XIO wouldn’t comment on the correspondence. “In the context of the acquisition of J.D. Power, all of the parties (including law firms, advisers and government agencies) who were part of the U.S. regulatory approval process were provided full details of XIO Group’s diversified institutional investor base,” the XIO spokesman said.
A spokesman for S&P Global wouldn’t discuss Mr. Gibson’s email. S&P Global is “comfortable that the level of due diligence that we performed in connection with our sale of J.D. Power to XIO Group was appropriate,” said spokesman David Guarino.
In June 2016, as XIO was working on getting U.S. government approval for the deal, its general counsel resigned. She left in part because she didn’t believe she had sufficient information about XIO’s investors to do her job properly, according to former employees, some of whom were employed at XIO at the time.
XIO’s spokesman said the general counsel left to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and continued to support XIO. The former counsel now works at a U.S. private equity firm.
An XIO executive working on the J.D. Power deal departed not long after. The two were among at least 14 investment professionals who have left XIO since the firm started in 2014, according to the professionals and to websites including LinkedIn.
The spokesman for XIO called its staff turnover “lower than average.”
Within XIO, only its four founding partners know who the investors are, and no other current or former employees have any knowledge about them, the spokesman said. He said XIO is “legally bound by Cayman confidentiality law” not to disclose its investors without their permission. He added this is normal for private-equity funds based on the Caribbean island, where “many private equity vehicles are domiciled.”
Nine of the former XIO employees who left said they were skeptical that XIO had a fund containing money from many separate institutions, which is what they said they were led to believe when they joined. The former employees, at least three of whom worked on the J.D. Power deal, said XIO was more secretive about its investors than other firms where they have worked.
XIO staff appeared on one occasion to give differing accounts of who funds its deals. When a Moody’s Investors Service credit officer met with XIO staff after the deal announcement to discuss debt ratings for J.D. Power, he was told XIO’s investors were Chinese, according to the Moody’s officer, Edmond DeForest.