DD exclusive: The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has become the latest investor in Ant Financial's $10bn pre-IPO round. The Gulf sovereign wealth fund has committed an undisclosed figure of between $200m and $500m at a valuation of $150bn, a person close to the deal told DD. The fundraising by the financial arm of Alibaba is the prelude for a listing next year.
Now back to the show . . .
It’s hard enough for a CEO to fight off Paul Singer’s Elliott Management. But when he is self-imploding, survival is impossible. On Wednesday, Jonathan Bush quit as CEO of Athenahealth, the US healthcare IT company he started 21 years ago and took public in 2007. Here is a great profile of the company and its founder’s tech bro ways. (Bush is nephew to the 41st president of the United States and cousin to the 43rd.)
His departure came after a steady drip of allegations in recent weeks of domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and an inappropriate corporate culture. The company was already under pressure from Elliott, which took an activist stake last year and then made a $6.9bn bid to buy it last month after Bush’s turnround plan had fallen flat. The Elliott bid is being led by one of its partners, Jesse Cohn, who you can read more about here.
Bush has apologised over the abuse claims, which date back 14 years, saying they were “regrettable incidents” and happened “during a particularly difficult personal time in my life when I was going through a divorce.”
The events look eerily similar to another Elliott victory. Klaus Kleinfeld, the CEO of Arconic, was forced to step aside after news that he had sent an odd letter to Mr Singer in the midst of a 2017 proxy fight. This Fortune story intimated that the aggressive activist fund had effectively conducted opposition research campaigns against CEOs it was targeting. In this Medium post, Elliott rejected those charges.
Athenahealth’s board said it would begin exploring a possible sale or merger as it searches for a new leader. Jeff Immelt (yes, that Jeff Immelt) has taken on executive chairman duties for now.
In a statement on Wednesday, Elliott said it “welcomes the board’s decision to explore strategic alternatives” and looks “forward to participating as a bidder in the company’s strategic exploration process.” It didn’t mention Bush.
Lex argues that Bush was the original tech bro CEO — the disrupter not quite suited for the demands of public company CEO life. The question is if Elliott will be the winning bidder for Athenahealth or if it can make a tidy profit on its 9 per cent stake when another buyer steps up.
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Buffett's banker goes for third fund
They were among the most frenzied days of the 2008 crisis on Wall Street: Lehman Brothers had collapsed; Goldman Sachs had lost one-fifth of its value; and Warren Buffett confounded the bank’s sceptics by betting $5bn that its shares would recover.
Behind the deal was Byron Trott, a banker whom Mr Buffett said “understands Berkshire far better than any investment banker with whom we have talked and — it hurts me to say this — earns his fee”.
Now Trott — who left Goldman in 2009 to set up his own shop, BDT Capital — is looking for $9bn to capitalise on opportunities that spring from his position as the favourite banker of a phalanx of billionaires.
Here is the full story, from the FT’s Eric Platt and Mark Vandevelde.
Hens guarding the henhouse
Do company boards of directors follow the ins and outs of Delaware corporate law decisions?
The buzz these days is that they have figured out the courts are deferring to directors and shareholders to police themselves as Sujeet Indap explores in his Inside Finance column.
The investment bank Centerview Partners gives away the game in a slide from a board book that was discovered as part of the Xerox litigation.
The new rule (for now) seems to be, win a shareholder vote, and the board is home free. And if you want to cry foul, better call Carl Icahn, not a lawyer in Wilmington.
Faisal Rahman, Deutsche Bank's co-head of the financing and solutions group for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, has left the bank, marking the departure of another senior banker, according to Bloomberg. He will be joining SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages the $100bn Vision Fund, the news outlet said.
Matthew Rizzo and Jessica Sheridan have joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher as partners in the private equity practice. They were previously with Sidley Austin.
DLA Piper, a law firm, has hired Martin Nelson-Jones as a corporate partner based in London. He joins from Freshfields.
Peak iPhone? Not so fast. Flat sales of smartphones mask a third industrial revolution yet to reach its peak, argues John Gapper. ( FT)
Millennial power Meet the 73m Americans aged 22 to 37 who are about to outnumber the baby boomers and are rapidly becoming the driving force for consumption in the US economy. Companies are under pressure to make products this cohort wants to buy. ( FT)
Princelings US and European banks spent a decade recruiting the sons and daughters of the powerful Chinese political elite, known as princelings. Now they are paying for it. Credit Suisse has agreed to settle a US Department of Justice investigation into the matter for $47m. ( FT)
Milbank boosts associate salaries with $190k starting pay (American Lawyer)
ThyssenKrupp: elevator pitch (FT Lex)
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