Staple Street’s return on Dominion/Fox settlement; Thoma Bravo preps next fundraising cycle

The Dominion Voting Systems/Fox News settlement is providing a pay day for Staple Street.

Happy Wednesday!

This is Chris, on for Wire Wednesday.

So it looks like the Dominion Voting Systems/Fox News settlement is providing a pay day for Staple Street Capital, the firm formed by ex-Carlyle and Cerberus executives, which invested in the company back in 2018.

Fox News agreed to settle Dominion’s defamation suit for $787.5 million on Tuesday, of which Staple Street’s share would be $598.5 million in the absence of any other equity investments into the company, Bloomberg reported. That amount would be 1,542 percent more than the $38.3 million the firm invested.

“It’s not every day that an investment fund finds itself at the center of this type of dispute,” Staple Street co-founder Hootan Yaghoobzadeh said at a press conference Tuesday, Bloomberg said. “For us this case has always been about exposing the truth and holding those who knowingly spread lies accountable.”

The company could have more money coming through other suits against NewsMax and One America News Network, former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani and lawyer Sydney Powell.

Staple Street closed its most recent pool, Fund III, in 2020 on $520 million, Buyouts reported at the time. Stephen Owens and Hootan Yaghoobzadeh formed the firm in 2010, according to its Form ADV. It was formed to invest Owens’ and Yaghoobzadeh’s wealth on a deal-by-deal basis, the document said.

Insurance: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan-backed BroadStreet Partners agreed to invest in Westland Insurance Group, a British Columbia insurance broker focused on the Canadian market.

Westland Insurance’s founding Wubs family will retain a significant stake in the company. Operational control will remain with the Wubs and management following the deal, according to a statement.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter and is expected to result in the exit of Blackstone Credit, which has provided $1.4 billion to Westland.

Coming back: Private equity fundraising has slowed mightily since the peaks of the bull market era, and for many firms that means taking more time in between launching new pools.

But for a handful of firms, the belief is that capital will continue to flow from limited partners as their mix of strong past performance, team cohesion and strategy focus makes for an irresistible offering.

One of those is Thoma Bravo, which announced to LPs at its recent annual meeting that it intends to launch its 16th flagship fund, and its fifth Discover fund, in the fourth quarter, sources told Buyouts. The firm expects to hold a first close in the first quarter of 2024, sources said. The firm did not announce its next Explore fund yet, they added.

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