Back in April, Citrine Energy Capital announced its arrival as a new energy-focused private equity firm with some serious sector credibility. One of its three co-founders, Dallas-based Billy Quinn, had been a managing partner of $12 billion investment firm Natural Gas Partners, while his Houston-based partners (Tomas Ackerman and Daniel Goodman) also were longtime NGP executives.
Sources say that Citrine planned to raise around $800 million for its debut fund, which would invest between $25 million and $75 million into North American upstream, midstream and oilfield services companies. Fundraising was already underway as of the April announcement, with plans to hold a single close at the end of June.
“They were sucking up a lot of the oxygen among investors interested in energy funds,” says a private equity placement agent.
But Citrine isn’t going to hold that June fund closing, because there is no longer any Citrine.
The firm’s website is now offline, and a prospective investor tells me that the trio recently “split up,” without giving much of an explanation.
The two Houston partners earlier this month launched a new website for a firm called Carnelian Energy Capital, which says that the firm will effectively follow the same strategy as was expected for Citrine (save for an upper limit of $60 million per deal). No word yet on if they’ve raised any money, or even begun fundraising. Calls to Citrine’s former Dallas office are picked up by a voicemail whose directory includes Billy Quinn.
None of the Citrine co-founders responded to a request for comment.
• Ring the bell: For all of my hand-wringing about the lack of VC-backed tech IPOs lately, it's worth noting that three such companies are expected to price offerings this week: Alarm.com, Appfolio and Xactly. Overall, there are 16 companies planning to go public this week on U.S. exchanges.
• Overshooting: Last Thursday, Martha Stewart Omnimedia stock opened at $5.12 per share. It closed the day at $6.44 per share, following a WSJ story that the company was in talks to be acquired by Sequential Brands. The article didn't mention any possible sale price, but that didn't stop MSO shares from climbing again on Friday, to close out at $6.98 per share.
This morning, Sequential Brand announced an agreement to buy MSO for $6.15 per share. That's an 11.9% discount to Friday's closing price, but a 20.12% premium to Thursday's opening price.
• No thanks: After announcing his quixotic presidential run, Donald Trump listed off three possible Treasury Secretary nominees during an MSNBC interview: Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis and Jack Welch.
Well, Trump is now down to just two.
In a statement on his Shareholders’ Square Table site, Icahn said Friday that he was “flattered but do not get up early enough in the morning to accept this opportunity.” He added that he was “extremely surprised” by Trump's decision to run, and “even more surprised” at his name being mentioned for Treasury Secretary.
Despite declining the hypothetical nomination, Icahn did have some kind words for Trump’s mention of a “big fat bubble” due to low interest rates. From Icahn’s site:
"I personally believe we are sailing in dangerous unchartered waters. I can only hope we get to shore safely. Never in the history of the Federal Reserve have interest rates been artificially held down for so long at the extremely low rates existing today. I applaud Donald for speaking out on this issue – more people should."
No word on if a Treasury Secretary Icahn would have kept Hamilton on the $10 and dumped Jackson from the $20…
THE BIG DEAL
• Cigna (NYSE: CI) has rejected a $47 billion takeover offer from rival health insurer Anthem (NYSE: AMTM) calling it "inadequate and not in the best interest of Cigna's shareholders." The cash and stock bid came out to $184 per Cigna share, which represented around an 18% premium over Friday’s closing price. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• OneSource Virtual, an Irving, Texas-based provider of business process as-a-service solutions, has raised $150 million in new equity funding. Technology Crossover Ventures led the round, and was joined by existing backer Halyard Capital. www.onesourcevirtual.com
• Transphorm Inc., a Goleta, Calif.-based semiconductor company focused on power conversion technology, has raised $70 million in new VC funding. KKR led the round, and was joined by return backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, Soros Quantum Strategic Partners, INCJ and Fujitsu. www.transphormusa.com
• Portworx, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of storage software for hosting stateful applications in Linux containers, has raised $8.5 million in first-round funding led by Mayfield Fund. www.portworx.com
• Artesian Solutions, a UK-based developer of social intelligence software, has raised $8 million in Series B funding co-led by Octopus Investments and Kreos Capital. www.artesiansolutions.com
• DigitalGenius, an automated customer service platform startup with offices in New York and London, has raised $3 million in first-round funding. Metamorphic Ventures led the round, and was joined by Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Lowercase Capital, RRE Ventures and Lumia Capital. Read more.
• eWings.com, a German provider of flight-booking software, has raised €1.1 million in second-round funding. High-Tech Gründerfonds led the round, and was joined by FSF Beteiligungs GmbH and Kima Ventures. www.ewings.com
• BlaBlaCar, a Paris-based carpooling platform, is seeking fourth-round funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. The company previously raised around $110 million from firms like Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Lead Edge Capital and Isai. Read more.
• CropX, an irrigation service startup with offices in San Francisco and Israel, has held a first close on a Series A round that is designed to raise $9 million. Backers include Finistere Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, GreenSoil Investments and OurCrowd. www.cropx.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advent International, Bain Capital and Clessidra have agreed to acquire a 92% stake in ICBPI, an Italian provider of business process outsourcing services for the financial and insurance sectors, for €2.15 billion. www.icbpi.it
• The Carlyle Group has committed an equity line of up to $500 million to Magna Energy Ltd., a new upstream oil and gas company focused on India and South Asia. www.carlyle.com
• CVC Capital Partners, Temasek and Vatera Healthcare Partners have agreed to acquire a control stake in Alvogen, a Pine Brook, N.J.-based generic drugmaker, from Pamplona Capital Management (which will retain a “small stake”). No financial terms were disclosed, but Reuters reports that the deal values Alvogen at around $2 billion. Read more.
