A federal judge in New York has ruled that lawyers for the plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against some of the nation’s biggest private equity (PE) firms can look at documents related to additional buyout deals. Included in the new list are the private equity buyouts of Clear Channel Communications and Univision.
According to the New York Times Dealbook blog the lawsuit has been going on for four years already. It accuses 11 private equity firms of a conspiracy to rig the market for multi-billion-dollar takeover deals. The lawsuit by former shareholders of some of the companies claims the PE firms colluded to drive down the prices of acquisitions through their “club deals” in which multiple PE firms participated in buyouts of public companies.
Among the new deals to be scrutinized are the $26.7B deal by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital to take Clear Channel Communications private in 2006 and the $13.7 billion acquisition of Univision by Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, also in 2006.
RBR-TVBR observation: Have you stopped laughing yet? What do you suppose the chances are that they will find evidence that the PE firms UNDERPAID for Clear Channel? Anyone who didn’t like the $36.00 they were paid for their Clear Channel stock can go back into the market any day and buy the shares back for $6.50 or less via the pink sheets market. Univision doesn’t have any public stock these days, but that buyout hasn’t exactly worked out as planned either.