o YourEnergySource Buys Stake in B2B Marketplace CheMatch.com
HOUSTON -- CheMatch.com, a business-to-business
Internet-based marketplace for buyers and sellers
of bulk commodity chemicals, plastics and fuel products,
and YourEnergySource, a wholly owned subsidiary
of Aquila Energy Corp., announced that YourEnergySource
has made an equity investment in CheMatch.com. Last
month CheMatch laid off eight employees but said
at the time it expected more funding. The two companies
also formed a strategic alliance which enables CheMatch.com
customers to negotiate for power and natural gas
contracts online on YourEnergySource's RFP Marketplace.
YourEnergySource operates a digital energy marketplace.
CheMatch is backed by Battery Ventures, Bayer, Computer
Sciences Corp., E.E. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Methanex,
Millennium Chemicals, H. Muehlstein & Co., Reed
Elsevier, Sprout Group, Stolt-Nielsen, and TownsendTarnell.
o InfrastructureWorld.com Names Ex-Forbes Head Vice Chairman
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- InfrastructureWorld.com,
a business-to-business Internet portal that links
sponsors, developers, and service providers of infrastructure
projects worldwide, said it has appointed former
Forbes Publisher Jeffrey M. Cunningham as its vice
chairman. Mr. Cunningham is currently senior managing
partner at Internet Finance Partners, as well as
a former president of Internet Media Group at CMGI.
InfrastructureWorld.com is backed by International
Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank
and Bechtel Enterprises Holdings.
o Ventro shutting down two b-to-b marketplaces
Ventro (VNTR) is shutting down its two wholly owned b-to-b marketplaces --
Chemdex and Promedix-- after efforts to find buyers failed, the company
disclosed today. The beleaguered operator of online marketplaces, which had
previously disclosed efforts to sell Chemdex and Promedix as part of a
broader corporate restructuring, said today that those efforts had failed,
forcing today's actions. The shutdowns will begin Dec. 31 and will force
Ventro to fire about 235 workers. The company expects to record aggregate
restructuring charges of about $380 million to $410 million in its fiscal
year-end results in connection with the closures. Ventro shares were trading
up 62 cents to $2.50 in midday trading today. Chemdex operates an online
marketplace for the life sciences industry, while Promedix is a marketplace
focused on high-end medical equipment. Over the past six months, Ventro has
struggled to convince buyers and sellers to conduct business through these
marketplaces, leading to disappointing financial results and a steep drop in
the company's stock price. In October, Ventro CEO Dave Perry announced plans
for a major restructuring, which would involve selling off stakes in the
company's marketplaces, and transform the company into a provider of services
for b-to-b marketplaces. But sources familiar with Ventro's restructuring
plans say efforts to sell Chemdex and Promedix fell on deaf ears from
potential suitors because the company could not overcome two big hurdles.
First, potential buyers were turned off by the poor performance of the two
marketplaces. Second, and more importantly, Ventro was pushing unattractive
sale terms, sources say, including a requirement that any marketplace buyer
enter into a long-term services contract with Ventro estimated to be worth
between $10 million and $20 million a year. "This was a big hurdle for
buyers," a source familiar with the Ventro's sale efforts said. "No one
wanted to pay for the marketplaces, then be forced to hire Ventro to run
them." Ventro executives are holding a conference call later today to
discuss this announcement; it is expected that executives will push the
positive of the shutdowns. Ventro says that future cash outlays for operating
activities will be reduced by 50 percent after Chemdex and Promedix are
shuttered, which should put Ventro on a stronger financial footing as it
struggles to survive.
o Providence Equity Partners Raises $2.8 Billion Fund
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Providence Equity Partners,
a private equity investment firm with offices in
Providence, R.I., and London said it closed a $2.8
billion Fund IV in November. The fund was raised
from the firm's existing limited partners. Focusing
on telecommunications and media companies, Providence
Equity Partners will commit between $25 million
and $200 million to each of its portfolio companies
and will invest across all development stages. Its
past private equity investments include Mpower Communications,
Tele1 Europe Holding A.B., Verio, Brooks Fiber Properties,
and Western Wireless.
o Insight Capital Partners Raising $750 Million Fund
NEW YORK -- At an industry conference in New York,
Jerry Murdock, co-founding partner of Insight Capital
Partners, said the firm was raising its fourth fund,
worth $750 million. A spokesperson for the firm
said that the fund's final closing is slated for
early next year, and it has already begun deploying
the funds. Details about the investments weren't
o Wireless ASP GiantBear Secures $25 Million in Series B
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- GiantBear, a wireless application
service provider, said it has secured $25 million
in its Series B round of funding led by First Union
Capital Partners that included previous investors,
Thomas H. Lee Partners and Blackstone Capital Partners.
The company said it will use the funds to develop
its technology and expand market reach. Sean Smith
of First Union Capital Partners will join GiantBear's
board of directors.
o Consulting Firm Quidnunc Lands $14.5 Million in Round Two
NEW YORK -- Quidnunc, an international digital business
consulting firm, said it has secured $14.5 million
in its second round of funding led by Barclays Ventures.
The round also included Weston Presido Capital,
Goldman Sachs Private Equity Partners, and Pi Capital.
The company said it will use the funds to develop
its international infrastructure. The company raised
$15 million in its first round over a year ago.
o Platform Developer Advent Has $22.6 Million Round Two
AUSTIN, Texas. -- Advent Networks, which is developing
a platform for high-bandwidth delivery, said it
has secured $22.6 million in its second round of
funding led by UtiliCorp United, an energy company.
Other investors include Southern Union Company,
which already holds an 11% stake in Advent, Motorola,
Reliant Energy, Murphree Venture Partners, and Morgan
Keegan & Co. The company said it will use the funds
to develop its technology.