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Friday Without Feedback?
Thank God for Dunkin Donuts iced French vanilla coffee. With apologies to a loyal Wire reader from Starbucks corporate, this stuff simply gets me going – like Jolt Cola once did during Little League games. And I need it today, because I’m exhausted from responding to emails generated by yesterday’s column (the Zell Miller part, not the Google IPO or online marketing parts). I considered doing a formal Friday Feedback, but the typical response was well over 500 words, which gets points for thoroughness but deductions for unwieldiness.
As such, I shall summarize: Many of you thought I was way off base in terms of Miller’s RNC speech. Some of you believe, in the words of Ryan, that I am a “communist eater of French cheese.” Others thought I was dead-on (although such laurels were outnumbered by the darts).
I’ve tried answering as many of these emails as possible, but the basic concerns were: (A) That I called Miller a Dixiecrat and (B) That I criticized his speech while not criticizing anyone else’s speech on the Democratic side (Al Gore’s “betrayed this country” comment came up a few times). As for A: I agree, it was a cheap shot. An accurate shot, but a cheap shot. Miller began his political career as chief of staff for Lester Maddox, who supported segregation even after George Wallace had relented (i.e. Dixiecrat). He never brought himself to adequately criticize Maddox, but nonetheless was a strong advocate for racial unity during his time as Georgia’s governor. Apologies for that one. (B) Miller’s speech was in a class of its own, because of its time and location. Very few political speeches are made during prime time on broadcast television. Just about 6 RNC speeches, 6 DNC speeches, an annual State of the Union and the occasional “crisis” message from the Oval Office. Due to their rarity, givers of such speeches are entrusted with a particularly great sense of responsibility. I believe Miller abdicated that responsibility, whereas no other prime time/broadcast audience speaker at either the RNC or DNC did so.
Moving on, a quick update on our PE Week Wire Presidential Poll, which now is closed. The final tally includes 1,609 votes, with Bush edging Kerry by just 10 votes (47.4% to 46.7%, with 4.6% undecided). This is a statistically irrelevant reversal from our poll a few months back, when Kerry had a one vote lead. Either way, it seems that readers are evenly split, which means that you are fairly representative of the national at large.
Finally, in a bit of non-political news: The second season of NBC’s The Apprentice is just weeks away, and another venture capitalist is participating. Last time, the show featured David Gould, a senior associate with Merlin Biomed Group. Unfortunately, he was the first contestant to receive the “You’re fired” treatment (sorry Donald, don’t want to infringe on your trademark). This time around we have Ivana Ma, a former senior associate with Advent International and former associate with ABS Capital Partners. We’ll keep track of her progress, just as we did a few years back when former Advent International investor Juleby Hirsch appeared on Temptation Island II. Have a great Labor Day weekend…
MediciNova Inc., a San Diego-based drug company, has raised $44 million in Series C funding. Return backer Essex Woodlands Health Ventures led the deal, and was joined by Aqua RIMCO, Biovision Life Science Fund, China Development Industrial Bank, Diamond Capital, Dr. Ci:Labo, Mizuho Securities, New Business Investment, NIF Ventures, Nippon Venture Capital, POSCO Bioventures, SMBC Capital, The University of Tokyo Capital, J.F.E. Hottinger & Co. The company now has raised over $73 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception, including a $29 million Series B round earlier this year. www.medicinova.com
Castanea Partners, a Newton, Mass.-based buyout firm focused on the middle markets, has secured $207 million in limited partner commitments for its second fund. Investors included Yale University and Princeton University. The firm was formed in 2002, at which point it invested out of a $75 million “insider” inaugural fund, whose capital was supplied by the firm’s partners. www.castaneapartners.com
Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) has acquired Coalescent Surgical Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of tissue-attachment devices for use in minimally-invasive surgery. The deal was valued at $60 million in cash, and closed on August 25. Coalescent had raised over $65 million in total VC funding since its 1997 inception, from investors like Institutional Venture Partners, Liberty Venture Partners, Montreaux Equity Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, SG Cowen Private Equity Group, Satellite Healthcare, Three Arch Partners and Walden International. www.coalsurg.com
Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc., a New Haven, Conn.-based drug company focused on infectious diseases, has raised $10.4 million in bridge financing from inside investors like Schroder Ventures Life Sciences. The notes will convert into Series D preferred stock, as part of an upcoming round expected to close by year-end with $35 million. Previously, the company had raised around $65 million in VC funding, including a Series C round in late 2001 at a post-money valuation of approximately $74 million. n other company news, Michael Kishbauch has joined Achillion as its new CEO, replacing interim CEO Marios Fotiadis. Kishbauch previously served as founder, president and CEO of OraPharma Inc. (Nasdaq: ORAPHARMA). www.achillion.com
Wine.com Inc., a San Francisco-based wine retailer, has raised $20 million in sixth-round VC funding at a post-money valuation of $43 million, as first reported by the San Jose Mercury News. Baker Capital led the deal, and was joined by unnamed existing investors. Wine.com has raised approximately $120 million in total VC funding since its 1994 inception, but has experienced numerous management changes and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. www.wine.com
ExpertPlan Inc., an East Windsor, N.J.-based provider of retirement solutions to the financial services industry, has raised over $8.27 million in Series C funding. The Argentum Group and First Analysis co-led the deal, and were joined by return backers Meridian Ventures, Liberty Ventures, Milestone Ventures, BaseCamp Ventures, Gamma Investors, SeaCap Ventures, Next Level Ventures and Paddington Ventures. www.expertplan.com
Schneider Power Inc., a Toronto-based wind power developer, has raised up to Cdn$2.6 million in new venture capital funding. Investeco Capital Corp. led the deal. www.schneiderpower.com
Vascular Architects Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based medical device compa800080ny focused ion vascular disease, has raised $6.6 million in Series E funding. Return backers included Foundation Medical Partners, Edwards Lifesciences LLC, Domain Associates, ARCH Venture Partners, Medtronic Corp., Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., The Vertical Group, Atherton Venture Partners and Three Arch Partners. The company has raised over $55 million in total VC funding since its 1997 inception, including a $16 million Series D round in late 2002 at a post-money valuation of approximately $70 million. In related news, Vascular Architects has secured a $5 million debt line from Western Technology Investment. www.vasculararchitects.com
Montagu Private Equity has completed its £244 million acquisition of Maplin Electronics Ltd. from company management and majority shareholder Graphite Capital. Maplin is a UK-based retailer of electronic and computer components, equipment and accessories. www.maplin.co.uk
CapRock Communications, a portfolio company of The Riverside Co., has acquired Telematika, an Indonesia-based provider of microwave and satellite services to the energy industry. No financial terms were disclosed. CapRock was acquired by Riverside in April 2002, and provides telecom services to the oil, gas and mining industries in Southeast Asia. www.telematikajava.com
Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT) has acquired O-In Design Automation Inc., a portfolio company of MVC Capital that provides assertion-based and formal verification services. The deal first was announced back in June.
CoTherix Inc., a Belmont, Calif.-based drug development company, has reduced its IPO offering price from $12-$14 per share to $8-$10 per share. It still plans to offer five million common shares. CoTherix has raised over $65 million in VC funding since its 2000 inception as Exhale Therapeutics Inc. Significant shareholders include MPM Capital, Alta Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, Sofinnova Capital, Spray Venture Partners and Frazier Healthcare. www.cotherix.com
Moshe Nezarathy, a venture partner with Giza Ventures, has resigned his director position with Path 1 Network Technologies Inc., so that he can pursue a professorship at Israel-based Technion. www.path1.com
Thursday, September 2
Some scattered notes this morning, as I try keeping my eyes open after yet another night spent watching Republicans and Red Sox. (1) Remember how the Google IPO was supposed to generate this enormous flood of IPO offerings from the technology sector? Well it doesn’t seem to have happened. Just nine companies have filed for IPOs since Google priced in August 19, and just one of those is a technology company. This is just further confirmation that while Google’s IPO was good for insiders, it meant relatively little for the market at large. By the way, Google stock opened this morning under the magic $100 per share mark.
(2) I spent part of yesterday working on an article about an online advertising/media/marketing company that just raised some new venture capital. My initial reaction was the same as yours: “Huh?” Then I double-checked the embargoed press release to make sure it was dated in 2004. We’ll chat more about this on Tuesday – when specifics are formally disclosed – but it’s worth chewing on the following quote from one of the company’s new VC backers: “The hype of what we were saying would happen with the Internet advertising market in 2000 is actually what is happening today.”
