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Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO -- Fusion GPS

Written by Subject: Clinton News

Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO

A consulting firm with ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton is eyeing the possibility of an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Teneo Holdings, whose clients include chief executives of some of the world's biggest companies, has benefited from its founders' association with the Clintons. Douglas Band is a former top aide to Mr. Clinton who helped shape his postpresidential career and created the Clinton Global Initiative. Declan Kelly is a businessman whom Mrs. Clinton appointed U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland when she was secretary of state.

New York-based Teneo, with 575 employees, markets itself as a one-stop shop for CEOs to get advice on a wide range of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, handling crises and managing public relations. For its services, it generally charges clients monthly retainer fees of $100,000 to $300,000.

The five-year-old firm, which has backing from private-equity firm BC Partners, has clients including Xerox Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. Teneo could go public as early as next year, say people familiar with the matter. Other options under consideration include a merger with another firm or a sale of some of Teneo's units, the people said. Some of the people said Teneo is aiming for a valuation of as much as $1 billion. Since last year, it has bought up several firms in a global expansion spree.

The timing of any IPO or other exit is unclear. Teneo hasn't hired bankers to formally prepare for the process.

The idea for the firm came about a couple of years before the firm got its official start in 2011. At its inception, Teneo embraced its ties to the Democratic establishment. Mr. Clinton joined Teneo as honorary chairman although he left in 2012. Huma Abedin, one of Mrs. Clinton's longtime aides, worked at Teneo for a few months while simultaneously holding a job in the State Department when Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State.

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ALSO, SEE FUSION GPS (WIKIPEDIA)

Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington D.C. The company conducts open-source investigations, provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research.[1]

History[edit]

The company was co-founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal; Peter Fritsch, former Wall Street Journal senior editor and bureau chief in locations around the world; and former Wall Street Journal journalist Thomas Catan.[2]

Work[edit]

Opposition research on Mitt Romney[edit]

Fusion GPS was hired by Democrats in 2012 to do opposition research on Mitt Romney.[2] In February 2012, the magazine Mother Jones published an article on Frank VanderSlootand his company Melaleuca, who combined had given $1 million to a SuperPAC supporting Mitt Romney. After the article was published, an intern at Fusion GPS did a search of Idaho court records on VanderSloot by phone and fax. In January 2013, VanderSloot sued the magazine Mother Jones for defamation in the February article. In the course of the litigation, VanderSloot deposed Fusion GPS founder Simpson on the "theory that Mother Jones conspired with Obama's team to defame VanderSloot".[3][4][5] The seventh Judicial District Court of the State of Idaho dismissed the lawsuit in 2015.[6]

Planned Parenthood[edit]

In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by pro-life activists that they claim showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers. Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[7] The report concluded that the "unedited" videos posted by activists had been edited. The pro-life activists attributed the gaps to "bathroom breaks and waiting periods."[8]

The report was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations. After a grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, the pro-life activists behind the undercover videos were later arrested and charged with 15 felonies, including unlawfully recording people without their permission and conspiracy to invade privacy.[9]These charges were dropped 6 months later, but on March 28, 2017, Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California - one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy. On 21 June 2017, fourteen of these charges were dismissed, with leave to amend, on the grounds that they were legally insufficient.[10]

Prevezon Holding[edit]

In 2013, the US Department of Justice, represented by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, sued Prevezon Holding, a Republic of Cyprus corporation registered in New York State as a foreign business corporation, under the Magnitsky Act for money-laundering. The lawsuit sought forfeiture of various assets and real estate holdings in the US.[11] The sole shareholder of Prevezon, Russian citizen Denis Katsyv, whose father is Petr Katsyv, vice president of Russia's state-run rail monopoly and "reportedly a business associate of Vladimir Yakunin, a confidant of Vladimir Putin", and whose Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is not licensed to practice in the US, hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent the corporation;[11] BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in 2013 to "gather and analyze evidence to disprove" the claims against Prevezon.[12] In May 2017, two months after President Trump had dismissed Bharara, the US Government settled the lawsuit for $6 million.[13]

As part of their litigation support, Fusion GPS investigated Bill Browder, a witness central to the case.[14] During the course of the case, Browder claimed that Fusion GPS had previously been hired to undertake a pro-Russia campaign aimed at stopping passage of the Magnitsky Act,[15][16] named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died while being held without charges in a Russian government prison after he revealed that the Kremlin had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from Hermitage Capital Management.

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into purported connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The company denied the claims that they were engaged in lobbying or had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[15][16]

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele[edit]

Main article: Donald Trump–Russia dossier

In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research for Republicans who opposed Donald Trump's bid during the Republican primary campaign for the 2016 presidential election. When Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate by the spring of 2016, Republican donors stopped funding the investigation, and Democrat supporters of Hillary Clinton became Fusion GPS's new clients.[17] In June 2016, after the Democratic National Committee had been hacked and its emails began to be published online, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele issued a series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[17][18]

In January 2017, the U.S. intelligence community briefed then-President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump on the contents of the dossier.[19] CNN reported that U.S. investigators had corroborated some parts of the dossier in February 2017, however none of the learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. Rather it relates to conversations between foreign nationals.[20] In March 2017, then-FBI director James Comey confirmed that the FBI was conducting an official investigation into one of the central allegations in the dossier, that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential election.[21]

Senate Judiciary Committee investigations[edit]

On July 21, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley, and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein issued a subpoena for Fusion GPS cofounder Glenn Simpson after he denied through his lawyers a request to voluntarily appear "due to long held vacation plans."[22] The committee wants to question Simpson about the Foreign Agents Registration Act(FARA) which they may now use "to press Justice Department officials on what they know about Veselnitskaya, Prevezon, Fusion GPS and their connections to both the Trump campaign or the Russian government."[23] Simpson will not testify at the July 26 public hearing as previously scheduled, but instead will be interviewed privately, under terms of an agreement.[24]

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