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Ares JV to take Front Yard private; Partners Group to acquire Telepass stake

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Ares JV to take Front Yard private; Partners Group to acquire Telepass stake

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of global private equity news stories and more published throughout the week.

Under pressure

Apollo Global Management Inc. is facing backlash from investors as concerns mount about founder Leon Black's ties to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System informed Apollo that it will not consider new investments at this time following a phone call with the alternative asset manager last week, according to a report from the Financial Times.

Other investors that contacted Apollo about Black's relationship with Epstein include CalPERS, Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Finnish pension fund Keva, the FT reported. Cambridge Associates, which provides portfolio management and advisory services to investors such as pension plans and endowments and foundations, may stop recommending the alternative asset manager to clients, Bloomberg News reported.

Questions from Apollo's limited partners have intensified after the New York Times reported earlier this month that Black had wired Epstein at least $50 million following his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl.

Stephanie Pillersdorf, a spokeswoman for Black, told the New York Times that Black had received personal trusts and estate planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services from several financial and legal advisers, including Epstein, between 2012 and 2017. "The trusts and estate planning advice was vetted by leading auditors and law firms," she added. There has been no allegation that Black's dealings with Epstein broke the law.

At Black's request, the conflicts committee for Apollo's board hired law firm Dechert to conduct an independent review of Black's relationship with Epstein, Apollo said in an Oct. 21 filing. Black informed the board that "in light of continued attention, it is in the best interests of Apollo, our employees, our shareholders and our LPs for there to be an independent review. Proceeding in this manner is the best way to assure all of our stakeholders that they have all of the relevant facts, and I look forward to cooperating fully," according to the filing.

Black "previously detailed the nature of that relationship in prior communications" and "confirmed that Mr. Epstein never did any business with Apollo," the firm added.

Deal dip

U.S. private equity and venture capital entry volume dropped 15% year over year to 1,137 deals during the third quarter, and dipped by 3% from the second quarter's deal figures, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Read more about U.S. private equity deal and fundraising activity here.

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Deals

* A partnership comprising Pretium Partners LLC and Ares Management Corp.'s real estate equity and alternative credit strategies is set to purchase Front Yard Residential Corp. in a roughly $2.4 billion deal that would take the single-family rental real estate investment trust private.

SNL ImageAutomotive vehicles in a parking lot.
Source: Volkswagen AG

* Partners Group Holding AG is acquiring a significant stake in European electronic toll collection service provider Telepass SpA at an enterprise valuation of over €2 billion.

* Thoma Bravo LLC agreed to buy a controlling interest in risk management and regulatory solutions provider Axiom Software Laboratories Inc.

* Tahua Capital Ltd. agreed to purchase quick-service restaurant chain Antares Restaurant Group Ltd., which does business as Burger King New Zealand.

In play

* A group led by CDP Equity and including The Blackstone Group Inc.'s Blackstone Infrastructure Partners LP and Macquarie Group Ltd.'s Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets Inc. proposed to acquire an 88% stake in Autostrade per l'Italia SpA ahead of the motorway business' planned spinoff from Italian infrastructure operator Atlantia SpA.

* Bain Capital LP and Cinven Ltd. are partnering to bid for Lonza Group Ltd.'s specialty ingredients division, which could pull in about CHF 3.5 billion in a sale, according to Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC, among other private equity firms, expressed interest in taking over German industrial service company Bilfinger SE, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

* Advent International Corp. is looking for a buyer for Dutch medical supplier Mediq BV, which could sell for €1.2 billion, Reuters reported, citing sources close to the matter.

* Carlyle Group Inc., KKR & Co. Inc. and other buyout firms expressed takeover interest in German bike maker Canyon Bicycles GmbH in a deal that could be worth more than €500 million, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

SNL ImageA table at a restaurant.
Source: Unsplash

Fundraising

* Clayton Dubilier & Rice is close to amassing about $14 billion for its 11th flagship fund, people familiar with the matter told Private Equity News.

* LLR Partners Inc. collected $1.8 billion for LLR Equity Partners VI LP, its latest technology- and healthcare-focused fund.

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