Silver Lake settles in collusion case

Only four buyout firms remain now in a lawsuit accusing some of the largest names in private equity of bid rigging.

Silver Lake Partners agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit accusing marquee private equity firms of colluding by agreeing not to outbid each other on certain boom-era buyout deals.

The firm agreed to a settlement for $29.5 million as one of five defendants in the case.

“While we continue to believe that the plaintiffs' claims about Silver Lake are baseless and without merit, we concluded that it was in the best interest of our limited partners to put this matter behind us, and end over six years of litigation, expense and distraction,” a Silver Lake spokesperson said.

The Silver Lake settlement comes a month after Bain Capital agreed to a settlement for $54 million, and Goldman Sachs agreed to a $67 million settlement.

“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 Bain Capital spokesperson Ernesto Anguilla 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.”

The remaining defendants in the case are The Blackstone Group, TPG Capital Management, The Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The lawsuit that is scheduled for trial this November.

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.