Return to search

PE Week Wire — Friday, April 2

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


Random Ramblings

A handful of news notes to carry us into Final Four/Opening Day weekend:

Big win yesterday for life sciences VCs, as the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill that promotes in-state embryonic stem cell research. More importantly, they did it by a veto-proof margin of 117-37 (a similar bill already had passed the State Senate 35-2)

The measure removes the requirement that researchers receive local district attorney approval before conducting stem cell research, although it also will give some oversight authority to the Mass. Department of Public Health. Moreover, it includes language that would permit the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer (this is the part to which Romney objects). The process basically involves the cloning of human cells (take a cell nucleus out of an organ or nerve, and then put it into an egg cell that’s had its own nucleus removed), and has not yet been performed in the United States. Proponents, however, argue that it could lead to the most productive type of stem cell research, because it is the most patient-specific. Opponents, however, argue that it is creating life just to destroy it, even though no actual fertilization occurs. In short, they are worried about the slippery slope that could be created by the promotion of any type of human cell cloning. Mass. Governor (and apparent Presidential candidate) Mitt Romney, for example, called it a “radical cloning bill” in a recent radio ad.

The measure had been strongly backed by the local VC community, including NVCA endorsement and financial support from such firms as MPM Capital, Flagship Ventures and Bessemer Ventures Partners (anyone remember another time when entire firms sent checks to support a policy or political cause?). In short, they basically feel that such research could provide the groundwork for the next generation of life sciences companies. It is important to note, however, that the legislation is not like last year’s bond referendum in California, which pumped money directly into in-state embryonic stem cell research. Instead, it just permits a certain type of research to occur (Harvard, for example, already has a well-funded research program up and running).

Chris Gabrielli, a former VC with Bessemer and a 2002 candidate for lieutenant governor, had been helping to lobby for passage of the bill as chairman of Mass 2020. Prior to yesterday’s House vote, he told me that failure to pass the bill would “threaten the feedstock of life sciences venture firms in Massachusetts.” Presumably, he also meant to include out-of-state firms that also invest here. I also asked him if he thinks the Bay State needs a funding bill similar to that of California, and he didn’t seem terribly interested.

** The private markets group of General Motors Asset Management is spinning out, and taking its private equity co-investment and fund-of-funds with it. GM, of course, will retain a significant ownership position in the newly-independent firm once the deal is sealed in mid-May. Charles Froland, managing director of private markets for GMAM, says that talk of the move began well over a year ago, as a way to: (A) Better incentivize – and therefore maintain – the investment staff; (B) Carve-out better third-party relationships by being independent; and (C) To expand their program. He declined to talk fund-raising (those pesky SEC restrictions again), but LPs should expect to see at least one “Performance Capital Management” offering on their desks shortly, if it hasn’t already arrived.

** Q1 IPO numbers are in, courtesy of Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association. Ten VC-backed companies went public on U.S. exchanges last quarter, for a total take of $720.7 million. That’s the lowest total since Q3 2003, and a significant decline from the 27 VC-backed offerings in Q4 2004, which raised approximately $2.99 billion. It also is worth noting that last night’s $92 million pricing of the IPO is not included in the Q1 numbers, because it did not begin trading in Q1. As for the entire bailiwick of private equity-backed offerings (LBO-backed and other PE-backed inclusive), 25 companies raised $6.92 billion, which barely tops the $6.8 billion raised by 46 companies in Q4 2004.

** Finally, the Wire’s heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Neil Toth, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 43. Neil was chief investment officer for the Ohio State Employees Retirement System, but had stepped down in late January due to his ongoing battle with cancer. Visitation will be today from 3-8 p.m. at the Underwood Funeral Home in Marysville, Ohio, and a service will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chuckery, Ohio.

FastClick Inc., a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based provider of online advertising solutions, raised $78 million via an IPO of 6.5 million common shares at $12 per share (low end of $12-$14 range). The offering was co-led by CSFB and Citigroup, with FastClick planning to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol FSTC. It had raised $75 million in Series A funding last September at a post-money valuation of $96.54 million. Round participants included Highland Capital Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Disney corporate venture arm Steamboat Ventures.

