January 2010: “The Tortoise of PE Fundraising”

In case you were hibernating last month, here’s a rundown of January’s 14 biggest buyout news stories.

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[slide title=”AIG Investments is back.”]
Jan 7: Former AIG Investments Coming To A Fundraising Market Near You

More than a year after its spin-off from AIG, the insurance giant’s investment management unit is nearing the close of its sale to Pacific Century Group, an Asia-based private investment group.
[slide title=”Life Over for Candover?”]
Jan. 8: Candover Calls Halt to New Deals from Flagship Fund
Candover agreed to stop making investments from its 2008 fund, after it defaulted on its $1 billion capital commitment to the vehicle. The fund made just one investment.
[slide title=”In Other AIG News”]
Jan 5: Ed Liddy To Rejoin CD&R This Month
Clayton Dubilier & Rice may have briefly lost Edward Liddy to AIG, but as of this month, he’s back in action. The firm hired Liddy, the former CEO of Allstate, as an operating partner in May of 2008. He left Allstate a year prior.
Jan 14: Wilbur Ross Not Buying AIG Unit, Would Consider Northern Rock
Wilbur Ross said yesterday that his firm is not considering a purchase of United Guaranty, the mortgage insurance unit of AIG. He is, however, interested in possibly partnering with Virgin Money on a bid for state-owned British bank Northern Rock.
[slide title=”Oversubscribed Funds Return!”]
Jan 6: Riverside’s Big Fundraise
Sometimes all you need is a little momentum. That’s one way Riverside Partners pulled off one of the most successful fundraising drives of the year.
When the Boston-based firm entered the market with its fourth fund in March (after some heavy pre-marketing), it was prepared for the worst. But with the help of placement agent Atlantic Pacific Capital, the firm yesterday closed at its hard cap of $400 million in just under eight months (add to that an extra $6 million of GP commitments for the total figure).
Jan 21: Tagg Romney’s New Firm To Close Fund Above Target in Coming Weeks
It’s taken more than a year, but Solamere Capital is finally closing its debut fund. According to a source familiar with the situation, the firm will hold a final close later this month on a bit more than its $200 million target.
Feb 1: Prophet Equity on Raising an Oversubscribed Debut Fund
Over the holidays, Dallas-based turnaround shop Prophet Equity held a final close on its debut fund with $250 million in commitments, after 17 months on the road. The effort was oversubscribed, in part, because Prophet stuck militantly to its hard cap figure.
[slide title=”BX Fundraising”]
Jan 13: Blackstone Will Raise Year’s Largest & Most Underwhelming Fund
The Blackstone Group has been the tortoise of private equity fundraising — slow, steady and winning. Now, however, the last part of that fiscal trinity is in question.
[slide title=”Transparency(?) at CalPERS”]
Jan 14: CalPERS Dumps A Ton of Docs
CalPERS released more than 5,000 pages worth of documents related to placement agents used to secure investments from the pension system. These are based on a recent CalPERS board request that each of its general partners provide information on who, if anyone, helped place the funds and how much was paid in fees. We uploaded them all. The second page is here: CalPERS Doc Dump Part 2. Dan discussed the doc dump on Reuters here.
[slide title=”It’s Electric (Cars)”]
Jan 14: A123 Takes Stake in Fisker Automotive
A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) has agreed to invest $23 million into electric car startup Fisker Automotive, and to provide power packs for a rechargeable luxury car being launched later this year (Fisker Karma). A123 went public last year after raising more than $300 million in VC funding. Fisker has raised more than $160 in VC funding, from firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Eco-Drive (Capital) Partners, Palo Alto Investors and Al Ghaffara Investment Co. It also recently secured a $528 million low-cost loan from the Department of Energy.
Jan 25: Better Place Raises $350 Million
Better Place, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of electric vehicle services, has raised $350 million in Series B funding at a $1.25 billion post-money valuation. HSBC Group led the round, and was joinedby Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Lazard Asset Management and return backers Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments and Maniv Energy Capital. Better Place previously raised $200 million in October 2007. The company plans to develop an electric car networkthat willlease out batteries that can be exchanged at its own charging stations by all-electric car owners. Read more…
[slide title=”Big Deal I”]
Jan 19: Travelport Launches $2 Billion IPO
New York-based travel service company Travelport launched a $2 billion initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday to cut debt, with more IPOs on the way as private equity houses seek to offload companies they own. The IPO, the biggest in London since New World Resources’(NWRS.L) $2.5 billion deal in May 2008, values the company at least $3 billion and paves the way for an eventual exit of private equity house Blackstone.
[slide title=”Obama Meddles”]
Jan 21: What Obama’s Proposal Could Mean for Private Equity
Earlier today, President Obama outlined some proposals designed to limit risk-taking on Wall Street. It’s good political populism, and may even make for good policy. That Obama made the statement in the midst of Goldman’s earnings call is theatrical one-upsmanship. What it means for private equity, however, is extremely unclear.
[slide title=”Big Deal II”]
Jan. 27: KKR Buying Pets at Home
Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is buying British retailer Pets at Home in a deal one person familiar with the matter said was worth about 955 million pounds ($1.5 billion) including debt.
[slide title=”Yelp Helps Kill the IPO Market”]
Jan. 27: Elevation Announces Yelp Investment
Elevation Partners has agreed to invest up to $100 million into Yelp, a San Francisco-based local search and review site. This includes an initial investment of $25 million in Series E stock, with the remainder to come via a planned purchase of shares from vested employees and other shareholders. Yelp previously raised around $31 million, from firms like Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and DAG Ventures. Alex Haislip thinks this helped to kill the IPO market.
[slide title=”Citi Files For Divorce with PE”]
Feb 1: Citi Plans to Sell PE Unit
Citigroup Inc plans to sell or spin-off its $10 billion Citi Private Equity unit in order to cut its debt, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter. Citigroup made the decision to sell the unit last year, before U.S. President Barack Obama announced his plan to limit financial risk-taking by banks, according to the article. That plan could force banks to shed parts of their private equity operations.

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