It is common practice for private-equity firms not to publicly disclose their investors, the spokesman said. “Honoring nondisclosure agreements and client confidentiality is a basic tenet in following international standards accepted by leading global alternative investment firms,” he said.
Addressing criticisms made of anonymous companies, the XIO spokesman added: “Private equity funds have made an incontestable contribution to the global economy.”
When XIO sought to buy J.D. Power in early 2016, it had competition from better-known companies. XIO faced pressure to convince owner S&P Global that XIO was a credible bidder for the auto-research company, according to people involved in the acquisition process.
XIO Chairwoman Athene Li and Chief Executive Joseph Pacini enlisted Thomas Borer, a well-connected former Swiss diplomat. To vouch for XIO to S&P Global, Mr. Borer introduced XIO to John Negroponte, who had worked for S&P Global when it was called McGraw-Hill and later was U.S. director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush. Mr. Borer, Mr. Negroponte and S&P Global declined to comment.
In April 2016 S&P Global announced it had agreed to sell J.D. Power to XIO, “a global alternative investments firm.”
XIO would make the purchase using a fund based in the Cayman Islands, which doesn’t require firms to publicly disclose their investors. It was during the following month that S&P Global’s Mr. Gibson asked XIO for its ownership and funding details as the seller prepared to seek U.S. government approval for the deal, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
An XIO executive responded that Mr. Gibson should have received the information from XIO’s legal adviser, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Mr. Gibson wrote back that he had received an email from Skadden, but “the part they did not share are the missing financials and ownership pieces.”
“We will not hold up the filing on this matter, but as it’s a joint filing we would expect to be able to review,” he wrote.
That email was forwarded within XIO to its general counsel. She emailed colleagues she was “not sure why MG has not shared these with the team but will chase up now.” MG is Michael Gisser, then head of Skadden’s Asian operations and an adviser to the XIO founders. Mr. Gisser said he is retired from Skadden and declined to comment, as did Skadden.