peHUB Wire: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The NVCA and Cambridge Associates today released new VC performance data (through March 31), showing improved short-term returns but continued weakening of 10-year returns. Five-year returns experienced a modest bump, after dropping the last time around.

Overall, 10-year mean VC returns stand at -3.7%, compared to 2.3% for the DJIA and -6.3% for the Nasdaq over the same time period. Five-year returns for VC come in at 4.9%, compared to 3.3% for the DJIA and 3.7% for the Nasdaq. One-year returns (for whatever they’re worth) for VC was 46.9%, compared to 56.9% for the DJIA and 49.8% for the Nasdaq.

You can download all the relevant data here.

*** Speaking of performance data, I’ll be posting the latest numbers from UTIMCO to peHUB within an hour. These go through the end of May…

*** Conventional wis! dom has been that The Carlyle Group will be next in line to go public, following Blackstone, KKR and (still in registration) Apollo Management. And such thinking is probably accurate.

But let me throw out an alternative theory: Carlyle could remain private as a way to stand apart from the herd (or perhaps as a way to stand with TPG and Providence). The “public currency to retain talent” argument for going public has to be a tough sell right now, given the stagnation of BX and KKR stock prices.

The “use stock to add other biz units” also doesn’t seem to apply to Carlyle, whose only real foray outside of private equity was that disastrous credit fund. The only remaining benefit is brand liquidity for Carlyle’s founders, but isn’t it possible that the next generation could pony up a bit of that in exchange for ownership (Rubenstein isn’t the only multi-millionaire in that shop). Again, just thinking aloud…

*** If you only read o! ne thing about venture capital today, make it Connie’s interview with the Founders Fund guys.

*** Best line on yesterday’s Playdom acquisition comes from NYT scribe Stephanie Strom, via Twitter: “People will pay $2.50 for a virtual party dress for a virtual character on Playdom but are outraged when asked to pay for online news?”

*** Speaking of Playdom, I spent some time last night discussing the deal with David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners, which made its first investment in the social gamer just last month. I’ve posted the full Q&A here, but two quick thoughts on the timing issue:

1. Cowan said that the original investment thesis did not envision such a quick turnaround

2. Firms like Bessemer are being lauded for this deal, which should produce both a strong IRR (in part because of the short hold) and cash-on-cash return. And it’s deserved. However, don’t buyout firms get publicly slammed for “quick flips,” with the argument that there wasn’t enough time for much “value add?” Is leverage the only difference?

Top Three

The Jordan Co. has agreed to sell healthcare products distributor Harrington Holdings to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and GS Capital Partners for $850 million.

Playdom, a Mountain View, Calif.-based social gaming company. The deal could be worth upwards of $763.2 million, including a $563.2 million up-front payment and a $200 million earn-out.Playdom has raised $80 million in VC funding, including $33 million earlier this year. Backers include Steamboat Ventures (a Disney VC arm), Bessemer Venture Partners, New World Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

Marc Sch! wartz has agreed to join The Broad Foundation as chief investment officer of its $3 billion portfolio, effective August 9. He previously was a managing director of Reservoir Capital Group.

VC Deals

BlueArc Corp., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of unified network storage solutions, has raised $20 million in new VC funding. Investor Growth Capital led the round, and was joined by 16 existing shareholders.BlueArc previously raised around $170 million, from firms like Meritech Capital Partners, Crosslink Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Apax Partners, Weston Presidio, RWI Ventures, Dell Ventures, CTTV Investments, Celtic House Venture Partners, The Parkmead Group and Fort Washington Capital Partners.

eWise, a global provider of online payment and online financial management solutions, has raised $12.1 million in VC funding. Balderton Capital led the round, and was joined byTotal Technology Ventures and Patagorang.

CloudMade, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based, ! has raised $12.3 million in Series B funding. Greylock Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Sunstone Capital.

Business Insider, a New York-based business media website, has raised around $3 million in new VC funding led by RRE Ventures. Existing backers include Allen & Co., Kohlberg Ventures, Pilot Group, Marc Andreessen, Gordon Crovitz and Ken Lerer. The company previously raised $2.7 million.