(3) Thanks to all of you who participated in the PE Week Presidential Poll. We’ll get deep into the results next week, but here is a bit of instant gratification: 1,427 of you responded, with 47.9% saying that you plan to vote for Bush, and 46.3% saying that you plan to vote for Kerry. Undecided readers make up 4.3% of our sample, while the rest go for Nader or some other candidate. In terms of political demographics, 41.5% of you claim to be Republicans, 24.6% claim to be Democrats, 31.4% claim to be independents and the remainder falls into the all-inclusive “other” category. Finally, 87.6% of you “definitely” plan to vote on November 2.
(4) Since we’re talking politics, one quick note on the GOP convention (since many of you have asked). For the most part, I think the Republicans have done a bang-up job on Kerry through three nights, even though many of the attacks have been unfair (he actually did vote for the $87B before he voted against it… it was a product of Senatorial procedure, not indecision). The party also has gotten some great speeches from some unlikely sources, like Laura Bush and Governor Arnold. I even thought Cheney did a decent job, in his understated way. Far better convention, so far, than what the Democrats put on.
That said, I felt that Zell Miller’s speech last night was the single most vile piece of agitprop that I have ever watched from the podium of any political convention. Perhaps I should have expected this from a disturbed Dixiecrat, but Miller’s angry-stared rhetoric made me long for another speech from Barbara and Jenna Bush. You can both liberate and occupy Zell, as even George w. Bush has said of the Iraq experience. Kerry has never suggested that America brought 9/11 upon itself, nor has he indicated an interest in re-fighting Vietnam (I believe that re-fight was launched by a group funded by individuals on the other side of the aisle). Miller came within a breath of calling Kerry a traitor to his country, and the message came through loud and clear. Vile, simply vile.
ZARS Inc., a Salt Lake City-based developer of non-invasive drug delivery technologies, has raised $19 million in Series C funding. Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the deal, and was joined by fellow new investors ePlanet Ventures (a DFJ affiliate) and CDIB BioScience Venture Management. Return backers included Wasatch Venture Fund and Tenex, while CBIC World Markets and Ferghana Partners served as placement agents. The company has raised around $26 million in total VC funding, including a $5 million Series B infusion in 2003 at a post-money valuation of approximately $9 million. www.zars.com
Audax Group has completed its sale of portfolio company Nash_Elmo Holdings LLC to Gardner Denver Inc. (NYSE: GDI) for $223.5 million in cash. Nash_Elmo is a compressor and blower manufacturer formed in 2002 by combining the operations of The Nash Engineering Co. of Trumbull, Conn. With Nuremberg, Germany-based Elmo Vacuum Technology GmbH. In related news, Gardner also entered into a $375 million amended credit agreement with a 15-bank syndicate led by J.P. Morgan Securities. The financing will help fund the Nash_Elmo acquisition and refinance existing debt. www.gardnerdenver.com
Emergence Capital Partners has closed its inaugural fund with $125 million in limited partner commitments. The Burlingame, Calif.-based firm focuses on early- and growth-stage companies, and was founded last year by: Brian Jacobs, former general partner with St. Paul Venture Capital; Jason Green, former general partner with U.S. Venture Partners; and veteran entrepreneur Gordon Ritter. www.emergencecap.com
Biovertis AG, a Vienna, Austria-based developer of antibiotics that was spun out of Intercell in 2003, has raised €12 million in Series A funding. Techno Venture Management led the deal, and was joined by Kapital & Wert Group of Austria. In related news, Erich Fleber, co-founder of Micromet AG, has joined Biovertis as its new CEO. www.biovertis.com
ACI Capital Co. and American Securities Capital Partners have completed their joint acquisition of the majority of Phillips Health LLC assets, in partnership with company management. No financial terms were disclosed. Phillips Health is a Potomac, Md.-based direct-marketer of branded nutritional supplements, health-oriented newsletter and related health products. It was sold by parent company Phillips International Inc. www.phillips.com/health
Norwest Equity Partners has completed its acquisition of Becker Underwood Inc., an Ames, Iowa-based supplier of specialty chemicals and biologic products to the agricultural, landscape, turf and horticultural markets. The deal was completed in concert with company management, while Allied Capital provided $5 million in equity capital and $23 million in subordinated debt. Complete financial terms of the buyout were not disclosed.
