Robert Smith, the founder and CEO of tech-focused private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in May.
Robert Smith, the founder and CEO of tech-focused private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in May.
Photo credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Robert Smith, the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners LLC, has bought a $59 million three-story, 10,000-square-foot penthouse with rooftop terrace in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York. The purchase marks the most expensive residential real estate deal recorded in Chelsea and one of the most expensive purchases ever in Manhattan. Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, holds the record for most expensive home purchase in New York. Dell bought a $100 million penthouse in midtown in 2014, a fact recently revealed by the Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report Smith’s purchase. Smith’s new home is in The Getty, a luxury building overlooking the High Line public park and designed by architect Peter Marino and developed by the Victor Group and Shvo. Smith founded Vista in 2000 after serving as co-head of enterprise systems and storage at Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS), where he executed and advised on more than $50 billion in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay, and Yahoo. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $31 billion and oversees a portfolio of 50-plus software companies. Smith has overseen 300-plus completed transactions by Vista, representing more than $97 billion in transaction value, according to the bio on the firm’s website. Smith graduated from Cornell University with a degree in chemical engineering and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. While working at Kraft General Foods, he earned two U.S. and two European patents. Forbes estimates Smith's personal net worth at $4.4 billion, making him the richest African American. Smith is active in philanthropy, supporting a wide range of organizations, including serving as the chairman of Carnegie Hall. He is the founding director and president of the Fund II Foundation, which aims to preserve the African American experience, safeguard human rights, provide music education, preserve the environment while promoting the benefits of the outdoors and sustain critical American values. He is partnering with Fund II on a $50 million commitment to Cornell to help boost the representation of women and minorities at its engineering school. Cornell has honored his leadership by naming the Robert Fredrick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Smith has also donated $20 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Job website developer Glassdoor has agreed to be acquired by Japanese human resources Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. for $1.2 billion in an all-cash transaction. Glassdoor, based in Mill Valley, California, is a job and recruiting company that aims to provide "greater workplace transparency," according to the company. Recruit Holdings, based in Tokyo, plans to operate Glassdoor as a separate part of its growing HR technology business segment. "Glassdoor has transformed how people search for jobs and how companies recruit. Joining with Recruit allows Glassdoor to accelerate its innovation and growth to help job seekers find a job and company they love while also helping employers hire quality candidates," said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO and co-founder, who will continue to lead the company. Qatalyst Partners is acting as financial advisor to Glassdoor, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is its legal adviser. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provided legal counsel to Recruit.

Angelo, Gordon & Co., a $28 billion alternative investment firm focused on credit and real estate investing, has announced that Steven Paget will be joining the firm as a managing director and portfolio manager, European performing credit. In this new role, Paget will lead the build out of Angelo, Gordon’s European performing credit business with a focus on developing the firm’s European collateralized loan obligation platform and investing in the debt and equity tranches of third-party CLO managers. Based in London, Paget will report to Dan Pound, head of Europe, and Maureen D’Alleva, head of non-investment grade corporate credit. Paget most recently served as a portfolio manager on the European leveraged finance team at PGIM Fixed Income, where he managed high-yield bonds and bank loans across European and global mandates, with specific responsibility for managing the European Dryden CLO platform. Twin Brook Capital Partners, which won Mergers & Acquisitions' M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Lender of the Year, is the middle-market direct lending subsidiary of Angelo, Gordon.

Private equity firms face more competition than ever. LLR Partners, which won Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Private Equity Firm of the Year, wields social media and online content to help differentiate itself from competitors. The Philadelphia firm publishes an original series, called GrowthBits, to articulate the firm's value as a long-term investor, and then deploys social media to amplify its message. Watch our video interviews with managing director Michael Sala: LLR leverages social media, online content to stand out in crowded PE field and LR Partners: what makes an ideal portfolio company. Follow LLR on Twitter: @LLRPartners. Follow Mergers & Acquisitions: @themiddlemarket.


Check out our Q&A with ParkerGale partner Devin Mathews about the tech-focused firm's recent investment in CultureIQ/Corporate Executive Board, M&A investing trends and how the Chicago private equity firm uses its weekly podcast.

Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, wearable biometrics and precision medicine are transforming dealmaking in the healthcare sector, says Essam Abadir, the CEO of Aspire Ventures, which recently teamed with the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health network of hospitals to launch a $300 million fund to invest in personalized medical devices and practices. Read our Q&A with Abadir.

Huron Capital, Michigan's most active private equity firm and winner of Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Mid-Market Award for 2017 Seller of the Year, recently raised the $141 million Huron Flex Equity Fund for making non-control investments. Read our Q&A with managing partner Brian Demkowicz.

Read our Q&A with GTCR managing director Aaron Cohen about The Leaders Strategy and the Chicago firm's sale of Callcredit, a U.K. provider of real-time credit reports, to TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) for about $1.4 billion.

KKR, LLR Partners, the Riverside Co., Shore Capital Partners, TA Associates and other private equity firms and strategic buyers, including Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), are investing in eye doctors, dentists and veterinarians, plus revenue cycle management providers and other areas of healthcare that are ripe for consolidation, as Mergers & Acquisitions explores in our in-depth feature,Why private equity firms like veterinarians, opthamologists and dentists,andslideshow, 6 healthcare specialties driving M&A deals.

Read full coverage of Mergers & Acquisitions' 11th annual M&A Mid-Market Award winners: Campbell Soup, Huron Capital, Idera CEO Randy Jacops, LLR Partners, McGuireWoods, Stryker, Twin Brook and William Blair.

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