peHUB Wire: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hey Chicago: We’re coming for you.

The next peHUB Shindig will take place on Wednesday, June 16 in the Windy City. We’re doing it again at English, which is on North La Salle Boulevard. Per usual, tickets cost just $10 with proceeds going to support a local nonprofit that will be selected by event attendees. You can nominate a charity upon registration. Go here to get your ticket:

BIG thanks for our sponsors Conversus Asset Management and Crowe Horwath. Without sponsors, there are no Shindigs… I look forward to seeing a bunch of you there.

*** Been wondering why Silver Spring Netw! orks didn’t file for an IPO last month, as had been expected? Sources tell me that the VC-backed smart grid company has pushed the offering back until Q4, in part due to a brouhaha over defective parts in smart meters sold to PG&E in California.

The technology was fixed, but PG&E badly botched the PR response — initially implying that complaining customers were in the wrong. Just a hiccup, but one that has helped push the most highly-anticipated VC-backed IPO of the first half into the second half…

*** Yesterday’s news cycle was all about Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut senatorial candidate called out for falsely claiming to have “served in Vietnam” (common mistake — I used to think I stormed the beach at Normandy).

This! über-gaffe obviously has nothing to do with private equity, but it’s worth taking a moment to remember that Blumenthal is the same guy who once sued one of the world’s biggest buyout firms for breach of fiduciary duty. Read the full story here.

*** New PE firm alert: Manhattan Growth Partners has been formed by Dean Bosacki (former managing director with Friend Skoler) and Patrick McBride (former partner with The Walnut Group). It’s a fundless sponsor model with a bunch of family office backers.

Sweet spot is between $10 million and $15 million of equity, in exchange for control positions in growth-stage companies. No official industry focus, although the partners’ backgrounds would suggest consumer products, lifestyle brands and services.

Its first deal is in a personal body care products maker called Hugo Naturals. No financial terms were disclosed, although Bosaki tells me that it came in a bit under that $10 million floor. He add! s that he and McBride have spent most of their time since the investment at the company’s Chatworth, Calif. headquarters, and that their goal is to be actively involved in the management of a limited number of portfolio companies:

“I think we both really wanted to be out on our own working on companies we love without spreading ourselves too thin,” he explains. “It’s only been a couple months, but they’ve been among the most rewarding says of my career so far.”

*** It’s become reflexive: Whenever a take-private buyout is announced, class-action law firms begin “investigating” whether the company’s board breached fiduciary duty to shareholders. Never mind if it was a competitive process that produced a 60% premium – suggest bad faith first and ask questions later.

But at least these vultures typically wait until the deal is actually announced. Not so with a law firm called Bower Pi! ven, which yesterday announced that it has “commenced an investigation into potential breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law by the Board of Directors of Pactiv Corp. in connection with the possible sale of Pactiv Corp. to Apollo Global Management LLC.”

Note the operative word is “possible.” Neither Apollo nor Pactiv have announced a transaction. All there has been is a WSJ article saying that Apollo has offered to buy the company – at a price higher than where Pactiv has traded for the past several years. And today there are reports that strategic players also are planning to make offers.

How on earth can you investigate a board’s breach of fiduciary duty when the board hasn’t decided to do anything yet?

I tried calling Bower Piven a few times yesterday, finally managing to reach Bower himself just shy of 5pm. He said he was running into a meeting, and would ring me back. He didn’t. Don’t really blame him. I wouldn’t want to explain such shameless behavior their…

Top Three

Icera Inc., a Bristol, UK-based maker of chips for mobile broadband phones and data devices, has raised $45 million in new VC funding. Return backers include Accel Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, Atlas Venture, Balderton Capital and DFJ Esprit. The company previously raised over $160 million, and reportedly isconsidering a London IPO that could raise between $600 million and $1 billion.

Common Resources LLC, an oil and gas exploration company, has been sold in a pair of transactions totaling $805 million. EXCO Resources Inc. (NYSE: XCO) and BG GroupPLC (LSE: BG.L) bought Common’s Haynesville assets for approximately $446 million, while Talisman Energy Inc. (NYSE: TLM) bought Common’s Eagle Ford assets for approximately $359 million.Common Resources was founded in 2007, and backed by EnCap Investments, Pi! ne Brook Road Partners and Soros Fund Management.

Yahoo has acquired Associated Content, a Denver-based online publishing company focused on both professional and user-generated content. The deal reportedly is valued at $90 million, plus a $10 million earn-out. Associated Content had raised just over $21million in VC funding from Canaan Partners and Softbank Capital. Angel backers included Ron Conway and Tim Armstrong. The most recent infusion was a $6 million Series C round last year at a pre-money valuation just shy of $40 million.

VC Deals

Coda Automotive, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based electric car and battery company, has raised $58 million in Series C funding. Aeris Capital (Switzerland)led the round, and was joined by EDB Investments (Singapore), Countryline LLC (Tony Pritzker and J.B. Pritzker) and Les Wexner (CEO of Limited Brands). Return backers included Angeleno Group, Thomas Steyer, Mac Heller, Miles Rubin andJohn Bryson. The company previously raised around $75 million in VC funding, plus received $394 million in capital commitments as part of a joint venture with Lishen Power Battery. That deal included $100 million in equity from undisclosed backers, and a $294 million line of credit commitment from the Bank of Tianjin Joint-Stock Co.

Breathe Technolog! ies Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of devices that treat respiratory problems associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and and sleep apnea, has raised $23 million in Series C funding. DAG Ventures led the round, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Delphi Ventures, Synergy Partners International and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation., a New York-based platform for distribution and monetization of niche web video, has raised $10.1 million in third-round VC funding. Canaan Partnersled the deal, and was joined by return backer Bain Capital Ventures. The company previously raised over $5 million.

