The fund unit of the embattled private equity firm Abraaj Group, which once managed about $14 billion, reportedly received a bid from a London-based emerging market investor for $1.
Private equity firm Actis is among more than 10 private-equity firms that are in the race to buy some or all of the funds managed by the floundering buyout firm.
Top contenders include Canadian real-estate firm Brookfield Asset Management, Chicago-based Vistria Group, Rohatyn Group, Kuwait's Agility Public Warehousing Co. and Abu Dhabi Financial Group.
Abraaj's liquidators are also getting offers for regional operations within the unit. According to sources familiar with the matter, Thomas Barrack's Colony Capital Inc. has also re-entered the race after an earlier deal to buy four of Abraaj's funds fell through after failing to secure sufficient investor support.
While Colony Capital made an offer for Abraaj's Latin American operations, Helios Capital Management is bidding for the Africa platform. NBK Capital, the investment banking unit of National Bank of Kuwait, made an offer for Abraaj's Middle East and North Africa business, informed sources said.
London-based investment firm Centricus, run by co-founders Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu, is also in the race by making an offer to buy the Turkish and South East Asian portions of the business.
Abraaj filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June after it came under closer investor scrutiny when it was accused earlier this year by institutional investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of mismanaging a $1 billion healthcare fund aimed at investing in hospitals and clinics in parts of Asia and Africa.
The buyout firm's woes aggravated when a pension fund based in Kuwait said in a legal filing that Abraaj was unable to repay a $100 million loan and asked that the firm be liquidated. Auctus, another creditor, said the firm owes it around $300 million. Following these developments, Abraaj filed for provisional liquidation to get time for debt restructuring.
Actis, which was founded in 2004, has raised $13 billion since inception and employs over 200 people, including a team of 100 investment professionals, according to its website.
Abraaj's court-appointed restructuring team is seeking to settle more than $1 billion in debts through asset sales. Deloitte LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP are seeking additional offers for the fund business after its investors rejected earlier bids, people familiar with the matter said.
Meanwhile, Grand Court Justice Robin McMillan has granted a two-month extension of the provisional liquidation of Abraaj Holdings, giving the troubled company more time to avoid being wound up.