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    PE Week Wire -- Wednesday, June 14

Apologies for this morning’s lack of column, but I’m headed to give a keynote address at the Private Equity CFO Association conference in Wakefield, Mass. So please take this time – which you’d normally spend reading my missives – to visit our advertisers and to have that second donut. I’ll be back tomorrow with tales of CFOs gone wild…

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    Top Three

First Reserve Corp. has agreed to sell Power Well Services Inc. to Expro International Group PLC, a listed UK oilfield services company. The deal is valued at approximately $674.5 million, including $559.5 million in cash and $115 million in Expro stock. After repayment of Power Well’s outstanding debt, company shareholders will receive around $300 million in cash. First Reserve created Power Well in 2004, and used it as a vehicle to consolidate companies participating in the worldwide well-testing and fluid analysis market.

VeraSun Energy Corp., a Brookings, S.D.-based ethanol producer, priced 18.25 million common shares at $23 per share (above $21-$22 range), for an IPO take of approximately $419.75 million. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol VSE, while Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers served as co-lead underwriters. Shareholders include Bluestem Capital Partners and Eos Partners.

CapMan of Finland has closed its eighth buyout fund with €400 million in capital commitments. The vehicle will target mid-market Nordic companies.

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    VC Deals

Acsera Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of J2EE application performance management solutions for SOA-based applications, has raised $14.14 million in Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Sierra Ventures led the deal, and was joined by return backers 3i Group and Partech International.

PDC Corp., an Austin, Texas-based developer of enterprise feedback software, has secured around $15.82 million of a $25 million Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Austin Ventures is leading the deal, with general partner Chris Pacitti initially serving in an operating role.

Flash Networks, an Israel-based provider of experience management solutions for mobile data operators, has raised $15 million in third-round funding. HarbourVest Partners led the deal, and was joined by Argonaut Private Equity and return backers like Evergreen Partners. The company has now raised over $30 million in total VC funding.

Ember Corp., a Boston-based provider of wireless semiconductor solutions, has raised $12 million in fourth-round funding. Return backers include Polaris Venture Partners, GrandBanks Capital, RRE Ventures, Vulcan Capital, DFJ ePlanet Ventures, DFJ New England, WestLB Mellon Asset Management. ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures also came aboard as a new investor. Ember has now raised $65 million in total VC funding since its 2001 inception.

MobileAccess Networks Inc., a Vienna, Va.-based provider of in-building wireless solutions, has raised $11 million in fifth-round funding. Ziegler Meditech Equity Partners led the deal, and was joined by return backers HarbourVest Partners, Pitango Venture Capital and Poalim Ventures.

Rally Software Development Corp., a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of on-demand application life cycle management solutions, has raised $8 million in Series B funding. Vista Ventures led the deal, and was joined by return backers Mobius Venture Capital and Boulder Ventures.

Phylogy Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based enabler of triple-play services via DSL, has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding led by KOVentures, according to VentureWire.

Krillion Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. has raised $3.05 million in Series A funding, according to a regulatory filing. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners led the deal, with Ann Winblad taking a board seat. No information has yet been disclosed about the company, except that its management team includes Joel Toledano, former director of business development for Yahoo Search.

BlackFoot Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of a multichannel marketing intelligence platform, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Canaan Partners and Draper Richards.

PostApp Inc., a Berkley, Calif.-based marketplace for Web widgets, has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, according to a regulatory filing.

    Buyout Deals

Olympus Partners has sold Club Staffing Inc. to NurseFinders Inc. for $78.5 million in cash. Club Staffing is a Boca Raton, Calif.–based provider of allied healthcare staffing. It was acquired by Olympus in November 2001. NurseFinders is an Arlington, Texas-based home nursing staffing company that was acquired in September 2004 by Gryphon Investors, Marcy Consulting Group and Kaiser Permanente.

HitecVision Private Equity has completed a $90 million public-to-private acquisition of Technor ASA, a Norway-based maker of electronic, electro-mechanic and flow control products to niche markets within the oil and gas industry. HitecVision now holds a 94.6% stake in Technor, with the intention of acquiring the remaining shares and having the company de-list from the Oslo Stock Exchange.

The Riverside Co. has acquired Express Courier International Inc., a Franklin, Tenn.–based provider of same-day ground delivery of time-critical shipments. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is part of Riverside’s micro-cap program that focuses on companies with EBITDA of less than $3 million.

Nordic Capital has agreed to acquire Danish mobile phone distributor Dangaard Telecom from BHS Holding, debitel, Fleggaard Holding and Dangaard Telecom Partners. No financial terms were disclosed.

Shah Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of the Analog & Mixed Signal business unit of Alliance Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: ALSC) for around $9.25 million in cash. August Capital also participated in the deal, which results in the unit being renamed PulseCore Semiconductor Inc.

