PE Week Wire — Friday 10/31


Get The Wire in your inbox each morning! Just send us an email.

Walter Industries Inc. (NYSE: WLT) has agreed to sell its JW Aluminum Co. subsidiary to Wellspring Capital for $125 million. The deal is expected to close before year-end. JW Aluminum is a Mount Holly, S.C.-based manufacturer of specialty flat-rolled aluminum products including “fin stock” used by the heating and cooling industry. Banc of America Securities represented Walter Industries on the transaction.

Converge Medical Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based biotech company focused on reducing the invasiveness of cardiac surgery, has raised $25 million in Series D funding. BA Venture Partners led the deal, and was joined by fellow new investors Tullis-Dickerson & Co. and Global Life Science Ventures. Return backers included St. Paul Venture Capital, Forward Ventures, Hamilton Apex Technologies, JAFCO and Edward Life Sciences.

CINAR Corp. (OTC BB: CINRB), a Montreal-based entertainment and education company focused on children and families, has agreed to be acquired for $143.9 million by TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners, Michael Hersh and Toper Taylor. Approximately $1.2 million of the purchase price will be held in escrow pending resolution of a dispute (being submitted to binding arbitration) with CINAR co-founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg regarding the validity of their exercise of 840,000 options.

3F Therapeutics Inc., a Lake Forest, Calif.-based cardio-medical device company, held a $14.2 million first close on an ongoing Series D funding round. The initial close came during the third quarter, and included a lead investment from Boston Scientific Inc., alongside participation from Domain Associates, Cardiac Concepts and 3i Bioscience. 3F now has raised $32.3 million in total venture capital since its 1998 founding, and expects to raise an additional $10 million through a second close on its Series D round.

CancerVax Corp., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based biopharma company focused on cancer therapies, yesterday began trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CNVX. The company had hoped to raise up to $115 million through its IPO, but ended up with just $72 million after pricing six million shares at $12 per share. It closed trading yesterday at its $12 starting price, after going as high as $12.85 per share and as low as $11.98 per share. The company had raised over $125 million in venture funding since its 2000 inception, including a $41.4 million Series C round in August at a post-money valuation of approximately $174 million from investors like Forward Ventures, Vector Fund Management, JPMorgan Partners and WestLB Asset Management. Each Series C share was converted at a price of $8.84 per share at the time of the IPO.

Myogen Inc., a Westminster, Colo.-based biopharma company focused on cardiovascular disease, yesterday began trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MYOG. The company had hoped to raise up to $86.25 million through its IPO, but ended up with just $70 million after pricing five million shares at $14 per share. It closed trading yesterday at its $14.85 per share. Myogen raised a total of $127.3 million in venture capital financing (plus $5.3 million worth of term loans), most of which came from New Enterprise Associates (28.5% pre-IPO ownership, 23% post-IPO ownership), JPMorgan Partners (20.4% pre-IPO, 16.4% post), InterWest Partners (13% pre-IPO, 10.4% post-IPO), Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund (8.1% pre-IPO, 6.5% post-IPO) and Sequel Venture Partners (6.3% pre-IPO, 5% post-IPO).

Genitope Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based biopharma company focused on cancer therapies, yesterday began trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GTOP. The company priced its $33 million IPO at $9 per share, and finished its first day of trading at $10 per share. Genitope had raised nearly $50 million in venture funding since its 1995 inception, including a $23.14 million infusion in 2002 at a post-money valuation of over $52 million. Company investors included Rainbow Ventures (10.1% pre-IPO ownership, 7.4% post-IPO ownership), Thompson Clive & Partners (9.2% pre-IPO, 6.7% post-IPO) and Walker Smith Capital Master Fund (6.8% pre-IPO, 5.0% post-IPO).

Soleil Securities Group Inc., a New York-based brokerage group, has raised $6 million in new venture funding from Bessemer Venture Partners.

Peter Drake, co-founder of both Vector Fund Management and Deerfield Management, has been appointed to the board of directors at Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMEX: COR).

Susan Schnabel has been named co-head of European operations at CSFB Private Equity. She will move to London from Los Angeles, where she currently works at CSFB affiliate DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.

Gator, the Redwood City, Calif.-based online behavioral marketing company best known for its spyware potential, has changed its name to Claria Corp. Company investors include Comdisco Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Garage Technology Ventures, Greylock, Rosewood Stone Group, Technology Crossover Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

Predictive Power Inc., a Woburn, Mass.-based provider predictive monitoring and maintenance solutions for electric power substations, has raised $1 million in convertible debt financing from SAS Investors (f.k.a. Silicon Alley Seed Investors) and Altira Technology Fund.

Astex Technology Ltd., a UK-based drug discovery company, has agreed to merge with Berlin-based oncology specialist MetaGen Pharmaceuticals GmbH. Under the terms of the merger Astex will acquire metaGen’s shares in an all-share transaction and existing metaGen shareholders – Schering AG, Apax Partners and HVB Funds — will become shareholders in Astex. Simultaneously, current Astex investors — Abingworth Management Ltd., Oxford Bioscience Partners, Advent International Corp. Alta Partners and GIMV – are investing an additional