quercus Trust led the round, and was joined by fellow return backer 21Ventures.

Buyouts Deals

North Bridge Growth Equity and WestView Capital Partners have invested invested $55 million in RuffaloCODY, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based provider of fundraising and enrollment management software. Part of the money will be used for working capital, while some will be used to buy out existing RuffaloCODY shareholder AAVIN.

TGV Partners and Wild Communications have acquired Horton Archery, a Tallmadge, Ohio-based maker of crossbows and other archery equipment. No financial terms were disclosed.

Vertex Capital has acquired Small World Toys, a Carson, Calif,-based specialty toy maker. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in partnership with company management.

Berggruen Holdings said that it is interested in bidding on Italian eyewear maker Safilo (Milan: SFLG), but that it was being denied the opportunity to conduct due diligence. Bain Capital reportedly is the only remai! ning PE player interested in Safilo, after PAI Partners recently dropped out.

PE-Backed M&A

Adknowledge, a Kansas City-based provider of behavioral online advertising solutions, has acquired the parent company of Super Rewards, a virtual currency monetization platform for online games and social network applications. No financial terms were disclosed, although VentureBeat puts the sale price at approximately $30 million. Adknowledge raised $48 million in funding in 2006 from Technology Crossover Ventures.

Anthony International, a Sylmar, Calif.-based portfolio company of Aurora Capital Group, has agreed to acquire VAL SpA, a European maker of curved! tempered glass and refrigerator doors. No financial terms were disclosed.

AuthenTec (Nasdaq: AUTH) has acquired Atrua Technologies Inc., a Campbell, Calif.-based provider of intelligent touch controls for mobile devices. The deal is valued t approximately $4.9 million in cash. Atrua had raised over $33 million in VC funding, from firms like BlueRun Ventures, Ericsson Venture Partners, Neocarta Ventures, Osprey Ventures, Hua Hong Group and Mosen Company Ltd.

Celeritas Management, a sports management platform sponsored by Palladium Equity Partners, has acquired! a majority stake in ANC Sports Enterprises, a provider of sports team and venue services. No financial terms were disclosed.

Keane Inc., a business process outsourcing company backed by CVCI, has acquired part of BearingPoint’s commercial business in North America. The deal comes one week after Keane purchased part of BearingPoint’s public sector business. No financial terms were disclosed.

Firms & Funds

Pitango Venture Capital of Israel is in talks with China’s Shenzhen Capital Group to raise a new VC funding focused on Chinese startups. The fund target would be between $100 million and $200 million.

Macquarie and State Bank of India are seeking to raise $500 million in new LP commitments for an India-focused infrastructure fund that is currently capitalized with nearly $1 billion.

Human Resources

Bob Nardelli has joined Cerberus Capital Management as an advisor, focused on portfolio company management and operations. He previously was installed by Cerberus as CEO of Chrysler, and before that ran Home Depot.

Francis Lunger has joined Chicago-based buyout firm Linden LLC as an opera! ting partner. He most recently served as CEO of Millipore Corp. (NYSE: MIL).

Robert Grien has joined TM Capital as a managing director and head of the I-bank’s finance and restructuring advisory pracrice. He previously was a senior managing director and head of leveraged finance for Deerfield Capital Management.

Zhi Zhong Qiu has joined Barclays as its Greater China chairman. He previously was with ABN Amro.