SG Capital Europe has agreed to acquire The Sovitec Group, a Belgium-based provider of glass beads used as reflective materials in road markings, from U.S.-based private equity firm GCW. GIMV also participated on the equity tranche, with IKB providing debt financing. www.sovitec.com
Star Capital Partners has acquired a 72% ownership position in GWE, a Germany-based independent energy services provider, from 3i Group.
MGI Pharma Inc. (Nasdaq: MOGN) has agreed to acquire all outstanding equity in Aesgen Inc. for $32 million in cash. Aesgen is a Princeton, N.J.-based drug company focused on therapeutics for patients suffering from side effects of cancer treatment. It has raised over $30 million in total VC funding since its 1995 inception, from investors like Medical Innovation Partners and Noro-Moseley Partners. www.aesgen.com
MGI Pharma Inc. (Nasdaq: MOGN) has agreed to acquire Zycos Inc. for $50 million in cash. Zycos is a Lexington, Mass.-based drug company focused on cancer and antiviral products. It has raised around $48 million in total VC funding, including a $30.4 million Series G infusion in 2000 at a post-money valuation of approximately $72.2 million. Company investors include Medical Science Partners, Calvon, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, European Medical Ventures, Fujigin Capital Co., Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, Integrated Health Care Investments, NMT New Medical Technologies, Viking Capital, WaldenVC and William Blair Capital Partners. www.zycos.com
Flextronics International Ltd. (Nasdaq: FLEX) has agreed to acquire FutureSoft Software Ltd., an India-based provider of communications software products and services. No financial terms were available for the deal, which is expected to close by year-end. FutureSoft has raised venture capital funding from Intel Capital and IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd. www.futsoft.com
SearchSpace Ltd., a London, UK-based provider of transaction monitoring software for the financial services industry, has raised $5.5 million in new fourth-round funding. The capital comes from Scottish Equity Partners, and is on top of a $15 million first close on the round completed earlier this year with lead investor 3i Group and return investor Montagu Private Equity. SearchSpace has raised over $50 million in total VC funding since its 1993 inception. www.searchspace.com
HouseValues Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of online marketing solutions for residential real estate agents, has filed to raise $86.25 million via an IPO of common stock on the Nasdaq under proposed ticker symbol SOLD. The company has raised over $16 million in venture capital funding, with William Blair Capital Partners holding a 35% pre-IPO stake. www.housevalues.com
BlueLinx Holdings Inc., an Atlanta-based distributor of building products, has filed to raise $150 million via an IPO of common stock on the NYSE under proposed ticker symbol BXC. The company was launched in 1954 as a division of Georgia-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: GP), but was acquired this past May by Cerberus Capital Management and members of company management.
StoneMor Partners LP, a Bristol, Pa.-based owner and operator of cemeteries in the United States, has raised the number of shares to be offered in its IPO from 3.6 million to over 3.67 million. It will maintain its $18.50-$20.50 offering price range. The company was previously known as Cornerstone Family Services Inc., and was founded in 1999 by company management and private equity firm McCown De Leeuw & Co., when they acquired 123 cemetery properties and four funeral homes. Since then, it has acquired 10 additional cemeteries and one funeral home, built two funeral homes and sold one cemetery. www.cornerstonefs.com
K-Tech Construction Public Co. Ltd., a Thailand-based construction and engineering company, raised approximately $8.4 million via an IPO of the Stock Exchange of Thailand. The company priced 50 million shares at Baht 7.00 per share. In December 2003, K-Tech received an investment from The Thailand Equity Fund, a $245 million private equity vehicle sponsored by Lombard Investments Inc. and the International Finance Corp.
Gary Lowery has joined Viscogliosi Brothers LLC as a medical director. He previously served a chief of spine surgery and director of orthopedic research at the Phoenix Orthopedic Residency Program, and also as medical director of Research Institute International Inc. Viscogliosi Brothers is a New York-based venture capital and merchant banking firm focused on the orthopedics industry. www.vbllc.com
Wednesday, September 1
A few months back, we conducted an unscientific poll of PE Week Wire readers in regards to the upcoming presidential election. It was a statistical dead heat, with John Kerry edging out George Bush by just one vote (quite remarkable, considering the high response rate). With just two months to go until election day, we’re doing it again, although it is admittedly dangerous to conduct such a poll in the midst of a nominating convention. Nonetheless, please take two minutes and go to: http://websurveyor.net/wsb.dll/13764/PEWirePoliticalSurveyAug04.htm
You may notice that the poll asks for your email address at the bottom. We have to do this because of sp*m regulations (can’t write the full word due to email filters, but it’s a type of canned meat). There will be no tracking of who is voting for who, or anything like that (the capability doesn’t even exist). So please help us out. Also, we are asking that only eligible voters participate in this poll. We appreciate our readers in Europe, Asia, South America, etc., but are trying to get as accurate a sampling as possible. Results will be reported next week.
