PE HUB Wire Highlights, 7.11.18

SEC fines Oaktree for pay-to-play violations; H.I.G-backed Hooters of America seeks buyer; Blackstone targets more than $20B for next buyout fund

Congratulations, Hubsters. You’ve made it to midweek. I was hoping to catch at least some of Serena Williams playing today but she’s already made it to semifinals of Wimbledon.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has fined Oaktree Capital Management $100,000 for violating its pay-to-play rules, which prohibit executives from making meaningful political contributions to politicians who could influence investment decisions. From 2014 to 2016, three Oaktree employees made campaign contributions to candidates for elected office in California and Rhode Island, according to a July 10 SEC administrative order. The politicians had influence over the public pension plans in those states, the SEC said.Within two years after the contributions, Oaktree provided advisory services for compensation to the public pension plans, the order said.

SEC rules prohibit investment advisers and their employees from contributing more than $350 to any candidate whose office could influence the selection of an investment manager. If a private equity firm or an executive does make a contribution, their firm is barred from providing advisory services for compensation for two years.

The order didn’t name the Oaktree employees that made the contributions, which ranged from $500 to $1,400. Contributions were made to candidates running for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, for Treasurer of Rhode Island and for Mayor of Los Angeles, the SEC said.

Pay-to-play is an ongoing issue in private equity. In 2017, the SEC censured and fined 10 firms for violating such rules, Buyouts reported.

Oaktree declined comment. The firm has submitted an offer of settlement that the SEC said it has accepted.See the order here.

FundsBlackstone will be seeking more than $20 billion for its next buyout fund, Bloomberg is reporting. See our brief here.

DealsThoma Bravo is buying a majority of Centrify, the cybersecurity firm backed by VCs MayfieldAccel PartnersJackson Square Ventures and Index VenturesSee our brief here.


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