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Lee Firm To Get $84M Of Bawag Money

Thomas H. Lee Partners is making out better than expected from the $675 million settlement Austrian bank Bawag made with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its role in the Refco disaster.

Thomas H. Lee Partners is making out better than expected from the $675 million settlement Austrian bank Bawag made with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its role in the Refco disaster. According to LBO Wire, TH Lee will get a check for $84 million – way above the $50 million predicted – and may see another $16 million if the bank, which recently announced it’s up for sale, goes for more than $2.32 billion. There are also potential “fringe benefits” for the firm. In winning the settlement money, it can paint itself as a victim in dealing with angry clients who have sued it for failing to do thorough due diligence before investing in Refco. While the settlement Lee gets won’t cancel out the negligence charges, says Professor John Coffee of Columbia Law School, “as a practical matter, the settlement may reduce the amount of money plaintiffs could get from TH Lee.” The payday may also go a long way toward preserving the firm’s reputation as it looks to raise $8 billion for its next fund (it already has commitments for half). Still, shareholders remain upset. “Thomas Lee should writing big checks, not getting big checks,” Sean Coffey, an attorney for Refco shareholders, told LBO Wire. Incidentally, TH Lee isn’t the only financial firm that is looking forward to a handsome check from Bawag: Refco shareholder Pacific Management Investment Co. is receiving $108 million from Bawag in a separate settlement, LBO Wire reports.

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