That link again is: http://websurveyor.net/wsb.dll/13764/PEWirePoliticalSurveyAug04.htm
Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Watertown, Mass.-based drug company focused on anti-infective therapies, has raised $20 million in new Series E funding. This brings the round total to $52 million, including a $12 million close earlier this year and previous closes in 2003. Strategic investor Shionogi & Co. Ltd. participated on the most recent tranche, and was joined by return backers Techno Venture Management, Oxford Bioscience Partners, BioVentures Investors and Global Biomedical Partners.
Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) has agreed to acquire KVault Software Ltd., a Reading, UK-based provider of email archiving software. The all-cash deal is valued at approximately $225 million. KVault has raised over $38 million in venture capital funding since its 1999 founding, with investors including Cazenove Private Equity, Lehman Brothers European Venture Capital, Mosaic Private Equity, Greenaap Consultants Ltd., FTVentures and Index Ventures. www.k-vault.com
Bain Capital is in advanced talks to acquire the Canadian telephone directories business of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) for approximately $1 billion, according to the New York Post. Other bidders reportedly included Yellow Pages Group Co., R.H. Donnelley Corp., Yell Group PLC and The Carlyle Group. www.verizon.com
Tantalus Systems Corp., a Vancouver, Canada-based provider of data communications networks for utilities, has raised Cdn$16 million in venture capital funding. Investors included Altira Group, ARC Financial Corp., British Columbia Discovery Fund, Sanders Morris Harris Group and Pender Growth Fund. www.tantalus.com
Crosspoint Ventures has agreed to invest $10 million for the formation of Forte Markets, which would operate upscale specialty grocery stores in metropolitan areas. The first locations are expected to be New York, Chicago and Atlanta, while the company itself will be based n Paris, France. www.crosspointventures.com
ModViz Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based provider of software that enables 3D visualization on computing clusters, has raised $2.8 million in Series A funding. Selby Venture Partners led the deal, and was joined by London Merchant Securities Capital, Atrium Venture Partners, the Halo Fund and the Angels Forum. ModViz originally raised seed funding from the Siemens Technology-To-Business Center. www.modviz.com
CardSystems Solutions Inc., a Chantilly, Va.-based provider of electronic payment processing solutions, has raised $9.3 million in new private equity funding. Existing investor Camden Partners led the deal. www.cardsystems.com
Modem-Art Ltd., a Tel Aviv, Israel-based provider of baseband processor chips for 3G W-CDMA terminals, has raised $8.4 million in new venture capital funding. Apax Partners led the deal with a $4.2 million investment, and was joined by return backers Genesis Partners, Tamir Fishman, BancBoston Ventures and Argoquest. The company has raised over $38 million in total VC funding since its 1998 inception. www.modem-art.com
The Carlyle Group has made a $15 million investment in China-based media services firm Target Media.
NFR Security Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based provider of IT security products, has raised $6 million in fourth-round VC funding. Edison Venture Funds led the deal, and was joined by return backer Lazard Technology Partners. The company has raised over $40 million in total VC funding since its 1996 inception as Network Flight Recorder Inc. www.nrf.com
Stat Nurses International Inc., a Basalt, Colo.-based traveling nurse agency, has raised $1.2 million in venture capital funding from Enhanced Capital Partners. www.statnurseintl.com
Royal London Private Equity has sponsored a £33.5 million management buyout of McKenzie Group, which operates live music and dance clubs in the UK.
Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC) has agreed to sell three hospitals in California to Centinela Freeman HealthSystem, a new company formed by physicians, current hospital management, local community leaders and private investment firm Westridge Capital. No financial terms were disclosed.
