A Deloitte accountant got a different response weeks later when he referred to XIO’s “China resident investors” in an email to XIO that was reviewed by the Journal. “There may be a misconception. The investors into the XIO fund are not primarily Chinese,” XIO partner Carsten Geyer replied.
The Deloitte accountant, Anthony Passalaqua, declined to comment.
As the summer of 2016 progressed, XIO contacted financial firms to ask if they would also invest in J.D. Power. On Aug. 8, XIO’s Mr. Pacini emailed British pension fund Hermes Investment Management about a “co-Investment opportunity with J.D. Power,” saying investors could make as much as 2.9 times their money through a resale within three years. Hermes was interested but decided not to invest, in part because it couldn’t get comfortable with the lack of information it received about XIO, a person familiar with the talks said.
BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager and a former employer of XIO CEO Mr. Pacini, did invest with XIO, people familiar with the acquisition said. So did Beijing-based China Life Insurance Group, according to an investment manager at the insurer.
The deal for J.D. Power gained approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. XIO said the agency’s review finished in 30 days. The committee declined to comment.
XIO completed the acquisition on Sept. 7, 2016, but mystery over its funding didn’t end.
A New York investment banker who had advised XIO on the acquisition met later that year with a Chinese businesswoman named Carol Xie, who shocked the banker by saying her father’s investment group had bought J.D. Power—a notion the banker hadn’t heard before—according to a person familiar with the meeting. Her father is Xie Zhikun, a prominent Beijing tycoon.
Within months, Mr. Xie was in full warfare with XIO. As the Journal reported in March 2017, Mr. Xie insisted he had given the firm almost $1 billion to do deals. XIO said he had not, and demanded he stop telling people he was affiliated with the firm.
In a message reviewed by the Journal, XIO’s Ms. Li wrote to her lawyers saying Mr. Xie had repeatedly tried “illegally” to sell a company XIO owned. The company was Lumenis Ltd., a medical-equipment maker XIO bought in 2015. Mr. Xie has asserted that his money funded the acquisition.