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    PE Week Wire -- Thursday, August 17



32,000 and Counting...

Every time the PE Week Wire adds another thousand subscribers, I like to remind you that these morning missives are just appetizers on our editorial menu. Yes, it’s they are free appetizers (happy hour apps, if you will), but paid subscribers to Buyouts Magazine, Private Equity Week or Venture Capital Journal get market news and analysis that can’t be found anywhere else. Deal news, fund news, market trends, investor profiles and more are just a corporate credit card charge away.

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Oh, if you’re wondering why the headline tally says 32,000 rather than 35,000: We recently purged 3,000 old/invalid/etc. email addresses from our virtual rolls. It was the right thing to do from in terms of both accuracy and cost (it’s all about balance). If you ever change jobs and need to alter your email address, just hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the Wire, and then sign back up here with your new info.

As always, thanks for reading.

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    Top Three

Renewable Energy Group Inc., a Ralston, Iowa-based biodiesel producer, has raised $100 million in Series A funding. Natural Gas Partners led the deal, and was joined by such firms as Bunge North America, ED&F Man Holdings and West Central Cooperative. Viant Group advised REG on the deal, which will be used to increase its biodiesel production to around 640 million gallons by 2009 (including from third-party plants). www.renewable-energy-group.com 

Hansen Medical Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of medical robotics for accurate positioning, manipulation and stable control of catheters, has filed to raise $86.25 million via an IPO of common stock. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol HNSN, with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan serving as co-lead underwriters. Hansen Medical has raised around $57 million in VC funding since its 2002 inception, from firms like Prospect Venture Partners, Skyline Ventures, Thomas Weisel Healthcare Partners, De Novo Ventures and Vanguard Ventures. www.hansenmedical.com

Hudson Ferry Capital of New York has been formed as a new middle-market private equity firm. Its team includes former Liberty Partners managing directors Stephen Fisher and Paul Huston, former Liberty vice president Timothy Ross, former Kenner & Co. managing director Mark Deutsch and former GE Antares Capital managing director Bruce Robertson.

    VC Deals

TolerRx Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug company focused on the immune system, announced that it had raised $35.6 million in fifth-round funding. This is the second tranche of a Series D deal – as reported here last week at $30 million – which follows a $31 million first close back in March. FrontPoint Partners led the latest tranche, and was joined by fellow new investors Mesirow Financial, Swiss Re, QVT Fund, IBT Management Corp. and Brookstone Capital. Return backers include Skyline Ventures, Bear Stearns, Sprout Group, Rho Ventures, Artal Services NV and HealthCare Ventures. www.tolerrx.com

Renew Data Corp., an Austin, Texas-based provider of electronic evidence and data recovery, has secured $25.55 million of a $41.86 million Series C round. ABS Capital Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backer CIBC Capital Partners. Renew Data was formed in 2001 by the merger of DSTX Ltd. and Progressive Data Recovery. www.renewdata.com

Histogenics Corp., a Malden, Mass.-based developer of cartilage regeneration technologies, has secured $13.1 million of a $16 million Series A-1 round, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Foundation Medical Partners, Boston Millennia Partners and Howmedica Osteonics Corp. Boston Equity Advisors served as placement agent. www.histeonics.com

Polyserve Inc., a Beaverton, Ore.-based provider of server and storage consolidation, has raised $10 million in Series E funding, according to a regulatory filing. Return backers include Greylock, Fidelity Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and The Roda Group. Polyserve has raised over $70 million in VC funding since its 1998 inception. www.polyserve.com

Accera Inc., a Broomfield, Colo.-based drug company focused on Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative diseases, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding. Inventages Venture Capital led the deal, and was joined by fellow return backers Posco BioVentures. www.accerapharma.com

SensorTran Inc., an Austin, Texas-based maker of fiber-optic based sensors for complex asset monitoring applications, has raised $5.5 million in Series B funding. Expansion Capital Partners led the deal, and was joined by WHEB Ventures and Stonehenge Capital Co. www.sensortran.com

Mojix Inc., a Los Angeles-based developer of signal processing products for wireless applications,has secured $5.3 million of a $5.7 million Series A round, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Red Rock Ventures and InnoCal Venture Capital. www.mojix.com

Kergy Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker of alternative energy equipment, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures, according to a regulatory filing. www.khoslaventures.com

Nodality Inc., a San Francisco–based drug R&D startup focused on oncology and autoimmunity, has secured $1.54 million of a $9.14 million Series A round, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TPG Biotech Partners. www.nodalityinc.com

Tremont Medical Inc., a cardiac medical device startup being incubated at Spray Venture Partners, has raised $750,000 in Series A convertible preferred stock, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Spray and New Leaf Ventures.

