Abu Dhabi Firm Challenges Cerberus Bid for Abraaj Unit

(Bloomberg) -- A unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group has made a fresh, $55 million offer for the rights to manage Abraaj Group’s funds, challenging a bid from Cerberus Capital Management LP, according to people familiar with the matter.

Abu Dhabi Capital Management told Abraaj’s liquidators it would pay $30 million to buy the rights to manage Abraaj’s funds and $25 million to cover the company’s costs and end-of-service payments for employees, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Cerberus had bid a total of about $25 million, people familiar with the matter said previously.

Representatives for Abraaj’s liquidators and ADFG declined to comment. Abu Dhabi Capital Management made a $50 million offer to the firm’s financial adviser around the time the court-led restructuring process started, according to people familiar with the bid.

The collapse of Abraaj, once one of the developing world’s most influential investors, came months after some of its stakeholders began an investigation into mismanagement of money in its health-care fund. The 16-year-old buyout firm filed for a court-supervised restructuring last month.

The companies managing the restructuring had been reviewing bids from Cerberus and Colony Capital Inc., people familiar with the matter have said. Of the two, the liquidators preferred the lower offer from Cerberus, and Colony’s bid for the fund management platform was turned down, people familiar with the matter had said.

Cerberus’s proposal includes about $5 million for the funds platform, while the rest would go toward payments to employees, according to people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, a group of investors in Abraaj’s near-$1 billion sub-Saharan Africa fund are seeking a new manager, potentially complicating a broader sale process for the asset management unit, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Abu Dhabi Financial Group, with assets of more than $6.5 billion, is controlled by investor Jassim Alseddiqi. The group is known for its premium real estate holdings, including a development of 72 London luxury apartments neighboring Buckingham Palace. Through its Goldilocks fund, the firm has made investments in energy producer Dana Gas PJSC and commodities trader Noble Group Ltd.

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