Blackstone Reportedly After FIS as LBO Market Heats Up

The Blackstone Group, a specialist in private equity real estate investments, is said to be arranging a leveraged buyout (LBO) of FIS Global (FIS), the banking and payments technology provider. The deal would be worth more than $10bn, sources say — the largest in three years. Although most LBO deals as of late barely toe the $1bn line, volume is continually increasing as banks re-open lending. However, a spokeswoman for FIS called the reports of a LBO either “market rumors or speculation.” At any rate, it is likely that Blackstone would need to partner with other private equity houses to make the deal work. However, such a large LBO is possible as Bank of America (BAC) Barclays Capital (BCS), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), JP Morgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Société Générale are among some of the big names committed to increasing LBO availability. And there is no shortage of news on the LBO market. Education software as a service provider SkillSoft recently set price guidance for a $325m term loan for its leveraged buyout. Oak Hill Capital Partners is completing terms of a new $320m senior secured credit facility and to issue approximately $150m of senior unsecured notes in an LBO of construction goods provider, Hillman Group. Home security provider Protection One also last week went private with a near $400m LBO for private equity firm GTCR. Law firms Tripp Levy and Rigrodsky & Long both announced separate investigations on behalf of shareholders concerning possible breaches of fiduciary duty on the part of the Protection One board in getting the best price for the company. Write to Jacob Gaffney. The author holds no relevant investments.

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