PlanSoft Corp. and SeeUThere Technologies Inc. have merged to form OnVantage Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of meeting marketing and corporate spend management solutions. No financial terms of the merger were disclosed. PlanSoft had raised around $45 million in total VC funding since its 1991 inception, from investors like Apax Partners, Benefit Capital Partners, IDG Ventures, Primus Venture Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital, Cornerstone Equity Investors, Pacific Technology Ventures, Regis Capital and Wasserstein Ventures. SeeUThere had raised over $50 million in VC funding since its 1998 inception, from investors like Acer Technology Ventures, AsiaTech Internet Group, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Macquarie Technology Ventures, Pacific Venture Partners, and Vivendi Universal SA. www.onvantageinc.com
Broder Brothers Co., a Philadelphia-based distributor of imprintable sportswear in the U.S., has acquired NES Clothing Co., a Middleboro, Mass.-based distributor of imprintable sportswear in New England. No financial terms were disclosed. Broder is majority-owned by Bain Capital. www.broderbros.com
Robert Casale has been elected chairman of The BISYS Group Inc., a New York-based provider of outsourcing solutions for the financial services sector. He has served on the BISYS board since 1997, and is the former group president of brokerage information services with Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NYSE: ADP). www.bisys.com
Argonne Capital Group and Joe Langteau have teamed up to form Marathon Restaurant Partners, an Atlanta-based restaurant company acquisition platform. Langteau most recently served as president and CEO of Burger King franchisee AmeriKing Inc., while Argonne Capital is a private equity firm focused on the restaurant and retail industries. www.argonnecapital.com
Tuesday, August 31
Donaldson Fails VC Litmus Test
SEC Chairman William Donaldson has asked Congress to butt out of the debate over corporate stock option expensing; for fear that legislative action could strip the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of its relevance. Donaldson said it a bit nicer than that, but his message was clear in an August 19 letter sent to 16 senators, including Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). Referring to a bill currently under consideration in the Senate, Donaldson wrote that it “would remove certain decision-making responsibilities from the FASB, and thereby disrupt the independent, private-sector accounting standard-setting process.” This is not a new position for the SEC big, but his public release of the letter underscores just how damaging he feels this bill could be, if passed.
The legislation in question basically would override an FASB share-based expensing proposal applicable to public companies. The House version – which passed on a bipartisan 312-111 vote — only would require expensing of a company’s top five executives, and would exempt small businesses and private companies from any expensing until three years after an initial public offering.
Why would Congress go out of its way to step on the FASB’s toes? Because its members have been wined, dined and persuaded by lobbyists representing the venture capital and technology sectors. I don’t mean to cast aspirations on such activities – lobbyists, in my unpopular opinion, do important work. Instead, it’s to point out how remarkably effective such folks have been in pushing their belief that the process of deriving expenses would be prohibitive to young companies, and would result in such companies curtailing or abandoning employee stock option plans. For example, it is the only “litmus test” that the National Venture Capital Association’s political action committee (VenturePAC) uses when giving campaign contributions to federal candidates. This doesn’t mean that all 312 pro-FASB override representatives got VenturePAC dollars, but it does mean that none of the 111 anti-FASB override got paid. This requirement is not expended to other VenturePAC-relevant issues, l! ike federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, capital gains tax policy or SEC hedge fund regulation.
