The pre-takeover announcement trading in TXU call options has lots of the usual suspects complaining that the other kind of usual suspects must have had inside information about the deal. "The only possible explanation is that there are leaks in these deal processes," Whitney Tilson at T2 Partners and Tilson Mutual Funds in New York told Bloomberg.
But this story from the Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram makes clear that big shots at the Texas Pacific Group were going around to Texas officials and the relevant environmental groups making sure they wouldn't get in the way of the deal. Actually, the suggests TPG's chief is actually a tree-hugger himself.
When Texas Pacific Group chief David Bonderman sought help a couple months ago to get environmental groups behind Texas Pacific's plan to buy TXU Corp., he called an old friend -- former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly.
They met in 1980, when Reilly headed the Conservation Foundation, a land-use organization that later merged with the World Wildlife Fund. Reilly needed legal help, and Washington, D.C., powerhouse legal group Arnold & Porter lent him Bonderman, Reilly said Monday.
Now Bonderman was asking Reilly to lead negotiations to win the support of two big environmental groups, Environmental Defense and the National Resources Defense Council, for the record $45 billion buyout of TXU by Texas Pacific and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, another big private equity fund. Although the deal aims to make money, Reilly said Bonderman's long-standing interest in the environment is also a driver.
"He's for real on this stuff," Reilly said. "He was in the Amazon two weeks ago. He was in Mozambique last year for a new marine reserve. These are not places to go if he's looking to line his pockets," he said.
We have no idea whether this is just TPG spin. But whether or not TPG really is run by environmentalists or just finds it profitable to pretend it is, it certainly tells you something about which way the political winds are blowing.
Two old friends, one goal: support of green groups