PE Week Wire — FRiday 6/11

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Theravance Inc., a South San Francisco-based drug company, has filed to raise $96 million via an IPO of common stock on the Nasdaq under proposed ticker symbol THRX. The company has raised over $200 million in VC funding since its 1996 inception, and recently received an additional $129 million via an enchanced strategic partnership with GlaxoSmithKline PLC ($108.9 million of which was in the form of Class A common stock). Other significant shareholders include Sierra Ventures and Biotech Growth SA. Theravance previously filed for a $172.5 million IPO in early 2000 — when it was known as Advanced Medicine Inc. — but later pulled the offering adue to adverse market conditions. www.theravance.com

Mahi Networks Inc., a Petaluma, Calif.-based optical networking company, has raised $70.1 million in new private equity funding, according to an SEC filing. Company shareholders include Meritech Capital Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Rho Ventures and St. Paul Venture Capital. The company now has raised around $250 million in total VC funding since its 1999 inception, including a $75 million recap in 2002. The most recent deal involved Series A-1, Series A-2 and Series A-3 preferred stock and warrants. www.mahinetworks.com

Rhodia (NYSE: RHA) has agreed to sell its North American specialty phosphates business to Bain Capital for $550 million. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. www.rhodia.com

 

TA Associates has invested 35 million (approx. $44 million) for a minority ownership stake in ION Trading Group Inc., a Dublin, Ireland-based provider of trading solutions for the electronic fixed income market. Goodwin & Proctor and Travers Smith Braithwaite served as legal counsel to ION, while Simmons & Simmons and A&L Goodbody provided legal counsel to ION and existing shareholders.

Video Island Ltd., a London, UK-based provider of DVD rental services via the Internet, has raised $10.7 million in Series B funding. Cazenove Private Equity led the deal, and was joined by return backers Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures. 

 

Praxair Healthcare Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX) has agreed to acquire Home Care Supply Inc. from an investor group led by Harvest Partners. The deal is valued at $245 million, although specific terms were not disclosed. Home Care Supply is a Beaumont, Texas-based provider of home respiratory and medical equipment, and was bought out in 1998. www.homecaresupply.com

Nordic Capital has agreed to sell Wilson Logistics Group to Netherlands-based TPG NV for SEK 2.5 billion (approx. $327 million). Wilson Logistics is a Sweden-based air and sea-freight forwarding and logistics company, which was acquired by Nordic in 1999. Dresdner Kleinwort Benson served as sole financial advisor to Nordic on the deal. www.wilsonlog.com/ieindex.html

Greentree Partners has acquired a majority interest in Hard Dollar Corp., a Tempe, Ariz.-based provider of software, data and services for infrastructure construction management. The selling parties were Whitney & Co. and Vectis Group. No deal terms were disclosed. www.harddollar.com

Formica Corp. emerged from more than two years of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Under terms of its corporate restructuring, Cerberus Capital Management and Oaktree Capital Management led an investor group that acquired all of Formica’s shares for $175 million. It also reduced its debt via new financing from GE Capital Corp. and Wells Fargo Finance Corp. www.formica.com

Carlyle Group is planning to sell German car parts company Honsel International, according to various news reports. In other automotive industry news, the New York Post is reporting that buyout firm Cypress Group is nearing an agreement to acquire the car replacement part business of Dana Corp. (NYSE: DCN) for over $1 billion.

ABN AMRO Capital has purchased a 56% ownership take in UK clothing retailer Ethel Austin Retail Group from Lloyds TSB Development Capital. The deal is valued at approximately $223 million, according to various press reports.

Phil Curatilo has joined Westham Capital Partners as a managing director. He most recently served as a general partner with Riverside Partners. www.westhamcapital.com

David D’Alessandro, president and CEO of John Hancock Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corp., will retire on November 30, 2004. He will become chairman of the firm’s advisory board. He will be replaced by executive vice presidents James Benson and John DesPrez. www.johnhancock.com

The NY Daily News is reporting that private equity firms are “swarming” around former Viacom chief Mel Karmazin, hoping to “back him on a big deal.”

