By Dan Primack
February 10, 2015

Random Ramblings

This morning’s planned column didn’t come together in time, so just some very quick notes to kick off your Tuesday:

Today’s big deal is that Greenhill & Co. has agreed to acquire Cogent Partners, the Dallas-based investment bank known for its private equity secondaries work. Pretty major move in the private equity space, but there is an oddity in the press release. It reads, in part:

“All eight of Cogent’s Managing Directors will become Greenhill Managing Directors, and 38 employees in total (including the Managing Directors) will join Greenhill at closing.”

Okay, but Cogent currently has ten managing directors (according to its own website). Apparently not joining Greenhill are managing directors Colin McGrady (one of Cogent’s co-founders) and Erich Ephraim (COO and CFO). There also must be three other Cogent employees not moving over, given that the firm’s website lists 43 total staffers (including the MDs).

• Bad gas: KKR reported a major loss in Q4 economic net income, falling to $86.6 million from $789.6 million in the year-earlier period. The culprit: Write-downs (mostly unrealized) on energy investments.

• Reports: The AltExchange Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of private equity GPs, LPs and advisors, today announced the second version of its private equity reporting standard. The original version, released last year, focused on how capital accounts, cash-flows and portfolio summaries were reported. This revision handles portfolio company metrics. More importantly, it is being done in partnership with tech providers eFront, SunGard and PFA Solutions – so that GPs and LPs can easily work on the same systems without having to spend big money on customization.

As always, the big question on standardized and regular PE reporting is if LPs will balk at funding a GP that doesn’t sign on. To date, it hasn’t really happened. But by removing some of the GP side’s big excuses – namely time and cost – it’s possible that AltExchange Alliance could finally begin making a dent in one of the industry’s most stubborn problems.

• #GetLiquid: More than 700 of you have purchased tickets to our next Liquidity Event, which will take place in two weeks from tonight in Boston. That means there are fewer than 100 tickets remaining. Be sure you don’t get shut out, by getting yours now by going here.

Huge thanks to our sponsors: Citizens Bank, Murray Devine, Choate Hall & Stewart, .406 Ventures, DraftKings and FKA (firm formerly known as Atlas Venture).


THE BIG DEAL

• Greenhill & Co. (NYSE: GLH) has agreed to acquire Cogent Partners, a Dallas-based  advisor to pension funds, endowments and other institutional investors on the secondary market for alternative assets. No financial terms were disclosed. Cogent was founded in 2002. www.cogent-partners.com


VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS

• Borro, a UK-based online platform for luxury asset-backed lending, has raised $19.5 million in new VC funding co-led by OurCrowd and Rocket Internet. Return backers include Canaan Partners, Eden Ventures and Augmentum Capital. www.borro.com

• Team8, an Israeli cybersecurity startup foundry and think tank, has raised $18 million in Series A funding. Backers include Alcatel-Lucent, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cisco Investments and Innovation Endeavors. Read more.

• Lamudi, a real estate classifieds site operating in Asia, South America and MENA, has raised $19 million in new VC funding. Holtzbrinck Ventures was joined by return backers Rocket Internet and Tengelmann Ventures. www.lamudi.com

• Wandera, a San Francisco-based secure mobile gateway company, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. 83North led the round, and was joined by return backer Bessemer Venture Partners. www.wandera.com

• New Matter, a Pasadena, Calif.-based provider of consumer 3D printing solutions, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Alsop Louie Partners led the round, and was joined by Arden Road Investments, Biotechonomy, Dolby Family Ventures, First Round Capital, Idealab and frogVentures. www.newmatter.com

• Rainforest, a “QA-as-a-service’ API startup, has raised $4 million in VC funding. Backers include Andreessen Horowitz, Storm Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners, Morado Ventures and Crosslink Capital. www.rainforestqa.com

• ALICE, a mobile platform for guests to engage with hotel services and staff, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Backers include Tishman Realty Principles, 645 Ventures and the founders of NeueHouse and Seamless Web. www.aliceapp.com

• NodeSource, a New York-based provider of a private cloud development platform for the enterprise, has raised $3 million in seed funding from Crosslink Capital and Resolute Ventures. www.nodesource.com


PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS

• Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), is in talks for a private equity investment that would value the company at tens of billions of dollars, according to the WSJ. Investors may include Primavera Capital Group, CDB Capital and Postal Savings Bank of China Ltd. Read more.

