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Private Equity

Cerberus Capital walks away from offer for Abraaj funds

Cerberus Capital Management has pulled out of the bidding process for Abraaj Group's asset management platform after its offer was rejected by investors of the embattled Dubai-based private equity firm, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cerberus, whose offer of about $25 million for the rights to manage the platform was the lowest among several bidders, walked away from the process on July 20, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

A representative for the joint provisional liquidators of Abraaj confirmed that Cerberus has withdrawn its offer for the platform after not getting enough investor support, and that it's continuing to get and evaluate bids for the business.

"We are committed to ensuring the stability of Abraaj Holdings and Abraaj Investment Management Ltd. and are making the necessary provisions to ensure that all employees remain motivated and focused on achieving stable returns within the portfolio against a backdrop of support in relation to their salaries and end of service benefits," the joint provisional liquidators said in the statement.

A representative for Cerberus declined to comment.

Abraaj's dramatic collapse has led to suitors circling the emerging market investor's asset management unit, which will give the winner access to more than a dozen developing countries worldwide. York Capital Management has offered about $400 million, including $350 million to buy Abraaj's stakes in some of its private equity funds and the rest for the asset management platform, people familiar with the matter said July 20.

Abraaj was the Middle East's biggest private equity firm until accusations that it mismanaged millions of dollars of clients' money sent it spiraling toward collapse. Court-appointed liquidators seeking to settle more than $1 billion in debts are weighing offers for Abraaj's assets.

A unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group made a $55 million bid for the asset management platform, challenging Cerberus's offer, people familiar with the matter said July 17. An earlier proposal from Tom Barrack's Colony Capital was rejected by the liquidators, even though the firm had also made an offer for Abraaj's limited partnership stakes.