Oct 10 Senior executives at private equity firms
including KKR & Co LP and TPG Capital LP sent emails
that allegedly show them plotting to scoop up companies on the
cheap during last decade's leveraged buyout boom, according to
court documents unsealed on Wednesday.
The emails are part of a lawsuit filed by shareholders in
companies bought by private equity firms who claim to have lost
billions of dollars because of the alleged conspiracy to hold
down the value of takeover targets.
In one email, sent by an unnamed Blackstone executive, the
private equity firm appears to admit it dropped out of bidding
on KKR's deal for hospital giant HCA even though the price
amounted to "highway robbery".
In another email, James Coulter, co-founder of TPG, wrote in
an email that being aggressive in a deal for SunGard would make
enemies "while perhaps benefiting no one but the (company's)
TPG said in a statement it never colluded to suppress prices
in buyouts and when it chose not to bid it was acting in the
best interests of its investors.
"We competed vigorously for deals that the firm both won
and lost," the firm said in an email to Reuters.
Blackstone declined to comment. KKR were not immediately
available for comment.
The complaint was unsealed by an order of federal judge
Edward Harrington in Boston.
The lawsuit was filed in 2007 by shareholders in more than
two dozen companies bought by the private equity firms between
2003 and 2007. The shareholders cite takeovers such as the $32.1
billion leveraged buyout in 2006 of HCA by Bain Capital, KKR and
others as examples of collusion between buyout firms.
The defendant firms argued that unsealing the complaint
would "harm the competitive position of the defendants and their
The case is Dahl et al v. Bain Capital Partners LLC et al,
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 07-12388.