Qwest Communications International (NYSE: Q) raised its bid for MCI to $8.9 billion, which works out to $27.50 per share ($13.50 in cash, the rest in Qwest stock). The revised deal also includes the possibility that Qwest would raise $2 billion from third-party private equity firms, which would allow Qwest to substitute $2 billion in cash for $2 billion in stock. Earlier this week, MCI’s board accepted a $7.6 billion offer from Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ).

Odyssey Investment Partners has closed its third private equity fund with $750 million in limited partner commitments. The vehicle will pursue control investments and management buyout opportunities of mid-market companies in the industrial manufacturing, business services and financial services sectors.

Akustica Inc., a Pittsburgh-based MEMS company, has raised $15 million in funding co-led by Rangos Investments and Mobius Venture Capital, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The company now has raised $27.5 million in total VC funding since its 2001 inception.

SecuriCan General Insurance Co., a Canadian pet insurer, has raised Cdn$7.5 million in mezzanine funding from VenGrowth Private Equity Partners.

3i Group has led a management buyout of Care Principles Ltd., a UK-based provider of specialist care for adults with learning disabilities. 3i has been a Care Principles shareholder since 1997, at which point it took a 38% stake for Gbp1.5 million. The new deal is valued at Gbp90 million, and gives 3i an 85% position, after buying out the founders.

Falcon Capital has acquired Computer Management Consultants, a Tampa, Fla.-based IT consulting firm, for $25 million.

HemoSense Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of blood coagulation monitoring systems for the management of warfarin medication, has filed to raise $34.5 million via an IPO of common stock on the Nasdaq under proposed ticker symbol HEMO. W.R. Hambrecht & Co. is serving as lead underwriter. HemoSense has raised over $38 million in VC funding since its 1997 inception, and lists significant shareholders like MPM Capital, Vanguard Ventures, W Capital Partners and GC Technology Fund.

WhittmanHart Inc., a Chicago-based provider of digital communications and process improvement solutions, has acquired both Infinis Inc. of Columbus, Ohio and Insight Interactive Group Inc. of Philadelphia. Both deals were funded through a $25 million private funding round co-led by Key Venture Partners and Ticonderoga Capital. Also participating was new backer Technology Investment Capital Corp. and existing shareholders Topspin Partners and Wheatley Partners.

Vernalis PLC (Nasdaq: VNLS) has acquired the IP rights and associates assets related to oncology target Pin1 from Pintex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Watertown, Mass.-based drug company. The deal involves up to 1.5 million in new ordinary shares, assuming the drug makes it into human clinical trials (not expected until 2008). Including possible milestone payments, the entire transaction is not expected to be worth more that $6.5 million. Pintex has raised over $10 million in total VC funding from Canaan Partners, Zero Stage Capital, BioVentures Investors and POD Holding.

Thomson (NYSE: TMS) has acquired MediaSec Technologies GmbH, a Germany-based developer of digital watermarking and copy detection technologies. No financial terms were disclosed. MediaSec had received VC funding in 2001 from Deutsche Post Ventures.

CRC Health Group, a Greenwich, Conn.-based drug and alcohol treatment company, has agreed to acquire Sierra Tuscan LLC, a Tuscan, Ariz.-based provider of programs and services for the prevention and resolution of addictive disorders and behavioral health issues. No financial terms were disclosed. CRC Health Group is a portfolio company of North Castle Partners.

Fiserv Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) has acquired Del Mar Database, a San Diego-based provider of automation systems for small to mid-sized residential mortgage lenders. No financial terms were disclosed. Del Mar Database has received VC funding from Timeline Ventures, MHT Partners and Titan Investment Partners.

TeraXion Inc., a Quebec-based provider of optical filters for industrial application in high-speed communications networks, has acquired DiCOS Technologies, a Quebec-based developer of optical frequency control and stabilization solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. TeraXion has raised VC funding from Entrepia Ventures, Innovatech and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Sun Capital Partners is raising up to $1.5 billion for its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing.

PAI Partners has raised over 483 million euros (approx. $629 million) for its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing. No target size is listed for the fund, which is being placed by Credit Suisse First Boston.

Saunders Karp & Megrue will move into Apax Partners‘ Park Avenue offices on Monday, pursuant to its previously-announced merger.

Stephan Lobmeyr reportedly has agreed to join Change Capital Partners as a partner, effective in June. He currently serves as a director with Hicks Muse (Europe).