Triangulate Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of a data-driven dating app for Facebook (“Wings”), has raised $750,000 from Trinity Ventures and Playdom chairman Rick Thompson.

Philo, a socia ltelevision platform, has raised an undisclosed amount o f first-round funding. Backers include North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham, ENIAC Ventures and Stephen Lambert.

Buyouts Deals

Apollo Management has raised its buyout offer for Brit Insurance (LSE: BRE) from £10.50 to £10.75 per share. The new bid would value Brit Insurance at around £852 million.

Plasco Energy Group., an Ottawa-based converter of waste into renewable energy, has raised $110 million in new equity funding. Ares Management led the round with a $100 million commitment. The company previously raised $135 million in equity funding.

SAIF Partners has agreed to acquire a 22.98% stake in Chinese fruit juice company Huiyuan Juice Group from Danone (Paris: DANO), for around €200 million.

Sun Capital Partners has acquired the assets of Pace American, a provider of enclosed cargo and auto trailers to the U.S. and Canadian markets. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done as an Article 9 transaction.

THL Partners has agreed to buy emergency services billing company Intermedix from Parthenon Capital, according to an FTC filing.

Vestar Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Health Grades Inc. (Nasdaq: HGRD), a a Golden, Colo.-based healthcare ratings organization. The $8.20 per share price represents a 29% premium to yesterday’s closing price, and values Health Grades at approximately $294 million.

PE-Backed IPOs

Danen Technology, a Taiwanese solar wafer manufacturer, has completed an IPO on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Its market cap at the time of pricing was approximately $350 million. VC backers included Giza Venture Capital.

RealPage Inc., a Carrolton, Texas-based provider of online property management systems for the multi-family housing market,has set its IPOterms to 13.5 million shares being offered at between $13 and $15 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $934 million, were it to price at the high end of its range. The companyhas raised over $40 million in VC funding since 2003, from Apax Partners (26.4% pre-IPO stake), Advance Capital Partners (6.9%), Camden Partners (4.7%) and Leeds Equity Partners.

UCI International, an Evansville, I! nd.-based provider of replacement parts for light and heavy-duty vehicles, has filed for a $200 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol UCII, with BoA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities serving as co-lead underwriters. For the fiscal year ending March 31, the company reports $20.2 million in net income on $895.4 million in revenue. The Carlyle Group holds a 90.8% ownership position.

PE-Backed M&A

Pierre Foods, a portfolio company of Oaktree Capital Management, has agreed to merger with Advance Food Co. and Advance Brands LLC, to create a single provider of protein and handheld convenience food products. No financial terms were disclosed. Oaktree will serve as the combined company’s majority shareholder.

PE Exits

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) has agreed to acquire Kongregate, a San Francisco-based social gaming websit. No financial terms were disclosed. Kongregate has raised more than $5 million from Greylock, Bezos Expedition, Reid Hoffman, Joe Kraus, Jeff Clavier and Richard Wolpert.

Illumina Inc. (Nasdaq: ILMN) has acquired Helixis Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based developer of nucleic acid analysis tools. The deal is valued at up to $105 million, including a $70 million up-front payment. Helixis had raised over $15 million in VC funding from Advanced Technology Ventures, Domain Associates and Okapi Venture Capital.

TA Associates has agreed to sell its majority stake in eDreams Group, a Madrid-based online travel agent and issuer of airline ticket! s, to Permira.

Trilantic Capital Partners has agreed to sell tuna canner MW Brands to Thai Union Frozen Products PLC for €680 million.

Firms & Funds

CDC Group PLC has committed $30 million to the debut fund from Multiples Private Equity, an Indian private equity investor. The fund target is $450 million.

Human Resources

Roberto Ferranti has joined Baird Capital Partners as a Chicago-based vice president, with a focus on the firm’s portfolio companies. He previously was a VP in Mesirow Financial’s corporate recovery group.

Philip Kassin has joined Evercore Partners as a senior managing director in the firm’s advisory group, with a focus on the chemicals and energy sectors. He previously ran M&A and and finance for Access Industries.