HMD Partners has sold its control position in German fashion company Escada AG to Finartis, according to Women’s Wear Daily. No financial terms were disclosed.

Citigroup Venture Capital has agreed to acquire Western Dental Services Inc. for around $410 million, according to The Deal. The transaction will include a $275 million senior secured debt package arranged by UBS and Merrill Lynch. Western Dental is an Orange, Calif.-based operator of 170 dental offices.

Close Brothers Private Equity is looking to sell UK-based industrial testing and inspection company Moody International, according to The Daily Telegraph. The firm is looking for bids to come in at between $250 million and $300 million.

    PE-Backed IPOs

VeraSun Energy Corp., a Brookings, S.D.-based ethanol producer, priced 18.25 million common shares at $23 per share (above $21-$22 range), for an IPO take of approximately $419.75 million. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol VSE, while Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers served as co-lead underwriters. Shareholders include Bluestem Capital Partners and Eos Partners.

J. Crew Group Inc., a New York-based clothing retailer, has set its proposed IPO terms to 18.8 million common shares being offered at between $15 and $17 per share. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol JCG, with Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns serving as lead underwriters. Texas Pacific Group is J. Crew’s majority shareholder, based on a 1997 recapitalization.

    PE Exits

PAI Partners is considering a sale of French clothing and shoes distributor Vivarte, according to Les Echos. The deal could be worth up to €2.5 billion.

Nautic Partners has agreed to sell Contec Corp., a Schenectady, N.Y.–based provider of repair and maintenance services for digital cable set top-boxes. The buyer is identified as STB Holdings Inc. in a Federal Trade Commission report, but no additional information was disclosed.

Computer Associates (NYSE: CA) has acquired MDY Group International Inc., a Fair Lawn, N.J.–based provider of enterprise records management software and services. No financial terms were disclosed. MDY had raised VC funding from Edison Venture Fund.

American Media Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based publisher of the National Enquirer and Star magazine, says that it has retained JPMorgan Securities and Bear Stearns to explore the sale of five special-interest titles: Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Country Weekly and Mira. The five titles generated around $84 million in revenue for the 12 months ending March 31, 2006. American Media is controlled by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Evercore Partners.

    PE-Backed M&A

Vendio Services Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of transactional management services for online merchants, has acquired a majority stake in Andale Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.–based provider of listing management and research services for sellers on eBay. No financial terms were disclosed. Vendio has raised around $40 million in VC funding since its 1999 inception, from firms like Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, CMGI @Ventures, MVC Capital, Angel Investors, Argus Capital Group and Stanford University. Andale had raised nearly $64 million in total VC funding since its 1999 inception, from firms like Accel Partners, Mohr, Davidow Ventures, Oak Hill Capital Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Bowman Capital.

StrikeIron Inc., a Durham, N.C.-based provider of Web services commercialization, has acquired the Web services operating unit of DesertSoft Inc. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which includes e-commerce, CRM and online procurement solutions. StrikeIron has raised over $5 million in VC funding from firms like The Aurora Funds and NC IDEA.

    Firm & Fund News

Oak Investment Partners has closed its twelfth fund with $2.56 billion, according to VentureWire.

Wedbush Capital Partners has closed its inaugural fund with $120 million in capital commitments. The Los Angeles-based firm was formed in July 2005, and focuses on recaps, growth equity and management buyouts of lower middle-market companies. In related news, the firm was promoted Jeremy Holland to principal, promoted Ben Wu to associate and hired Deborah Snyder as an analyst.

Memphis Biomed Ventures has raised $26.85 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing.

East India Company Acquisition Corp., a New York-based blank check acquisition company focused on targets in India, has filed to raise $36 million via an IPO of six million units. Each $6 unit consists of one share of common stock and two warrants – with each warrant entitling the holder to buy common stock at $5 per share. The company plans to trade on the OTC BB, with EarlyBirdCapital serving as sole underwriter. Directors include: Saurabh Srivastava, founder of IIS Infotech Ltd., and current chairman of the Indian Venture Capital Association; Marc Walinsky, a director of Safeguard International Fund who previously worked with Bank of America Capital Investors.

    Human Resources

Charles Downer has retired as CEO of Downer & Co., a Boston-based M&A firm specializing in middle-market cross-border transactions. He will transition into a chairmanship position, while a new executive committee has been formed that includes existing partners R. Wade Aust, Joseph Downing, Arthur Gottlieb and Ashley Rountree.

Jerome Powell is one of three candidates on the SEC’s short-list to serve as chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, according to The Wall Street Journal. Powell is a onetime Treasury Department official who, until last year, was a managing director with The Carlyle Group.

Correction: South Korean prosecutors have arrested Byeon Yang-ho, head of local private equity firm Vogo Fund, on bribery charges. Yesterday’s Wire incorrectly identified the arrested party as Kang Chan-woo, who actually is a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. We sincerely regret the error.

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June 14, 2006

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