Steve Dempsey has joined Greyrock Capital Group as a managing director. He most recently served as a director in the structured finance division of GMAC Commercial Finance.

Neil Toth, former chief investment officer for the Ohio State Employees Retirement System, has passed away at the age of 43. He had stepped down from his position earlier this year, due to his battle with cancer. He leaves behind wife Suzanne, children Colin and Mitchell, parents James and Marilyn and siblings Donald, Lisa, Nadine and Warren. Visitation will be today from 3-8 p.m. at the Underwood Funeral Home in Marysville, Ohio, and a service will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chuckery, Ohio.

Thursday, March 31

Random Ramblings

Print deadline pressure continues to mount here at Wire central, so time for just a few quick notes:

** A federal bankruptcy judge yesterday denied an involuntary bankruptcy petition brought by eight former Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP partners against their old firm. She shot down the suggestion that their stakes converted from equity to debt once they left the partnership (which, theoretically, would have made them senior creditors). She also wrote that THT’s current dissolution plan “is an appropriate, efficient and economical means of concluding the affairs of THT, and that no economic benefit to creditors will accrue by keeping the case in bankruptcy.”

The only question remaining, therefore, is whether or not the ex-partners will make their case in front of an arbitration panel, as their original partnership agreements required. During last Monday’s hearing, their attorney suggested that they might instead take their grievance to state court, although I’m not sure if that threat was real, or just a rhetorical bluff. A full rundown will be available in Monday’s print edition of PE Week. More importantly, I hope this is this space’s last mention ever of this messy situation, except perhaps as a case study when something similar happens somewhere else.

** In early 2003, a Chinese telco named United Platform Technologies raised $50 million in Series A funding. At the time, it was the third-largest deal ever done for a China-based company. More interestingly, however, it also represented the first China-based investment for a number of U.S.-based VC firms, which had been introduced to the deal by China VC evangelist Lip-Bu Tan of Walden International (Walden led the round). Tan’s belief was that UPT not only would eventually provide strong ROI, but also would help certain U.S.-based firms get more comfortable with the Chinese market.

The reason I bring this up is that it has some parallels to the $11.3 billion SunGard buyout, which was announced earlier this week. Specifically, the SunGard deal includes a number of LBO firms that have relatively little experience in the technology space (Silver Lake and Texas Pacific, of course, not included). My sense is that this is a sort of test case for some of them, particularly because tax regulations will compel them to hold onto SunGard for a while (sorry Blackstone, no quick flip here). If successful, the result would be firms like KKR getting more and more comfortable with large tech LBOs and, given the way fund sizes are rising, would lead to more SunGard-type deals. BusinessWeek’s Justin Hibbard has a similar thought on his blog, and I’ll be writing more about this in the next print edition of Buyouts Magazine.

One unrelated thought on SunGard: Isn’t it amazing that news of the deal didn’t leak earlier than it did? Seven buyout firms (including Carlyle and Tom Lee, which dropped out at the last minute, but were replaced), five lenders, sell-side and buy-side advisors and lots of attorneys all participated, yet it didn’t slip until just before the final signature. Just remarkable…

** One quick follow-up to yesterday’s conversation of Tony Abate leaving Ironside Ventures. Actually, it’s a correction. Bill Sheehan, a general partner with Ironside, did not acknowledge that the firm would not have hit its $150 million fund target, had the firm continued fund-raising (he told me this morning that he feels they could have gotten there). That suggestion was provided by others, and was inappropriately attributed to Bill, for which I apologize.

** Finally, please note that the “Top Secret” button is back and working. It is the bottom button ad on the right-hand side, and can be used to send me anonymous tips. Please feel encouraged to use it.

Lenovo Group Ltd. (HKSE: 992), the Chinese personal computer company that recently agreed to buy IBM’s PC business, has agreed to receive a $350 million strategic investment from private equity firms Texas Pacific Group ($200 million), General Atlantic ($100 million) and Newbridge Capital ($50 million). Approximately $150 million of the deal will be used to help finance the IBM PC acquisition ($1.25 billion in cash and stock, plus $500 million in assumed debt), while the remaining $200 million will be used for general working capital and corporate purposes.

Confluent Surgical Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based maker of bio-surgery products, has raised $23 million in Series D funding. Three Arch Partners led the deal, and was joined by Ascension Health Ventures and return backers Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, SV Life Sciences, Cross Atlantic Partners and HLM Venture Partners. The company has raised over $60 million in total VC funding since its 1998 inception, including a $20 million Series C round in 2002 at a post-money valuation of approximately $45 million.

