PE Week Wire — Friday 9/13

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EPCglobal Ltd., a San Francisco-based staffing and solutions company that specializes in servicing the engineering and construction industries, has secured a $11 million investment from Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC). The funding will allow the company to continue its international growth, and take advantage of buoyant economic conditions in some of the sectors, which it services, such as rail, telecommunications and petrochemicals.

Access Capital Partners, a Paris-based fund-of-funds, has fallen short of its goal of raising 400 million euros for its latest investment vehicle. The fund ended up closing at 277 million euros ($270 million).

SintecMedia raising $10 million in its second round led by Ascend Technology Ventures with participation from Walden Israel, Kardan, and Formula Group.

The Candian Press is reporting Nova Scotia taxpayers have lost $1.2 million in bad loans to bankrupt venture capital companies. The figures are contained in the Economic Development Department’s latest set of write-offs. Overall, the department wrote $2.7 million off its books in the last fiscal year.

John Banta is been named CEO and managing director of IllinoisVentures LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Illinois. Banta is currently president and chief operating officer of Chicago-based DigitalWork Inc.

Hallmark Financial Services Inc. (Amex: HAF.EC) today announced that Timothy A. Bienek has joined the Company as Executive Vice President. Bienek will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies for broadening Hallmark’s business base principally through acquisitions of existing businesses. Bienek comes to Hallmark from the position of Chief Operating Officer of Benfield Blanch Inc., the U.S. division of the world’s third largest reinsurance intermediary. Previously, he had served as a Senior Vice President of AAM Capital Partners, a private equity fund for investing in the insurance industry.
News From Thursday 9/12

Patni Computer Systems Ltd., a Mumbai, India-based IT consultancy and solutions provider, announced today that it plans to accelerate its growth with a $100 million investment from General Atlantic Partners, LLC. General Atlantic’s commitment is one of the most substantial investments made in any Indian software company by an international private investment group and is the largest General Atlantic has made in Asia. DSP Merrill Lynch was the sole financial advisor to the deal. General Atlantic now has a minority equity stake in Patni. William O. Grabe and John Wong, both partners of General Atlantic, will join Patni’s board of directors and provide sustained strategic assistance to Patni in evaluating growth opportunities on a global basis.

CoreOptics, a provider of Advanced Transponder Technology for metro and long haul telecommunication equipment, today announced that it has secured $21.5 million in new venture capital funding. Participants in the Series B financing are Crescendo Ventures, Techno Venture Management, Atila Ventures/ETV, High Tech Private Equity, and others. The $21.5M represents one of the largest financing rounds in a European communications equipment company this year. In 2001 CoreOptics raised $15 million in funding from Crescendo Ventures, Techno Venture Management, European Venture Partners and others.

Viacor Inc. today announced the completion of an $8.2 million Series B round of financing led by New Enterprise Associates ($4.5 million investment) and Canaan Partners. Viacor, a Danvers, Mass.-based cardiac medical device company developing implantable devices for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF), will use this funding primarily to initiate human clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe.

TeleKnowledge, a Framingham, Mass.-based content commerce platform provider for fee-based services, today announced that it has secured a new round of financing. The funding has been led by existing TeleKnowledge investors: 3i, Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Tamir Fishman Ventures. Founded in 1997, TeleKnowledge was an early pioneer in advanced usage-based billing and monetization for content and service providers.

Spectel, a Dublin-based provider of integrated conferencing solutions, today announced it has secured an additional 15 million euros ($14.7 million), in a round of financing led by the venture capital arm of Investcorp SA, a global investment group with a 20-year track record of investing in North America and Europe.

Vivendi Universal SA is said to have received an offer of $3.4 billion for its publishing unit from a group of buyout firms led by BNP’s PAI Management. BNP PAI would buy 35% of the unit, which includes Houghton Mifflin Co., while Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Apax Partners, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group LP and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP would split up the rest.

Polish News Digest is reporting that Polish venture capital fund Ventus plans to raise 240 million Polish zloty ($57.7 million) through the issuance of 2.5 million bonds.

Jeffrey D. Pierson has been appointed associate administrator for the Office of Investment for the U.S. Small Business Administration

eFinancial News is reporting that Bridgepoint Capital has financed the acquisition of Elan Technologies by Capula, another IT firm that Bridgepoint bought out two years ago.

Image Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: DISK), a licensee and distributor of DVD programming, today announced that Standard Broadcasting Corp. Ltd. has agreed to purchase $2 million of Image common stock in a private placement. As part of the transaction, Standard Broadcasting will nominate one director to Image’s board. Additionally, Image and VID CANADA, a division of Standard Broadcasting’s wholly owned subsidiary Video One Canada Ltd, will extend the term of their exclusive distribution agreement from June 2003 to October 2007.

Vestcom International Inc. (NASDAQ: VESC) announced today that Cornerstone Equity Investors IV LLC has received a commitment letter from CapitalSource Finance LLC, a leading senior and mezzanine commercial lender to the middle market, for a new senior credit facility of up to $50 million. This facility, together with funds to be furnished by Cornerstone, represent sufficient financing to pay the merger consideration of $6.25 per share and the estimated fees and expenses associated with Vestcom’s previously announced merger agreement with Cornerstone. This senior credit facility replaces the senior credit facility that Cornerstone previously had been negotiating. The proposed merger with Cornerstone remains subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions. As previously announced, Vestcom and Cornerstone are currently defending litigation, commenced by an unsuccessful bidder and its affiliate (H.I.G. Capital LLC and Nantucket Holdings Inc.), relating to the proposed merger. A hearing on plaintiffs’ application seeking preliminary restraints to enjoin consummation of the merger, and on Cornerstone’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety, has been scheduled by the New Jersey Superior Court for September 25, 2002.
News From Wednesday 9/11`
Pantheon Ventures has completed the secondary purchase of Quantum Technology Ventures from Quantum Corp. QTV was founded in March 2000 as a venture capital firm investing for Quantum Corporation and focuses on early-stage enterprise data infrastructure companies. The portfolio contains investments in 18 companies within the storage technology sector. The new fund will be renamed QTV Capital.

Monolithic Power Systems, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based supplier of power management IC solutions, today announced that it raised $16.7 million in an oversubscribed fourth round of funding. Leading the investors in the round, a group including existing investors Acer Technology Ventures America and InveStar Capital, was BA Venture Partners, a $500 million venture capital partnership.

FormScape, an enterprise information delivery company, today announced that it closed $5 million in venture capital funding.

Law firms Nixon Peabody LLP and Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar have executed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the merger of the two law firms. Nixon Peabody is one of the largest multi-practice law firms in the U.S., with more than 500 attorneys and thirteen offices from Boston to San Francisco. Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar, founded in 1844, is a general practice firm located in Boston. Just last week, the Hutchins Wheeler private equity team bolted for Weil Gotshal. The Memorandum of Understanding will be followed by a definitive agreement that, if approved by the partners of both firms, will result in a combined firm operating under the Nixon Peabody name.

The Yonhap English News is reporting that Seoul-based steel maker POSCO will make full-scale investment in bio venture start-ups by setting up a firm specializing in investing on them in the United States. POSCO unveiled its plan to establish a venture capital firm called “POSCO Bio Venture LP” through investments by its U.S. sales unit POSAM. The new company plans to invest $50 million in 15 to 25 promising bio venture firms based in the U.S. over the next four years. It intends to penetrate the Asian bio market after gaining profits from its operations in the United States.

SMG has put its main Scottish newspaper, the Herald, up for sale in hopes of reducing corporate debt. The company is hoping to raise up to