Peter Allen, president of Mercator Investments Ltd., has joined the board of directors with Orezone Resources Inc. (AMEX/TSX: OZN). www.orezone.com

 

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based provider of commercial real estate services, has begun trading on the NYSE under ticker symbol CBG. The company on Wednesday priced 24 million shares of common stock at $19 per share (under its $20-$22 offering range), for a total IPO take of $456 million. It closed trading yesterday down at $18.35 per share. When the company originally filed for its IPO this past February, it was only looking for $150 million. CB Richard Ellis was acquired in a 2001 buyout led by Blum Capital Partners, which owns a 67.2% ownership stake prior to the IPO. Other CB Richard Ellis shareholders include company management and Freeman Spogli & Co. www.cbre.com

Design Within Reach Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of modern furniture and accessories, has increased its IPO offering price from $9-$11 per share, up to $10-$12 per share. It has decreased its number of offered shares from 4.2 million to 4.1 million. The company has raised over $16 million in VC funding from significant shareholders like JH Partner and Prism Capital. www.dwr.com

QinetiQ PLC, a UK-based defense research firm, has retained Morgan Stanley in preparation of a possible £1 billion flotation. Carlyle Group acquired a 33.8% stake in the company in early 2003 from the British government.


Adea Solutions Inc., has acquired Netkraft Pvt. Ltd., a Bangalore, India-based provider of outsourced software development, systems integration and application maintenance services. NetKraft also has offices in Washington DC, London and Paris. No deal terms were disclosed. Netkraft has raised VC funding from CDC Advisors and JumpStartUp Fund Advisors. www.net-kraft.com

 

News From Thursday 6/10

 

St. Paul Venture Capital is calling it splits, as it announced yesterday that its partners would spin out into a pair of separate firms. One spinout is named Vesbridge Partners, a Westborough, Mass.-based VC shop focused on networking technology and IT infrastructure investments. Its team includes Zenas Hutchinson, Rick Boswell, Bill Cadogan and Rod Randall. The other is named Split Rock Partners (for a lighthouse, not for the vestiges of SPVC), and will focus on healthcare, software and Internet services deals out of Minneapolis and Menlo Park, Calif. offices. Both groups are preparing to launch external fund-raising drives, and St. Paul Travelers Cos. Inc. already has committed capital to both. St. Paul Travelers served as the sole LP for past SPVC funds. In related news, SPVC has reduced the size of its sixth fund from $970 million down to $675 million. It originally had raised $1.3 billion, but $330 million of that had been earmarked for a fund-of-funds program that SPVC abandoned in 2002. www.spvc.com

Life Time Fitness Inc., an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based operator of family recreation and fitness centers, has set its IPO offering price range to $17-$19 per share, and its total number of offered shares to 9.9. million. The company had raised around $87 million in private equity funding from firms like Norwest Equity Partners and Apax Partners. www.lifetimefitness.com

  Kitchen Etc., an Exeter, N.H.-based kitchenware retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court. It lists liabilities of around $33 million, and is asking the court for permission to accept up to $20 million in financing from Wells Fargo Retail Finance LLC (which also is a company lender listed in the filing as being owned approximately $12.5 million). Kitchen Etc. has raised over $45 million in total VC funding, from investors such as American Express, Ascent Venture Partners, Exeter Capital Partners, First New England Capital, Gemini Investors, GE Venture Capital, Motorola Ventures, North Atlantic Capital Corp., Orion Partners and Tudor Ventures. www.kitchenetc.com

 

CareGain has closed a $6.8 million Series B round of financing. The funds raised through the Series B round will enable the company to expand its position in the consumer-directed healthcare infrastructure software business. The round was lead by Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds and includes Milestone Ventures, NewLight Associates, Select Capital Ventures, Inflection Point Ventures and the NJTC Venture Fund. Glen Bressner of Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds will join the board of directors of CareGain.

TA Associates has invested $44 million for a minority stake in the ION Trading Group, a provider of trading solutions for electronic fixed income markets.

Market Central Inc., a global technology management company that connects people and business with information, has completed the sale of its Series A Preferred Stock. The offering was completely subscribed and raised $3 million for the company from private equity firms. Market Central will use this capital to help finance the development of new products, including a new search technology designed to improve worker productivity and knowledge management through a patented “Intent-based” search engine.

   

Francisco Partners has acquired the professional and enterprise business unit of Solution 6 Holdings Ltd. (OTC BB: SSXHF). No deal terms were disclosed. www.solution6.us

  CLB Partners LLC, a New York-based financial advisor to the middle markets, has raised $40 million for its inaugural private equity fund. LP commitments came from high-net-worth individuals, and the fund will focus on control investments in middle-market companies with between $2 million and $10 million in historical and sustainable cash flow. In related news, the firm has added Alex Abreu, a 17-year veteran with Bank of America and Banc of America Securities. He most recently served as a senior vice president of middle-market banking.

