Sofinnova Ventures beats Fund IX target with $500 mln

Sofinnova Ventures has closed its ninth fund on its $500 million hard cap, beating its original target of $425 million, the firm announced. Sofinnova Venture Partners IX LP was in fundraising for about five months, according to a person with knowledge of the process. The firm did not use a placement agent. VCJ and affiliated website peHUB reported on July 3 that the firm was in the market. The tally of LPs is unknown, but the new fund has received a $35 million from Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, and the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System also reportedly approved a commitment of $50 million to the fund in June, according to Pensions & Investments. Sofinnova Ventures has done a good job sticking with its core strategy and maintaining size discipline in its fund sizes, according to Lisa Edgar, a managing director at Top Tier Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based LP in the fund. “It can be hard to make money in this space, but they’ve been successful in doing that in such a way they had a lot of existing investors come back,” Edgar said. Sofinnova, based in Menlo Park, California, with offices in La Jolla, California, and Dublin, Ireland, primarily targets late-stage clinical drug development companies in the United States and Europe. As well, Sofinnova will make “select investments” in earlier stage opportunities, the firm said. Its investment focus is on developing specialty pharmaceuticals and orphan disease products, the firm said. “We remain committed to working with our collective network to identify and develop important new drugs, build successful companies, and continue to generate significant returns for our investors,” Jim Healy, general partner at Sofinnova, said in the statement. Sofinnova closed its eighth fund in 2011 on $440 million, and its seventh fund on $375 million in 2006. Fund VII was generating a 1.65x multiple and a 16.9 percent internal rate of return as of March 31, 2014, according to information from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund. Fund VIII was producing a 1.33x multiple, according to Oregon’s information, though the system did not provide an IRR. Partners on Fund IX are: Srini Akkaraju, Jim Healy, Anand Mehra, Mike Powell, Lars Ekman, David Kabakoff and Jay Shepard. Akkaraju is the newest member of the team. He joined Sofinnova in 2013 as a general partner. Prior to Sofinnova Ventures, Akkaraju was a managing director at New Leaf Venture Partners. Before that, he was a co-founder and managing director at Panorama Capital, prior to which he was a partner at JPMorgan Partners. In May, Sofinnova Ventures led a $72.8 million Series B funding in Spark Therapeutics, a late-stage company developing gene-based medicines for certain diseases. Other investors in the funding round included Brookside Capital, Deerfield Management Company, Rock Springs Capital, funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates and two undisclosed healthcare funds. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Sofinnova Ventures beats Fund IX target with $500 mln

Blackstone acquires Service King majority stake from Carlyle

The Blackstone Group is acquiring a majority stake in auto repair shop chain Service King Collision Repair Centers. The Carlyle Group, its co-investors and the management and employees of Service King will retain a significant minority stake in the business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal was valued at around $650 million. Established in 1976 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Service King operates 177 locations across 20 states. Carlyle originally backed the business in August 2012 from its $1.1 billion Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity Fund and the $700 million Carlyle Strategic Partners Fund III L.P. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Blackstone acquires Service King majority stake from Carlyle

Kenyan private equity house Ascent raises $50 mln: Reuters

Ascent, a Kenyan private equity firm, has raised $50 million for investment in about a dozen fast-growing companies across the east Africa region, it said on Wednesday. Private equity is still a relatively new development on Africa’s financial landscape but it has been growing in recent years as investors chase higher returns from economies enjoying robust growth. Ascent said the fund, known as Ascent Rift Valley Fund, is backed by private and institutional investors from Kenya and abroad, including Kenyan pension funds. “This is the first time in the region that local pension funds have committed to invest in a private equity fund,” David Owino, a partner at Ascent, said in the statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The firm has offices in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by George Obulutsa and David Goodman)

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Kenyan private equity house Ascent raises $50 mln: Reuters

Rosser Capital Partners backs PetPeople

Rosser Capital Partners has backed PetPeople. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, PetPeople operates 20 pet retail locations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. ANNOUNCEMENT We are pleased to announce that Rosser Capital Partners has made a significant investment in PetPeople to facilitate and accelerate our growth. The Rosser team has a great track record growing small to mid-sized consumer based businesses. Hal Rosser and Jacob Organek, the principals of Rosser, are very excited about the pet industry, PetPeople, and our opportunities for growth. They will be great strategic advisors to us and we look forward to leveraging their experience and resources to the Company’s benefit. We were initially attracted to Rosser because of their enthusiasm for our PetPeople Mission and Core Values. They understand how fundamentally important these are to us and our customers; and they are passionate about preserving our culture as we grow. Trish and Michael remain majority stakeholders in the business, and will continue to set the direction and manage the business. We look forward to Rosser’s input on the strategy and infrastructure needed to facilitate rapid growth of the PetPeople brand in existing and new markets. We are grateful for your partnership, and know that this great opportunity is largely due to the support of you, our trusted business partners. Our #1 Core Value is “Put Relationships First”. We remain deeply committed to cultivating long term relationships with our team, customers, business partners, and communities. We are very excited about PetPeople’s future. Feel free to reach out to either of us with any questions. Michael and Trish Elkind

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Rosser Capital Partners backs PetPeople

