March 5, 2020 / 6:37 PM / a month ago

Coronavirus forces Blackstone, Apax to delay or webcast investor meetings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group Inc and Apax Partners LLP are among the buyout firms that have had to delay their annual meetings with their private equity fund investors or carry them out remotely because of travel restrictions imposed amid the global outbreak of a new coronavirus.

These meetings offer an opportunity for investors in the private equity funds to question managers about their performance and strategy, and decide whether they want to participate in the buyout firms’ future funds.

A Blackstone spokesman confirmed on Thursday that the firm’s meeting this week in New York with investors in its tactical opportunity funds was postponed for a date that has yet to be determined.

Apax Partners’ annual meeting with its fund investors went ahead as planned on Wednesday, but it was carried out remotely over a webcast, rather than in a physical gathering, according to a source familiar with the matter. Investors did not get the opportunity to ask questions during the webcast.

Apax fund managers in London and New York presented on the portfolio companies and their strategy, the source added.

A spokesman for Apax Partners confirmed the annual meeting was conducted digitally, adding: “This decision was taken as a precautionary measure to help investors avoid any unnecessary travel following the outbreak of coronavirus.”

More than 96,500 people have been infected by the coronavirus globally and over 3,300 people have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Blackstone’s tactical opportunities business has $29 billion of assets under management, and focuses on investments which would traditionally be considered outside the realm of its main private equity platform.

Among its investments are stakes in cloud services provider Cloudreach and British pension insurer Rothesay Life, according to its website.

London-based Apax Partners makes long-term investments in four economic sectors: technology and telecommunications, services, healthcare and consumer. It has raised and advised funds worth around $50 billion it is history, according to its website.

Reporting by David French and Chibuike Oguh in New York; editing by Grant McCool

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