The Riverside Co. has agreed to sell Czech decorative paint manufacturer Primalex to SigmaKalon for an undisclosed amount.

 

RACE – Radiological Assistance, Consulting and Engineering LLC, a Memphis, Tenn.-based low-level radioactive waste processing company, has received a $3.8 million in subordinated debt investment from CapitalSouth Partners Mezzanine Fund.

 

Berlin-based wireless content services provider Jamba! AG was acquired by VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN) from Summit Partners and other investors for approximately $273 million, making the purchase one of the largest technology transactions in Europe this year. Summit Partners invested in Jamba! in 2003. Deutsche Bank acted as financial advisor to Jamba! on the transaction, and Weil Gotshal & Manges acted as legal counsel to Jamba!’s shareholders. 

 

The Riverside Co., is preparing to exit decorative paint manufacturer, Primalex, to SigmaKalon, a worldwide player in decorative, marine, protective and industrial coatings. Primalex, which has been managed by Riverside’s Prague office, is expected to generate a 3.8 times gross cash-on-cash return.

Versant Ventures announced that Bradley J. Bolzon, PhD, has been appointed as a managing director effective July 1, 2004. Most recently, Bolzon held the position of executive vice president, global head of business development, licensing and alliances, with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., and was a member of the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. Bolzon will be working out of Versant’s Menlo Park office focusing on the biotechnology sector.

 

 Ching Zhu has joined PA Early Stage Partners as a partner in the firm’s Pittsburgh-based life sciences practice. Zhu spent the last 10 years at Guidant Corp., most recently as its program manager of dedicated research, leading the company’s efforts to develop devices to treat heart failure. He holds patents on 27 medical devices, has a PhD in biomedical engineering from Oxford University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. At PA Early Stage Partners, Zhu will scout investment opportunities in the labs of local research universities and try to commercialize those products and bring them to market. PA Early Stage Partners is a family of funds that manages $235 million.

Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., a San Diego-based biotech company focused on the treatment of liver and liver-related metabolic diseases, has again lowered its IPO offering price. The latest decrease is down to $7-$8 per share, after having already dropped the range from $11-$13 per share down to $8-9 per share. The company has raised around $65 million in venture capital funding from firms like MPM Capital, InterWest Partners, Sprout Group, Maverick Capital, Wellcome Trust, Itochu Corp. and Pan-Pacific Venture Capital. www.mbasis.com

 

Power Dsine Ltd., an Israel-based provider of software-controlled power solutions for communications networks, will begin trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol PDSN. The company has filed to raise $82.8 million via an IPO on the Nasdaq under proposed ticker symbol PDSN. The company priced 6 million shares of common stock at $11.50 per share (low end of its $12-$14 range), for a total IPO take of approximately $69 million. The company has raised over $60 million in total VC funding since its 1994 inception, from significant shareholders like General Atlantic Partners, ABS Ventures, Jerusalem Venture Partners, The Challenge Fund and Vertex Venture Capital. www.powerdsine.com

 

Digirad Corp., a San Diego-based provider of solid-state medical imaging products and services, will begin trading on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol DRAD. The company priced 5.5 million shares of common stock at $12 per share (low end of its $12-$14 range), for a total IPO take of approximately $66 million. The company had raised approximately $75 million in total VC funding since its 1997 inception, with significant shareholders including Sanderling Ventures, Vector Fund Management, Merrill Lynch Ventures, Kingsbury Capital and Sorrento Associates. www.digirad.com

 

Homebanc Corp., an Atlanta-based residential mortgage provider, has set its IPO offering price to $14-$16 per share, and its number of offered shares to over 33.25 million. The company began operating independently in May 2000, following a leveraged buyout of First Tennessee Bank National Association’s Atlanta banking operations led by GTCR-Golder Rauner. www.homebanc.com

 

QinetiQ, the U.K. defense research group majority owned by the U.K. government, has appointed U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley (MWD) to examine a possible market flotation. Carlyle Group owns a 30% stake in the company.

 

Thaddeus John Whalen III, better known simply as Thad, died Saturday at age 42 of pancreatic cancer .A graduate of Santa Clara University and Stanford University’s graduate School of Business, Mr. Whalen was a partner with Aspen Ventures. He is survived by his wife, children and parents.