• Aquiline Capital Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Engs Commercial Finance Co., a Lisle, Ill.-based commercial lender that provides lease and loan solutions to truck, trailer and other equipment dealers, manufacturers and operators. No financial terms were disclosed. www.engsfinance.com

• The CapStreet Group has acquired a majority stake in Keais Records Service LLC, a Houston, Texas-based provider of outsourced document retrieval services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.keais.com

 

• Confie Seguros, a personal insurance company focused on Hispanic consumers, has acquired Baja Auto Insurance, a Dallas-based provider of auto insurance throughout Texas. No financial terms were disclosed. Confie Seguros is a portfolio company of ABRY Partners. www.confieseguros.com

• Greenbriar Equity Partners has acquired a majority stake in Lazer Spot Inc., an Alpharetta, Ga.–based provider of outsourced yard management services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lazerspot.com

• MW Industries, a Rosemont, Ill.-based portfolio company of Genstar Capital, has acquired Helical Products Company Inc., a Santa Maria, Calif.-based maker of standard and custom couplings, U-Joints and machined springs. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mw-ind.com

 New Page Capital has acquired Engineered Steel Products, a Sophia, N.C.-based structural steel manufacturing company. No financial terms were disclosed. www.newpagecapital.com

• Pamplona Capital Management has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Charter NEX Films Inc., a Milton, Wis.-based producer of polyethylene films. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close later this quarter. www.nex-films.com

• Thompson Street Capital Partners has acquired Infinity Behavioral Health Services, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based revenue cycle management company for the behavioral health industry. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers included Blue Ox Capital. www.infinitybehavioral.com

• TPG Capital and IHH Healthcare (Malaysia) are competing to acquire Indian hospital group Global Hospitals for approximately $350 million, according to Reuters. Current Global Hospital shareholders include Everstone Capital and chairman K. Ravindranath. Read more.


IPOs

• No IPO news this morning.


EXITS

 Bain Capital has hired Barclays to find a buyer for Air Medical Group Holdings Inc., a West Plains, Mo.–based helicopter ambulance company, according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at around $2 billion, with Air Medical Group having generated more than $200 billion in 2014 EBITDA. Read more.

• Huron Consulting Group (Nasdaq: HURN) has agreed to acquire Studer Group, a Pensacola, Fla.-based healthcare performance improvement company, for $325 million ($323m in cash) from JMI Equity. www.studergroup.com

• Levy Acquisition Corp., a blank check acquisition company managed by Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy, is in pole position to acquire fast-food chain Del Taco at upwards of $500 million, according to Reuters. Lake Forest, Calif.-based Del Taco is being sold by a private equity group that includes Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners, Charlesbank Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Partners. Read more.

 Permira has cut its stake in German clothing company Hugo Boss (DB: BOSS) to less than 14%, after selling a 10.4% on the market and another €500 million to Italy’s Marzotto family. Read more.


OTHER DEALS

• Canon (Tokyo: 7751) has offered to acquire Swedish security camera maker Axis (OM: AXIS) for approximately $2.8 billion in cash. Read more.

• Curbstand, a Los Angeles-based mobile app for locating and paying for valet parking, has acquired Curby, a provider of valet parking business tools. No financial terms were disclosed. Curbstand said last year that it had raised $3 million in VC funding from an undisclosed “private investor.” www.curbstand.com

• Hang Seng Bank, a Hong Kong lender controlled by HSBC, is planning to sell up to a $2 billion stake in China’s Industrial Bank Co. via a private placement to institutional investors, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

• Tahoe Resources (TSX: THO) has agreed to acquire Rio Alto Mining (TSX: RIO) for approximately $1.12 billion in cash and stock. Read more.

• Tesco PLC (LSE: TSCO), a British retailer, has hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for a majority stake in its Dunnhumby data collection unit, according to Reuters. The deal could be worth upwards of £2 billion, with anticipated interest from both private equity and strategics. Read more.


FIRMS & FUNDS

 Francisco Partners has closed its fourth tech-focused private equity fund with $2.875 billion in capital commitments. www.franciscopartners.cvom

• Militello Capital has closed its second early-stage tech VC fund. The Leesburg, Va.-based firm did not disclose how much it raised, although earlier regulatory filings suggested it was seeking $25 million. www.militellocapital.com


MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT

• Jack Foster Jr. has joined Commonfund as a managing director focused on private equity. He previously was a senior VP with Capital Dynamics. www.commonfund.org

• Martin Kelly has given notice at New York University’s endowment, where he had been serving as interim investment chief following last year’s departure of Tina Surh, according to Dow Jones. www.nyu.edu

• Spencer Potts has joined CIFC Corp. (Nasdaq: CIFC) as head of business development. He previously was with Silver Creek Capital as a managing director and head of business development. www.cifc.com

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