Sipera Systems Inc., a Richardson, Texas-based provider of real-time unified communication! s enablement and security, today announced that it has raised $10 mill ion in Series C funding. S3 Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Austin Ventures, Duchossois Technology Partners, Sequoia Capital and STAR Ventures. The company previously raised $30 million.

TPP Global Development, Edinburgh, Scotland-based drug development startup, has raised £9.6 million in VC funding from firms that included Scottish Venture Fund.

Sonim Technologies, a San Francisco-based maker of submersible, ruggedized mobile phones, has raised $9 million in new VC funding. Verdoso Capital and Waveland! Capital Groups co-led the deal, and were joined by return backers like BV Capital and Accel Partners. The company previously raised over $60 million.

Blu Homes Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based green building company, has raised $7 million in VC funding from undisclosed private investors.

Chiapas Organic Holdings, a Monterrey, Mexico-based producer and trader of fruits and vegetables, has raised $6.5 million in new equity funding. Ignia Fund led the round with a $5 million investment, and was joined by existing shareholders.

Poken, a Swiss company trying to bridge online and real-world social networking, has raised $1.8 million in VC funding led by Swisscom Ventures.

Payvment Inc., a San Francisco-based shopping cart services for use on social networks like Facebook, today announced that it has raised $1.5 million ! in Series A funding led by BlueRun Ventures. peHUB first reported on the deal in March, based on a regulatory filing., a Seattle-based online directory forthose searching for senior care or senior housing, has raised $1.1 million in Series A funding. MentorTech Ventures led the round, and was joined by Amicus Capital and individual angels.

Buyouts Deals

Aurora Capital Group has acquired four Midwestern steel service center facilities, and merged them into a single entity known as New Star Metals. No financial terms were disclosed.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice is the latest private equity firm to enter the bidding process for Royal Bank of Scotland’s payment processing arm, according to Reuters.

H.I.G. Capital has acquired a control stake in First Capital, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based provider of asset-based lending and factoring to small and mid-sized companies. Participating along! side H.I.G. were affiliates of Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners and JP Morgan AssetManagement. No financial terms were disclosed.

Montage Partners has acquired Cal-Sierra Pipe Inc., a Stockton, Calif.-based provider of steel pipes for use in agriculture and water infrastructure applications. No financial terms were disclosed. McGladrey Capital Markets managed the transaction.

Sperian Protection (Paris: SPEP) today is expected to announce its choice of a rival bidder to Cinven, which offered to buy the protective clothing maker for over $665 million.

PE-Backed IPOs

Chr. Hanson, Danish food ingredients group, said that it aims to raise DK3.16 million ($527m) via an IPO in Denmark. The company is majority-owned by PAI Partners.

PE-Backed M&A

Ipreo, a provider of market intelligence and productivity solutions to corporations and I-banks, has acquired BuysideIQ, a provider of online investor targeting solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Ipreo is majority-owned by Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

QCSA Holdings, a vehicle remarketing and total loss claims management company, has acquired Salvage Direct, salvage re-marketing company. No financial terms were disclosed. QCSA is owned by private equity firm Kinderhook Industries, while Salvage Direct was backed by SJF Ventures.

PE Exits

Ace Technology, a South Korean wireless network equipment vendor, has acquired Axis Network Technology, a UK-based provider of re-configurable digital radio platforms, for $35 million. Axix had raised around £3 million from Bessemer Venture Partners.

CDC Software Corp. (Nasdaq: CDCS) has acquired TradeBeam Holdings Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of on-demand global trade management software. No financial terms were disclosed. TradeBeam had raised around $57.5 million in VC funding from Carlyle Venture Partners, Enterprise Partners, Sigma Partners and The Sprout Group.

Denham Capital has agreed to sell Galveston LNG Inc. to the Canadian subsidiary of EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: E! OG). No financial terms were disclosed. Calgary-based Galveston LNG owns, via a subsidiary, a 49% interest in the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal around 400 miles north of Vancouver.

J.F. Lehman & Co. has agreed to sell Atlantic Marine Holding Co. to BAE Systems for $352 million in cash. Atlantic Marine provides vessel maintenance, repair, overhaul and conversion, marine fabrication and ship construction services.

Lonza Group Ltd. yesterday closed its previously announced acquisition of MODA Technology Partners, a Wayne, Penn.-based provider of paperless quality control solutions, peHUB has learned. MODA had raised over $6 million in! VC funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners andOsage Investments . Fairmount Partners managed the sale.

Nautic Partners has completed its previously-announced sale of Medegen, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer of infusion therapy solutions, to CareFusion Corp. (NYSE: CFN). The deal was valued at $225 million in cash. Nautic reports that the deal provides it with a 3.5x cash-on-cash return.

Navarre Corp. (Nasdaq: NAVR) has acquired the assets of Punch Software, a Kansas City-based provider of home design and CAD software solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Punch Software was a portfolio company of Insight Venture Partners.

Palamon Capital Partners has sold theme park Mobie Park Germany to Spanish entertainment operator Parques Reunidos. No financial terms were disclosed. Palamon acquired Mobie Park Germany in 2004, as one of six theme parks bought from Six Flags. It sold the other six in 2006.

TSG Consumer Partners has agreed to sell Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics Inc. to The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL). No financial terms were disclosed.

Human Resources

Caine Moss has joined Goodwin Procter as a partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley office. He previously was with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.