 

News From Wednesday 6/8

The Cobalt Group, a Seattle-based provider of CRM and e-business software to the automotive retail market, has raised $47 million in Series B funding. Return backer Warburg Pincus led the deal, and was joined by fellow new investors ABS Capital Partners and Oak Investment Partners. Warburg led a going-private buyout of Cobalt back in 2001. In related news, Cobalt has increased its credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank by $7 million. www.cobaltgroup.com

 

Thomas H. Lee Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Refco Group LLC, a New York-based provider of risk management and investment services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although news reports suggest that TH Lee received a 57% ownership stake in Refco, which was valued at approximately $2.25 billion. Leverage for the buyout will be provided by Bank of America, Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank. www.refco.com

 

Castle Harlan Inc. has agreed to acquire Ames True Temper Inc., a Camp Hill, Pa.-based manufacturer of lawn and garden tools and accessories, for $380 million. Castle Harlan is buying the company from Windpoint Partners, which acquired Ames True Temper in early 2002. www.ames.com

 

Jerini AG, a Berlin-based drug company, has raised €31 million in Series B funding. The deal was co-led by new investor HealthCap, as well as return backers 3i Group and TVM-Techno Venture Management. Other repeat buyers included Sanders Morris Harris, the PolyTechnos Funds, IBB-Beteiligungsgesellschaf and BMP. www.jerini.com

 

Continuous Computing Corp., a San Diego-based provider of computing platforms for telecom equipment manufacturers, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. China Development Bank led the deal, and was joined by fellow new investors Harbinger Venture Management and CDIB Ventures. Return backers included Technology Crossover Ventures, Intel Capital, Palomar Ventures and Viterbi Group. The company now has raised around $45 million in total VC funding since its 1998 inception. www.ccpu.com

 

Xingtone Inc., a Los Angeles-based provider of content delivery solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Siemens Mobile Accelerator. www.xingtone.com

 

PatientKeeper Corp., a Brighton, Mass.-based provider of mobile computing solutions for the healthcare market, has raised $7 million in Series D funding. Investors included Whitney & Co., New enterprise Associates, Frazier Healthcare, Mediphase Venture Partners, Mosaix Ventures and Pacific Venture Group. 
  

Cortec Group has acquired Fasteners for Retail Inc., a Cleveland-based provider of retail merchandising systems and accessories. The deal was valued at $231.5 million in cash, and closed on May 27. Fasteners for Retail was a portfolio company of Linsalata Capital Partners, and Linsalata was advised on the deal by Harris Williams & Co. www.ffr.com

 

Vialta Inc. (OTC BB: VLTA), a Fremont, Calif.-based provider of home entertainment and communications products, has retained Needham & Co. Inc. to explore a range of strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. www.vialta.com

 

CVC Capital Partners and Sagard Private Equity are bidding on Bekaert SA‘s fencing unit, according to Belgian newspaper De Standaard. The deal could be worth around $245 million.

 

Weston Presidio has hired Goldman Sachs to help sell guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments Corp., according to Reuters. The deal is expected to value Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Fender at up to $500 million.

Thomas Bogan has joined VC firm Greylock as a venture partner. He is the former president and chief operating officer of Rational Software Corp., which now operates as a unit of IBM (NYSE: IBM).  www.greylock.com

 

David Williams has joined Duke Street Capital as an operating partner. He most recently served as CEO of UK retailer the Thresher Group.www.dukestreetcapital.com

 

John Tilson has joined Brown Gibbons Lang & Co. as a Chicago-based director. He most recently served in the I-banking group of Duff & Phelps, where he focused on M&A transactions in manufacturing, B2B services, branded products and value-added distribution. www.bglco.com

 

Phase Forward Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of integrated data management solution for clinical trials and drug safety, has set its IPO offering price range to $8-$10 per share, and its number of offered shares to 8.33 million. The company has raised around $72 million in VC funding since its 1997 inception, with significant shareholders including Atlas Venture, North Bridge Venture Partners, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, Thomas Weisel Partners, Sprout Group, Schroder Ventures and ABS Capital. www.phaseforward.com

 

Homex Development Corp., a Sinaloa, Mexico-based home development company, has filed to raise over $183.28 million via an IPO. Following the offering, Homexs plans to list common shares on the Mexican Stock Exchange under proposed ticker symbol HOMEX, and American Depository Shares on the NYSE under proposed ticker symbol HXM. The company lists ZN Mexico Capital Management as a significant shareholder. www.homex.com.mx

 

BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Antonio-based drug company focused on cancer and side effects associated with existing cancer therapies, has filed to raise $86.25 million via an IPO of common stock on the Nasdaq under proposed ticker symbol BNPI. The company originally filed for a $50 million IPO in March 2001, but withdrew its registration papers eight months later. BioNumerik has raised around $70 million in total VC funding since its 1995 inception, from investors like Woodside Fund, Access Venture Partners, Delta Capital Management, SBC Communications Inc., Southwest Venture Partnerships and Grelan Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. www.bionumerik.com

 

Wellcare Group Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based provider of managed care services has set its IPO offering price range to $14-$16 per common share, and its number of offered shares to over 7.33 million. The company was formed in May 2002 by Soros Private Equity Investors, which invested just over $70 million. www.wellcare.com


Georgetown Venture Partners (GVP) and Capital Partners Corporate Finance have teamed up to raise investment funds and to advise on mergers and acquisitions. The firms will focus on voice-over-IP and IT communications equipment, software, applications and service providers. www.georgetownventures.com 

 

News from Tuesday 6/8

TechTarget, a Needham, Mass.-based publisher of media properties for enterirse IT professionals, has raised $70 million in Series B funding. New investor Technology Crossover Ventures joined return backer Polaris Venture Partners on the deal, with Jay Hoag of TCV joining the TechTarget board of directors. The company now has raised $112 million in total VC funding since its 1999 inception. www.techtarget.com

 

Force10 Networks Inc., a Milipitas, Calif.-based provider of 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching and routing solutions, has raised $74.9 million in Series D funding. Meritech Capital Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures co-led the deal, and were joined by fellow new investor Crosslink Capital. Return backers included U.S. Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Worldview Technology Partners. The company now has raised over $235 million in total VC funding since its 1999 inception. www.force10networks.com

 

Tom McConnell has joined Vanguard Ventures as a general partner focused on early-stage investment opportunities in both the life sciences and information technology sectors. McConnell most recently served as a general partner with New Enterprise Associates (NEA) but was one of three GPs to leave when NEA closed its most recent fund. He served as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) between 2001 and 2002, and as president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists (WAVC) between 1995 and 1996. www.vanguardventures.com

 

Kineto Wireless, a Milipitas, Calif.-based provider of mobile-over-wireless-LAN solutions, has raised $35 million in Series C funding. Oak Investment Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backers 3i Group, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, SeaPoint Ventures, Storm Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Venrock Associates. The company now has raised over $59 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception. www.kinetowireless.com

 

PacketFront Sweden AB, a Stockholm-based provider of broadband infrastructure solutions, has raised 15 million in third-round VC funding. Amadeus Capital Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backers European Equity Partners and Tlcom Capital Partners.

 

Siperian Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of customer data management and integration solutions, has raised $7 million in Series C funding from Reed Elsevier Ventures. As part of the deal, Rakesh Sood of Reed Elsevier Ventures will join the Siperian board of directors. www.siperian.com

 

Nsite Software Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based provider of business process software, has raised $6 million in Series B funding led by Worldview Technology Partners. In other Nsite news, the company has named Bob Jandro as its new president and CEO. He most recently served as executive vice president of global sales and services at ONI Systems Corp. www.nsite.com

 

Graham Partners has acquired Supreme Corq Inc., a Kent, Wash.-based provider of synthetic closures for sealing wines and spirits. No deal terms were disclosed, except that American Capital Strategies provided $17 million via a revolving credit facility, a senior term loan and senior subordinated debt with warrants. www.supremecorq.com

 

The Jordan Co. has sold Flavor and Fragrance Group Holdings Inc. to Nautic Partners. Senior debt financing was provided by Antares Capital Corp., LaSalle Bank and GSC Partners. No deal terms were disclosed. FFG provides flavors and fragrances for the food, beverage, home environment and personal care industries. Goldsmith Agio Helms advised FFG on the sale.

 

The Financial Times is reporting that Meggitt PLC and The Carlyle Group have teamed up to bid approximately $1.65 billion for Dunlop Standard Aerospace Group, which currently is owned by Doughty Hanson & Co. www.dunlopstandard.com

 

MatrixOne Inc. (Nasdaq: MONE) has agreed to acquire Synchronicity Software Inc., a Marlborough, Mass.-based provider of electronic design management, team collaboration and intellectual property reuse solutions. The deal is worth $18 million in cash and MatrixOne stock, and is expected to close in early August. Synchronicity had raised around $50 million in total VC funding, including a $30 million infusion in 2000 at a post-money valuation of approximately $95 million. Company investors included Acent Venture Partners, Canaan Partners,