Slideshow: The Year’s Top Private Equity Deals

Last week, we discovered which private equity firm was the biggest dealmaker. Now it’s time for the largest PE deals of the year. Global PE-backed M&A totaled $267 billion so far in 2012, a 12% drop from 2011, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters. Private equity-backed mergers targeting the U.S. reached roughly $137 billion year-to-date, a 7% decline from 2011.

Refinancings Take Off As Market Accommodates

Well, don’t tell the multiplying critics of private equity. But the leveraged loan market shows continuing signs of stabilization, and perhaps even vigor, according to sister magazine Buyouts, as portfolio companies are finding ways to borrow to refinance existing debt and, in some cases, pay dividends to their sponsors.

Cequel to Make $440 Mln Payout to Investors including Quadrangle, GS Capital and Oaktree

The Quadrangle Group is getting some good news.

Today, Cequel Communications Holdings I said that it plans to refinance an existing $2.525 billion loan with a new $2.7 billion credit facility. The new loan will consist of a $500 million revolver and a $2.2 billion term loan B. Proceeds will be used to fund a $370 million distribution in March PLUS another payout of $70 million in May, according to the statement.

Reuters: Hevesi Gets at Least 1 Year in Prison

NEW YORK–A judge on Friday sentenced former New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi to a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years in prison for a state pension kickback scheme in which Governor Andrew Cuomo said Hevesi “presided over a culture of corruption.” Hevesi, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to a felony corruption […]

Preqin Estimates 183 PE Shops Going Out of Business

PE firms went out of business in 2010 at the fastest rate in a decade, Financial News said, citing data from Preqin.

According to the story, there are currently some 183 private equity fund managers in runoff. The 183 funds is more than double the 90 that were in runoff in 2009. Another 150 firms are expected to disappear this year, Financial News said.

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Morris Gets Jail Term For “Pay-to-Play” Scandal, while Hevesi To Be Sentenced March 10

Henry “Hank” Morris, who was called the mastermind behind the pay-to-play pension fund scandal, is going to prison.

Today, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman sentenced Morris to the maximum term of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison. Morris is the former adviser to ex-New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi. In November, he pleaded guilty to a single felony in the state’s long running corruption investigation.

The Best Fight In Town? Rattner vs. Cuomo

The holidays are upon us and everyone is supposed to make merry. But don’t tell that to Steve Rattner and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The fight between the two has grown particularly nasty. The governor-elect is considering perjury charges against the Quadrangle co-founder, according to the New York Times. NYAG Cuomo may use Rattner’s former attorneys as witnesses against him, according to the New York Times.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, the law firm that represented Rattner against Cuomo’s office, has hired Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, to guard the firm against potential action, the story said. Simpson Thacher isn’t repping Rattner anymore.

Quadrangle’s Media Offensive: UPDATED

Quadrangle Group went on the offensive today, sending a letter (see link below) to LPs detailing fund performance progress, portfolio company activity and personnel developments at the firm while reaching out to the media. The idea was to cut through recent headlines that suggest a firm falling apart since the departure of founder Steven Rattner to one that is transitioning to more of a portfolio manager. I’ll have a more in-depth story in the upcoming issue of Buyouts.

Quadrangle execs Michael Huber and Joshua Steiner (who will be transitioning out of day-to-operations at the firm) stressed in an interview that the firm has been concentrating on aligning Quadrangle’s interests with its investors. To that end, the firm has reduced management fees. Managing Principals Huber and Peter Ezersky also plan to invest millions into the firm and devote a cut of their carry to continuing staff and new staff to keep them motivated.

Is Quadrangle Near Shutting Down?

The Quadrangle Group just can’t seem to get a break. The media investment firm, which is being sued by one of its co-founders, is near shutting down in its current incarnation, according to the New York Post.

New York-based Quadrangle, started by Steven Rattner a decade ago, “will cease to exist in its current form as it tries to reinvent itself under a new name in the coming weeks,” the NY Post says.

Joshua Steiner, Quadrangle’s co-founder, will take on a lesser role at the firm, while Andrew Frey, a managing principal, is set to leave by the end of the year, the story says.

Cuomo Issues New Subpoena To Quadrangle While Rattner Negotiations Continue

We finally have some news on Steve Rattner’s long awaited settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, who recently won his bid for governor, has issued a new subpoena to the Quadrangle Group for information about Rattner’s compensation and the financial terms of his departure, according to the New York Times.

The subpoena comes after Rattner rejected a settlement last month with Cuomo where he would have had to pay a $20 million penalty, the NY Times says. Rattner and his lawyers have claimed that the $20 million is “disproportionate” to the money he earned at Quadrangle and to the penalty other executives caught up in the pay-to-play scandal have had to pay. Rattner’s negotiations with Cuomo continue, the NY Times says.

Morris Reaches Deal To Plead Guilty In NY Pension Probe

There’s some news today on the “pay to play” scandal.

Henry “Hank” Morris, former adviser to ex-New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, has agreed to plead guilty to a single felony in the state’s long running corruption investigation, according to press reports. Morris had been charged last year in a 123-count indictment.

Last month, Hevesi pleaded guilty to a single charge of felony corruption.

Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general who this week won his bid for governor, has been investigating the “pay to play” practices at the New York Common Retirement Fund for the past three years. Hevesi was sole trustee of the fund, which is valued at $124.8 billion. Cuomo has charged that the fund became “a piggy bank” for Morris, who reaped millions of dollars in fees from individuals and firms seeking to invest the state’s money, Reuters has said.

Quadrangle Unlikely To Be Sold

As Steve Rattner reportedly continues to negotiate with authorities over his alleged role in a pay-to-play scandal, executives at the firm he helped establish, Quadrangle Group LLC, are zeroing in on three options for their future. These include staying independent; selling to a private firm or partnering with one; or establishing a captive fund with a major corporation or wealthy family.

The firm is most likely to remain independent and continue to manage its investments, according to a source with direct knowledge of the options the firm is debating. Quadrangle would not likely make new investments or raise a new fund any time soon, although it could eventually, depending on how its most recent fund performs.

Rattner resisting proposed SEC penalty – report

Steve Rattner, who founded private equity firm Quadrangle Group and later headed up Barack Obama’s auto task force, is resisting the proposed penalty from the SEC for his role in a pay-to-play scheme involving the $132 million state pension fund, according to the Wall Street Journal. A proposed settlement case between Rattner and the SEC was dropped from the calendar last week, unexpectedly.

Hevesi Pleads Guilty To Felony Corruption, Cooperating with NYAG Cuomo

Alan Hevesi, former New York State Comptroller, pleaded guilty today to a single charge of felony corruption in the latest development in the state pension fund scandal.

Hevesi turned himself in today at State Supreme Court in Manhattan. He acknowledged receiving nearly $1 million in gifts in exchange for improperly favoring and approving a $250 million investment by the New York State Common Retirement Fund into Markstone Capital Partners, a statement said. Hevesi also admitted that he knew Henry “Hank” Morris, his top political aide, used the pension fund to personally receive fees for deals and steered investments to friends and political associates, a statement from Cuomo’s office said.

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