Private Equity Week Wire for Tuesday 11/28

? NEW YORK — Thomas D. Bell, Jr., 51, former Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam, has joined Forstmann Little & Co. as a Special Limited Partner. Bell will focus on developing new investments and will be involved with selected Forstmann Little portfolio companies.

? SAN JOSE, CA – Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., the innovative developer of Managed Security Monitoring, today announced the completion of its third round of financing totaling $24 million. New investors-Amerindo Investment Advisors, Inc., ClearLight Partners, LLC, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), and a Deutsche Bank venture capital fund-participated in this third round. They join previous investors Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Private Equity, who all invested further in this round, bringing the total capital raised by Counterpane to $58 million. This new round of funding will be used by the company to expand its business development and sales operations, accelerate research and development activities, and support its entry into the Western Europe and Asia Pacific marketplaces.

? SAN FRANCISCO — Weston Presidio Capital Management today announced the closing of Weston Presidio Capital IV, L.P., a venture capital fund with commitments of $1.3 billion. This fund brings Weston Presidio’s total capital under management to over $2.2 billion. Limited partners in the new fund include endowments, foundations, public and corporate pension plans, wealthy families and financial institutions based in the United States and Europe. Weston Presidio Capital has grown to become one of the nation’s leading venture capital firms since its inception in 1991. The new fund announced today allows Weston Presidio to continue its history of generating consistently superior returns by partnering with first-class entrepreneurs in privately-held growth companies across a wide variety of industries. Weston Presidio typically leads its transactions and assists management teams through participation on their boards of directors.

? OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL — Verascape Inc., a provider of complete voice systems for companies seeking to extend Web access to wireless and wireline phones, announced the closing of $4.1 million in first round funding today. Holden Capital, a Denver-based venture capital firm, led the financing.

? SAN JOSE, CA — Allegro Networks today announced it has received $24 million in first-round financing to develop a new platform for wholesale broadband access services to solve the growing profitability problem faced by service providers as they contemplate expansion into new markets. Bessemer Venture Partners of Boston, Columbia Capital of Alexandria, Va., and Infinity Capital of Palo Alto, Calif. participated in the round.

? PITTSFIELD, MA — TeleSales Inc., the leading provider of Customer Relationship Management solutions, based in Andover, Massachusetts announced today that it closed on a venture capital investment with some of the industry’s leading venture capital firms. It also announced that the company has changed its name to Cerida effective immediately, and moved its headquarters to Andover, MA and will be expanding its operations by opening a center in Pittsfield, MA. The chief investors include The Berkshires Capital Investors, Fleet Development Ventures, Marathon Investment Partners, North Atlantic Capital Corporation and Boston Community Venture Fund.

? DUBLIN – Etel Group, one of Central Europe?s leading competitive corporate telecommunications service providers, has raised $50 million in equity following the completion of venture capital financing, the company announced today. The four investors participating in the financing are Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Private Equity, as lead investor; Argus Capital Partners, a private equity fund sponsored by the Prudential Insurance Company of America; Greenhill Capital Partners, a New York- based investment fund; and Intel Capital. ING-Barings, Ltd. acted as advisor to etel in this transaction.

? WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ — Merck & Co. Inc. announced today that it has formed a new subsidiary, Merck Capital Ventures, to invest up to $100 million in capital in private Internet and other emerging businesses focused in areas related to the commercialization, distribution and delivery of pharmaceuticals and related health care services. Per G. H. Lofberg relinquished his post as chairman of Merck-Medco, effective Nov. 27, 2000, to head the new venture as president.

? FRAMINGHAM, MA ? Courion Corp., a leading developer of self-service identity management software, today announced it has secured $13.2 million in second round financing. New Courion investor QuestMark Partners, whose recent investments in successful e-business infrastructure management companies include SpeechWorks International and Datasage (recently acquired by Vignette Corp.), led the round. Riggs Capital joined QuestMark as a second new investor. To date, Courion has raised a total of $18 million in financing. JMI Equity, an investor in Peregrine Systems, BindView Development, and Mission Critical Software (recently acquired by NetIQ) led the earlier-round investors who participated in this financing. Massachusetts Technology Development Corp. (MTDC), another existing investor, also increased its existing investment in Courion.

? NOVATO, CA —, the leading online marketplace for the global wine industry, announced that it has received an additional $15 million in equity investment from leading venture capital firms. Charter Venture Capital and Cahill, Warnock & Company were joined by previous WineryExchange investors Venrock Associates and 3i Technology Partners in this latest funding round. With today’s announcement, WineryExchange has attracted a total of $24 million in equity investment since its formation in October 1999.