What is BC Partners going to do with Mergermarket? What the Pearson Group and The FT group did?
But before getting to Mergermarket sex scandals, unprofessional and discriminatory firm culture – lets get some background and take a look at events leading up to the present.
BC Partners originally bought Mergermarket from Financial Times Group in February 2013 for £382 million ($623 million).
BC Partners is a private equity firm specializing in buyouts and acquisitions financing in Europe and the United States. The firm invests across all industries.
BC Partners competes for buyouts and investment opportunities with other large cap private equity firms including Blackstone Group, CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and The Carlyle Group.
Between 2006 and 2013, when all of the allegations in the lawsuit took place, Mergermarket was owned by the Financial Times Group, which was owned by Pearson. Back then all Mergermarket staff, ie journalists, sales, IT, execs editors and everyone on Mergermarket’s payroll had to commit to respect Pearson’s code of conduct.
Sources say: “Since the sale to BC, Mergermarket’s management team have all violated moral turpitude clauses in their contract with BC Partners.”
Pearson is currently agreed to sell its Financial Times newspaper and other publishing assets to Nikkei for $1.32 billion.
Now to the juicy….
In 2015, Mergermarket was at the center of a scandalous sexual harassment lawsuit brought on by two former female employees. On Jan. 30, Valeria Girimonte and Flavia Santana, former sales employees of Mergermarket, filed a complaint with the court, alleging the Mergermarket fostered a “boys club” culture that allowed and encouraged male supervisors to regularly pursue romantic relationships (or trysts) which they could start and end with female subordinates. An abusive behavior of power without any consequences.
Factual allegations included:
-butt grabbing, unwanted sexual touching and other unwelcome sexual advances by their male colleagues was commonplace
-male employees circulated a “hot list” of the company’s most “fuckable” women.
-regular and frequent inappropriate commenting of Santana’s breast size by male and female staff
-a male director from Debtwire (company owned and operated within Mergermarket) showed a table full of female co-workers a video of himself having sex.
-at a company karaoke party Mergermarket’s CEO Hamilton Matthews rubbed Santana’s legs and touched Girimonte inappropriately and also grabbed the breasts of another female employee, as the plaintiffs claim in their complaint for sex harassment versus Mergermarket.
The same night Matthews had spent the night with another employee of the Marketing department, the plaintiffs claim.
Both women Valeria Girimonte and Flavia Santana reported they were in a sexual relationship with Jonathan Reed, a managing director at the company and their direct supervisor at the time.
Is this kind of behavior accepted by the Pearson Code of Conduct that Mergermarket employees had to sign? These facts don’t look so different from the Bunga Bunga of Silvio Berlusconi, that the FT called Rome’s Buffoon.
View more of the complaint Mergermarket
Source told Hedgeho that Mergermarket is a place, where rules are worth of interpretation for the people in the circle and have to be applied with those out of the fraternity. The executives and editors have always encouraged gossip and party culture.
A different anonymous source said that “CEO Hamilton Matthews always got drunk at company parties and other clients events. Once, after a Mergermarket event, he was so full of alcohol that he could not walk back to his hotel room.”
Also, a source told Hedgeho that Editor in Chief Yanita Morris was caught having sex in her office 12 years ago. She is the editor in chief of DealReporter, MergerMarket’s service for hedge fund.
By 2015 all the original founders had left Mergermarket and interesting fact is that almost all of them if not all have set up their own business – very similar to Mergermarket.
When contacted, BC Partners had no comment on the matter.
As I began to investigate I came across a lot of material that could not fit in one article so stay tuned for more. ;)