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Celebrity concierge service sues Goldman Sachs in row over $7bn deal

A Hollywood enterprise supervisor whose purchasers have included Madonna and Drake has sued Goldman Sachs alleging it tricked him into handing over enterprise secrets and techniques as a part of an effort to agree a $7bn take care of a non-public fairness agency.

Present enterprise impresario Mickey Segal’s lawsuit focuses on the Wall Avenue financial institution’s function when Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the New York-based buyout group, bought Focus Monetary Companions, a listed wealth administration firm, in February.

Segal had employed Goldman to promote his superstar concierge service, a a lot smaller firm known as NKSFB, which had beforehand acquired funding from Focus. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles county court docket final week, he accused Goldman of “secretly dealing behind [his] again” by “store[ping] round” a proposed sale of the bigger firm as nicely.

Anybody “occupied with buying [NKSFB]”, Segal’s attorneys complained, “could also be much more occupied with buying the bigger agency”.

The messy dispute, involving a number of high Wall Avenue corporations, reveals how the lives and enterprise affairs of high flight entertainers have created profitable alternatives for cash managers and fixers working in rarefied circles the place discretion is extremely prized.

Segal bought a majority financial stake in NKSFB to Focus shortly earlier than the latter’s 2018 preliminary public providing. On the time, the bigger firm was looking for to department out from its core enterprise of shopping for stakes in wealth administration boutiques. It was drawn to NKSFB, which co-ordinates the general public appearances of its high-profile purchasers, in addition to serving to to purchase their automobiles and homes, rent their cooks and nannies, file their taxes, pay their payments, and submit their medical claims.

Final 12 months, nonetheless, Segal and his companions determined they wished to half firm with Focus. They employed Goldman to discover a sale of the enterprise, unaware that Goldman was concurrently engaged on a deal to take Focus personal.

Segal labored with Goldman to pitch NKSFB to at the least a dozen potential suitors over a number of months. At one assembly, held in December, Segal sought to impress executives from KKR with a shopper roster that included entertainers who’ve performed the half-time present in 13 of the previous 15 American soccer Tremendous Bowls, in keeping with two individuals conversant in the alternate.

KKR didn’t bid however 5 different would-be acquirers ultimately submitted gives for NKSFB, every providing a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars}. However CD&R’s $7bn deal to take Focus personal, introduced in February, prompted Segal to sue Focus and Goldman, and has thrown the public sale of his personal firm into disarray.

In an alternate of emails, reproduced in court docket filings, Segal advised Focus co-founder Lenny Chang that an “amicable assembly” was unattainable. He urged shopping for again Focus’s share of NKSFB “at a considerable low cost”, saying it “often is the solely approach to cease a nuclear warfare”.

However Chang wrote: “We’d not promote at a reduction.”

Focus maintains that it was not looking for to cease the sale of NKSFB. In a letter, a Focus lawyer advised Segal that “the gross sales course of must be transferring to the second spherical, however has been delayed by your disruptive actions”.

Focus stated in a press release that Segal’s lawsuit was with out advantage, and accused him of “trying to benefit from Focus’ pending go-private acquisition to extend the economics he derives from the Focus partnership”.

Goldman stated it had acted pretty and actually, and in addition dismissed the lawsuit as meritless. “[We] had each incentive to attain the most effective outcomes for each our purchasers, and it’s absurd to recommend in any other case,” the financial institution added.