Ultra RPM Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based acquirer of Web services, has secured $600,000 of a $1 million Series A funding led by Celerity Partners, according to a regulatory filing.

Hycrete Inc., a Jersey City, N.J.-based cleantech advanced materials company, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding co-led by NGEN Partners and Rockport Capital Partners. Return backer NJTC Venture Fund also participated.

Plexus Systems Inc., an Auburn Hills, Mich.–based provider of applications that automate business processes for discrete manufacturers, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Apax Partners. Corus Group advised Plexus on the deal. www.plex.com

    Buyout Deals

Shinhan Financial Group has won the right to buy a control position in South Korean credit card issuer LG Card Co. No financial terms were disclosed, although Dow Jones is reporting that the deal is valued at $7.6 billion in exchange for an 85% stake. Losing bidders reportedly included Hana Bank and MBK Partners.

Citigroup Venture Capital International has agreed to acquire broadband services company Iqara Technologies from BG India (f.k.a. British Gas) for an undisclosed amount.

Wafra Partners has acquired Best Lighting Products Inc., a Pataskala, Ohio-based supplier of exit signs and emergency lighting products. No pricing terms were disclosed for the deal, which included a debt facility and equity co-investment from Golub Capital. www.bestlighting.net

Penta has hit another hurdle in its attempt to acquire a 66% privatization stake of the Bratislava airport in Slovakia. The Slovak government has postponed a decision on granting regulatory approval until October 19, because Penta and its consortium partners failed to receive antitrust office approval by the August 15 deadline.

Coles Meyer, Australia’s second-largest retailer, said that it has received a buyout offer from an undisclosed suitor. News of the offer sent the company’s stock to its highest level ever (total company value of around Au$15.6 billion). www.colesmyer.com

    PE-Backed IPOs

Acologix Inc., a Hayward, Calif.-based drug company focused on osteo-renal diseases, has filed to raise $115 million via an IPO of common stock. It plans to trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. No underwriters are listed on the S-1 filing. Acologix has raised over $75 million in VC funding since 2000, from firms like JAIC, Aqua RIMCO Funds, Nomura International, Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co. and the Life Science Venture Fund (Tokyo). www.acologix.com

    PE Exits

Viisage Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: VISG) has completed its previously-disclosed acquisition of Iridian Technologies Inc., a Moorestown, N.J.-based developer of iris recognition technology. The deal includes a $35 million cash payment to Iridian shareholders, and will be funded primarily by proceeds from an initial $100 million investment into Viisage by L-1 Investment Partners last December. Iridian raised $65 million between 1998 and 2000, from firms like GE Equity, J.P. Morgan Capital, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, NPM Capital, Penny Lane Partners, Perseus and Walden International. www.viisage.com www.iridiantech.com

AOL has acquired the most notable assets of San Francisco gaming company Gigex Inc., including gaming website GameDaily and business publication GameDaily Biz. No pricing terms of the all-cash deal were disclosed. Gigex has raised around $17 million in VC funding from firms like JPMorgan Partners. www.aol.com www.gigex.com

    PE-Backed M&A 

Keystone Dental Inc., a company formed earlier this year by Warburg Pincus, has acquired the dental business of IsoTis SA (SWX/Euronext: ISON; TSX: ISO) for $7.4 million. The deal also includes a multi-year manufacturing and supply agreement. www.isotis.com

    Firm & Fund News

Bank of America is looking to raise up to $1 billion for a new private equity fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.bankofamerica.com

    Human Resources

Amber Gray has joined Updata Partners as an associate. She is a former product marketing manager with Informatica Corp. who served as an Updata intern while completing her MBA at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. www.updatapartners.com
______________

Correction: IPG Photonics has filed to raise a $130 million IPO. Its name was misspelled in Monday’s edition.

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August 17, 2006















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