Tom Hirschfeld is leaving J. & W. Seligman & Co., where he had served as head of the firm’s venture capital unit, and as chief operating officer of its overall investment department. The move is effective April 8, after which Hirschfeld will become chief operating officer of hedge fund manager Halcyon Asset Management.

iScience Surgical Inc., a Redwood City, Calif.-based medical device maker focused on ocular diseases, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. Three Arch Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backers Prism Venture Partners, De Novo Ventures, Asset Management Partners and Pacific Horizon Ventures. The company has raised over $23 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception.

GroundWork Open Source Solutions Inc., an Emeryville, Calif. provider of open source-based IT solutions, has raised $8.5 million in Series B funding. Mayfield led the deal, and was joined by return backer Canaan Partners.

InStoreCard Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of multi-channel retail loyalty software, has raised $4 million in second-round funding. Return backers include Canaan Partners, Outlook Ventures and Mobius Venture Capital.

Agennix Inc., a Houston-based maker of protein and peptide-based drugs, has raised $22 million in new venture funding. The company has raised $86 million in total VC funding since its inception.

Trapeze Networks Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based provider of WLAN infrastructure solutions, has raised $13.62 million in Series C funding, according to a regulatory filing. The company has raised over $60 million in total VC funding, with backers including Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, Castile Ventures and DAG Ventures.

TA Associates has completed an $85 million recapitalization of 2nd Story Software Inc., a Cedar Rapids, Iowa–based provider of online tax preparation software and electronic filing services. As a result, TA becomes majority shareholder, with existing owners retaining a significant minority interest.

Behrman Capital has agreed to sell portfolio company Esoterix Inc. to Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE: LH) for $150 million in cash. Esoterix was founded by Behrman Capital in 1995, and is an Austin, Texas-based provider of laboratory services.

Mellon Ventures has sold L.E. Technologies LLC to Dexter Axle Co., a subsidiary of Tompkins PLC (NYSE: TKS). L.E. Technologies is an Elkhart, Ind.-based maker of recreational vehicle frames and fabricated metal components. It was acquired by Mellon Ventures in an August 2003 leveraged buyout. No financial terms of the acquisition were disclosed.

Vestar Capital Partners yesterday completed its acquisition of Italian cured meats producer Cesare Fiorucci SpA from Cavaliere del Lavoro Ferruccio Fiorucci and his family. The deal was being done in concert with company management, which now hold a 25% position. The entire enterprise value of the transaction is EUR 360 million, with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. providing debt financing.

Sony Corp. of America (NYSE: SNE) has received European Commission approval for its proposed $4.94 billion (including $2 billion in assumed debt) buyout of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (NYSE: MGM). The deal is being done in partnership with Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Comcast Corp. and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.

J.C. Penney Co. shares rose 2.6% to $47.90 yesterday, based on rumors that the company could get a buyout offer led by Cerberus Capital Management. The talk appears to have been sparked by news earlier this week that Cerberus had hired Vanessa Castagna, a former J.C. Penney executive who once was believed to be in line for that company’s top job.

The Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs reportedly will help Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein secure funding for their new firm studio, following the brothers’ decision to leave The Walt Disney Co. Their business plan is still being formalized, but likely will require up to $1 billion through the sale of $500 million in equity and $500 million in debt.

Editions en Direct, a portfolio company of Montagu Private Equity, has acquired French horse racing newspapers Paris Turf and Week End from French media group Socpresse. No financial terms were disclosed.

Talisma Corp., a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of multi-channel CRM solutions, has acquired, a Los Angeles–based provider of knowledge management software for customer support and self-service. No financial terms were disclosed.

Veronis Suhler Stevenson has raised $221.5 million to date for its VSS Communications Partners IV fund, according to a regulatory filing.

Charles Stephenson has joined Natural Gas Partners as a venture partners. He began his relationship with NGP in 1996 as chief operating officer of NGP portfolio company Spring Holding Co., and then as head of a second NGP portfolio company Bravo Natural Resources Inc.

