peHUB Wire: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Some very quick notes, as computer problems and a Blackstone Group earnings call conspired against my time management this morning:

• I live-blogged the Blackstone call, which was actually an 8:30am media call that preceded the 10am analysts call (which is a nice gesture, since us hacks never get called on during analyst calls – even though we press *1 repeatedly). Tony James did almost all of the talking, and here were a few takeaways:

• Blackstone marked its overall private equity portfolio down by 3% in Q1, although James declined to break it out by fund. That’s a light mark, but probably reflective of Blackstone packaging in IRRs from non-bubble funds. Real estate fared much worse, with a 19% markdown.

• Blackstone has not yet had a default of markdown from the $21.7 billion Blackstone V.

• Blackstone had its Stiefel Labs investment marked down by 30%, but sold it to Glaxo for 1.4X.

• Blackstone does not plan to directly participate in the PPIP. James also added that the Chrysler creditor situation does not affect his opinion of possibly doing business with the government. He seems to think the hemming and hawing is misguided.

• Blackstone’s sixth private equity fund-raise is still at around $8 billion. In other words, no major closes of late.

*** Trade pub Furniture Today reported last night that mattress maker Spring Air is expected to cease operations within a few days, after management failed to complete a buyout (presumably from owners HIG Capital and American Capital). I’ve since learned that Riverside Company was going to be management’s sponsor on the deal, and that it all fell apart – at least temporarily – sometime yesterday morning. Kind of ironic, given that the Spring Air’s CEO was quoted two weeks ago in Furniture Today as saying that the company was “very healthy.”

*** Quiz Time: Can you name the PE-backed retailer that is preparing the file for Chapter 11 this week? Hint: Its sponsor is getting used to this sort of thing.

*** Madison Dearborn CFO Thomas Goldstein has left the firm, because he’s seeking more of a “challenge.” Apparently he was bored by the lack of deals. More importantly, the firm has no plans to replace him (could PE CFOs become a dying breed?).

*** Shameless Self-Promotion #1: Tomorrow I’ll be moderating an ACG Boston panel for emerging professionals. The topic is about how to manage your career in a recession. It begins at 5:30, which is just less than two hours after the Sox game begins. Given that I have a luxury box ticket for that game, expect me to be out of breath and rueful.

*** Shameless Self-Promotion #2: Today is our Webinar for first or second-time venture fund-raisers. Click here for more info and to register.

*** Finally, in two weeks from today, I’ll be in the midst of trekking my way to Machu Pichu. I know some of you have done the Inca Trail before, and I’m eager for any advice (other than get in better shape), including what I should bring besides the obvious.

Top Three

Deeya Energy Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of elecgtrical energy storage platforms, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Technology Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers BlueRun Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Element Partners and New Enterprise Associates. Deeya has now raised more than $53 million in total VC funding since 2003.

The Gores Group has acquired a 51% stake in Stock Building Supply Holdings LLC,a Raleigh, N.C.-based supplier of building products to professional builders and contractors, from Wolseley PLC. The deal is conditioned on the completion of a pre-packaged Chapter 11 process that is expected to last betwe! en 45 and 60 days. At that point, Gores would invest $75 million and provide a $125 million revolving credit bridge facility. Wolesley would retain a 49% ownership interest.

Silicon Valley Technology Center has raised $34 million in new equity funding from existing backers Oak Hill Capital Partners and Tallwood Venture Capital, who bought the company in 2007 for approximately $53 million in cash from Cypress Semiconductor. SVTC gives startups and established companies the opportunity to develop and characterize novel silicon-based technologies cost effectively using a shared R&D environment.

VC Deals

Autonomic Technologies Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker of neurostimulators, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. InterWest Partners led the round. The company previously raised a $5 million Series A round from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and The Cleveland Clinic.

Ercom, a French maker of telecom network security and testing solutions, has raised €12.5 million in new VC funding. Backers include Alven Capital, OTC Asset Management, A Plus Finance and Capzanine. Clipperton Finance advised Ercom on the deal.

nGenera Corp., an Austin, Texas-based provider of on-demand enterprise software, has held a $10 million first close on its Series C round, from backers like Foundation Capital and Oak Investment Partners. The company previously raised over $70 million, from Foundation, Oak, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Powershift Group.

SeeWhy Inc., an Andover, Mass.-based provider of real-time analystics on los ecommerce customers, has raised $4.5 million in second-round funding. Scottish Enterprise was joined by return backers Logispring, Pentech Ventures and Delta Partners.

Synageva BioPharma Corp., a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of protein therapeutics, has raised $3 million in additional sixth-round funding, bringing the round total to over $33 million. New backers include Hunt BioVentures and Yasuda Enterprise Development. Prior to this round, the company had raised over $50 million from firms like Baker Brothers Investments, Tullis Dickerson and Four Partners.

Zendesk, a Boston-based provider of SaaS help desk systems, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Charles River Ventures. Customers include Twitter, and Rackspace Cloud.

Buyout Deals

Crunch, a New York-based fitness club chain, has agreed to be acquired by its senior secured lenders, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and New Evolution Fitness Co. The acquisition will occur via a voluntary, pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy process that allows other interested parties to submit buyout bids.

Mid Europa Partners has agreed to acquire UPC Slovenia, a Slovenian cable and broadband operator, from Liberty Global Inc. No financial terms were disclosed.

StrataCare Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of national bill review software, workflow and outsource solutions to the workers’ compensation payer market, has sold an undisclosed equity stake to an investor group that includes SV Life Sciences Advisers, Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. and Paul Glover. No financial terms were disclosed.

GMAC LLC, an auto and mortgage lender owned by Cerberus Capital Management, reported a Q1 net loss of $675 million, or an 11% increase from the company’s net loss in Q1 2008.

PE Exits

IBM has acquired the assets of Exeros, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based maker of data discovery software. No financial terms were disclosed. Exeros had raised around $19 million in VC funding, from firms like AllianceBernstein, Bay Partners and Globespan Capital Partners.

Human Resources

Mark Barrow has joined mid-market advisory Lincoln International as a managing director, in charge of the fim’s UK business. He previously was with Dresdner Kleinwort, and before that spent 10 years with Close Brothers Corporate Finance.