Blackstone Group bet big on Equity Office Properties in 2007 and was fortunate to quickly flip a large chunk of the real estate after acquiring it for $36 billion. Blackstone has continued to pare down the assets in a series of sales, like last year's sale of $3.5 billion of California office buildings and has now offloaded more than half of the properties it acquired in the original deal.
It is very likely the private equity firm will reel in a profit on its Equity Office deal, in a similar fashion to how Steve Schwarzman’s firm won with its bet on Hilton Worldwide Hotels, that is, piece-by-piece.
One of the things that has made Hilton a successful deal is that the sponsor has sold stakes of around 10% in the company into what has been a rising market for its stock. Hilton also exited properties held within its own portfolio at a high valuation.
First Data was not Kravis' first post-crisis headache
KKR has had a tough time with some of its biggest deals, but Henry Kravis’ PE firm is on the verge of making a big exit more than seven years after acquiring First Data. It took a lot of extra homework and the attentive eye of Kravis himself to get there.
First Data's IPO filing shows that it hasn't recorded an annual profit since at least 2010 — as far back as the financial statements go.
Seven years after the initial $27 billion buyout, KKR had to invest more than $1 billion to prop up First Data. The IPO will be a big test for KKR. After another of its mega-buyouts (Energy Future) filed for bankruptcy it remains to be seen if Kravis’ PE firm will ever again do a deal north of the $10 billion mark again.
Doubling down on the consumer could pay off at Albertsons
Rather than cutting down, like Blackstone has done with Equity Office, the owners of supermarket giant Albertsons have gone the other way -- scaling up the business with acquisitions.
The initial $9.6 billion buyout of Albertsons by Cerberus Capital Management dates back to 2005. It was followed by a handful of deals, most notably a $9.4 billion bid for Safeway that closed in January of this year. By July, the merged company had filed for an IPO. But it hasn’t yet disclosed a share price (crucial in determining valuation). Cerberus controls a majority stake leading up to the IPO.
Clear Channel, unclear exit
In 2006, a group of private equity investors agreed to buy out the U.S.’ largest radio and billboard company, Clear Channel Communications, in a deal that was worth over $18 billion. In the time since, the company has given its owners headaches. Some crafty corporate engineering has seen the sponsors put together and split apart operations. That is, when they’re not selling bits of the business off to pay down the company’s staggering debt load.
The LBO of the leading Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. was larded with debt, but the private equity investors behind the deal think it is now ready for public markets. It took over eight years since the company’s buyout to get it ready for public markets again, however. In the beginning of July, Univision filed paperwork with the S.E.C. for its IPO.
TPG Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners, Providence Equity, Madison Dearborn and Saban Capital did sell a stake to Mexico’s Grupo Televisa in 2012, but it was at a discount to where they invested in the broadcaster five years prior. The silver lining to this market debut is that Univision’s debt has been largely been refinanced, giving the broadcaster some breathing room in coming years.