Chris Wilson has joined Denver-based mid-market merchant banking firm Headwaters MB as a managing director. He previously served as a senior managing director with Bear, Stearns & Co., and as a managing partner of Bryant Park Capital.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has added three new directors: Jeffrey Marcus, a partner with Crestview Capital Partners; Gary Shansby, founder of The Shansby Group; and Lester Smith, CEO of Smith Energy Co.

Jerry Kalov, former chairman of the consumer electronics association, passed away earlier this month after a long battle with leukemia. In 1983, he had founded Kalov Associates, a management consultancy focused on the venture capital community. Two years later, he became president and CEO of Cobra Electronics, and later founded another consulting firm named Kay Associates. He is survived by wife Antje, brother Stu, three sons and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, March 30

Moving Around

Two unrelated – and heretofore unreported – personnel notes to share with you this morning:

Tony Abate has stepped down from his general partner role with Ironside Ventures, a Cambridge, Mass.-based firm whose third fund-raising effort is presently in limbo. Word of his possible departure has been circulating through Boston cocktail conversations since early February, although the final decision came quite recently. Why the buzz? First, Abate is one of the folks who left Battery Ventures as part of that firm’s 2002-2003 downsizing, and local VCs and LPs have maintained an unusually high level of interest in the ex-Battery partners’ fates (i.e., Todd Dagres and the phantom fund with CRV’s Santo Politi).

Second, there is a bit of concern that a number of Boston-area firms have struggled to raise their second and third funds, as evidenced by the recent demise of YankeeTek Ventures. Ironside originally launched Fund III with a $150 million target in early 2004, as its first real foray into the outside institutional market (Ironside was founded in 1998 as an affiliate of Canadian insurer Manulife Financial, and then spun out in 2000 with a $25 million fund backed by rich folks, friends and family). Bill Sheahan, a general partner with Ironside, acknowledges that the firm was unable to hit its target, although he adds that it did secure several significant commitments. Rather than taking a reduced amount, however, Ironside has temporarily tabled the fund-raising process. Part of that decision is due to Abate’s departure, since new documents would have to be drawn up, and every prospective LP would have a new set of questions.

Another, perhaps larger, part is that Ironside is looking at a bunch of strategic options that Sheahan wouldn’t specify, except to call them “very interesting.” I’ve got a couple of guesses, but will reserve those until something formal takes shape in the next 30 to 60 days.

** Switching coasts is a strange saga at Pacific Corporate Group, a La Jolla, Calif.-based advisory that does non-discretionary private equity consulting for such clients as The State of Washington, The State of Oregon and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. The firm has a history of some major personnel juggling (it even made an LP “watch list” several years ago, from which it since has been removed), including the recent departure of firm president Scott Tuck after less than two years on the job. Moreover, Craig White left just three months after joining from Callan Associates, and since has turned up at a Sacramento advisory called LP Capital Advisors (he declined to comment about his brief PCG experience).

Anyway, PCG has generally managed to survive such turmoil thanks to its retention of a couple key professionals (Tara Blackburn, most notably). And it will continue to survive, although the potential departure of Scott Vollmer makes things a bit more difficult.

Vollmer currently runs a special-situations fund-of-funds for PCG, which counts the State of Florida as its largest limited partner ($150 million commitment). Interestingly, Florida was advised to commit to the fund by the aforementioned Craig White (while he was still with Callan), but that’s neither here nor there. The bigger issue is that Vollmer is a key man on the fund, and has told PCG that he no longer wants to be part of the organization.

The following is from a confidential settlement communication from Vollmer’s lawyers to PCG’s lawyers, dated March 9: “You [PCG] have directly stated that your goal is to achieve an outcome in which Scott stays with PCG. That is not possible in my opinion… there are very substantial disagreements over what actually happened in the past. Further, Scott is unwilling to continue to be pressured to invest the Fund’s money in obviously inappropriate investments, both because of his obligation to have ‘freedom of judgment’ in selecting investments and because of the failure to disclose to the client that PCG is benefiting in some material way from some undisclosed material way from the placement.” It goes on to propose a solution whereby Vollmer would continue to manage the fund, but that all related revenue and profits would be shared by both Vollmer and PCG.

I called Vollmer at his Connecticut home to discuss the matter, but he didn’t return my message. His attorney also declined to comment.

