Bain and Goldman settle in collusion case

Five buyout firms now remain accused of bid rigging in buyout deals.

Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs have agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit accusing marquee private equity firms of having colluded by agreeing not to outbid each other on certain buyout deals.

Bain has agreed to a settlement for $54 million, and Goldman Sachs agreed to a $67 million settlement, as two of seven defendants in that case, according to a statement from law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi.

“We deny any wrongdoing in the settlement of this case. The court never cited any evidence – no document, no witness, no meeting – tying our firm to any of the alleged claims,” said Ernesto Anguilla, spokesperson, Bain Capital in an email to pfm.

“We continue to believe the case is meritless and baseless, but ultimately determined that it was best for our investors and our firm to put this matter behind us in light of the costs and distraction of six years of litigation.”

A Goldman Sachs spokesperson was not immediately available to return a request for comment.

The remaining defendants in the case are The Blackstone Group, TPG Capital Management, Silver Lake Partners, The Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The suit was filed in December 2007 by individual shareholders in companies that were acquired by the private equity firms, like Freescale Semiconductor. LPs such as the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System and New Profit Sharing Trust joined the shareholders.

“We went toe-to-toe with the defendants over the past seven years and Bain and Goldman Sachs are the first defendants to agree to settlement terms. We look forward to a trial against the remaining defendants, currently scheduled for November,” said K. Craig Wildfang, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and co-chair of the antitrust & trade regulation practice at Robins Kaplan.

The preliminary settlement with the plaintiffs was disclosed in papers filed on Wednesday with the US District Court in Boston, and requires court approval. Goldman and Bain did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.