The Merits and Shortcomings of the Diligence‑Lite Approach to GP‑Led Transactions

GP‑led secondary transactions involve a GP selling assets from one of its managed vehicles to another newly formed managed vehicle. Although a purchase and sale agreement governs the asset sale (which may include equity interests in wholly or partially owned portfolio companies), the GP acts on both sides of the transaction – unlike in traditional, change-of-control M&A deals. As a result, barring in-depth due diligence from new-money investors, the nominal “buyer” in a GP‑led transaction does not typically undertake detailed due diligence – a step considered essential in a traditional M&A deal. In a guest article, Akin Gump attorneys Fadi G. Samman, Timothy J. Clark and Krishna R. Skandakumar explore the more streamlined, “diligence-lite” process undertaken by new-money investors in GP‑led secondary transactions. Specifically, the article examines the rationale behind the diligence-lite process and what it entails; offers recommendations for when more detailed, asset-level due diligence may add value for new-money investors; forecasts trends in the use of the diligence-lite approach in GP‑led transactions; and anticipates the likelihood of ongoing, widespread adoption. See “Pressure Points When Performing GP‑Led Secondaries, Including Valuations and Conflicts of Interest (Part Two of Two)” (Jun. 7, 2022).

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