Chris Bower, founder and CEO of PCG, said that Vollmer is still a current employee of PCG, and that he expects that to be the case going forward. He suggested that my info is outdated (remember, the letter is from March 9), which might mean that some sort of settlement has, indeed, been reached. On the other hand, such a settlement could be easily confirmed if PCG simply asked Scott to say that he’s a current and future employee. That has not happened, and it doesn’t sound like it will. An interesting situation worth following (more details in Monday’s PE Week print edition), particularly considering the $150 million that Florida could pull if the key-man provision is triggered (which Bower says has not happened). Florida officials declined to comment on the matter.

TolerRx Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug company focused on immune disorders, has raised $31 million in Series D funding, at a pre-money valuation of approximately $72 million. Bear Stearns Health Innoventures led the deal, alongside NIF Ventures and return backers HealthCare Ventures, Rho Ventures, Skyline Ventures, Vertex Management, Sprout Group, Lehman Brothers Healthcare Group, Genentech, Duke University, Aozora Investment and Yasuda Enterprise Development Corp. The company has raised just under $90 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception, and withdrew a proposed IPO last summer.

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) has agreed to acquire Kagoor Networks Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of session border control technology for IP communication service delivery. The deal is valued at $67.5 million in cash, plus options, equity compensation and certain other considerations. Kagoor has raised around $40 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception, even though it generated less than $5 million in 2004 revenue. Backers include ComVentures, Siemens Venture Capital, Accel Partners, Intel Capital and VantagePoint Venture Partners. The acquisition is expected to occur in Q2.

KKR and Providence Equity Partners may be getting a boost in their flagging efforts to acquire Adelphia Communications Corp. The New York Times is reporting that Cablevision Systems Corp. may join the private equity firms’ bid, which currently is viewed as an underdog to a competing offer – said to be worth more than $18 billion in stock — from Time Warner and Comcast.

SiliconStor Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based provider of silicon solutions for enterprise storage, announced that it has raised $9 million in its first institutional round of funding (dead actually closed in December 2004). VSP Capital led the deal, and was joined by APV Technology Partners. The company previously raised $3 million in seed funding from individuals.

Eonstreams Inc., a Knoxville, Tenn.-based provider of streaming media solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding from the Southern Appalachian Fund.

Tangoe Inc., a New Haven, Conn.-based provider of telecom expense management software solutions, has received $1.75 million in follow-on funding from the Edison Venture Fund. Edison is Tangoe’s sole institutional backer, and now has invested a total of $6 million.

COLED Technologies Inc., a Longmont, Colo.-based developer of display technologies, has received an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from ITU Ventures. According to an SEC filing from last fall, the company had been looking for just over $2 million. It previously raised seed funding from ITU and HCF Partners.

Citigroup Venture Capital has agreed to sell German electronics and engineering company Flender Holding GmbH to Siemens AG for 1.2 billion euros.

CVC Capital Partners has contacted Spain-based clothing retailer Cortefiel SA about a buyout, according to Dow Jones. The report says that while Cortefiel will look at any offers, it is not actively seeking to be acquired.

Loftware Inc., a York, Maine-based maker of barcode identification solutions (including RFID), has completed a recapitalization led by the Private Capital Group of BNP Paribas. Greyrock Capital Group also participated.

The Carlyle Group has put The Relizon Co. up for auction, according to The Deal. Relizon is a Dayton, Ohio-based provider of document management services, and was acquired by Carlyle in 2000 for $360 million from Reynolds and Reynolds Co.

Glencoe Capital LLC has acquired Entertainment Resource Inc. from Palm Beach Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. ERI is a Dania, Fla.-based distributor and merchandiser of family-oriented home entertainment products sold primarily in grocery stores and drug stores.

Bridgepoint has sponsored a management buyout of Tilney Group, a UK-based asset management company focused on high-net worth clients. No financial terms were disclosed.

AirBand Communications Inc., a Dallas-based fixed wireless company, has acquired the fixed wireless assets of Baltimore-based broadband service provider Accelacom LLC. No financial terms were disclosed. AirBand has raised over $56 million in VC funding since its 2000 inception, from Sevin Rosen Funds, Crescendo Ventures, Battery Ventures, CDB Web Tech and PacRim Venture Management.

Semotus Solutions Inc. (Amex: DLK) has acquired Expand Beyond Corp., a Chicago-based provider of real-time mobile business software. No financial terms of the stock-for-stock transaction were disclosed. Expand Beyond has rais