Abacus backs Wafra Partners’ Atronix buyout

Abacus Finance Group has provided a $19 million in senior secured credit facility to support the leveraged buyout of Atronix by Wafra Partners and its affiliate Wafra Investment Advisory Group. Headquartered in Billerica, MA, Atronix is a provider of cable assemblies, wire harnesses and electromagnetic assemblies. PRESS RELEASE Abacus Finance Group, LLC, a New York-based specialty lending company dedicated to providing cash-flow senior financing for private equity-sponsored, lower-middle market companies, announced today that it served as Administrative Agent and Sole Lead Arranger for $19 million in senior secured credit facilities to support the leveraged buyout of Atronix, Inc. (Atronix) by Wafra Partners LLC and its affiliate Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc. (Wafra). Atronix, Inc., headquartered in Billerica, MA, is a leading provider of cable assemblies, wire harnesses and electromagnetic assemblies. Wafra, which is based in New York, NY, is a private equity firm focused on the acquisition of North American middle market companies. “We are thrilled with the success of the first transaction between Wafra and Abacus Finance,” said Wafra Managing Director Ryan Wierck, “and were impressed with Abacus’ expertise, enthusiasm and ability to complete the transaction quickly.” “Our previous experience investing in the wire, cable and harness space aligned well with Wafra’s needs in the Atronix transaction,” said Tim Clifford, President and CEO of Abacus Finance. “A smooth due diligence process, certainty of close, and flexibility in structuring – key principles of the Abacus Finance Total Partnership ApproachTM – are all the reasons why private equity sponsors choose Abacus as a trusted lending partner.” Abacus team members involved in the transaction included Timothy Wong and Eric Petersen. Northstar Mezzanine did the mezzanine financing, and legal counsel was provided to Abacus by Goulston & Storrs, LLP. About Atronix, Inc. Atronix, Inc. is a leading provider of cable assemblies, wire harnesses and electromagnetic assemblies. Founded in 1980, Atronix delivers turn-key manufacturing services from its ISO 9001:2008 registered facilities in Billerica, MA, Tucson, AZ and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and partner production facilities in China. Atronix’s customers are high quality blue-chip companies that span a diverse set of operations, end-markets, and geographic locations. Visit atronix.com for more information. About Wafra Partners LLC and Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc. Wafra is a private equity firm that targets middle market companies based in North America that have enterprise values between $20 million and $150 million. Wafra invests in companies focused on consumer products, outsourced business services, niche manufacturing, and consumer-driven services. Visit wafrapartners.com for more information. About Abacus Finance Group, LLC Abacus Finance is a specialty lending company, focused on providing cash flow senior financing to private equity-sponsored, lower-middle market companies nationwide. Formed in June 2011, Abacus targets debt financing opportunities of up to $50 million with a typical hold size ranging from $10 million to $25 million, and the companies it finances generally have EBITDA between $3 million and $15 million. Abacus is an affiliate of New York Private Bank & Trust, the holding company for Emigrant Bank, which was founded in 1850. Abacus Finance is headquartered at 6 East 43rd Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017.

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Abacus backs Wafra Partners’ Atronix buyout

Beringea’s Abzena raises funds on AIM

Beringea portfolio company Abzena has raised funds on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. Beringea first invested in Polytherics through ProVen Growth and Income and ProVen Health in September 2011. PRESS RELEASE Beringea, the growth capital investor that manages the ProVen Venture Capital Trusts, has announced that Abzena Plc, previously known as Polytherics, has raised £20 million, by way of a placing of 25 million new ordinary shares at 80 pence per share (the “Placing Price”) in conjunction with the admission of its ordinary shares to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. 3.4 million existing ordinary shares are also being sold at the Placing Price. Beringea first invested in Polytherics through ProVen Growth and Income (PGI) and ProVen Health (now merged with PGI) in September 2011. The Company’s entire issued share capital of 97.4 million ordinary shares (as enlarged by the placing of new ordinary shares) was admitted to trading on AIM on 10 July 2014 under the ticker ABZA . At the Placing Price, the market capitalisation of Abzena on Admission was approximately £80 million and the shares held by PGI were worth £3.07m, a multiple of 2.4x the cost of the investment. Dr. Stephane Mery, partner at Beringea commented: “This placing will help to secure the company’s position as a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry. We are delighted to have been involved in the development and growth of Abzena.” John Burt, CEO of Abzena said: “The proceeds from the Placing and our admission to AIM mark important milestones in Abzena’s development and provides a platform for us to grow our existing business and expand our offering as we enable our customers and partners to translate research into better biopharmaceutical products that benefit patients. “Abzena combines a growing, high-margin service business with the potential for substantial longer term revenue streams from licences to our proprietary technologies.” Cenkos Securities plc acted as nominated adviser and broker to the Company. Notes for editors: About Beringea Beringea is an international growth capital firm with offices in London and Michigan, which invests in high growth companies. Beringea’s London office manages a number of funds, including the ProVen VCTs. Beringea is a generalist investor with sector expertise in Media, Healthcare and Retail. Beringea’s previous investments have included Fjordnet, Espresso Education, Saffron Digital and Mergermarket. Beringea LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. About the ProVen VCTs The ProVen VCTs (ProVen VCT, ProVen Growth & Income VCT and ProVen Planned Exit VCT) are funds raised under the government’s Venture Capital Trust scheme for supporting UK SMEs with equity investment. The original Ordinary share issues of ProVen VCT and ProVen Growth & Income VCT have generated higher Total Returns to investors than any other VCT share issues in their respective launch years, according to www.taxefficientreview.com. For more information, please contact: Carol Clifford (cclifford@beringea.co.uk) Beringea LLP Tel: +44 (0) 20 7845 7820 John Burt (Chief Executive Officer; john.burt@abzena.com) Julian Smith (Chief Financial Officer; julian.smith@abzena.com) Abzena plc Tel: +44 (0)1223 903351 Christopher Golden and Bobbie Hilliam Cenkos Securities plc Tel: +44 (0) 20 7397 8900 Mark Swallow, Sita Shah or Chris Gardner, Citigate Dewe Rogerson Tel: +44 (0) 20 7638 9571 Email: abzena@citigatedr.co.uk

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Beringea’s Abzena raises funds on AIM