Sunday, December 6, 2009

Carlyle Group Going from Synagro to Shanks?

The Carlyle Group has its eyes on Shanks, the largest listed European waste management firm. Shanks operates in the UK, Belgium and Netherlands. Does the Shanks' board know about Carlyle affiliate Synagro Technologies? Under Carlyle's ownership, Synagro management bribed a Detroit City Councilwoman, Monica Conyers. She is the wife of Rep. John Conyers.

Carlyle got into trouble with the State of Connecticut for bribing public servants associated with the state's pension fund. The private equity underwriter (PEU) paid $20 million to settle a New York pension "pay to play" investigation. Riverstone Holdings (Carlyle's energy joint venture) ponied up $30 million in settlement dollars. The two Carlyle associated settlements total $50 million, simply to make an investigation go away.

Connecticut had a bad experience with Carlyle, yet provided the PEU with its first infrastructure project, 23 highway rest stops. did their due diligence miss all of the above? Will the Shanks' board ignore this sordid history?

Note: the story hit the wires Monday morning.

Update: Carlyle dropped their bid for Shanks.