Here’s a look at the past week’s scoops, opinions and analysis from the peHUB blogging team.
This week there was a little more good news than last week (Steve Rattner nothwithstanding, we’ve outlined that coverage at the bottom).
Our most underrated story of the week was news that Goldman’s much-discussed $5.5 billion secondary fund was already marked down by 12%. Yikes.
And covering eBay’s M&A action and two PE-backed IPOs almost made us forget we’re in a banking crisis and recession. Almost.
On eBay, Dan interviewed Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, one of the investors helping StumbleUpon’s founders to repurchase the company from eBay. Connie noticed that the company’s new owners were quickly making their presence felt. Meanwhile, I closely followed the press leaks on eBay’s potential sale of Skype to a consortia of PE firms. Soon after we learned that eBay would take Skype public, and that surprise, Skype is pretty damn profitable.
Elsewhere in PE-land, former Willis Stein and Bear Stearns pros launched their own placement agency, according to Buyouts magazine. Alex reported that LPs are fleeing Russia, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb lodged a controversial diss on private equity, calling LBOs “Ponzi-like” and launching a debate among our commenters. And as usual, we posted a week’s worth of ratings downgrades on the debt of LBO-backed companies, thanks to S&P and Moody’s. This week there were eight.
I interviewed Quarry Capital, a new buyout firm, after it announced its first ever deal. Then Connie spoke with K9 Ventures, a new seed stake investor and Quest Venture Partners, a another new seed stage investor. In case you’re wondering just how difficult that is, Connie interviewed with ex-Googler Aydin Senkut on founding a VC firm from scratch.
Meanwhile venture fundraising was both down and up in Q1. Another VC firm, TransLink, may have to lower its fundraising target. Investment-wise, venture firms had a “terrible” quarter. We learned some venture industry entities are pushing for a Federal VC fund-of-funds. VC firm Highway 12 lauded the benefits of social networking as a way to communicate with LPs, and Madrona Venture Group hired Twitter Expert Damon Cortesi as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
Dan reported that Inventables, a contract physical innovation center company, is trying to reinvent itself as an online B2B marketplace with a little help from VCs. Stealth-mode online ad company Dataxu raised some money. Green Accelerator launched a lighting startup and Kwiry, a young startup, decided to shut down.
Without fail, the New York kickback scandal provided fertile story material. Even before news of Steve Rattner’s involvement broke, Dan declared, “Its Time to Change The Way Funds Get Raised.”
You can read Dan’s initial reaction to Chooch-gate (can I call it that?) and my assessment that Rattner’s involvement “affects everyone.” We asked, if Rattner gets removed from his “car czar” position, will he go back to Quadrangle? We also learned that the firm’s investors will vote this week to determine the fate of their remaining funds in Quadrangle Capital Partners II. And of course, we couldn’t resist posting the trailer for Rattner’s masterpiece, “Chooch.”
Lastly, First Read and Second Opinion covered plenty of ground, including ethical companies, suing Blackstone, VC market timing, poison puts, bankers vs. economists, a “reality check” for private equity, Sam Zell on his Tribune mistakes, advice for unemployed MBA grads, and TARP’s Elizabeth Warren on the Daily Show.
Previous weeks: peHUB Rewind