Antitrust Suit Against Equity Firms Now Encompasses Clear Channel, Univision Buyouts
September 9, 2011 at 6:23 AM (PT)
The expansion by a federal judge of the scope of an antitrust suit against 11 private equity firms is bringing the buyouts of CLEAR CHANNEL and UNIVISION under scrutiny. The NEW YORK TIMES' DEALBOOK reports that the suit accuses the firms of a "huge, overarching conspiracy to rig the market for multibillion-dollar takeovers" in 2005-07, and MASSACHUSETTS District Court Judge EDWARD F. HARRINGTON's ruling allowing the plaintiffs to add 10 more leveraged buyouts to the list of those about which they could seek information adds the CLEAR CHANNEL and UNIVISION deals to the list, which already included WARNER MUSIC and VIVENDI.
The suit, filed in 2008, alleges that the private equity firms, by allegedly colluding to stay out of each other's deals, "collectively capture multibillion-dollar corporations and take them private at artificially low prices."
The defendants include BAIN CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC, THE BLACKSTONE GROUP, L.P., THE CARLYLE GROUP, GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC., GS CAPITAL PARTNERS, JP MORGAN CHASE & CO., JP MORGAN PARTNERS, LLC, KOHLBERG KRAVIS ROBERTS & COMPANY, L.P., MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC., MERRILL LYNCH GLOBAL PARTNERS, INC., PERMIRA ADVISORS LLC, PROVIDENCE EQUITY PARTNERS, INC., SILVER LAKE PARTNERS, TEXAS PACIFIC GROUP, THOMAS H. LEE PARTNERS, L.P., and WARBURG PINCUS LLC. Named plaintiffs include KIRK DAHL, HELMUT GOEPPINGER, and JOEL GERBER.