Business Digest: Austin’s Silverton plans $100 million new fund


Austin’s Silverton to raise $100 million new fund

Silverton Partners will seek to raise $100 million for its fifth venture capital fund, but the regulatory documents filed Monday that noted the amount also suggested founder and long-time Austin tech investor Bill Wood could step back from active management of the new fund.

The filing listed Kip McClanahan, Morgan Flager, Michael Dodd and Adam Chabib as managers of the new fund.

Silverton was founded in 2003 by Wood, a venture capitalist who spent nearly two decades at Austin Ventures. Wood was a key player in some of Austin Ventures’ biggest investments, including Tivoli Systems and Silicon Laboratories.

The firm invests primarily in Austin-based companies, and its current investments include Favor, Trendkite and WP Engine.

With the new $100 million fund, Silverton will look to expand on its prior two pools. It raised $75 million for both its fourth fund in 2013 and its third fund in 2006.


Austin’s Silicon Labs plans $350 private offering

Austin-based chipmaker Silicon Laboratories plans to raise as much as $350 million through a private offering of its senior notes, the company said Monday.

Silicon Labs said the senior notes, which will come due in 2022, are being offered to “qualified institutional buyers.” An interest rate has not yet been set for the notes, the company said.

Silicon Labs said it plans to use $72.5 million of the net proceeds to repay existing debt, with the remainder used for general corporate purposes.

Silicon Labs makes silicon chips and software that can be used in a variety of devices, from televisions to smart energy meters and data centers. Its major customers include Cisco, Fitbit, LG Electronics and Samsung.

The company is headquartered in downtown Austin and employs about 650 people locally.

The company reported annual sales of $698 million for 2016, up 8 percent from the year before. Its profit for the year also more than doubled.

Silicon Labs’ shares closed Monday down 10 cents, or less than 1 percent, at $72.40.


Austin’s Ideal Power reports 4th quarter loss

Austin-based Ideal Power Inc. on Monday reported a loss of $2.8 million for its fourth quarter.

The power conversion technologies developer said it had a loss of 29 cents per share.

The results met Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was also for a loss of 29 cents per share.

Ideal Power had revenue of $370,700 in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $371,000, missing Wall Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.4 million.

For the year, the company reported that its loss widened to $11 million, or $1.15 per share. Revenue was reported as $1.6 million.

Monday, the company’s shares closed at $2.40, down 3 cents for the day. A year ago, they were trading at $4.69.


U.S. new home sales slip in January

WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans signed contracts to purchase homes last month as rising prices, higher mortgage rates and a dwindling supply of available homes appeared to frustrate many potential buyers, especially in the West.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.8 percent to 106.4, the lowest level in a year.

The decline suggests that higher mortgage rates, which have risen by about a half-percentage point since the presidential election, may be starting to bite into sales. And the number of homes for sale has fallen to near-record lows, forcing many would-be buyers to bid up prices. The combination of higher prices and rising mortgage rates are making homes less affordable.

Pending home sales index in the West plunged 9.8 percent in January and is now slightly below where it was a year ago. Contract signings also fell in the Midwest, while rising in the Northeast and inching up in the South.

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