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PE HUB Wire Highlights, 10.10.18

Thoma Bravo’s big plans for Apttus; The dangers lurking in co-investments; Should Lampert save Sears?

It’s mid-week, Hubsters, and another iconic U.S. retailer may be near death.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sears has hired bankruptcy advisers for a potential filing that could come this week. M-III Partners has spent the past few weeks working on a possible Sears filing, the story said.

Sears has $134 million in debt due on Monday. Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager who is Sears CEO, could rescue the struggling retailer as he has before, the WSJ said. Lampert, however, wants to restructure Sears. Lampert has pitched selling the Kenmore appliance brand as well as real estate and other assets, to pay down debt, press reports said.

Now, Hubsters, I’ve been told by several bankers that the retail apocalypse is actually a good thing. Many retailers need to “go away” and their demise will create opportunities for new sectors, I’ve been told. But Sears? In truth, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a Sears store but I’m curious what people think. Should Lampert save it or should we let Sears go under? Why or why not? Email me your thoughts at

Middle office: I also have a story this morning on Thoma Bravo closing its buy of Apttus, a provider of quote-to-cash software built on the Salesforce platform. David Murphy, Apttus Corp’s newly minted executive chairman, has big plans for the company. He thinks Apttus could be as big as Salesforce or SAP and wants to grow it to $1 billion-plus in revenue. Read my story here.

I want to know who cashed out of Apttus with the sale. K1 did but I’m told some big investors stayed. What do you know, hubsters? Email me at

Buyer beware: Lisa Peterson, an Akin Gump partner, has written an article on the pitfalls that can lurk in co-investments. Read it here.

Club alert: Blackstone and Hellman & Friedman are leading a group that is exploring a bid to buy Nielsen, which could sell for $17 billion, the Financial Times is reporting. This would be a return of Nielsen to private equity. In 2006, six PE firms, including Carlyle, Blackstone, KKR and Thomas H. Lee Partners, took Nielsen private in a $10 billion deal.


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