This is the NVCA making its strongest stand to date on behalf of its membership, which means that its credibility as an effective trade organization is partly at stake. It has passed the initial hurdles, but still has a way to go before it cane overcome Donaldson’s pen (which really is his only source of power here), and the promise of procedural roadblocks from Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Copan Systems Inc., a Longmont, Colo.-based provider of long-term data storage solutions, has received $25 million in Series B funding. Pequot Ventures led the deal, and was joined by fellow new investor Pinnacle Ventures. Return backers included Austin Ventures and Globespan Capital. www.copansys.com
The Yucaipa Companies, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has acquired TDS Logistics Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based provider of automotive logistics services, from Quad-C Management Inc. No financial terms were disclosed, although various press reports put the final price at between $300 million and $350 million. Quad-C recapped TDS Logistics in August 1996. www.tdsautomotive.com
Gemini Israel Funds has closed its fourth fund with $200 million. The firm plans to maintain its investment focus on the information technology sector, with a particular focus on the enterprise software, communications and semiconductor spaces. New limited partners include Wilshire Associates, Morgan Stanley, Spur Capital, Offit Hall Capital Management and Horsley Bridge Partners. Return backers include MIT, Invesco, CalPERS and Grove Street Advisors. www.gemini.co.il
Ensequence Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based provider of interactive television software, has raised $18 million in Series B funding. Westbury Partners led the deal with a $7.5 million commitment. No additional investor details were disclosed. The company says that it has raised $37 million in total VC funding. www.ensequence.com
Vivecon Corp., a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of supply chain risk management solutions, has raised $11 million in new venture capital funding. TPG Ventures led the deal, and was joined by return backers Benchmark Capital, Foundation Capital and Technology Partners. The company has raised approximately $26 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception. www.vivecon.com
M1 Global Solutions Inc., an Atlanta-based provider of, has raised $4 million in first-round funding. Noro-Moseley Partners led the deal, and was joined by M1 CEO and founder Michael McChesney and Tripp Tackley, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Noro-Moseley. McChesney also is a founding partner of Five Paces Ventures. www.m1global.com
Pelion Systems Inc., a Lafayette, Colo.-based provider of manufacturing process optimization software, has raised $5 million in new venture capital funding. Investors include Inverness Capital Partners and Cordova Ventures. www.pelionsystems.com
Tableau Software, a Seattle-based provider of visual interfaces for databases, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates.
Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Nasdaq: SHEN) has agreed to acquire NTC Communications LLC, a Harrisonburg, Va.-based provider of communications services to off-campus college student housing. Shenandoah will pay $12.6 million to acquire the 83.8% ownership stake in NTC that it does not already own. The deal also includes the assumption of NTC’s existing debt, and is expected to close by year-end. NTC has raised venture capital funding from BIA Digital Partners. www.ntccomm.com
C-Cor Inc. (Nasdaq: CCBL) has agreed to acquire Optinel Systems Inc., an Elkridge, Md.-based provider of optical Ethernet transport solutions. The deal includes an initial cash payment of $9.5 million, and the possibility of an additional $6 million in cash, based on certain sales objectives being met within 13 months of the acquisition closing. Optinel has raised over $33 million in total VC funding since its 2000 inception, with investors including Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Birchmere Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Four Seasons Venture Capital AS, New Vantage Group (f.k.a. The Dinner Club), Optical Capital Group and Teknoinvest Management AS. www.optinel.com
Actis Capital LLP has acquired 4.32 million common shares of Orezone Resources Inc. (AMEX: OZN; TSX: OZN), an Ottawa-based gold producer. The PIPE deal gives Actis a 4% ownership position in Orezone. www.orezone.com
Moscow CableCom Corp. (Nasdaq: MOCC) has signed a $51 million financing agreement with Columbus Nova Capital. The deal includes a $22.5 million equity tranche of newly-created preferred stock at $5 per share, which would give Columbus Nova a 34% ownership stake in Moscow CableCom (could increase to 55% if attached warrants are exercised). The debt tranche includes $28.5 million of five-year term debt with a 12% coupon and a $4 million bridge loan. www.moscowcablecom.com
Paul Leboffe and Gregory Miller have joined the San Francisco office of David Wright Tremaine LLP, as partners specializing in corporate finance. Leboffe represents emerging growth companies in the technology sector, and previously served as a partner in the Menlo Park, Calif. Office of White & Lee LLP. Miller will focus on equity and debt securities transactions, and previously was general counsel and a member of the management committee at Cometa Networks Inc., a Schaumberg, Ill.-based broadband startup. www.dwt.com
Greg Williams, vice president of investments at GrowthWorks Capital, has joined the board of directors at NUVO Network Management Inc. (TSX Venture: NNM). www.nuvo.com
Robin Vasan, a managing director with venture capital firm Mayfield, has resigned from the board of directors at WebMethods Inc. (Nasdaq: WEBM). www.webmethods.com
Monday, August 30
No time to chat this morning, as my deadline board is backed up like traffic around
Responses should be limited to one sentence, and include your name and place of business. The best responses (or perhaps the least repetitive ones) will be published in VCJ, while a bunch more will appear in this space after we conduct another Presidential Pick ‘Em Poll next week. We’d particularly like business-centric reasons (stock options, stem cell funding, deficit/budget policy, SBIC policy, energy pricing policy, etc.), but also will accept more important things (John Kerry’s hair, who you’d prefer to have a beer with, etc.). Happy mad libbing…
Cerberus Capital Management