• KKR has agreed to purchase around a 13% stake in Tarena International Inc. (Nasdaq: TEDU), a provider of professional education services in China, for around $90.5 million from Goldman Sachs and IDG Technology Ventures. www.tarena.com.cn
• New Harbor Capital has acquired a majority stake in New York Kids Club, a provider of early childhood enrichment, preschool, camps, parties and events in New York City. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Deerpath Capital Management provided leveraged financing. www.newharborcap.com
• Alarm.com, a Vienna, Va.-based provider of smartphone app-controlled home security systems, has set its IPO terms to 7 million shares being offered at between $13 and $15 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $628 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ALRM, with Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $13.5 million of net income on around $167 million in revenue for 2014. Shareholders include Technology Crossover Ventures (42.9% pre-IPO stake) and ABS Capital Partners (41.6%). www.alarm.com
• Conkwest Inc., a Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.-based company that leverages “natural killer cells” to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases, has filed for a $172.5 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq, with BofA Merrill Lynch listed as left lead underwriter. Shareholders include Patrick Soon-Shiong (61.59% pre-IPO stake), Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. (8.53%) and the Bonderman Family LP (6.81%). www.conkwest.com
• Ibstock, a British brick-maker owned by Bain Capital, has hired J.P. Morgan, UBS and Rothschild to manage an IPO that could occur in London later this year, according to Bloomberg. The float could value Ibstock at around $1.6 billion. Read more.
• Natera Inc., a San Carlos, Calif.-based provider of non-invasive genetic testing solutions, has set its IPO terms to 6.25 million shares being offered at between $15 and $17 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $715 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NTRA, with Morgan Stanley, Piper Jaffray and Cowen & Co. serving as lead underwriters. It reports a $5 million net loss for 2014 on around $159 million in revenue. Natera has raised over $150 million in VC funding, from firms like Sequoia Capital (20.2% pre-IPO stake), Claremont Creek Capital (19.3%), Lightspeed Venture Partners (10.4%), Sofinnova Ventures (6.1%), Capital Research and Management, Franklin Templeton Investments, Jennison Associates, RA Capital Management, Healthcor Partners and OrbiMed Advisors. www.natera.com
• Neos Therapeutics Inc., a Grand Prairie, Texas-based drugmaker whose initial products focus on ADHD, has filed for a $69 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NEOS, with UBS, BMO Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders include Burrill & Co. (13.15% pre-IPO stake), Presidio Partners (12.97%) and Essex Capital (10.21%). www.neostx.com
• Duff & Phelps Corp., a New York-based provider of valuation and M&A advisory services, is seeking a buyer for upwards of $1.3 billion (including debt), according to Reuters. The company was taken private for $665.5 million in 2013 by The Carlyle Group, Stone Point Capital, Pictet & Cie and Edmond de Rothschild Group. Read more. Read more.
• Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: AMD) has hired a consulting firm to to help the chip company ponder a split of its business or a spin-off, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Altice SA (Amsterdam: ATC) has offered to acquire French rival Bouygues Telecom for around €10 billion. Read more.
• Sequential Brands (Nasdaq: SQBG) has agreed to acquire Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) for approximately $353 million, or $6.15 per share in stock and cash. That represents around an 12% discount to where MSO stock closed on Friday, after a WSJ story about the negotiations. www.marthastewart.com
• Williams Cos. (NYSE: WMB) has rejected a $53.1 billion all-stock takeover offer from Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE), saying the bid "would not deliver value commensurate with what Williams expects to achieve on a stand-alone basis and through other growth initiatives." www.williams.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• CLSA Capital Partners has closed its third Asia Pacific-focused private equity real estate fund with $1 billion in capital commitments. www.clsacapital.com
• New Leaf Venture Partners, a New York–based VC firm focused on life sciences, has raised a $200 million growth equity fund, according to VentureWire. www.nlvpartners.com
• Park Square Capital has closed its second credit opportunities fund with $2.4 billion in capital commitments. www.parksquarecapital.com
• Silver Lake is raising its second "growth debt" fund, according to a regulatory filing.
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Dino Becirovic has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to focus on growth-stage tech investments. He previously spent time at both Goldman Sachs and Twitter. www.kpcb.com
• Kristie Goodman Davis has joined Chicago-based private equity firm Wind Point Partners as director of investor relations, marketing and communications. She previously led investor relations for Fisher Lynch Capital. www.windpointpartners.com
• Tom Maddison has joined HgCapital as the British private equity firm’s first-ever head of portfolio talent. He previously spent more than 20 years at Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX), most recently as head of human resources. www.hgcapital.com
• Meketa Investment Group said that managing principals Stephen McCourt and Peter Woolley will become co-CEOs, effective July 31. Firm founder Jim Meketa will become chairman. www.meketagroup.com
• Amy Sezak is stepping down as communications and marketing director at Index Ventures, which she had joined nearly two years ago from Zynga. No word yet on her next job. www.indexventures.com
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