P.E. Giants Settle Collusion Lawsuit

Aug 8 2014 | 4:38am ET

Three more private-equity firms have agreed to settle allegations they colluded with one another to hold down the price of buyouts.

The Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG Capital will pay a combined $325 million, avoiding a Nov. 3 trial. The deals leave only the Carlyle Group—of the original 11 firms accused—to defend itself before a jury.

The deal brings to more than $475 million the amount paid to shareholders of target companies, a far cry from the $1 billion plaintiffs planned to seek earlier this year. Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake partners each settled earlier this year.

“It’s a pretty good settlement,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Patrick Coughlin said. “Antitrust cases like this are tough, and there aren’t many class-action settlements approaching $500 million like this one.”

Carlyle indicated earlier this month that it would buck the settlement trend, arguing that the plaintiffs haven’t shown that any of the firms actually would have bid on companies pursued by the other respondents. The firm said that the “claims are without merit and we will continue to vigorously contest the allegations.”

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