PE HUB Wire Highlights, 12.27.18

SEC slaps Lightyear with $400K fine; Siris heads for January final close on largest fund yet; What’s the biggest PE story of the year?

As we near the end of 2018, I’ve been trying to come up with a list of the biggest stories. Not the ones that got the most clicks, Hubsters, or the best headlines. But the ones that actually mattered. Those stories, those issues, that will impact the industry in 2019. There are some contenders.

1. Broad market volatility. The Dow soared more than 1,000 points yesterday, its biggest point gain in history. The S&P 500 index is now on the verge of entering a bear market, Barron’s said. A seemingly endless stream of GPs has been warning that the bubble will burst. So I ask: Hubsters, is this the end of the gold rush that everyone’s been talking about?

2. Retail apocalypseToys ‘R’ Us may have filed for bankruptcy in 2017 but the collapse remained a huge topic in 2018. Bain and KKR set up a severance fund for unemployed Toys workers but, last I checked, Vornado Realty Trustwasn’t part of it. Will this set a precedent for other retailers? Should investors be held accountable for the demise of their portfolio holdings? Why or why not? Email me at lbeltran@buyoutsinsider.com.

3. We can’t talk about retail debacles without including Sears, which filed for bankruptcy this year. Bids for the retailer are due tomorrow, according to press reports. Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments has offered $4.6 billion for Sears but his bid was not given stalking horse status, Seeking Alpha said.

4. Saudi Arabia. Blackstone came under much scrutiny this year after the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post in November said the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmanhimself ordered the assassination of Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has pledged $20 billion to Blackstone’s new infrastructure fund, which is seeking $40 billion. Would/should Khashoggi’s slaying have any impact on the fundraising of Blackstone’s mammoth infrastructure fund? Doesn’t look as if anything’s changed.5. Miley Cyrus has finally married Liam Hemsworth. This might not be about PE but who isn’t happy about this?Hubsters, what was the biggest story of the year? Email me your thoughts atlbeltran@buyoutsinsider.com

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