Private Equity Week Wire for Thursday 2-21

CUPERTINO, CA — Pluris, the leading developer of scalable, fault-tolerant routers for the Internet core, has raised $53 million in the initial closing of its latest financing round. JP Morgan Partners, ComVentures, and Crescendo Ventures co-led the round, which included participation from other existing investors. The company continues to pursue additional funding opportunities with new investors.
The funding will enable the company to further its research and development activities for its TeraPlex IP/MPLS core router, support ongoing and new customer lab and field trials, and expand marketing, sales, and support.

ANDERSON, IN — iPower Technologies Inc. has announced an initial $14 million capital investment by partners Delco Remy International, DTE Energy Technologies Inc., AeroVironment Inc. and EdVenture Capital Corp.

SANTA CLARA, CA — eSilicon Corp., a fabless provider of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), today announced that it has secured $6 million in private financing from Fremont Ventures to complete its most recent funding round of $17 million. Fremont Ventures invests in early-stage companies that are developing or leveraging scalable, technology-based business models and has as its sole limited partner Fremont Group, a private investment firm with $11 billion under management. The round of funding also included Crosspoint Venture Partners, Texas Pacific Group, and a limited number of individual private investors.

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) announced today that Farid Suleman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Infinity, is resigning his post, effective immediately. Mr. Suleman will be joining Forstmann Little & Co. as a Special Limited Partner.
Mel Karmazin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Viacom, will assume Mr. Suleman’s duties at the Company’s radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising division until a successor is named. Mr. Karmazin served as Infinity’s President and CEO from 1981 until February 2001, when Mr. Suleman assumed that post. Dan Mason, President of Infinity Radio, and Wally Kelly, President and CEO of Viacom Outdoor, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of their respective businesses.

— Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) today announced that Tony James will become Chairman of Global Investment Banking and Private Equity. In this role, Mr. James who had served as Co-Head of Global Investment Banking and Private Equity, will focus on Investment Banking strategy and senior client relationships as well as overseeing the Firm’s Private Equity business. He will continue to report to John J. Mack, Chief Executive Officer of CSFB, and serve on the Firm’s Executive Board and Operating Committee.

As previously reported, Charles Ward who had served with Mr. James as Co-Head of Global of Investment Banking and Private Equity, has decided to leave the Firm to join Lazard Freres & Co.

HOUSTON — PerformanceRetail, the leading provider of web-architected software applications and business management services designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of the convenience retail industry, today announced that it has secured $25 million in B-Round institutional financing and is funded to profitability.
Venrock Associates and U.S. Venture Partners, two well-established venture capital firms specializing in identifying and supporting emerging technology based enterprises, co-led the Series B funding round. Granite Global Ventures, an expansion stage technology fund affiliated with Venrock also participated in the round.

SAN FRANCISCO — Partech International, a leading venture capital firm with offices in both Paris and San Francisco, has hired Tim Wilson as General Partner to augment the firm’s growing communications investment activities.

Wilson’s background includes start-up experience, international experience and general management of multi-million-dollar business units for industry-leading communications companies. Prior to joining Partech, Wilson was Chief Marketing Officer for Digital Island (recently acquired by Cable & Wireless), and currently serves as Chairman of that company’s Strategic Advisory Board.

BURLINGAME, CA — VCPR Inc., a boutique public relations agency focused on venture-backed high-growth clients and venture capital companies, today announced that Frederick M. Hoar, formerly chairman of Miller/Shandwick Technologies and co-founder of the Band of Angels, has joined the firm as senior counsel and member of its executive staff.

— Gores Technology Group (GTG) today announced that Steven F. Mayer has joined the firm as Executive Managing Director in order to focus on industry specific acquisitions that add to and complement GTG’s current acquisition profile. GTG is a privately held investment firm that acquires and manages technology businesses throughout the world. Recent acquisitions include The Learning Company from Mattel, Verifone from Hewlett-Packard and Micron Electronics’ PC Division.

During his professional career, Mr. Mayer, a former executive of US Bancorp and Apollo and Lion Advisors, has played a leading role in hundreds of buyouts, restructurings, recapitalizations, acquisitions and other financial transactions ranging in size from $3 million to over $2 billion. Most recently, he was a Managing Director and co-head of Corporate Finance of U.S. Bancorp Libra, the leveraged finance division of U.S. Bancorp, the nation’s eighth-largest bank holding company with over $160 billion in assets. He concurrently served as a Managing Director of Libra Capital Partners LP — an affiliated private equity investment firm that invests in and sponsors management buyouts, leveraged recapitalizations, and later stage growth capital.

NEW YORK — Opportunistic real estate private equity funds — also known as “opportunity funds” and “value-added funds” — raised more than $17 billion in capital from investors in 2001, according to a new survey of the industry to be released this month by Ernst & Young. The raise — the biggest annual capital closing recorded by the sector — means that these funds possess an estimated $20 billion in equity to be placed in real estate-related investments worldwide in the next few years. Applying typical 60-70 percent leverage to this equity indicates that the total value of deals expected to be closed by the sector will be in excess of $50 billion, making this sector one of the most powerful capital sources in the commercial real estate arena on a global basis.

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